Volo’s Guide to Monsters (5E)


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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A new book scheduled for 9/5/16, said to have new PC race options (including goblins and orcs. I'm hoping for more. I'm hoping for grippli).

It also sounds like it'll be narrated by both Volo and Elminster, so I'm expecting more fluff than a typical Monster Manual.


More monsters! That's always welcome. Basically the only thing I feel the game lacks.


224 pages, with new to 5e monsters, race write-ups for orcs, goblins, and furbolgs (plus more), with the release date showing November 15, 2016 for me. $49.95 price tag. I love new monsters, and the write-ups for those 3 races intrigue me. I'll wait until I know for sure what all is included before I would purchase it. But new monsters sounds great.

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I'm pretty sure they changed the date and I didn't just misread horribly...


Ooh...Furbolgs..Sounds cool


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wait...VOlo is still alive?!?


Das Bier wrote:
wait...VOlo is still alive?!?

yeah, that was also my first reaction


Volo's Guide to All Things Magical is still one of my favorite re-read reference books for stuff, and I loved most of the other guides, too.

But, seriously, it's been 100+ years, and he was inept to begin with. HTH did he live so long? Some god take pity on him?


Das Bier wrote:

Volo's Guide to All Things Magical is still one of my favorite re-read reference books for stuff, and I loved most of the other guides, too.

But, seriously, it's been 100+ years, and he was inept to begin with. HTH did he live so long? Some god take pity on him?

Not having read it, perhaps the name is being used by a grandkid? Or maybe the guys at Hasbro retconned the 4th Ed Realms timejump/cataclysm out of existence?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Petrification and then unpetrified? Seems like the least competent way to survive a century....


Don't know much about Volo, but I absolutely loathe Elminster. *grumbles about stupidly powerful NPCs that completely invalidate the PCs yet expect the PCs to do all the work*

But then, my only real gripes about this book are that it isn't coming out sooner (I need more official PC races ASAP) and having to put up with that insufferable ******* of an archmage.


Elminster was never supposed to be an NPC that handled problems. He was supposed to be the wise old guy who knew the answers to questions and sent you out to fix them.

Then they made the mistake of statting him up in a 1e Dragon Magazine, the cat was let out of the bag, people wanted more of him, and he became a phenomenon unto himself.

He's just another symptom of the wizard love in the Forgotten Realms, is all.


I'm aware of that, doesn't change my hate for that character and others like him.


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If you talk to Ed Greenwood, Elminster is just a mouthpiece in his home campaign, a way for the DM to give information to the PC's, and then just traipses off to do whatever old sages do. He's NEVER the star of the show.

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I like how Elminster is presented in Azure Bonds. It was also my first introduction to The Realms, and the characters in it are pretty ignorant of Elminster too, so that helped.

Grand Lodge

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What's to say that the book was written in the current age? Maybe Elminster found Volo's notes and compiled them, which explains Elminster's notations?


Aeshuura wrote:
What's to say that the book was written in the current age? Maybe Elminster found Volo's notes and compiled them, which explains Elminster's notations?

Cool! I didn't think of that, that's interesting!

Grand Lodge

^_^


I'm looking for PC Gnolls myself, but no harm, no foul if they aren't in there. Southlands Heroes has done as well as any official version up till now. ;)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Isn't there a line for gnolls in the DMG? Under unusual races or something in the DM's handbook or whatever they call it?

EDIT:

Found it!

Chapter 9: Dungeon Master's Workshop: Page 282.

Gnoll: +2 Str, -2 Int, darkvision, rampage.

(I'm a big fan of gnolls, too!)


That table is for making NPCs of those races unfortunately. I don't think it was intended for use in making PCs since elves lack the traits of either the high or wood elf subraces, the Drow line says that they only speak Elvish and Undercommon, whereas the PHB allows them Common and Elvish just like the other subraces, and more than a few of these "races" have penalties which doesn't fit the new paradigm where the only real "penalty" is being small.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Is there any "bonus" for being small?

I can't think of any "mechanical" bonus for being small, but there might be some "narrative" bonuses. For example, some pressure plate traps might not be sensitive enough to activate when subjected to the weight of a small-sized creature. Some tunnels might accommodate small creatures but hinder medium creatures (Tucker's Kobolds). Gnomes might require less food than medium creatures (but not halflings!). It might be easier for small creatures to use the Hide action or benefit from cover, since they need less of it. Stuff like that.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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


That has to be the third, entirely different incarnation of Firbolgs in D&D now. Although I have to admit I don't know what they were like before 3rd edition.


