Dungeons & Dragons Lore Wiki

Welcome to the Dungeons & Dragons Lore Wiki, an encyclopedia of official first-party D&D canon from 1974 to the current day.

We need editors! See the editing guidelines for ways to contribute.


Dungeons & Dragons Lore Wiki
Rescued article requiring attention
This article was rescued from The Annex, a repository of pages deleted from Wikipedia for lack of notability. Please edit it to conform to this wiki's style guidelines before removing this notice.

"Every beholder thinks it is the epitome of beholderkind, and the only thing it fears is that it might be wrong."
Valkara Ironfell, dwarf sage

Beholders are malevolent floating one eyed creatures who evoke terror and fear into the hearts of mortals. They shoot powerful beams of energy from their tentacles, either killing or fatally wounding another.

Beholders are also known as eye tyrants or spheres of many eyes.[1]



Beholders are a large floating sphere with a large eye in the center of its face, and a large toothy mouth below it. Protruding off of the beholders body are many eye stalks, which flail in every direction.



Abilities and traits



Life cycle


Society and culture

Relationships and family



Allies and minions






Ancient history

Recent history

Notable beholders

For a full list of beholders, see Category:Beholders.

Related creatures

Variant beholders

Publication history

Original D&D

The beholder first appeared in Greyhawk (Supplement 1) (1975), p.37-38), and also appears on the cover of that book.

Basic D&D

AD&D 1st edition

The creature was further detailed in Dragon #76 (Aug 1983)'s Ecology of the Beholder.

AD&D 2nd edition

D&D 3rd edition

The beholder appears in the Monster Manual (3.0) (2000) and Monster Manual 3.5{{UnknownBook}}, the covers of which are decorated with a single central eye and decorated as if bound in beholder hide.

By far the most detailed sourcebook on beholders is Lords of Madness (2005), which dedicates an entire twenty-page chapter to the creature. Additional beholder lore appeared in Dragon Magazine #296's Worshipers of the Forbidden and Dragon #313's Eye Wares: Potent Powers of the Beholders.

D&D 4th edition

The beholder appeared in the Monster Manual (4e) (2008), p.32-33 with the Beholder Eye Tyrant and Beholder Eye of Flame, with full-page artwork depicting two beholders. Numerous variants appeared in sourcebooks and Dungeon and Dragon magazines, including the level 5 gauth, level 29 ultimate tyrant, and level 30 voidsphere beholder.

D&D 5th edition

A beholder appears on the cover of the Monster Manual (5e) (2014). Pages 26-30 describe the beholder along with the undead death tyrant and lesser spectator.

Creative origins

The beholder was invented by Terry Kuntz, brother of Rob Kuntz, in 1974. Terry Kuntz had been a player in D&D creator Gary Gygax's campaign for two months when he invented the creature, which Gygax made minor changes to before including it in Greyhawk (Supplement 1) (1975).[3][4]

The beholder is one of the earliest D&D creatures for which Wizards of the Coast holds copyright. It is one of eleven creatures in the Monster Manual (3.5) (2003) omitted from the SRD as Wizards of the Coast product identity, along with the alternate gauth beholder.

Reception and influence

The beholder is one of the most popular of all Dungeons & Dragons creatures.

In 2019, a tournament of Twitter polls identified the Beholder as the greatest of all D&D creatures, narrowly defeating the lich 53% to 47%. The beholder also defeated the gelatinous cube, mimic, and the dragon goddess Tiamat.


  1. Greyhawk (Supplement 1) (1975), p.37.
  2. Monster Manual (5e) (2014), p.26-30.
  3. "I can't take credit for the critter in question, as great a monster as it is. Terry Kuntz came up with the beholder after he had been playing in my campaign for about two months. Where he got the idea I have no ides, but I latched onto it immediately, and with his kind permission made it an integral creature in the D&D roster of ugly customers to encounter" - Gary Gygax, ENWorld
  4. "Terry Kuntz, one of Rob's brothers, came up with the beholder back in 1974. All I needed to do was a bit of editing to make it a great addition to the terrible monsters to be found in the D&D game." - Gary Gygax, ENWorld