Monster families refers to the in-game categorization of enemies into one of fourteen official classifications. The concept was first introduced to the series in Dragon Quest III, where dragons and undead were coded to receive extra damage from certain weapons. Beginning with Dragon Quest VIII, every monster in a game is assigned to a family.
Belonging to a family means a monster will be more affected by certain weapons and skills, such as a Weaken beakon receiving more damage from the Flutter Disaster ability than a Slime would. Each family has a counter-skill that inflicts 150% damage to it and, beginning with Dragon Quest IX, is also vulnerable to a specific type of weapon that will inflict 110% damage.
List of Families
The faces of the series, slimes can be found in any environment and feature a surprisingly high level of niche adaptation for globs of goo. Slimes are typically the weakest enemies encountered in any given area, and have little-to-no resistances to the elements. They are vulnerable to Ooze Bruiser and Boomerangs.
Sea serpents, ferocious fish, colossal crustaceans, and other deep-sea dwellers belong to the aquatic family, and can naturally be found in rivers and oceans throughout the world. Aquatic monsters can be radically different from one another in terms of elemental resistance, though a vulnerability to electricity and ice is present in most species along with a resistance to flame. Water Slaughterer and fans will make filleting them much easier.
Members of the beast family are based on a variety of common species, such as aardvarks, rabbits, wolves, and bears, as well as chimeric hybrids such as werewolves, centaurs, and winged lions. Mammals are the common inspiration for monsters designed for the Beast family in recent games, with reptilian former members being reclassified as Dragons more frequently (such as the Heligator in DQX). They are vulnerable to Cattle Prod and Spears.
The Bird family includes flying and terrestrial avians, feathered dinosaurs, and flying mammals. They are typically faster than the other families, and have a fairly consistent resistance to wind and electricity. As mentioned above, they are vulnerable to Flutter Disaster and arrows.
Creepy crawlies of considerable size, bugs are often found in forests and will inflict a variety of status ailments unto the party during battle. Being based on ants, centipedes, caterpillars, lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), and worms, attributes vary greatly within the bug family. Oddly, monsters based on frogs are grouped in as well. Fly Swat and Knives will exterminate them very quickly.
The demon family reflects real-world mythology, in that no two members look alike outside of their immediate pallet-swapped brethren. Though not universal, the most common traits are small bat wings and sinister smiles. Exorcise the blasphemous beasties with Beelzefreeze and Wands.
Despite representing half the series' title, dragons are actually rather scarce in most games. Regardless, they are always among the most difficult enemies to defeat and can be guaranteed to make traipsing the final dungeon damningly dangerous. The group takes design inspiration from European and Oriental myths, and includes theropod dinosaurs, large snakes, and various reptiles that once belonged to the beast family. Pierce their scales with Dragon Slash, the Dragonsbane, and swords like a knight out of legend.
Elementals are monsters based on the four states of matter (solid, liquid, gas, and plasma), as well as humanoids capable of manipulating these forces at will, such as the Blizzybody. Their resistances to spells and skills corresponds to their theme. Beginning with IX, Wind Sickles will deal additional damage.
Ranging from forest goblins to wandering berserkers, the family contains monsters that aren't quite human enough to join society. Mirroring their domesticated counterparts, each type varies wildly in terms of capabilities from the next. Lashings of Love and whips will keep them in line.
Among the most anachronistic monsters, machines are purpose-built party pursuers that hit hard and are built to last. They will bring lasers, bombs, and a menagerie of weapons to a battle, but Can Opener and claws will send them to the scrap heap. They have excellent ailment resistance all around, and due to being programmed to fight to the end they will not flee when intimidated in Dragon Quest VIII.
The material family includes monsters made of animated common place items such as treasure chests, urns, and cloth bags, as well as living stone. Their habitats are derived from their substances, with rocky monsters found out in the mountains and mimics tucked away in ruins and castles. Despite there being few unifying characteristics within the group, nearly every material monster is immune to instant death--likely due to their inorganic nature. Hammers and Monster Masher will give them a hard time, however.
Plants and pixies are grouped together in the nature family, owing to the mythological associations of fey with local flora (dryads, faerie forts, etc) found throughout the world. The plant-based monsters typically have excellent resistance to wind and electricity, likely owing to strong roots anchoring them in place and also grounding them out so the volts are discharged into the soil. The cellulose creatures also boast a high tolerance to fizzle and drain magic, but are vulnerable to a variety of other ailments.
The irritating imps, on the other hand, usually lack the aforementioned elemental resistances unless they are air-born, but make up for it with excellent status ailment protection. Poplar topplar and axes will cut both groups down to size.
Unholy affronts to Rubiss, these rotten wretches are based on zombies, vampires, skeletons, ghosts, and any number of other ghoulish fiend. In VIII the undead are highly resistant to physical attacks, resisting 30%, 60% and even 90% of a blow's brute force. The monsters based on zombies also tend to have unusually high HP for the area they appear in as well.
Because these fiends have already fallen, instant death abilities like Pressure Pointer and the Whack line of spells will not work, nor will [[Kamikazee]. Send them back to the grave with purifying fire, Undead Undoer, Deliverance, Pearly Gates, and Staves.