Firbolg 2nd Edition

Basically 10-foot-tall Irish guys with beards that were smart and could cast magic.


I have all the old Volos guides, I almost wish they had this for 3.5/Pathfinder. I loved Forgotten Realms and I still have a special place in my heart for it but I have moved on to a home brew world.

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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.


I am more sad that Tabaxi and Triton are in there. Nice to see Aasimar being in there, but hopefully it isn't some lame reprint of the one in the DMG. Wish they would have included gnolls, but (according to a thread over at enworld) they said they won't be making a race write-up of gnolls because they went full "mentally challenged" with the demon-spawn aspect of gnolls and they are demonically mutated hyenas. Yet they decided to go with "medium humanoid (gnoll)" for their type, instead of "medium fiend" which makes more sense for the lore decision they went with.

Other than those 3 instances, I have no real problem with the races they chose to go with. Maybe if they didn't spend the 15-18 pages just on the flippin beholder (and who knows how many on those damned mind-flayers, which is probably somewhere around 20-25 would be my guess), they could have included more playable monster races.

Oh well.


Just wish they had stuck with generic D&D and not dedicated towards the realms. Guess I'll have to ignore a lot of stuff in the book.


I'm just glad that the noble lizard-folk is finally available as a player race.


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.

I'm very excited for this product!


EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Just wish they had stuck with generic D&D and not dedicated towards the realms. Guess I'll have to ignore a lot of stuff in the book.

Then it wouldn't be a Volo's Guide. :)

But yeah, I hear ya.


Don't forget that if you buy it from your local hobby store, you can get access to the special first release cover art only available to retailers.


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I would have preferred a straight up Monster Manual 2 instead of splitting the subject matter up. That was why I started strongly disliking and eventually stopped buying 3.5 edition. Give me one book of just monsters...another of just spells...another for...well you get the idea.


Well, this is how they will do monster books now, apparently. Where FR lore is shoved down our throats in EVERYTHING. Book of classes? Have a metric ton of Forgotten Realms lore slathered all over it because only the Forgotten Realms exists and nothing else does.

Looking at the alternate cover, it wouldn't be worth the 30 mile drive into the city to pay the extra $20 at a "local" store when I can get it on Amazon for about $30-ish. Now, if they let you choose which alternate cover you wanted (the banner on the In Volo's Wake website has a yuan-ti, gnoll, bugbear, and beholder along with the mind-flayer), then I would take the 30 mile drive into the city to pay $20 more if I could choose the gnoll cover. But mind flayer? Fah. Bad enough they will spend a stupid amount of page numbers on that monster (and beholders).

I will get this book (I love me some monster books), but I will "suffer" with that stupid looking giant's head shoved into Volo's space on the regular cover.


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Wow. That's some vitriol.


That towards me? If it is, there's a reason. I have always disliked the Forgotten Realms, mostly due to the setting's fans (and the foaming-at-the-mouth fans of one particular drow character of that setting). Now, before I just disliked it, but now I absolutely hate it. EVERYTHING is Forgotten Realms. Everything 5th edition is under a thick coat of Forgotten Realms (minus the core books, which I like). All the adventures, the non-adventure book, and now this.

WotC has such a hardon for Forgotten Realms, that every other world may as well not exist. That goes for a DM's homebrew world. It's worse than Paizo's focus on Golarion, but at least with Golarion, there are places you could use if you like a certain style of game.

Everything WotC makes, it is Forgotten Realms. Video games, books, RPG books, the upcoming movie. And not only is it just Forgotten Realms, but it is even more narrow in the Sword Coast region. Everything they have made has taken place in that little strip of land along the western coast. It's like if all of Paizo's APs were set in Varisia.

And I just don't like mind flayers. I don't share the feelings other people do for tentacled things and how it is supposed to somehow shatter my mind (like Cthulhu and all this Lovecraft junk).

And their reasons behind the hyper focus on Forgotten Realms (and the Sword Coast) is because it's their most popular. Well, when that's everyone's only exposure is Forgotten Realms, of course it will be the most popular.

I like that they will be adding in lore-type stuff for the monsters. Reminds me of my 2nd edition Monstrous Manual. But all this Forgotten Realms crap is getting on my last nerve.


