Volo’s Guide to Monsters (5E)


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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Yeah I'm not a fan of Drow as a playable race, and I was surprised to see their entry in the PHB. Still if someone really wanted to play one I'd probably allow that. In my current home brew campaign though Elves are a (long ago arrived) alien race,that destroyed their last planet, sucking its life force dry for magical energy. Humans are the result of Elven experimentation on Orcs and the Duergar (decendants of the Dwarves that never made the move to the surface) are taking the place of the Drow, though they are not the main focus of the campaign.


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Huh. Forgotten Realms seems to fantasy-generic that I could almost reskin any of it and put it into any campaign. (In fact, I do. My campaign is a mix of Forgotten Realms, Golarion, and homebrew.) I guess I don't understand the hate.

As far as Volo and Elminster in this book. I think they'll just make it fun to read, maybe. A narrator with personality instead of a stat block and description. It's been a very long time since I read a Volo guide so I can't say for certain.

Grand Lodge

Petty Alchemy wrote:
A list of Volo races was posted on Reddit recently. I'm looking forward to seeing the Yuanti and Lizardfolk, though a little disappointed Grippli didn't make it.

Petty, Grippli did not make it, but the Grung did. It seems that the Grung are little humanoid poison arrow frogs. I have a feeling that the Grippli are Paizo's IP, and so WotC does not have the rights to include them.

EDIT: I do not think that they are PC race options though...


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The grippli were in D&D products before a full two decades before Paizo existed.


I have a player or two who might get a kick out of one or more of these races. Good, good.


Bought the Roll20 module of Volo's guide today. It's really great! So many great new monsters and some great maps that I can't wait to drop into my campaign. Really cool to have the token art too.

I'll still be picking up the physical book as soon as I can of course...


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As someone who loathed FR for a long time. I gave it a try when the Sword Cosat Adventurer's Guide came out. While 90%+ fluff in this book, I was agreably surprised. If you come to the setting with an open mind, and don't know much (or ignore) its lore, this book, gives you a general feel of the world, and just enough information about the different cities and areas without shoving to much FR lore. I found it quite similar to the Greyhawk Gazeteer of early 3.0, but with less statistical data.

Our group use it as a generic setting, and benefits from the small descriptions for each notable places and cities. Certainly drow and tiefling are more present than in Greyhawk, but they are still quite rare. In our group drow isn't allowed as a character race, and tiefling, dragonborns, half-orcs, and gnomes are restricted to a one (of this list) per party, and suffers in social situation, especially in small comunity, less in waterdeep.


I have my hardcopy. While I haven't had the time to read through it, from what I understand from reviews on EN World is that the forgotten realms aspect of the book is easily ignorable and regulated mostly to side bars.


Is there a full list of monsters anywhere yet? I'm not sure when I will get my hands on the book. And it's an interesting question for my DM guild project.


Monsters:
Banderhobb
Barghest
Beholders (Death Kiss, Gauth, and Gazer)
Bodak
Boggle
Catoblepas
Cave Fisher
Chitines
Choldrith
Cranium Rats (in individual and swarm varieties)
Darklings (in standard and elder varieties)
Deep Scion
Demons (Babau, Maw, and Shoosuva)
Devourer
Dinosaurs (Brontosaurus, Deinonychus, Dimetrodon, Hadrosaurus, Quetzalcoatlus, Stegosaurus, Velociraptor)
Draegloth
Firenewts (Warrior, Warlock of Imix, and Giant Strider steed)
Flail Snail
Froghemoth
Giants (Cloud Giant Smiling One, Fire Giant Dreadnought, Frost Giant Everlasting One, Hill Giant Mouth of Grolantor, Stone Giant Dreamwalker, and Storm Giant Quintessent)
Girallon
Gnolls (Flind, Flesh Gnawer, Hunter, and Witherling)
Grungs (Grung, Grung Elite Warrior, and Grung Wildling)
Guard Drake
Hags (Annis and Bheur)
Hobgoblins (Devestator and Iron Shadow)
Ki-rin
Kobolds (Dragonshield, Inventor, and Scale Sorcerer)
Korred
Leucrotta
Meenlock
Mind Flayers/Illithids (Alhoon, Lich, Elder Brain, Ulitharid, and Mindwitness)
Morkoth
Neogi (Hatchling, Neogi, and Master)
Neothelid
Nilbog
Orcs (Blade of Ilneval, Claw of Luthic, Hand of Yurtrus, Nurtured One of Yurtrus, Red Fang of Shargaas, and Tanarukk)
Quickling
Redcap
Sea Spawn
Shadow Mastiff
Slithering Tracker
Spawn of Kyuss
Tlincalli
Trapper (combination of classic "room of death" monsters Lurker Above, Trapper, and Stunjelly)
Vargouille
Vegepygmies (Vegepygmy, Vegepygmy Chief, and Thorny)
Wood Woad
Xvarts (Xvart and Warlock of Raxivort)
Yeth Hound
Yuan-Ti (Anathema, Broodguard, Mind Whisperer, Nightmare Speaker, and Pit Master)

