The 12 Most Useful Monster Miniatures for D&D and Fantasy RPGs

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), Pathfinder and many other Table Top Role Playing Games (TTRPGs) can see whole tables stuffed with gloriously painted monster miniatures. Ranging from green orcs to glittering gold dragons and shadow monsters. But what are the BEST monster miniatures you can buy?

Importantly for starter or new Dungeon Masters, table top role-playing games don’t need any miniatures, it just happens that most people prefer using them.

TL;DR Jump down to our first recommended useful miniature to own – or add these Amazon purchases to your collection!

  • Bestiary boxes of high-quality cardboard miniatures [Buy Now]
  • 40 Skeleton strong horde [Buy Now]
  • 12 Spiders, Rats and Bats [Buy Now]
  • 24 Knights [Buy Now]
  • Huge Dragon miniature [Buy Now]

Many players of these role-playing games forgo the use of physical tokens, miniatures or maps, opting for a more imaginative purely descriptive game.

I however have found that I love the visual nature of having physical items in front of me, which means I love RPG miniatures. Plus who doesn’t love painting up some top RPG miniatures 🙂

Where do you start your D&D miniature monster collection?

Both Pathfinder and D&D have literally hundreds, if not thousands, of enemies the Dungeon Master could throw on the table.

E.g. from the D&D Monster Manual or one of Pathfinder’s many Bestiary books.

If you’re a new DM, how do you know which D&D miniatures to buy?

critical role miniatures
Although they’re not miniatures for the any monsters, Critical Role released their own, very popular, player miniatures

Very few people have the time or money to buy 100s of different miniatures, especially when they’re starting out in the hobby.

For this reason I thought I’d put together my top 12 best monster miniatures for D&D that a DM could buy. Obviously this translates to other RPGs of the fantasy variety too, not just Dungeons and Dragons, however most of my visitors are D&D players!

The Best Monster Miniatures for D&D

I’ve put together, in a rough order, my recommendation of the most useful, best and coolest miniatures that any DM or GM should have.

Please Note: I’m recommending the TYPE of miniature, not a specific manufacturer or cast or model. I.e. “you’ll need SKELETONS”, not “you’ll need Reaper Miniatures Bones Skeleton Archer TA30021”.

(The pictures and links are just to help if you don’t know where to start)

Most of the images will take you through to retailers you can get them at (Copyright: images are from retailers such as Element Games or Reaper Miniatures or Google)

Some of the links, like those to Amazon, I will get a referral fee if you use them to buy your own miniatures… which means I can then buy some more too. How neat is that!

Skeletons and Wraiths

skeleton warrior miniatures from games workshop
Games Workshop produce some amazing and varied skeletons for use in D&D or Pathfinder. A pretty good deal for £15 for 10 miniatures

No campaign of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) or Pathfinder could ever be complete without at least one run-in with the undead. They are also some of the coolest miniatures you can buy.

Skeletons make up the bulk of the encounter miniatures you’ll need, with the occasional larger foe appearing in the form of wraiths, ghosts and wights etc.

Skeletons are also great miniatures to stand in for zombies, which can often appear frequently as well.

In fact skeleton miniatures are great proxies for any undead or demonic figure. They help convey the threat just perfectly.

Definitely get yourself some skeleton miniatures, then get either a wraith or a ghost.

best miniatures for DnD RPGs
If you want a large group of skeleton, in roughly matching garments, you could get this boxset by Kings of War. Source: Element Games for under £25

Get your 40-strong skeleton horde for just £24

Goblins and Hobgoblins

Low level encounters are dominated with goblins, orcs and other green-skins. A mix of small goblins and larger greens such as orcs will tick off a lot of your miniature needs.

If you’ve read our Best D&D Adventures post and are thinking of running the Dungeons and Dragons starter set or the Lost Mines of Phandelver campaign (in the starter set), you’ll need at least half a dozen goblins, as well as a bugbear.

Grab the D&D Starter Set for just £18

Spiders and Rats

Adventurers will often find themselves in places of grime, darkness and decay.

You’ll need some generic fitting minis for those tombs, sewers, ruins and dens of despair.

For this reason, its often helpful for a Dungeon Master to have a small stock-pile of rodents and spiders they can throw out onto the table.

