Preview VOLO'S GUIDE TO MONSTERS
  • Preview VOLO'S GUIDE TO MONSTERS


    Polygon has scored a look at the upcoming Volo's Guide to Monsters from WotC - six full pages, in fact, which give a very clear idea of what we can expect from the book when it arrived next month! From the looks of their article, it seems that WotC is using this as a testbed for the way they handle future sourcebooks. Polygon confirms the overall product description - 96 new (to 5E) monsters, tons of rules for monster PCs (goblins, orcs, firbolgs), and a buch of deep dives into some iconic monsters. The beholder section is nearly 14 pages on its own. Check out the article at Polygon for more!













    Comments 129 Comments
    1. Ghost2020 -
      Nice! Looking forward to it!
    1. Ath-kethin's Avatar
      Ath-kethin -
      I'm less against it than I used to be, but I still note the low CRs of the previewed creatures.
    1. Prakriti's Avatar
      Prakriti -
      Good Lord, that dissection picture.
    1. MonkeezOnFire's Avatar
      MonkeezOnFire -
      Quote Originally Posted by Prakriti View Post
      Good Lord, that dissection picture.
      At least they included a "modesty book."
    1. ZE_Lumis's Avatar
      ZE_Lumis -
      I'm so excited for all of these illithid and beholder variants, their lore, and such. I can only imagine what other great stuff is in the book.
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      The dissection picture is a direct homage to the dissection picture from the 2nd edition book the Ilithiad

      https://abload.de/img/illithiadp.8dissectiogsuwc.jpg

      And it looks really good. This actually makes me want to pick this up more (well, that, and the 96 extra monsters.)

      My biggest problem is that my players' PCs are getting upwards of 9th level now, and the types of monsters they're running into are getting a little more repetitive, as the number of high-CR monsters is fewer. I'm hoping there will at least be a few more critters that are CR 10 or more in here.

      Edit: YAY! Alhoons and Neothelids! At least some of my wishes are granted!
    1. Prakriti's Avatar
      Prakriti -
      Well, I'm no longer a skeptic. This looks great.

      Originally, I was concerned about having an unreliable source for a narrator. I didn't want all the "lore" to be cutesy fluff -- Volo telling stories about his drinking contest with a Mindflayer in a Waterdeep tavern, ha ha ha.... Luckily, none of Volo's personality seems to have creeped into the monster lore. Instead, the write-ups are jam-packed with useful information. I'm reminded of 2E's Monster Manual, my gold standard for monster ecology.

      Yes, I'm a little unhappy that all the previewed monsters are low in CR (we need more 10+ monsters!), but at least they're interesting.

      And there's this... "For an example of an eye tyrant that leads an organization of humanoids, see the section on the Xanathar Guild."

      Are we going to get a map of the Xanathar's lair?
    1. ninjayeti's Avatar
      ninjayeti -
      So...same price as the MM but with a quarter of the monsters? Sorry but IMHO this just looks like WotC trying to see how much filler they can put into a book and still get people to fork over their cash.
    1. MechaTarrasque's Avatar
      MechaTarrasque -
      Based on the font for Neotheolids and the Elder Brain, it looks like both will be statted up in the book, so complaints that everything is low CR is probably premature (unless they pull another ultraloth/death salad on us). Hopefully they won't follow the AP route and have a bunch of low level monsters and some really high level ones, but no mid-level ones.
    1. Prakriti's Avatar
      Prakriti -
      Quote Originally Posted by ninjayeti View Post
      So...same price as the MM but with a quarter of the monsters? Sorry but IMHO this just looks like WotC trying to see how much filler they can put into a book and still get people to fork over their cash.
      True. This is the main sticking point for me. 224 vs. 352 pages. $50 is a bit rich.
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Prakriti View Post
      True. This is the main sticking point for me. 224 vs. 352 pages. $50 is a bit rich.
      It's a common critique -- people said the same thing when the 2001 forgotten realms campaign setting came out, was their first 40 dollar book, but people still paid it all the same because it was chock full of story detail as opposed to stats. I'm all for more crunch as long as it's worthwhile, but good story elements are worth a lot to me, too. Also I o be considered is that things like the Hanjin Shipping debacle have repercussions, too, sometimes in very indirect ways.

