• Justin Handlin

Dungeons & Dragons: Monsters of the Multiverse Announcement

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Wizards of the Coast has announced a new rule book coming to the world’s greatest roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons. Designed as a way of bringing together player races and monsters that have been scattered across many different published books, Monsters of the Multiverse is like a one-stop-shop for all character options and monsters that aren’t in the core books.

Inside Monsters of the Multiverse

The new Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse book will be giving Dungeon Masters access to more than 250 monsters from myriad published adventures, as well as fresh new monsters to terrorize your fantasy world. More than that, it will contain over 30 updated player character races from various sources including Volo’s Guide to Monsters, The Tortle Package, Eberron: Rising from the Last War, and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. I was happy to see it will include the new Fairy and Harengon from the Wild Beyond the Witchlight, as it is such a fresh release. This is great as game design mechanics have changed and been redesigned over the life of 5th Edition. This often left some races feeling weaker than others. A good rebalancing was needed to ensure they are all appealing and mechanically balanced in power.

Inside of Monsters of the Multiverse contains versions of character races that do not include specific ability scores increases. Instead, the players can assign their ability score increases to whichever traits they want, regardless of the race. This new design first arrived in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Some players have their reservations about this change, but overall it has been well received. At its core it allows players to break some of the more traditional builds and expand character creation in a new and interesting way. After all, no two people are the same. Even if they are the same race.

Monster Stat block Changes

Much like the popular Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, it will serve as a companion piece to the ruleset books that have been released for 5th Edition D&D. They are even offering a gift set that bundles these books with the new Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse. Just like its bundle counterparts, Monsters of the Multiverse includes some significant design changes to its monsters, from lore to stat blocks. Most notable is the fact that much of the monster lore has been altered or removed that would indicate they belong to a specific setting. This is great for Dungeon Masters, as many run games in worlds of their own creation anyway. The mechanic changes are ones that I am particularly happy with. The new designs make the monsters more streamlined and simpler to run. This is most notable with spellcasting monsters. They are lightening the load on spell lists for the DM to constantly flip back and forth through books to get the details. Instead, they’ve moved the more primary spells to the action list. This means less thought process is wasted deciding which spell that monster might use in a given situation. Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t options, but now monsters are more likely to play similarly regardless of the Dungeon Master running the game. As a DM who runs many monsters, I am happy for the reprieve personally.

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Challenge Rating

While few players reach some of the upper echelons of D&D gaming. Those of us that do reach those levels have found that monsters tend to feel like they are pulling their punches. Though, thanks to Lost Odyssey of Theros adding the Mythic trait, those monsters are less so. But, the Wizards of the Coast game design lead is well aware of it. Thus, the monsters are getting big changes. As Jeremy Crawford told Gizmodo:

“We’ve gotten pretty consistent feedback since the core books in 2014 that a number of our high CR monsters felt a bit too weak like they were punching below their challenge rating.”

Now, it seems clear it won’t be getting an overhaul, but instead, some of the higher CR monsters are getting beefed up:

“Part of this work was also us changing how these monsters earn their challenge rating. In those previous books, the monsters did hit their challenge ratings, but we used different method to hit it. In the past, all a monster had to do was have a set of compat options that, if the DM chose that right set, the monster's challenge rating. Here's the issue with that approach: if the DM doesn’t happen to pick that golden path, a number of those monsters then fall out of their challenge rating.
In Monsters of the Multiverse, we’ve changed the approach. We’ve now made it so that each of the monsters has multiple choice sequences that lead to the same CR. and so what tha’ts going to do is give groups who never fought the optimal version of the monster way more powerful…We also did protect their non-combat options, so it is possible for a monster to not be as threatening as its CR may suggest, but we made it clearer to the DM when they are taking that path. The DM will be able to make a more informed choice.”

Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse will be released as part of the D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set on January 25th - alongside copies of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything - as well as separately, both in print and digitally, on May 17th.

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