D&D 5E D&D Beyond Confirms Monsters of the Multiverse's May Standalone Release

Monsters of the Multiverse comes out this month as part of a gift set along with Tasha's Cauldron of Everything and Xanathar's Guide to Everything. However, if you don't need those older books, D&D Beyond has confirmed that Monsters of the Multiverse will be available separately on May 17th.

DDB's entry refers to the digital release, but these are typically timed to match the hardcovers. You can preorder the digital version from DDB now.

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The book compiles monsters from Volo's Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, and updates them to match WotC's current format; additionally it tweaks stats where needed to ensure monsters are worthy of their Challenge Rating, as some D&D monsters have been felt to be underpowered. In addition, it compiles over 30 races previously published in 5E D&D books, also updated to the current formats.


Update! WotC has confirmed the standalone hardcover release date is May 17th.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Form a third party publishing POV that literally doesn't matter. Unless you're simply reprinting existing stat blocks, you don't need the updated stats.
You're a 3PP so you'd know better than me, but I do have a couple of questions about that:

1) One of the sticking points of the GSL was the inability to reprint stat blocks from the 4E MM, a number of 3PPs complained about that (whereas obviously with the OGL you could). Has something changed there? Maybe it was just one complaint to add to the pile but it seemed like people were pretty peeved.

2) WotC themselves has suggested these MotM updates are better-balanced and play differently to the pre-existing versions of the monsters, which is indeed part of the reason they exist. Presumably that might impact how encounters play out and so on if people used one version or another? I guess if they're still the same CR or whatever it technically doesn't matter though.

As an aside, as I think someone else mentioned, I suspect the SRD will be updated with the new stats when DND2024 comes out anyway.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
You're a 3PP so you'd know better than me, but I do have a couple of questions about that:

1) One of the sticking points of the GSL was the inability to reprint stat blocks from the 4E MM, a number of 3PPs complained about that (whereas obviously with the OGL you could). Has something changed there? Maybe it was just one complaint to add to the pile but it seemed like people were pretty peeved.

Speaking for our company, we don't really reprint stat blocks. We have no reason to. We either simply refer to them (in which case the stat block is found in the MM or DDB or wherever -- we don't need to give you a goblin stat block) or if it's different to WotC's version we make our own.

I guess some other companies might choose to do otherwise. But for us it makes no difference. I mean I suppose maybe there's an edge case where we need to include the stats for a Dolphin Delighter, but it's trivial to work around and include our own version, the Dolphin Pleasurer.

2) WotC themselves has suggested these MotM updates are better-balanced and play differently to the pre-existing versions of the monsters, which is indeed part of the reason they exist. Presumably that might impact how encounters play out and so on if people used one version or another? I guess if they're still the same CR or whatever it technically doesn't matter though.
That's not really an OGL issue but yeah, I guess it will affect the game balance of existing products which assumed the old stats. Not much to be done about that unless you go back and update those products.
 

As another OGL publisher, my Studio considers it a quality of life increase to have the OGL. Likewise, many contemporaries of mine would disappear if not for the freedom given by the ogl
 




lkj

Hero
The only "evidence" we have here is that the WotC devs allegedly said the SRD would not be updated with the new monster changes.

If so, that would support the "alternate versions" interpretation. Which would be more in-line with charging full-price for the product and so on. That'll be messy and annoying, but I think it's ultimately the approach least likely to feel like a rip-off, and most likely to please the largest percentage of customers.

Re: Beyond's actions.

I maintain that it's dishonest to pre-sell a product to customers on a non-refundable basis if you are unwilling or unable to admit what that product contains/how it operates. I think the main difference here is US vs. European/British attitudes - US customers are infinitely more willing to defend and tolerate terrible business practices (though most still oppose them - but where 19 out of 20 European/UK customers might say bad practices are wrong, with the US it's more like 4 out of 5 with a lot of people invoking Caveat Emptor and so on). Non-refundable pre-orders are basically illegal here - the non-refundable being the issue (Kickstarter etc. isn't a pre-order so sidesteps this, but I think even that might have got in trouble if most KS people weren't quite refund-friendly). Whilst small deposits can be taken and retained (but aren't, generally), if you haven't delivered something digital, it needs to be possible to cancel it, as Nintendo found out to their chagrin (even delivering an encrypted prepack isn't good enough). As for "It's just the contract", IANAL but I was a legal researcher, work at a big law firm, and deal with contracts in my job a lot, some with requirements like this (and actually work with products not fundamentally dissimilar to Beyond, but that's a whole other story), and I'm sorry but I don't buy that excuse. That's unlikely to a hard requirement, and companies politely push back on such requirements, even clear contractual ones, all the time.

If they did push back, and WotC responded saying "Losers, you need to put it up for pre-sale even though we're not letting you tell your customers what is in it!", well, that's a pretty big black mark for WotC rather than Beyond, but I'm skeptical that that happened. It seems a lot more likely that they just didn't. Mild support for my belief comes from the language the Beyond staff have used to defend this, which has been essentially libertarian in tone - i.e. "customers can make their own decisions about their own money", and that whilst they've now repeatedly suggested they're prevented from revealing their approach (indeed suggested they didn't know what approach they'd be taking because of this), they've not suggested they were forced to put it up for pre-order, despite that being the main bone of contention.

