[RPG] What living apex lifeforms are there other than dragons?


When a theme is dragon* on.

Dragons are apex predators and widely regarded by most players and systems as about one of the worst things you can ever deal with.

I have a campaign that's been running for many a year and I'm looking to add a new faction in a world that's rebuilding itself. A dragon came instantly to mind — but a lot of dragons have already been seen (and died) in this storyline and adding another one may not create the impact I'm looking for, especially since the players' faction was once under the command of a dragon.
So not a dragon then, but what?

The system is Rolemaster, but that's not that important. It's a pretty generic high fantasy story with ideas pulled from Earth, Middle Earth, AD&D and the Magician.

So what I need is another apex lifeform, a solitary creature/figure that could control an entire realm/kingdom on their own by sheer force of will and personal power.

  • Classic fantasy based, preferably Western culture originating.
  • They can't be a standard biped race, humans and elves are so last millennium.
  • Not a dragon or a dragon clone.
  • Living. Breathing. The important point of this is to find a living breathing being that can shake the players from thinking that their race (elves in this case) are the peak lifeform on this world.
  • Lone being. It needs no mate, consort or even any others of its race, certainly not for decades or centuries at a time.
  • An intelligent being that can be reasoned with. Diplomacy with this being should definitely be possible.
  • Could control an entire realm/kingdom on their own by sheer force of will and personal power

* "dragging". Sorry.

Best Answer


You've got an imposing physical form combined with a mind suited to riddles and stratagems. Everyone knows that if you can't outsmart a sphinx, you're as good as meat. They are prone to discussion and monologue, so they can be negotiated with. They're even good spellcasters, some of them. Originates in Western culture, and though they may have genders, they don't come in couples or have broods.

(Full disclosure: Part of the inspiration here comes from Magic: the Gathering, where sphinxes are pitched as the iconic blue creature and a counterpart to dragons.)