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Usually chaotic evil 

Source Books:

Monster Manual 

First Appearance:

Monster Manual (1e) (1977) 

3.5e Statistics: 

Additional Image(s): image(s)

This article is based on material by: 
David C. Sutherland III's depiction of the lamia from the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the lamia is a magical beast. The lamia was introduced in the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game's original Monster Manual sourcebook. The lamia subsequently appeared in the game's second edition, third edition, and fourth edition.

Publication history[edit]

The lamia was introduced to D&D in the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

The lamia appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977), where it is described as having the upper torso, arms, and head of a human female, and the lower body of a beast, whose touch drains a creature's wisdom. The illustration was by David C. Sutherland III.[1]

The lamia noble first appeared in the Fiend Folio (1981).[2]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the lamia, known as the lamara, in Creature Catalogue (1986),[3] and the Creature Catalog (1993).[4]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

The lamia and lamia noble appear first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[5] and are reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[6]

The lamia was detailed in Dragon #192 (April 1993), in the "Ecology (Love-Life) of the Lamia".[7] This article also described a relative of the lamia, the sa'ir.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The lamia appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[8]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The lamia appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).[9]

The lamia noble appears again in Expedition to the Demonweb Pits (2007).[10]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

The lamia appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), where it is described as a swarm of insects that inhabits the dead bodies of sentient fey (including elves, eladrin (an elf-like race), and gnomes), devouring their internal organs and using the hollowed-out bodies as a disguise. Every single insect is in the swarm is formed from the devoured soul of a sentient being.[11]

Other games[edit]

Lamia have also appeared in other roleplaying games which were inspired by Dungeons & Dragons. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary describes lamia as "hate-filled inheritors of an ancient curse", and depicts them as a lion/woman hybrid much like in versions of Dungeons & Dragons prior to 4th edition. It also mentions that other lamia, with serpentine, avian, and other forms, also exist, but it does not include game rules for such creatures.[12]


Lamia are hybrids, resembling animals such as lions, goats and deer, with a human torso and head coming up from where the animal's head would usually be. The upper body is fully humanoid, however, not bearing animalistic features such as scales, horns or fur.

Characteristics and habits[edit]

Lamias are chaotic evil creatures that prefer to dwell in deserts, ruined cities, or caves. They sustain themselves by drinking human blood and eating human flesh. To bring prey to them, they use a variety of abilities, including seduction, disguise, ventriloquism, illusions, mirages, and mirror images. With these they lure, entice and confuse those who wander into their midst into dangerous situations. Lamias do not wear any form of clothing or adornment. They seem devoted to chaos and destruction in their native habitats. They never venture more than 10 miles from their lairs. Lamias also have the ability to drain wisdom with their touch.

The lamia noble is a rarer type of lamia. These beings rule over other lamias and the locations they inhabit. Unlike normal lamias, they have the lower bodies of serpents. Males fight with curved swords and magic, while females only with magic. Lamia nobles are also capable of venturing further from their lairs than other lamias, and prefer to go into urbanized areas in the guise of a human to infiltrate human and demihuman societies. Lamia nobles are given to outbursts of senseless violence. They can speak all forms of human and demihuman language.

Further Reading[edit]

Gaming statistics for the lamia are given in the SRD for the 3rd Edition.


  1. Gary Gygax (1977). Monster Manual. TSR. ISBN 0-935696-00-8.
  2. Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. TSR. ISBN 0-935696-21-0.
  3. Morris, Graeme, Phil Gallagher and Jim Bambra. Creature Catalogue (TSR, 1986)
  4. Nephew, John. Creature Catalog (TSR, 1993)
  5. Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  6. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  7. Jones, Spike Y. "The Ecology (Love-Life) of the Lamia" Dragon #192 (TSR, 1993)
  8. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (October 2000). Monster Manual. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0786915528.
  9. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (2003). Monster Manual. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  10. Wolfgang Baur (2007). Expedition to the Demonweb Pits. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4038-7.
  11. Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (2008). Monster Manual. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. James Jacobs (editor) (2009). Bestiary. (Paizo Publishing) ISBN 978-1-60125-183-.
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