Assorted Beasts
Aurochs
Cattle (Cow, Ox, Rothé, Deep Rothé, Stench Kow)
Swarm of Rot Grubs

Nonplayer Characters:
Abjurer
Apprentice Wizard
Archdruid
Archer
Bard
Blackguard
Champion
Conjurer
Diviner
Enchanter
Evoker
Illusionist
Kraken Priest
Martial Arts Adept
Master Thief
Necromancer
Swashbuckler
Transmuter
Warpriest
Warlock of the Archfey
Warlock of the Fiend
Warlock of the Great Old One
Warlord


Oh my. Banderhobbs, Bodaks, Boggles, Catoblepas, Cave Fishers, Babaus, Abyssal Maws, Firenwers, Giant Striders, Girallons, Meenlocks, Quicklings, Redcaps, Spawns of Kyuss, Wood Woad, Xvarts and Yeth Hounds were going to be in my project.

They are only 17 out of over a hundred, and I suppose I might yet be able to turn them into variants. But this does put me back.

Thanks for the list though, much appreciated.


I am glad to see some of those brought back. I had made a list of monsters I would like to convert, and quite a few appear on this one. So, that's less work for me.

I had a good chuckle at them bringing back the Stench Kow.


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For me it was the Trapper (which has sort of become an amalgam of the Lurker Above, Trapper, and Stunjelly since it no longer is limited to the floor). I found it hilarious that you can officially build the "room of death" in 5E again. Floor, walls, and ceiling are all covered in Trappers, that cloak on the floor is a Cloaker with the nearby treasure chest being a Mimic. Nothing I'd ever throw at a group mind you, but amusing in the abstract.


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I haven't read it properly yet, but I like the first impression. It seems to me to have lots of lore a la the "X revisited" line. I generally appreciate that kind of stuff over lots and lots of monsters.


HenshinFanatic wrote:
For me it was the Trapper (which has sort of become an amalgam of the Lurker Above, Trapper, and Stunjelly since it no longer is limited to the floor). I found it hilarious that you can officially build the "room of death" in 5E again. Floor, walls, and ceiling are all covered in Trappers, that cloak on the floor is a Cloaker with the nearby treasure chest being a Mimic. Nothing I'd ever throw at a group mind you, but amusing in the abstract.

In my project there is going to be an entire building that is a mimic.


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I found this to be an informative and entertaining podcast on the upcoming Volo's Guide to Monsters.

Grand Lodge

Norman Osborne wrote:
The grippli were in D&D products before a full two decades before Paizo existed.

Then, I gots nuffin'. :)


I've got the Volo's guide via roll20, and it's not really that realms specific. There's some good stuff in it- like monster lair maps and detailed info about various monster types that give some good adventure ideas, which in no way need to be tied to the realms setting. There's also plenty of cool new monsters (well most have been published in previous editions, so they aren't really that new). It's far less realms specific than say the sword coast adventurers guide was.

Grand Lodge

P.H. Dungeon wrote:
I've got the Volo's guide via roll20, and it's not really that realms specific. There's some good stuff in it- like monster lair maps and detailed info about various monster types that give some good adventure ideas, which in no way need to be tied to the realms setting. There's also plenty of cool new monsters (well most have been published in previous editions, so they aren't really that new). It's far less realms specific than say the sword coast adventurers guide was.

I was wondering about that. I watched Matt Colville review the book, and he didn't really touch on that too much, just went over what was in there. I am really thinking about picking it up.


I would recommend it, though I have no use for a large portion of the first half of the book (beholders and illithids). I like most of the monsters in the last part, though some of the art has much to be desired (to me, at least). Nice to see some older monsters returning.


Beholders and Mindflayers are the two monsters that I really do nothing with. I've used beholders as one shot monsters a few times in 35 years and probably never used the mind flayer at all. I'll read the extended information in detail and probably be more likely to give them a significant spot in my world since they are community oriented. I'd rather work with the material rather than ignore it.

As for the rest of the book, I was impressed. I would have rather had WOTC provide a full monster manual with the cultural details put into a second book.

I also picked up Tome of Beasts at my local gaming store. Very different monsters but an extensive book which I hope to get much use out of.


The problem with mind flayers and beholders is the same as with using great Cthulhu in your campaign. They're way too iconic and well-known to be as strange and scary as they are supposed to be.

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Threeshades wrote:
The problem with mind flayers and beholders is the same as with using great Cthulhu in your campaign. They're way too iconic and well-known to be as strange and scary as they are supposed to be.

