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Fantasy bestiaryFantasy fiction and role-playing games tend to draw upon a common set of creatures that are easily recognizable to fans of the genre and have some pre-determined traits. Most are based on mythology, legends, fairy tales, or fantasy literature. The Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual is a well-known reference describing many of them in a fashion usable by gamers.
Particular game rules or scenarios often introduce their own unique monsters, so as to present jaded players with unexpected challenges; such creatures are not listed here.
Typically in RPGs, player characters (PCs) are only allowed to be certain species. A species that a player can use for their character is called a playable race. Non-playable species are often called monsters (thus, only non-player characters (NPCs) can be monsters). There is no agreement among RPGs as to what kind of creature types are playable, but generally they are intelligent humanoids of temperate size and strength. (See list of races in role-playing games.)
A great number of fictional monsters, creatures, intelligent races, and other beings have been adapted to role-playing games from outside sources. Mythology and science fiction have been the most common sources for fantastic monsters in fantasy bestiaries. Writers and authors have also created a number of monsters and races especially for role-playing games. Some of these monsters have become quite popular in role-playing circles, and their popularity has spread to other media outside of role-playing games.
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