Adjule wrote:

That towards me? If it is, there's a reason. I have always disliked the Forgotten Realms, mostly due to the setting's fans (and the foaming-at-the-mouth fans of one particular drow character of that setting). Now, before I just disliked it, but now I absolutely hate it. EVERYTHING is Forgotten Realms. Everything 5th edition is under a thick coat of Forgotten Realms (minus the core books, which I like). All the adventures, the non-adventure book, and now this.

WotC has such a hardon for Forgotten Realms, that every other world may as well not exist. That goes for a DM's homebrew world. It's worse than Paizo's focus on Golarion, but at least with Golarion, there are places you could use if you like a certain style of game.

Everything WotC makes, it is Forgotten Realms. Video games, books, RPG books, the upcoming movie. And not only is it just Forgotten Realms, but it is even more narrow in the Sword Coast region. Everything they have made has taken place in that little strip of land along the western coast. It's like if all of Paizo's APs were set in Varisia.

And I just don't like mind flayers. I don't share the feelings other people do for tentacled things and how it is supposed to somehow shatter my mind (like Cthulhu and all this Lovecraft junk).

And their reasons behind the hyper focus on Forgotten Realms (and the Sword Coast) is because it's their most popular. Well, when that's everyone's only exposure is Forgotten Realms, of course it will be the most popular.

I like that they will be adding in lore-type stuff for the monsters. Reminds me of my 2nd edition Monstrous Manual. But all this Forgotten Realms crap is getting on my last nerve.

Well I don't share you anger but I will say that I've always been disappointed in the amount of coverage the Realms gets as compared to everything else. I was always a big Greyhawk supporter and was into that before Realms was ever published. Now after countless years of the lack of Greyhawk support, me trying to round up every little article or adventure spread out all over the place, everything disorganized, etc. I've finally decided to move on to making my own world. Some of you may have already seen a taste of that, not that anyone cares other than me, but that is the reason.

I haven't bought any of the WOTC 5th edition modules because of the Realms. With my own world I've decided to delve into 3rd party items if I can find something I really like. I feel like the restraints are off (at least to a large degree). I have picked up a few adventures from Goodman Games for 5th edition because they stay pretty generic. I've thought about taking the modules I own from first through 3rd edition and rewriting the location and background for each one and then inserting it into my homeworld. The White Plume Mountain might be changed to a different name, the backstory completely different, just the actual dungeon salvaged relatively unchanged.


While I don't loathe the Realms best left Forgotten quite as much as Adjule. It does irk me that they have settings that are so much more interesting than it that languish with either no support this edition or such lackluster support that what is there might as well not exist (looking at you Unearthed Arcana Eberron).

To be fair though Curse of Strahd was specifically Ravenloft not FR. Still the only thing they've dared to publish outside of their precious Realms.


New edition, correct some mistakes, continue to make certain old ones. I would like to see one hardcover book a year for generic D&D. Just like the core books, mention all the worlds scattered throughout giving each one equal space. If its a good book such as all monsters, it will take me a year to update all my random encounter tables anyway. Regardless of the book, if its one topic, it will take a long time to digest it and update my world where necessary.

In between these generic books, print modules, even if they are generic with one page devoted to how to adapt it to a specific world, do this with 3-5 worlds for each module. Add a dollar to the price, I'm good with that.

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When I DM, I homebrew. FR material and fluff is just wasted space in my opinion. I a source has too much FR stuff in it, I'm not going to buy it.


SmiloDan wrote:

When I DM, I homebrew. FR material and fluff is just wasted space in my opinion. I a source has too much FR stuff in it, I'm not going to buy it.

That's exactly why I haven't bought any WOTC modules or Pathfinder material. It's also why I want to rewrite all the fluff for about 100 modules I already own. I know I wont get them all done but the best ones will get the fluff rewritten, maps changed, names changed, etc.


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I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this!

While I don't foam at the mouth when I think of a certain drow, I don't mind FR. It was the first campaign setting I ever played in (before that we just made homebrew settings.)

I'm looking forward to the new monsters mainly (being the GM), but the extra playable races could be a bonus...


Kip84 wrote:

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this!

While I don't foam at the mouth when I think of a certain drow, I don't mind FR. It was the first campaign setting I ever played in (before that we just made homebrew settings.)

I'm looking forward to the new monsters mainly (being the GM), but the extra playable races could be a bonus...

I've always been pretty meh...about different races, though the world I'm designing seems to support the idea by chance rather than intentional design.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I'm just reading the Drizz't stuff for the first time. I think it's quite an interesting take on it personally. I really struggle to see how it can cause such antipathy.