      Either way, if the market doesn't bear it I'm sure they'll find out quickly.
    1. Jeremy E Grenemyer's Avatar
      Jeremy E Grenemyer -
      Hooray! Mindflayers and Beholders!

      That's a lot of what I was hoping for out of this book. Can't wait to buy it.
    1. Prakriti's Avatar
      Prakriti -
      Quote Originally Posted by MechaTarrasque View Post
      Based on the font for Neotheolids and the Elder Brain, it looks like both will be statted up in the book, so complaints that everything is low CR is probably premature (unless they pull another ultraloth/death salad on us). Hopefully they won't follow the AP route and have a bunch of low level monsters and some really high level ones, but no mid-level ones.
      I've made peace with the fact that if I want high-level monsters, I'll have to design them myself, so it's not a huge complaint, but... one of the issues with these monsters is that they -- like many of the high-CR monsters in the Monster Manual -- are rare and solitary. There's only one Elder Brain in an illithid colony, for example. You can't roll on a random encounter table and say, "You encounter four Elder Brains!" Whereas in low-level adventures, you can make random encounter tables for every single terrain type and never run out of options.

      So it's not just that we need high-CR monsters. It's that we need high-CR monsters that can roam dungeons and forests and deserts and mountains in great numbers. Almost everything that we have now -- behirs, dragons, beholders, purple worms, liches, etc. -- are rare and solitary.
    1. Henry's Avatar
      Henry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Prakriti View Post
      I've made peace with the fact that if I want high-level monsters, I'll have to design them myself, so it's not a huge complaint, but... one of the issues with these monsters is that they -- like many of the high-CR monsters in the Monster Manual
      So it's not just that we need high-CR monsters. It's that we need high-CR monsters that can roam dungeons and forests and deserts and mountains in great numbers. Almost everything that we have now -- behirs, dragons, beholders, purple worms, liches, etc. -- are rare and solitary.
      At least most of those mentioned are Legendary. If it's going to be rare and solitary, it also probably needs to be legendary, or it's going to go down much quicker than its CR suggests.
    1. flametitan's Avatar
      flametitan -
      Something just tickles my fancy about the Mindwitness, and how they can become the willing servants of flumphs.

      I want to do something with that, now.
    1. Enevhar Aldarion's Avatar
      Enevhar Aldarion -
      Quote Originally Posted by Prakriti View Post
      True. This is the main sticking point for me. 224 vs. 352 pages. $50 is a bit rich.
      Go back a couple of years and dig through WotC press releases and you will see that the MM was going to be much smaller and still the same price, but they said they had so many monsters they wanted to include that they threw something like 50-60 extra pages into the book for free. Sure, the MM would have still been bigger for the same price, but comparing to a book with extra, bonus, free content is misleading. I seriously doubt any future D&D book will be nearly that big again without being higher than $50.
    1. Prakriti's Avatar
      Prakriti -
      Quote Originally Posted by Enevhar Aldarion View Post
      Go back a couple of years and dig through WotC press releases and you will see that the MM was going to be much smaller and still the same price, but they said they had so many monsters they wanted to include that they threw something like 50-60 extra pages into the book for free. Sure, the MM would have still been bigger for the same price, but comparing to a book with extra, bonus, free content is misleading. I seriously doubt any future D&D book will be nearly that big again without being higher than $50.
      Let's compare it to the DMG then. 224 vs. 320 pages. Two-thirds of the content for the same price.

      Interesting, though. I didn't know that about the MM.
    1. Elderbrain's Avatar
      Elderbrain -
      WOW! Elder Brains AND Neothelids AND Alhoons AND... well, you get the idea. And that's just the Mind-Flayer related monsters! MEGA HAPPY!!! (The new Firbolg is... different.. but I can live with that.)
    1. AaronOfBarbaria's Avatar
      AaronOfBarbaria -
      Quote Originally Posted by Prakriti View Post
      Let's compare it to the DMG then. 224 vs. 320 pages. Two-thirds of the content for the same price.
      That's the effects of supply & demand at work.
    1. EthanSental's Avatar
      EthanSental -
      I was already planning on picking this up, even more so now with the recent previews WoTC has released.
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