Spiders and rats can easily be added into random encounter table, so grab yourself a handful of these gorgeously creepy but super cool D&D miniatures.

One of my personal favourites are the creepy centipede swarms from Paizo *gags* although they are hugely expensive

giant rats spiders and bats miniatures from amazon
Giant rats, bats and spiders can be bought as one great bundle from Amazon. These Mantic miniatures are only £14
reaper mini best minature for dnd
*shivers* Gorgeously yucky giant spiders like this, available from about £5 on Amazon
reaper miniature rats for dnd
A bunch of rats flooding into the sewer or across the tavern floor. Cute little buggers

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to buying some of these spiders and rats, take a look at this article by MasksOfMonsters about cheap DIY miniatures, loving those giant ants!

Thugs and Soldiers

Miniatures DnD Pathfinder Townsfolk of Dreadmere Mercenaries
Reaper Miniatures produce a variety of different miniatures that can work for townsman or thugs

A mix of both melee and ranged weapons on these minis. Thugs and soldier miniatures can stand-in for most bipedal or humanoid foes your PCs will face; pirates, bandits, mercenaries, city guards.

Even batch bought miniatures that are wearing the same material can be painted to look completely different, so no two soldier miniatures need to look the same.

Games Workshops Mordheim game used to be perfect for D&D thugs and soldiers, but sadly they’re no longer produce. Check out the Mordheim miniature images on Google though, how perfect are they!

warriors of erebor used in dnd pathfinder miniatures
Games Workshop, although no longer doing Mordheim, do run Lord of the Rings miniatures. These ones are the Warriors of Erebor and are available for about £20 for 12 miniatures.


giant bat miniatures from GW for Dnd Pathfinder
A flock of bats can be bought from Games Workshop, although a bit pricey if you want lots of separate minis

Flying enemies have an obvious unique quality not shared by the majority of other foes. As these models often draw on this flying component, it can make for some amazingly different sculpts, as well as some of the coolest D&D minis out there.

A winged monsters may be out of reach for all your deadly melee characters, allowing the ranged bow or magic users to really step up in the fight.

They also can make a combat encounter even harder by ignoring environmental obstacles or hazards, such as slime, poisonous mould, creeping vines or perilous pits.

If you’ve read our recent post on the Curse of Strahd being one of the best D&D modules to run, I would probably say bats are the most common flyers you’ll need (exception being a dragon, maybe).

Bat miniatures can also double for eagles or giant owls, at a stretch.


Nasty feral beasts, these guys can lurk in anything from forests and plains, to accessible tombs and dungeons. They’re great stand in miniatures for large dogs such as mastiffs, as well as other canine and feline foes such as lions.

Although smaller than wargs, wolf or dog miniatures can easily stand in for them. This can be beneficial to a DM as goblins (low-level, often encountered) enemies are sometimes backed up by wargs.

While they may never be the most colourful or coolest D&D miniature you’ll paint up, wolf miniatures have their own quality in 4-legged, teeth-exposed, highly animated poses.

miniatures from games workshop fell wargs
Games Workshop make some nice Warg miniatures. 6 fairly large Wargs for £18

Buy these Wargs produced by Games Workshop


So many adventures are centered around a wizard, sorcerer or cleric going a bit stir-crazy and bewitching the local towns folk.

Although you could use any miniature to be your wizard, if they’re the main antagonist of the story you could make the final encounter pop by using a special magical miniature.

Wizards and sorcerers miniatures are usually cloaked figures wielding a staff or wand. Occasionally you’ll find a miniature with lightning bolts or fireballs burst forth from their hands, but those are usually custom ones you’d find on Etsy etc

Dragon Miniatures

Last but not least… the super cool Dragon miniatures – now we’re talking! Gigantic winged miniatures looming over those puny tiny squishable player characters. The Dungeons and Dragons 5 Edition Monster Manual has at least 40 dragons in, with a further dozen monsters that could easily use a dragon miniature in its place.

Similar to the wizard models, a dragon is likely to be what your adventures are building up to. Slay the dragon. Steal the gold. Maybe even rescue the dragon? It definitely deserves a large cool D&D miniature. If you’re thinking of running the Dragon of Icespire Peak from the D&D Essentials Pack – having a nice white dragon for the finale would really make the showdown pop.

