Monster Highlight: The Ankheg

Ankhegs are insectoid creatures that are fearsome predators known for their ability to burrow underground and ambush unsuspecting adventurers, and they have been a staple of D&D campaigns for decades.

In this post, we will delve into the lore and abilities of ankhegs, as well as explore some tips for DMs and players on how to incorporate them into their game.

Image copyright Wizards of the Coast


Ankhegs are massive, predatory insects that are commonly found in underground tunnels, caves, and other subterranean areas. They are about 10 feet long and 3 feet wide, with six spindly legs and a long, curved mandible that can rip through armor and flesh with ease.

Ankhegs are solitary creatures that typically hunt by burrowing underground and waiting for prey to walk above them. Once they detect movement, they burst out of the ground and attack with their powerful mandibles.


Ankhegs are fearsome predators with a number of powerful abilities that make them a formidable opponent for any adventurer. Here are some of their most notable abilities:

Burrowing: Ankhegs are able to burrow through dirt, sand, and even solid rock with ease. This allows them to move quickly and silently through underground tunnels and ambush their prey from below.

Acid Spray: Ankhegs have the ability to spray a stream of acid from their mandibles. This acid is highly corrosive and can melt through armor and weapons, making it a deadly weapon against any foe.

Bite: Ankhegs have a powerful bite that can do a significant amount of damage to even the toughest adventurers.

Tips for DMs

If you’re a DM looking to incorporate ankhegs into your game, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help make your ankheg encounters memorable and challenging:

Use their burrowing ability: Ankhegs are at their most dangerous when they are attacking from below. Use their burrowing ability to create surprise attacks on your players, and force them to adapt to the new situation.

Make use of their acid spray: Ankhegs have a powerful ranged attack in their acid spray. Use this ability to create additional challenges for your players, such as melting through a key piece of equipment or causing damage over time.

Vary their tactics: While ankhegs are solitary creatures, they are dumb (very low intelligence), they have a better than average Wisdom score. They will use their burrowing ability to try and flank their prey. Vary their tactics to keep your players on their toes.

Tips for Players

If you’re a player facing off against an ankheg, there are a few things to keep in mind to stay alive:

Stay mobile: Ankhegs can move through underground tunnels. Stay on the move to avoid being ambushed.

Protect yourself from acid: Ankhegs have a powerful acid spray that can melt through armor and weapons. Consider using spells or abilities that provide acid resistance to mitigate this damage.

Take advantage of their weaknesses: Ankhegs rely on their darkvision and tremorsense to detect creatures. Flying, floating, and being invisible are good ways to avoid an ankheg’s wrath.


Ankhegs are a classic D&D monster that have been terrorizing adventurers for decades. With their ability to burrow underground and powerful acid spray, they are a challenging opponent for any party. As a DM, use their abilities to create memorable encounters that force your players to adapt to new situations and work together to overcome them. And as a player, stay on your toes and be prepared to use your abilities strategically to take down these fearsome creatures.

Overall, ankhegs are a great addition to any D&D campaign. Their unique abilities and lore make them a memorable opponent, and their presence in underground tunnels and caves adds a sense of danger and mystery to the game. Whether you’re a DM looking to challenge your players or a player looking for a tough opponent, ankhegs are sure to deliver a memorable encounter.

Until next time, Dear Readers…

Published by The Daily DM

I'm just a DM telling the stories of my tables.

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