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First appearanceMonster Manual (1977)
TypeMagical beast

An ankheg (/ˈæŋkɛɡ/ ANG-keg),[1] also spelled anhkheg,[2] is a type of fictional monster in the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game. An ankheg is described as a monstrous arthropod magical beast. The ahnkheg was created by artist Erol Otus and first appeared in Dragon magazine in 1977. The ankheg appeared soon after in the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game's original Monster Manual sourcebook, and subsequently appeared in the game's second edition, third edition, fourth edition, and fifth edition.

Publication history[edit]

Erol Otus originally named the creature the "anhkheg" and submitted the first artwork and writeup of the creature prior to joining TSR.[3] This first version appeared in the "Creature Features" column in Dragon #5 (March 1977).[4]

Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1987–1993)[edit]

The ankheg appeared in the first edition in the original Monster Manual (1977).[2] The creature was detailed in "The Ecology of the Ahnkheg" in Dragon #117 (January 1987).[5]

Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1993–2003)[edit]

The ankheg appeared in the second edition in Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[6] which was reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[7]

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition (2003–2009)[edit]

The ankheg appeared in the third edition in the Monster Manual (2000),[8] and then in the revised 3.5 Monster Manual (2003).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2009–2014)[edit]

The ankheg appeared in the fourth edition in Monster Manual 2 (2009).

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (2014–)[edit]

The Ankheg appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2014).[9] The ankheg's stat block was later reprinted in the free online supplement for the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure module (2015).[10][11]

Physical description[edit]

An ankheg is described as having six legs and a many-segmented body, all covered in a brown (some closer to yellow) chitinous exoskeleton. The head has black compound eyes, mandibles capable of snapping small trees, and antennae. Usually, ankhegs do not create tunnels, and simply burrow down into the ground. However, they are able to make tunnels if they dig slowly. When seriously pressed, it can spit acid. Spitting acid is usually a last resort, as it cannot digest food for several hours afterwards. Ankhegs are around 10 feet long and weigh 800 lb.[8]


The ankheg appeared in D&D Miniatures: Underdark #30 (2005).

Ankhegs can be found in the role-playing video games Pool of Radiance, Baldur's Gate, and Gateway to the Savage Frontier,[12] all set in the Forgotten Realms. In Baldur's gate, players can collect their shells and make a suit of armor with them.


  1. Mentzer, Frank. "Ay pronunseeAY shun gyd" Dragon #93 (TSR, 1985)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  3. "An interview with fantasy artist Erol Otus". 29 April 2009.
  4. Otus, Erol. "Creature Features." Dragon #5 (TSR, 1977)
  5. Feil, Mark. "Ecology of the Ankheg." Dragon #117 (TSR, 1987)
  6. Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  7. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Williams, Skip, Jonathan Tweet, and Monte Cook. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  9. Mearls, Mike, Jeremy Crawford. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2014)
  10. Princes of the Apocalypse (Wizards of the Coast, 2015)
  12. Computer Gaming World, Issue #88, pages 84-86

External links[edit]

  • Ankheg – d20 System Reference Document entry

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