Similarly with the realms. I get that people don't like it (I much prefer Golarion and my WotC setting-of-choice would be Dark Sun) but it seems pretty clear that WotC have learned the same lesson Paizo did vis a vis supporting multiple campaign settings.

I can understand disappointment, but anger is really puzzling to me.


With regard to Drizzt, it isn't even the character itself that sours people. It's the throng of thinly veiled clones that he inspired among his rabid fanbase that is the primary source of consternation.

As for Campaign Settings, apparently they didn't learn that lesson quite yet because they still signed off on Curse of Strahd which was set in the Ravenloft campaign setting rather than the standard Forgotten Realms; though isolated to the domain of Barovia within the Demiplane of Dread.

I still hope that despite the primary focus on the Boring Realms, we'll still get the occasional Adventure set elsewhere though I know that my two favourites that are still on the table (so no Mystara as that has been expressly relegated only to fan-support) will be hard-sells (Dark Sun and Spelljammer) the former because it "just" had a source book during 4E and the latter because, well, it's Spelljammer.


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HenshinFanatic wrote:
As for Campaign Settings, apparently they didn't learn that lesson quite yet because they still signed off on Curse of Strahd which was set in the Ravenloft campaign setting rather than the standard Forgotten Realms; though isolated to the domain of Barovia within the Demiplane of Dread.

i meant they've learnt not to actively support multiple settings.

I suspect there'll be a trickle of material for other properties, but the realms will dominate.


EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Kip84 wrote:

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this!

While I don't foam at the mouth when I think of a certain drow, I don't mind FR. It was the first campaign setting I ever played in (before that we just made homebrew settings.)

I'm looking forward to the new monsters mainly (being the GM), but the extra playable races could be a bonus...

I've always been pretty meh...about different races, though the world I'm designing seems to support the idea by chance rather than intentional design.

Yeah I'm generally a fan of the more 'standard' fantasy races myself: Human, Elf, Half-Elf, Dwarf, Half-Orc, Halfling and maybe Gnome.


Steve Geddes wrote:
I'm just reading the Drizz't stuff for the first time. I think it's quite an interesting take on it personally. I really struggle to see how it can cause such antipathy.

I'm fine with Drizzt. I've even had new players play drizzt clones because they were introduce to D&D from the books, and I'm totally cool with that. Always enjoy new players into the hobby.

However, I'm not a fan of Salvatore's writing. He's a proliferate writer, but a poor one. I've tried several of his books through his career, and I've only ever been able to finish one.

Despite that, every few years I try to give him an honest evaluation with his books. My most recent attempt was with Archmage, the prequel to OotA in the Rage of Demons storyline. My criticisms of the book have nothing to do with Drizzt, but rather how the characters are introduced, how they act, and the choices they make. All of which have much more to do with the author than the characters.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I'm just reading the Drizz't stuff for the first time. I think it's quite an interesting take on it personally. I really struggle to see how it can cause such antipathy.

Similarly with the realms. I get that people don't like it (I much prefer Golarion and my WotC setting-of-choice would be Dark Sun) but it seems pretty clear that WotC have learned the same lesson Paizo did vis a vis supporting multiple campaign settings.

I can understand disappointment, but anger is really puzzling to me.

Like Henshin said, it's not so much Drizzt himself, but the rabid fans who make their character a clone, who won't play anything but a drow because it makes them seem edgey and "cool", that has ignited my hatred. Too many instances of this can really sour one to something.

I also prefer to homebrew a setting when I DM. I have no problems taking things from other settings, mostly just races, classes, monsters, and spells. But if the majority of the book is setting material that is rather difficult to "file off the serial numbers" like history, location, etc., then I pass on a book. I did purchase Princes of the Apocalypse, because it was about a subject I enjoyed (elementals), and it included new elemental monsters and items. Since elementals are a big part of my setting, I could probably easily change a few things in the adventure to place it in my setting.

I can understand WotC's desire to focus on a single setting, and have no problem with that. My problem is when every single book they put out (other than the core 3) is filled to the brim with Forgotten Realms, and citing lore reasons as an excuse not to include something (such as a racial write-up for gnolls). Not every setting has gnolls as demonically twisted hyenas who are made of pure evil as much as a regular demon that disqualifies them as a player race.

I will absolutely get this book, though. Despite my opinions stated above, I will always welcome a new monster book. I even have a huge collection of monster books from 2nd edition that were setting specific. I can easily port the majority of monsters to other settings. It can be tough or impossible to do so with other things (such as lore).

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