This will probably be one of the most expensive miniature you’ll buy, especially if you buy a pre-painted one. Your players however, will love the finale of confronting such a gorgeously made miniature on the tabletop.

amazon ancient dragon miniature
Official ‘Ancient Brass Dragon’ by Wizards of the Coast
Wizkids Gargantuan Dragon Unpainted Green Dragon Miniature
WizKids Gargantuan Dragon would easily squash those pesky PCs

Purchase the Red Gargantuan Dragon for £30

frost dragon miniature
This great miniature would look fantastic as an Ice or Frost Dragon

Pickup your Ice Dragon for £20

Most Importantly, have lots of…

Most importantly the best D&D miniatures to have are… dice, generic tokens and coins!


This was the overwhelming response I got from asking people on Twitter what they thought was the most important, best or coolest miniatures to have in an RPG.

Dice, tokens and coins free up the DM to use them for anything they like; hordes of zombies, swarms of fire beetles, dragon eggs, water spirits etc. They’re cheap and easily obtained; most people would have them already anyway.

So if you’re really strapped for cash, or just want to try an RPG without paying for any miniatures – don’t. Use bottle caps, coins, poker chips, paper cutouts, pebbles… just about anything in fact.

What about RPG pawns?

I wanted this article to focus on the best types of miniatures you can buy, to encompass as many scenarios as possible.

This way it’ll save the DM both money and time.

However I don’t think this article can end without mentioning RPG pawns.

What are RPG pawns?

Pawns are basically 2D pre-cut, double-sided, cardboard miniatures. They come with small plastic stands, similar to these:

pathfinder pawns bestiary2 miniatures
Pathfinder Bestiary Boxes contain many different monsters in cardboard form (Img: BoardGameGeek)

Paizo (Produces of Pathfinder RPG) have produced about a dozen of these amazing boxes, most with a few HUNDRED monsters in each!

They have also produced a box full of 250 unique NPC pawns, sets specific to certain scenarios such as The Mummys Mask and even a box just full of villains.

Get your hands on The Mummys Mask scenario

The main downside to buying boxes of cardboard RPG pawns is that you’ll end up with a large number of monsters you may never use.

Obviously if you’re creative you probably can introduce your party to a large selection of different monsters.

Another downside of the Bestiary boxes, although not limited to the Paizo brand, is that its hard to form hoards of the same enemy with them. You may get 3 skeleton pawns in a box, which is good for low-level encounters. If however you’re looking at throwing 15-20 zombies at a party, you’re going to really struggle!

Which Pathfinder Bestiary box to buy?

For value of money though, I don’t think you can beat the Pathfinder Bestiary boxes of cardboard pawns.

I think for starters, the best box of cardboard miniatures, aka pawns, would have to be the Pathfinder original Bestiary box.

First off it has over 300 cardboard pawns inside.

Secondly, of the categories mentioned above, it has:

  • Goblins and even goblin dogs,
  • Skeletons, ghosts and wraith,
  • Wargs, dogs and boars,
  • Dragons, both adult and young (various types of each)
  • (and many many more)
Pathfinder Bestiary Box on Amazon
Pathfinder Bestiary Box on Amazon contains a great starter choice of monsters

Purchase the Bestiary Box #2

I hope this article has helped.

Obviously everyone has different opinions on what monsters they think art critical to playing various TTRPGs.

Please comment below and share what you think are the most useful miniatures to have for D&D / Pathfinder.

What adventure to go on next?


Now that you’re loaded up to the brim with shiny miniatures, what adventure module do you want to run next? If you’re not sure, take a look at our post containing the top 5 D&D adventure modules from WotC

Battle Mats

Pathfinder 4 Pack Terrain Battle Mat

If you enjoyed these miniature suggestions, we’ve just put together a post about the best six flip battle mats you should purchase as a Dungeon Master.

Read our Battle Mat posts

Thanks for reading.

3 thoughts on “The 12 Most Useful Monster Miniatures for D&D and Fantasy RPGs”

  1. I’d recommend the Frostgrave Soldiers plastic box set, great for low level pcs of different classes, also as NPCs, thugs and general low level baddies.


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