Dungeons & Dragons RPG: Xanathar's Guide to Everything

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but evil is in its heart! The Xanathar - Waterdeep's most infamous crime lord, and a beholder to boot. You'd be shocked to discover just how much he knows about you! Yes, you, adventurers!

Assembled here in Xanathar's Guide to Everything is new information on adventurers of every stripe. In addition, you'll find valuable advice for those of nefarious intent who must deal with such meddling do-gooders, including the Xanathar's personal thoughts on how to dispatch anyone foolish enough to interfere with his business dealings.

Alongside observations on 'heroes' themselves, the beholder fills the pages of this tome with his personal thoughts on tricks, traps, and even treasures and how they can be put to villainous use. Xanathar's Guide to Everything introduces complete rules for more than twenty new subclasses for Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons, including the cavalier, the inquisitive, the horizon walker, and many more. Also included are dozens of new feats and spells, as well as a system to give player characters a unique, randomized backstory.

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Wowza, that ugly bugger is still breathing? ;)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just got it, and have been extremely busy, so I'm only about halfway through the classes, but the Kensei monk seems amazing!

A lot of it are re-treads from Unearthed Arcana, but it looks like that material has been refined. In particular, it looks like many mechanics that were just a rehash of the Battlemaster's superiority dice are now more similar to the War cleric's mechanics.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I'm not a huge fan of Kensei monk, because it feels like every other monk is "punch stuff, and unique abilities" while Kensei is "punch stuff and/or stab it". I was hoping for some cooler tricks.

That said, I really like the book.
I especially enjoy the tables they added for each class to inspire people to look at things differently. Ex. the Wizard Spellbook table, which includes scribing spells on leather, then wrapping them around a staff.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Arcane Archer is still super disappointing. Better off playing an Eldritch Knight with a bow.


Happy about:
The Cavalier fits the image of the Knight in Shining Armor, yet has as little to do with a mount as possible while still paying lip service to that aspect of the archetype. Ditto the Samurai (I don’t like enforced-pet classes).
The Ranger archetypes, especially the Horizon Walker.
New goodies for the Sorcerer, especially access to the Cleric spell list via Divine Soul.
The Hexblade.
I actually got excited by all the expansions for tool proficiencies and how those little things can not just fill out a background of what you used to do but also flesh out what you’re doing now. Also the downtime activities (I like viewing characters as flesh and blood people living in the game world).
The spell identification rules. No sudden introduction of spell manifestations here; you’re identifying the spell based on its observable components and/or effects like God intended.

Not so happy about:
They didn’t include the Oath of Treachery for the Paladin. Boo hiss. I was looking forward to at least one Paladin that didn’t have to put up with tenets of any kind.
The spell identification rules. Specifically, the explanation that you are indeed not supposed to be able to identify a spell before you decide to use Counterspell or not (the spell is apparently a snap decision that cannot occur in conjunction with the careful analysis of observing a spell as it’s being cast), but you can be patient enough with your snap decision to wait for an allied character to play spotter and do his careful analysis of the spell and then give you the go/no-go to Counterspell. We’re at “highly specific level of tired” levels of contrived here.
Spoilered for shouting:

Spoiler:
WHO HAD THE UNMITIGATED GALL TO STRONGLY RECOMMEND THE ADVENTURER’S LEAGUE “PHB PLUS ONE” RULE FOR ANY KIND OF CAMPAIGN?!! THAT IS THE SINGLE MOST ABYSMALLY STUPID PART OF THE ADVENTURER’S LEAGUE AND NEEDS TO DIE A MILLION “JIGSAW” DEATHS! HAD I A STRAND OF HAIR FROM THE JERK RESPONSIBLE AND A VOODOO DOLL, NOTHING SHORT OF MAKING THAT DOLL PLAY SUPERMAN FOR THE N64 WOULD SUFFICE!!


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Re: spoiler.

It wasn’t recommended for any kind of campaign. It was recommended for shared campaigns - the examples given being a school, RPG club, local gaming store or library.

I thought it was interesting that “creating a shared campaign” was even a thing worthy of an appendix. I guess I’m pretty out of touch with how the game is played these days.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Re: spoiler.

It wasn’t recommended for any kind of campaign. It was recommended for shared campaigns - the examples given being a school, RPG club, local gaming store or library.

I thought it was interesting that “creating a shared campaign” was even a thing worthy of an appendix. I guess I’m pretty out of touch with how the game is played these days.