You gotta re-skin them for your experienced players. Make mindflayers look like daleks, and use the suction cups to suck out the brains. Make beholders look like medusas or floating giant skulls with magical crowns or something like a Pentacon or whatever those five-faced foes of the Transformers were called.

EDIT:

I just realized the slake-moths from Perdido Street Station are mindflayers re-skinned with animal intelligence, xenomorph physiology, and flight.


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I still have my 2E books on Mind Flayers and one on beholders. I still use them in my games for good info.


Threeshades wrote:
The problem with mind flayers and beholders is the same as with using great Cthulhu in your campaign. They're way too iconic and well-known to be as strange and scary as they are supposed to be.

Critical Role managed to use both to great effect, though it helps that most of the players are in their first campaign.


Threeshades wrote:
The problem with mind flayers and beholders is the same as with using great Cthulhu in your campaign. They're way too iconic and well-known to be as strange and scary as they are supposed to be.

Even the most mundane monster can be strange and scary if played properly. Well, the evil ones anyway. The good can be wondrous, but not so scary...


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Threeshades wrote:
The problem with mind flayers and beholders is the same as with using great Cthulhu in your campaign. They're way too iconic and well-known to be as strange and scary as they are supposed to be.

I find the opposite. Because 5e is new but my players are all 30+ year veterans when a beholder showed up they freaked out. They didnt know exactly what it did but they knew it was bad news. They and the hobgoblins they were fighting all just split & ran. It was kinda meta game knowledge but it had the desired effect.

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I got mine yesterday. Read a bunch of it already: The focus on beholders, gnolls (yay!), mindflyers, orcs, and yuan-ti (triple yay!), the new races (I really like them), the monsters, and the NPCs.

I'm going to have to go back and read the other featured monster entries. I really like gnoll support (demons, undead types, tying leucrotta to them, etc.

Before this came out, I came up with some updates of my own of some of the class creatures presented therein, and it was interesting to see how we designed them differently. In general, the WotC designs were simpler.

Also, I miss the art of Tony DiTerlizzi so much!


Petty Alchemy wrote:
Release date coming up in a month, Wizards has posted a playable race preview for the Firbolg.

Good to have some free 5e Firbolg previews. ;)


I've received my copy on my birthday, so I guess it was a present to myself. Have since made some changes to my project, so anyone who's interested can look forward to some extra variations of banderhobbs, redcaps, bodaks, cave fishers, girallons, giant striders, meenlocks, wood woads and xvarts, among many other things!

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I've finally gotten around to reading the fluff bits.

The fluff is pretty good.

But the maps are horrible! Are they just filler? They're not very interesting. Pretty much all of the Superstar maps have been better, and supposedly WotC hired a professional cartographer for these. Or at least used some extra maps a professional cartographer had lying around.


I like a few of them. The hag lairs are good, so is the war camp and mind flayer colony.

Now they're not usable per se, but I liked them.

Sovereign Court

I think we need to see them less as "usable maps for an encounter" and more "templates for what to expect". Like a diagram of an ant colony out of a science book.

While I would have preferred something more usable, the 3PP companies seem to have a better handle on it, given that they are more likely to actually sell something printed or printable, at least.

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It just seemed lazy to me. It's a mapped-based game (even if it's supposedly "optional"), so their maps should at least be insightful if they're not going to be useable.

Sovereign Court

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Ah, but you forget that they are actually making 5e a decidedly "theater of the mind" type game, spell formats notwithstanding.

Much of the comments on twitter (where most official Q&A seems to be happening) seem to point to this, but there is evidence of this in the core books as well.

That said, there is enough in the rules that supports map and mini, but they definitely seem to be hewing the other direction.

But even so, I am disappointed with the maps as well. Just seems like a lost opportunity. Not much to be done there. Again, this might be an opportunity for some better maps to be offered elsewhere, perhaps on the DMs Guild.

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My group does theater of the mind for simple combats, but when I DM, there ARE NO simple combats! ;-)

Mapping is probably my favorite part of D&D. I like drawing them, I like looking at them, I like fighting and exploring on a map. I make continent maps, local maps, city maps, and dungeon maps (dungeon meaning any bounded interior space: haunted houses, actual dungeons, caves, topiary mazes, castles, clock towers, wizard towers, watch towers, ships, tombs, temples, etc. etc. But not yucky sewers!).

Sovereign Court

I want to start doing printed 3d dungeons.

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I just wish the PC minis were more colorful. For NPC/monsters, I use pawns from Clue and Master Detective Clue. It's easier to say "the red one" instead of the "the orc with the falchion in both hands."

Sovereign Court

Reaper has cheap minis. Even if they stay colorless, they look neat. If you want to go super cheap, try printing out 1 inch portraits and using a 1 inch hole punch then gluing it to a bottle cap. I have 8 "prinny" demons on bottlecaps. I even got to deploy them in a battle.

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