I appreciate your point of view. It seems to me that we do know what's going to be in it (as much as any book you buy pre-release). And we do know how it operates. All we don't know how much value it will have to us as a consumer if we own other products. Meaning-- we don't know if some of the content is going to be redundant with other content we may own. That seems quite a different issue.

Anyway, it's ok. I'm not really trying to change your mind. I'll leave that topic be after this. I get where you're coming from.

But on the topic of 'evidence'-- Didn't the Smiteworks owner post that for FG you'd have to buy the new book to get the updated stats? Doesn't prove that's how DDB will be forced to handle it, but it's an indication.

I'll admit I'm less interested in the argument about when DDB announces the plan (we've got months before the book comes out). I'm more interested in how they'll implement it if the monster listings keep both versions. Could be messy. And perhaps that 'how to deliver' issue is what is delaying their announcement.

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But on the topic of 'evidence'-- Didn't the Smiteworks owner post that for FG you'd have to buy the new book to get the updated stats? Doesn't prove that's how DDB will be forced to handle it, but it's an indication.
I don't know how FG works, so I can't really comment on that. It does suggest the "duplicate monsters" approach will be the one, but I dunno how FG handled the Artificer or Bladedancer changes for example. Does it have two different Bladedancers if you own SCAG and Tashas for example? If so their approach is fundamentally different.
I'm more interested in how they'll implement it if the monster listings keep both versions. Could be messy. And perhaps that 'how to deliver' issue is what is delaying their announcement.
They're still specifically claiming that some sort of legal or contractual impediment is preventing them from saying which approach they'll take (which is contradictory to an earlier statement where they said they literally didn't know). I mean, given FG has said, I suspect them of being liars re: legal/contractual/WotC being the issue. And yeah, that would mean they themselves are trying to work it out, whilst blaming others (which is not exactly "honest" behaviour).

As previously noted, at least since their most recent ownership change, Beyond have been a "minimal effort" company. If you have two versions, the minimum effort approach is just to create a whole bunch of new races and monsters, write (MotM) after their name, and add them to the databases for people who own MotM. Presumably on the races screen for example there'd be an MotM heading with 30 races under it, all with the same name as another race, but for (MotM).

A more elegant way would be to have a "Use MotM replacements" toggle, but given how the Beyond people have explicitly refused to, for example, allow you to default or one-click-exclude books you don't own from the Monster search (you have to carefully, with a bad interface, instead click the books you do own (or have access to, either would help), from the dozens that exist - because every adventure is on the list - every single time you start using it, and if you press Back at the wrong time, it loses all your settings), I would be shocked if they were willing to build an actually-useful feature like that.
 

Although Doug answered it in another thread, for FG, if you buy the new book, you have both monster entries, one from the original and one from the new that you would see for a monster with the same name. DM can open both, one or the other for players to use the races or the monster stats.
 


lkj

Hero
I don't know how FG works, so I can't really comment on that. It does suggest the "duplicate monsters" approach will be the one, but I dunno how FG handled the Artificer or Bladedancer changes for example. Does it have two different Bladedancers if you own SCAG and Tashas for example? If so their approach is fundamentally different.

They're still specifically claiming that some sort of legal or contractual impediment is preventing them from saying which approach they'll take (which is contradictory to an earlier statement where they said they literally didn't know). I mean, given FG has said, I suspect them of being liars re: legal/contractual/WotC being the issue. And yeah, that would mean they themselves are trying to work it out, whilst blaming others (which is not exactly "honest" behaviour).

As previously noted, at least since their most recent ownership change, Beyond have been a "minimal effort" company. If you have two versions, the minimum effort approach is just to create a whole bunch of new races and monsters, write (MotM) after their name, and add them to the databases for people who own MotM. Presumably on the races screen for example there'd be an MotM heading with 30 races under it, all with the same name as another race, but for (MotM).

A more elegant way would be to have a "Use MotM replacements" toggle, but given how the Beyond people have explicitly refused to, for example, allow you to default or one-click-exclude books you don't own from the Monster search (you have to carefully, with a bad interface, instead click the books you do own (or have access to, either would help), from the dozens that exist - because every adventure is on the list - every single time you start using it, and if you press Back at the wrong time, it loses all your settings), I would be shocked if they were willing to build an actually-useful feature like that.

So, I don't agree with the 'minimum effort' contention. But it's not worth arguing.

But you think they are lying? I'm cynical but not that cynical. It's been obvious for a long time that the DDB license has a lot of restrictions on how they present content (i.e., they need to get approval from WotC). Sure, maybe they're lying. No real way to know. But it seems way more likely-- to me-- that they are hashing out an agreement for how to go about it on the site. I suspect the FG model for how the data gets used is simpler.

Sure, I can't prove that. Fair enough.

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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Aren't there enough monster books to be honest?
Why do we need more? What will this bring to the table?
What are you, my dad?! .~

Monster books, like dice, and like games themselves are just one of those things many of us can't get enough of.

I probably get more enjoyment from the monster books than any other type of TTRPG book. I have setting books and adventures that I have only paged through once. I bought them because they looked cool and hope to play "some day."

But I regularly page through good monster books. Not sure I will get this one...oh who am I kidding.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
This is the first two monster books redone. Also more monsters is always good

I thought the first monster book (The Monster Manual) is not being reprinted (mostly). I was under the impression that Monsters of the Multiverse reprints monsters from the various adventures and Mordenkainen's; as well as the races from Volo's.
 

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