I don't mean to derail the thread, but do you feel out of touch because shared campaigns are so typical that the appendix is unnecessary, or because they're so rare that it's a waste of space?


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I meant that they’re obviously common enough to warrant an appendix and yet I had no idea they were a thing (beyond AL, PFS and other “official” campaigns).


I wonder if they mean long, long campaigns like a West Marches where multiple players will float in and out of the game. I have heard it being mentioned a lot more lately.


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hiiamtom wrote:
I wonder if they mean long, long campaigns like a West Marches where multiple players will float in and out of the game. I have heard it being mentioned a lot more lately.

Maybe this thread should be merged with this one?

I flagged my own post for that purpose.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Re: spoiler.

It wasn’t recommended for any kind of campaign. It was recommended for shared campaigns - the examples given being a school, RPG club, local gaming store or library.

I thought it was interesting that “creating a shared campaign” was even a thing worthy of an appendix. I guess I’m pretty out of touch with how the game is played these days.

Ah, I will rephrase. I consider the PHB plus One rule to be such an abomination that there exists no kind of campaign at all that deserves to be subjected to that bullcrap. That they use it for AL? Horrible. That they would recommend it for anything else, whether one specific kind of campaign or just a general recommendation for any and all kinds of campaigns? Just as horrible.3

I.e., it's not that they recommended it for everything, it's that they recommended it for anything.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

On the whole I like it. Mind you, I haven't had a chance to fully digest it yet, merely a light skim.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Tectorman wrote:

Ah, I will rephrase. I consider the PHB plus One rule to be such an abomination that there exists no kind of campaign at all that deserves to be subjected to that bullcrap. That they use it for AL? Horrible. That they would recommend it for anything else, whether one specific kind of campaign or just a general recommendation for any and all kinds of campaigns? Just as horrible.3

I.e., it's not that they recommended it for everything, it's that they recommended it for anything.

For AL, it makes a whole lot of sense. By doing so, you're making it much easier for adventure writers and GMs. They don't have to worry about the ultimate combinations from 10+ books that Pathfinder has to deal with. Its smart and I applaud them for it.

There shouldn't be any kind of recommendation beyond AL. however.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm still skimming it. It has A LOT of random tables to roll on. I guess that was big in 1st and 2nd Edition, but they didn't really seem to do a lot of that in 3.X/PF.

I like most of the sub-classes. I like most of the racial feats. I still need to re-read them.

I really like the non-monster encounters on the list of wandering monsters, even if half of them are tongue-in-cheek inside jokes.

I'm up to the Traps. I really like the concept of Complex Traps.


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hiiamtom wrote:
I wonder if they mean long, long campaigns like a West Marches where multiple players will float in and out of the game. I have heard it being mentioned a lot more lately.

They defined it in that appendix. It's essentially games where the DM and players may change from week to week - so organised play campaigns are the obvious exemplar, but they were envisioning a similar thing at an individual RPG club, library or FLGS.

The thought was you're going to turn up as a DM with little idea of who the players will be or what they've done previously. You'll run a one-session mini-adventure and then potentially never see those players again (or not for some time anyhow).

I think the PH+1 rule makes sense there, since otherwise the DM will be under immense pressure to rapidly get across a plethora of potentially complicated PCs or to just let things slide and potentially run into problems of expectations/understandings midway through a session (which is always a mood-killer).


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Tectorman wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

Re: spoiler.

It wasn’t recommended for any kind of campaign. It was recommended for shared campaigns - the examples given being a school, RPG club, local gaming store or library.

I thought it was interesting that “creating a shared campaign” was even a thing worthy of an appendix. I guess I’m pretty out of touch with how the game is played these days.

Ah, I will rephrase. I consider the PHB plus One rule to be such an abomination that there exists no kind of campaign at all that deserves to be subjected to that bullcrap. That they use it for AL? Horrible. That they would recommend it for anything else, whether one specific kind of campaign or just a general recommendation for any and all kinds of campaigns? Just as horrible.3

I.e., it's not that they recommended it for everything, it's that they recommended it for anything.

I think you're asking an awful lot of organised play DMs, given the hundreds and hundreds of potential supplements from the DM Guild, in addition to all the various published books from WotC.

If you make it too "anything goes", you're likely to have nobody willing to run a game.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I think you're asking an awful lot of organised play DMs, given the hundreds and hundreds of potential supplements from the DM Guild, in addition to all the various published books from WotC.

If you make it too "anything goes", you're likely to have nobody willing to run a game.

