Beholders can be described as floating heads with one single, cyclops-like eye surrounded by ten smaller eye stalks. They have a large gaping maw directly beneath the eye and it tends to drool.
Each of their eyestalks is capable of performing a spell-like eyebeam attack, which is their preferred way of combat.
Many players consider this monster very annoying to fight, as they use multiple ray attacks from their eyestalks which are free of casting time and easily dispel spell protections. The "standard" beholder casts:
- Death Ray - a spell-like effect similar to Death Spell, it banishes all summons,
- Flesh to Stone,
- Ranged Cause Serious Wounds,
- Anti-Magic Ray - Breach with the added benefit of inflicting 100% spell failure upon target for 3 rounds
Another large grouping is awaiting the player in the Beholder Cave in Underdark.
The Shield of Balduran reflects beholder rays. Most of the fights against beholders can be easily won by sending in a fighter equipped with the shield.
Without the shield, a player will have a much harder time. Spell Shield, Spell Turning, Haste, Chaotic Commands along with lots of Potions of Extra Healing and potentially the Cloak of Mirroring might be used.
Blinding a Beholder will prevent it from using its eyebeam attacks, making the fights easier. Power Word, Blind is the best spell to use to this end, as it allows no saving throw, but any lower-level spell might still work, provided the Beholder fails its save.