A giant octopus, also known as a cuttlefish (or "cuddlefish"[6]), was a giant-sized breed of octopus found in many oceanic environments.[2][3][1] Cuddlefish were the nemeses of ocean-going fishermen and sailors.[2][3]


Giant octopuses resembled regular octopuses, only much larger, being some 9–12 feet (2.7–3.6 meters) across.[2][3] Their tentacles alone were at least 10 feet (3 meters) long. These could be studded with barbs and suckers with sharp edges.[1] They were normally colored brown to grey. They had a deep-yellow beak with a bright-orange mouth and tongue.[2][3]

Hampering descriptions, however, was the fact that giant octopuses had an incredible capacity for camouflage, being able to change their colors and contort and squeeze their bodies to blend in with their environment.[2][3][1] They could manifest many different colors and patterns, with green to deep black, red stripes, and blue speckles all known. They typically disguised their tentacles as seaweed. There was only a slight chance of spotting one so disguised, and it was often only the eyes that revealed them.[3]


Giant octopuses were aggressive and territorial predators.[1] Though animals, they were considered to be very patient, cunning and even malevolent, but survival was their main focus.[2][3]

They would freely grab swimmers in the water and even small watercraft to seize and devour their crews. They could stop a craft in its course or even sink it altogether. Sometimes, a crewmember who'd gone missing in the night had fallen prey to a giant octopus, swiftly yanked over the side and consumed without a trace. A wounded or hungry giant octopus switched to scavenging, eating everything it could, down to small crustaceans and seaweed.[2][3]

They were typically solitary creatures,[2][3][1] but would occasionally cooperate in groups of up to three to attack large ships or other food sources.[2][3]



Adventurers defending themselves from a gigantic octopus.

A giant octopus had up to eight tentacles to attack with, making it a complex and deadly opponent. Usually, it spared two to anchor itself and attacked with the remaining six. While it could simply strike with the barbed member, it could easily grab hold and then constrict its prey with crushing force. It would also try to drag prey close enough for its savage beak to bite and eat it.[2][3][1]

To escape a giant octopus's grasp, it was often vital to attack the tentacles themselves, though it would fight back. If three or four or more tentacles were severed, the wounded giant octopus would most likely try to retreat and hide or return to its lair, and camouflage itself.[2][3][1]


To cover its escape, the giant octopus could eject a cloud of jet-black ink that utterly obscured the vision of all creatures caught inside.[2][3][1] This cloud could be roughly 60 feet wide, 60 feet long, and 20 feet high (18.3 by 18.3 by 6.1 meters)[2][3] or 20 feet (6.1 meters) in all dimensions. They could do this freely about once a minute.[1]

At the same time, the giant octopus could jet backward in a straight line at up to nearly seven times its normal swimming speed.[1]

Thanks to its camouflage, a giant octopus was skilled at hiding, and its ability to compress its body let it squeeze through many small gaps or escape traps. They were very skilled swimmers.[1]

A giant octopus could regrow severed tentacles, in 2–3 months[3] or in only 11–20 days.[1]

Ecology Edit

Giant octopuses mated in spring. They deposited their eggs in a reef, and left their young to fend for themselves.[2][3]

Dwelling in warm waters of shallow to medium depth, they made their lairs in underwater caves and even inside shipwrecks. These lairs might hold the inedible remains and treasures of their victims. Giant octopuses preferred to move and hunt at night. Their territories were quite small, and they waited for prey to approach them.[2][3]


The hide of a giant octopus was tough, leathery, and waterproof. Sailors who by some chance caught and killed one could turn their skin into fine ponchos to keep the rain off.[2][3]

However, giant octopuses were most often hunted for their ink. It could be used to scribe magical scrolls.[2][3]


Around Faerûn, giant octopuses could be found in the south in the Great Sea[7] and in the Shining Sea, where they lurked in the sunken ruins of Untisczer.[8] Around the Moonshaes, cold-water giant octopuses laired in winding natural sinkholes beneath the pirate cove of Eiresse on the island of Gwynneth.[9]

Around Kara-Tur, giant octopuses could be found in the seas of the east. In Wa, they infested the waters off the coast from the city of Hotomori on the southern side of island of Tsukishima, hindering salvage of a shipwreck around 1357 DR.[6] In Koryo in 1356 DR, a cuddlefish from the deep sea swam into the floating city section of Tu Pe; it killed four men before being captured.[6]

Dark giant octopuses could be found lurking in the Shadow Swamp on the Plane of Shadow.[10]

Notable Giant OctopusesEdit



In reality, the cuttlefish is a small sea creature unrelated to octopuses except that they are both cephalopods. However, the Monstrous Manual and Monstrous Compendium Volume Two give "cuttlefish" as the name of the giant octopus. Furthermore, the common misspelling "cuddlefish" is used in Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms, page 118, to refer to a deadly sea monster; this is presumed to refer to the giant octopus. Therefore, this wiki adopts "cuttlefish"/"cuddlefish" to refer to the giant octopus, with apology to marine biologists.


Dungeon #66: "Operation Manta Ray"
Card Games
AD&D Trading Cards



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 276–277. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 271. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 David "Zeb" Cook, et al. (1989). Monstrous Compendium Volume Two. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-8803-8753-X.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 326. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  5. Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 75. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), pp. 161, 184. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  7. Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 85. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
  8. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader (July 2004). Serpent Kingdoms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 102. ISBN 0-7869-3277-5.
  9. Ed Greenwood (1991). Halls of the High King. (TSR, Inc), p. 64.
  10. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 79. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  11. Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 113. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.