Dale McCoy Jr wrote:

For AL, it makes a whole lot of sense. By doing so, you're making it much easier for adventure writers and GMs. They don't have to worry about the ultimate combinations from 10+ books that Pathfinder has to deal with. Its smart and I applaud them for it.

There shouldn't be any kind of recommendation beyond AL. however.

No, not buying it. They release these books at such a glacial pace that another month or so wouldn’t make a difference anyway, and they could use that time to make sure the new material is compatible not just with the PHB but the other books as well. I mean, I’m not talking about the sort of six-class multiclassing monstrosities that 3.5 had, I’m just talking about taking a non-PHB race and getting to enjoy a non-PHB class archetype. Water Genasi Storm Sorcerer. Aasimar Redemption Paladin. Tabaxi Sun Soul Monk. Hobgoblin College of Swords Bard. Fire Genasi Forge Cleric. For that matter, Earth Genasi Forge Cleric. What, pray tell, could possibly be game-breaking about those?

You realize how absurd this is? A dwarf, those guys in the mountains or otherwise underground, are able to be Sun Soul Monks, but Tabaxi, the race based on the creatures that spend all day lounging about in the sun? Heck no. You realize that if there is any cheesiness in the Tabaxi Sun Soul Monk, it’s from the combination of Tabaxi and Monk, not the combination of Tabaxi and Sun Soul?

Tieflings can be Redemption Paladins, but not Aasimar. How does that make sense? And no, I’m not knocking the idea of a Redemption Paladin Tiefling (I think there’s plenty of merit in the concept), but how are you going to tell me that there will not be one single Aasimar capable of it, too?

Heck, let’s go to the perfect example of this nonsense: the game-breaking dastardly munchkin combination of a Storm Sorcerer (from the SCAG) with all the elemental-themed, storm sorcerer appropriate spells from the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion. What? Not game-breaking at all? Of course not and demonstrably so, since both those things got reprinted in the XGtE, just to get out from under the PHB plus One rule. I, however, still have to wait for them to reprint those exact same things a third time, just with the Genasi, as well.

Actually, let’s also look at the Wizard, since he specifically gets to ignore the PHB plus One rule for his spells (no, not the EK or the AT, even though they also use the Wizard’s spell list, just the Wizard). Why? Isn’t that also game-breaking? Did they take the extra time to make sure those spells don’t lead to unforeseen combinations (in which case, why couldn’t they proof everything else as well)? Or are they just winging it and hoping for the best (in which case, how about we just wing it with everything else, too)?

What about the Undying Warlock? Of all the Warlocks, he’s the most thematically about the undead. So tell me about his ability to use those new spells from XGtE that perfectly match his theme, say, Toll the Dead or Danse Macabre. What? Feylocks can raise a cadre of zombies and skeletons better than the Undying? Precisely how does that make sense?

Or let’s look ahead. We have one tidbit hinting that the next book will be Shadowfell-themed. And the most recent UA is about additional elf subraces, one of which is the Shadar-Kai (which is a variety of elf in this edition, apparently). Okay, so a reasonable assumption is that this upcoming Shadowfell book will have the final version of the Shadar-Kai. But wait! What happens if we want to have Shadar-Kai capable of being a Shadow Sorcerer? Yeah, I know, “nonstandard races are only ever supposed to be Dragon Sorcerers or Wild Sorcerers, no exceptions”, but just bear with me on this. Are they going to have to reprint the Shadow Sorcerer again (meaning we pay for it again)? And we mustn’t forget about reprinting the Shadow Blade spell while we’re at it.

It’s not about trying to create the most headache-inducing multiclass combinations that were never meant to be (after all, Coffeelocks have existed since the PHB). It’s about being able to create a simple character concept without worrying about gaming around an arbitrary and ill-conceived limit. It should not matter how this material is presented in the real world, whether each individual subrace or class archetype comes in its own phamplet or whether everything in this edition is in one single seven-inch-thick tome. These concepts exist in-universe and should only have to pass that muster. Is there an in-universe reason why an order of Redemption Paladins cannot expand their ranks by one Aasimar? Is there an in-universe reason why Storm Sorcerers (SCAG) cannot use elemental spells (EEPC), while Storm Sorcerers (XGtE) can totally use elemental spells (XGtE)?

So no, I don’t think I’m asking for too much from organized play DMs or the writers. Not in the slightest.


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It’s not about being game breaking. It’s about making it easy to be a DM.

Organised play campaigns aren’t intended to be all-encompassing, any-character-concept-you-like games. They’re meant to be quick and easy to play in and to run.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Healing spirit looks fun. Lots of fun cantrips, too. I haven't read them all yet.

