Monday, February 7, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Monsters of the Multiverse (5e)

Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse
Back to Monstrous Mondays!  A quick update on where I am at with my Basic Bestiary.  Book 1 is done, I just have some editing and making sure my numbers are doing what I want them to do.  I am going back and increasing the Treasure amounts a little.  It has been pointed out to me that my Old-School games are rather light on the treasure.  I also want to make sure that my XP values are appropriate for the monsters' special abilities.  Book 2 needs a bit more work since I have a ton of undead, but I have a plan for that.  When I am done with all the "level setting" of Book 1, Book 2 will go much faster.

So what does that mean for you my good reader?  Well for the most part I am not going to post new monsters for a couple of weeks at least since I am not actively writing monsters.  That could change if I come across an entry that needs a top to down rewrite.

For a bit I am going to review some of the monster books I have here.  Not so much for the individual monsters, but for a feel of how they work together.  I am not looking for a unified milieu of monsters. On the contrary, the original Monster Manual was an odd collection of monsters of myth and legend and it is now my gold standard.  But at least how they can group together thematically.  Even if that theme is "fantasy roleplaying."

I am going to start with my newest one first.

Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse

Monsters of the Multiverse is the newest book in the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition line.  It has been eagerly anticipated since the announcement of a rules update coming in 2024 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of D&D.  The new rules are likely to be something akin to D&D 5.5 or even D&D 5r.  I am not expecting a full-blown 6th edition yet. But that is for another time. Today my focus is on this new monster manual because that is indeed what it is.

Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse.  288 pages. Full-color cover and interior art. Part of the D&D 5 gift set, available separately in April.

Monsters of the Multiverse is split into two large chapters.  

Chapter 1: Fantastical Races

This chapter covers the various races that can be used as Player Characters. All in all there are 30 races (33 with subtypes) that are available to use as characters or NPCs here.  Many have appeared in other books and most date back to the 1st Ed days.  In particular, there are the expected choices like Deep Gnomes, Eladrin, Goblins, Minotaur, orcs, and so on.  There are a few I want to focus on.

Fairy. This is fun class and one that began in official D&D books in 4th edition. They are a fun little character that has worked well in other non-D&D FRPG for decades.  D&D in finally catching up.   I converted my own Dirty Nell from Ghosts of Albion and she worked out great. 


Goblins are getting some lore updates tying them deeper into the Feywild.  Again, D&D started this in 4e but are playing catch-up here.  Now you can play a Labyrinth style goblin or even one like you find in GURPS Goblins (a completely underrated and underappreciated GURPS supplement).  Of course, there are still many, many evil goblins and they are likely the majority.  But PCs are of any alignment.  My character for this race is Nik Nak, by Chaotic Neutral Goblin Warlock.

Minotaurs go back to 1st Ed Dragonlance as a PC race.  Well, now they are back.

Satyrs are now a playable race.  They were back in 4e where they are a male-only race with hamadryads as their female counterparts. In 5e this is expanded, satyrs can be male or female.  Now if you tell me satyrs are only male I am going to remind you there is a reason why you failed art history.  There are plenty of female satyrs depicted in art over the last few centuries.  I might be playing the stereotype here, but my satyr character is a bard named Roan.  For the hell of it he plays the bagpipes.

If you must have a male-only satyr race, then by all means do that. There is nothing in the rules that say you can't.  I am still a HUGE fan of the Hooves and Green Hair article by Bennet Marks in Dragon #109.  I even commented in my This Old Dragon for #109 that they would make great races for D&D 5.


Shadar-Kai the S&M goths of 4e are updated again for 5e. They premiered in 3e as a type of elf. They are back to being elves here (they had been re-introduced as a race in previous 5e books). My "evil Wonder Twins" of Runu and Urnu are my goto Shadar-kai. 

No race has a default alignment. Indeed alignments for races are never mentioned.  

Chapter 2: Bestiary 

This section covers 250 of the total 288 pages.  Here we get over 250 (259 by my count) monsters for 5e. This is the most of any book aside from the Monster Manual.  This makes this book more akin to the Fiend Folio or Monster Manual 2.  


There are some duplications here. If you have other books then it is very reasonable to ask do I really need this book?  I can't say how much each monster was updated.  A few had some edits and some were largely the same.  BUT I can let you know what monsters are here and where they came from first.

I have created a Google Sheets spreadsheet with all the monsters from all the D&D 5 books except the Monster Manual.  I'll add that one later, but I wanted to focus on all the "new" monsters first.  You can see the duplicates and what books have which monsters.

Despite the whinging of old men online, all the monsters in this book do in fact have alignments. Even ones that have playable race options.  There are still plenty of evil creatures to fight and kill. It is true that the alignments are prefaced by "typically" but that is just saying the quiet part out loud.  That was true for 1st ed and it has been true for every other edition too.  5e is not getting rid of alignment.  

If I had a complaint it is that major unique characters such as Fraz-Urb'luu, Graz'zt and Geyron are not listed under demons or devils, but rather alphabetically by name.  Oh they are still demons and devils and they are still evil to the core, they are just alphabetized by proper name instead of "Demon, Graz'zt." A nitpick to be sure. I kept them like that in my list.  Dinosaurs are listed under Dinosaur, however.  There is a listing for a "Brontosaurus" as opposed to the "Apatosaurus" but I kinda like that to be honest.  Also, my all-time favorite, the Dimetrodon, is here even though it is not a dinosaur. 


Who should buy this?

Well, that is a good question. Largely it depends on much you play D&D 5e and/or how much do you love monsters?   I love monsters. So this is a no brainer for me.  This is D&D 5e's Monster Manual II.

If you play D&D and do not have the other books listed in my sheet then yes get this. 

If you are looking for insight into what might be in D&D 5.5/5r well there is little new knowledge here.

If you play D&D and want to try out these new races, then yes, this is a great choice. 

For me?  I love it, I think it is fantastic and worth the money spent.

Monsters of the Multiverse (5e)


Dick McGee said...

"GURPS Goblins (a completely underrated and underappreciated GURPS supplement)"

Preach it. Goblins and Victorian rookeries were made for each other.

Cross Planes said...

I know 4E doesn't get much love but when it comes to Alignment for PC's I think Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, Chaotic Evil are hard to beat though I do exchange Lawful for LG and Chaotic for GC but my games always have the battle between Law & Chaos in the background.

At the same time, I think Alignment has always been a bugbear for D&D.