Invulnerability is a great 9th level spell with just a one sentence description: "You are immune to all damage for the duration of the spell."

Or something like that.


My concern with Invulnerability is it's ridiculously powerful in the hands of a BBEG. "You can't hurt the boss for 10 minutes unless you succeed on a Dispel Magic check (and he doesn't Counter your Dispel.)"

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Steve Geddes wrote:

It’s not about being game breaking. It’s about making it easy to be a DM.

Organised play campaigns aren’t intended to be all-encompassing, any-character-concept-you-like games. They’re meant to be quick and easy to play in and to run.

This.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kalshane wrote:
My concern with Invulnerability is it's ridiculously powerful in the hands of a BBEG. "You can't hurt the boss for 10 minutes unless you succeed on a Dispel Magic check (and he doesn't Counter your Dispel.)"

There are other ways to deal with BBEGs like that. Grapple, petrification, a bunch of hold person spells, etc.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Is the Divine Soul sorcerer sub-class the new Mystic Theurge??? It can choose spells from both the cleric list and the sorcerer list. Not too shabby!


It's more of the "New favored soul but not". Maybe it's a bit of both.


SmiloDan wrote:
Kalshane wrote:
My concern with Invulnerability is it's ridiculously powerful in the hands of a BBEG. "You can't hurt the boss for 10 minutes unless you succeed on a Dispel Magic check (and he doesn't Counter your Dispel.)"

There are other ways to deal with BBEGs like that. Grapple, petrification, a bunch of hold person spells, etc.

"Oh, no, you've grabbed me, whatever should I do except continue to cast my spells with zero hindrance whatsoever?" Grapple doesn't do much unless you can forcibly move them somewhere they don't want to be. (And even then Misty Step or Dimension Door resolves that problem if it take you more than a round to get them there.)

Petrification or Hold Person might work, if you can get them to fail their save (remembering that a 1 is only an automatic failure on attack rolls in 5E) and they don't counterspell it.

I don't know, I'm running a 5E RotRL game and if I were to give special K that spell, it would probably result in a TPK.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Our 5E RotRL party had a divination wizard, so we usually had a clutch bad save or two guaranteed. And counterspell can be counterspelled! :-D


Kalshane wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
Kalshane wrote:
My concern with Invulnerability is it's ridiculously powerful in the hands of a BBEG. "You can't hurt the boss for 10 minutes unless you succeed on a Dispel Magic check (and he doesn't Counter your Dispel.)"

There are other ways to deal with BBEGs like that. Grapple, petrification, a bunch of hold person spells, etc.

"Oh, no, you've grabbed me, whatever should I do except continue to cast my spells with zero hindrance whatsoever?" Grapple doesn't do much unless you can forcibly move them somewhere they don't want to be. (And even then Misty Step or Dimension Door resolves that problem if it take you more than a round to get them there.)

Petrification or Hold Person might work, if you can get them to fail their save (remembering that a 1 is only an automatic failure on attack rolls in 5E) and they don't counterspell it.

I don't know, I'm running a 5E RotRL game and if I were to give special K that spell, it would probably result in a TPK.

The thing is, if you're dealing with a dick DM who really truly is looking for a TPK, that one spell in the hands of a BBEG is the least of your worries. I think it works badly from a PF perspective of building NPCs and PCs with the same mechanical function, but DnD5e doesn't work that way. It's a PC appropriate spell in 5e.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Divine Soul is the latest iteration of Favored Soul, so you're right there.

If they're invulnerable, I'd probably run or trash their lab or something. Another option is Grapple + Silence.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

If the BBEG casts invulnerability, he is not casting meteor swarm or wish....

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm making a 1st level druid, and I'm going to test out create bonfire and gust.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Create Bonfire is a pretty cool spell to pick up if you're not concentrating on anything else, and pretty hard to use if you are.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

At 1st level, I won't have a lot of Concentration spells. Mostly entangle and faerie fire. Create bonfire will mostly be used as a blockade spell.

I'm going to mostly be doing archery initially, then wildshaping (Circle of the Moon). My third cantrip will be thornwhip, because I love the visuals and the idea of moving opponents around the battlefield.

The party has a human Life cleric who took Magic Initiate to get goodberry to make 10 mini potions of 4 hit points each, and she uses produce flame and shillelagh and I don't want to step on her toes too much. We're both folk hero divine casters with Perception proficiency, so there will be a lot of similarities already.

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