D&D 5E Let’s Read Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse.

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.

Kobold Dragonshield (VGTM)​


Kobolds, as you may have guessed from my avatar, are my favorite monster type in D&D. There is just something appealing about the least of dragons, who are weaker than humans, banding together to stop the fearsome adventurers who would raid their humble homes.

The Kobold Dragonshield serves as the vanguard for their people. The kobold who boldly goes to the frontline so that all other kobolds can enjoy the benefit of their Pack Tactics. As a reward for their services, the Dragonshield is granted (relatively) great powers by a patron dragon. Increased strength and resilience, the ability to resist elemental damage, and the power to shrug off fear and paralysis. And to top it all off, the Dragon type (making the Kobold immune to spells that only target humanoids. Most commonly charm type spells).

Now you are probably thinking, that sounds like a lot, and while it is, a keen DM will notice that it’s almost all defensive power there. Which goes back into the Dragonshield’s role of being a meatshield. While they do have a multiattack with a spear, it is less accurate than a normal kobold attacking with a sling or dagger. Their best option in combat just might be dodging in front of the enemy, allowing the ranged kobolds behind them to shoot with advantage. Given the Dragonshield’s short nature, they won’t even grant cover to some of your bigger PCs. And while there aren’t a lot of kobolds who will be able to rush to the side of a Dragonshield in combat, they can be flanked with traps (preferably of the compex kind found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything). Guard Drakes* also work well with Dragonshields, particularly as mounts.

*also in this book.

In the changeover, the Dragonshield was changed into a Dragon. Their multiattack was changed to work with ranged spear attacks as well as melee, and their resistance chart now includes the influence of Metallic Dragons.
 

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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.

Kobold Inventor (VGtM)​


The Kobold Inventor is one of the best monsters in all of 5e. There are more powerful monsters, and scarier monsters, and definitively more epic monsters, but there is no monster that is better realized than the Kobold Inventor. It takes the theme of a weak warrior defending their home to its logical conclusion.

A Kobold Inventor is a combatant of desperation, someone who has to improvise weaponry, equipping themselves with anything and everything they can get their hands on. This includes weaponizing various chemicals, animals, and even plants that someone might find in a cave or a sewer system (that Kobolds often live in).

Out of the 8 options presented, the ones that produce swarms are the best bang-for-your-buck. All of the swarms can be a big tactical advantage, but the Rot Grubs in particular might have the biggest impact, considering your PCs will have to burn themselves in order to be rid of them. Next best attacks are the action denial series of Green Slime, Alchemist's Fire, and the Skunk in a Cage. The remaining two attacks are just for damage, and honestly unless you are rolling for attacks, the Inventor isn’t going to live long enough to use them anyway.

Years ago, back when we did a Let’s Read of Volo’s Guide to Monsters, I wrote up a few more possible entries for this creature, and I’m going to repost them here because I like them so much.

Skin of Soapy Water: The Kobold flings a water skin filled with alchemically altered water. Ranged weapon attack, +4 to hit 5/20 range. Hit: A target coated in this water must make a DC 10 Dexterity check at the start of all their turns or drop any item they are holding. Miss: A puddle of soapy water covers a randomly determined 5' square of floor within 5' of the target. This area counts as difficult terrain, and any character moving though the space must make a DC 10 dexterity saving throw or fall prone. The water evaporates after 1 minute, or a character can spend an action to use a piece of dry cloth to dry themselves or the area off.

Jar of Sticky Honey: The Kobold flings a jar filled with alchemically altered honey. Ranged weapon attack, +4 to hit 5/20 range. Hit: The target is coated in extremely sticky honey. The target requires an action to drop whatever they are holding, or free themselves from any item they touched in order to use. Additionally, the target has disadvantage on any escape checks they make to free themselves of a grapple. While they are coated in this honey, the character will be the preferred target of enemy beasts. Unless it puts the beast in undue danger, or the beast is instructed otherwise by a handler, the beast will alter their tactics to attack the character, and have advantage on all attacks against them. They honey dries out after 1 minute, or a character can spend an action to clean themselves off.

Music Box: The kobold throws a small box into space within 20' of it, which then plays a hideously loud noise. All creatures within 10' of the box must make a DC 9 constitution save or be deafened for 1 minute.

Trained Weasel: The kobold releases a weasel into an unoccupied space within 5' of it. The weasel has normal stats for a creature of its type, with the exception of being trained in Sleight of Hand (+5 bonus). On its turn, the weasel attempts to steal a small object from one of the kobold's enemies, and return the item to the kobold who released it. The weasel runs away from the battlefield after it has successfully stolen one item, or if the kobold who released it is no longer part of the battle, either from death or by running away.

Quick Drying Goop: The kobold flings a jar filled with a strange brown liquid. Ranged weapon attack, +4 to hit 5/20 range. Hit: The target becomes restrained for 1 minute. A character restrained by this may attempt a DC 10 strength check to free themselves.

In the changeover, the Inventor had its mental stats buffed, and the wording on some of its attacks were cleaned up. The Skunk now specifies that it incapacitates, for example.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.

Kobold Scale Sorcerer (VGtM)​


If PC sorcerers can gain magical powers from having the blood of dragons, it stands to reason that NPC kobolds could do the same. Enter the Kobold Scale Sorcerer, a tiny mage who just loves to burninate all the peasants and their thatched roof cottages.

Burning is not the only element the Scale Sorcerer can tap into. Their Chromatic Bolt attack allows them to swap between 6 different elements, allowing you to easily match or contrast any dragon patron that their clan might be serving. And if you don’t feel like switching that much, fire damage is good for setting off any ambient oil slicks that may or may not be strewn about a kobold lair after the traps go off. The Scale Sorcerer also boasts the new and improved spellcasting enabled Multiattack, allowing them to mimic the functionality of quickened spell, by attacking and casting one of their spells in the same turn.

Speaking of spells, let's go over them.
While Charm Person isn’t a great combat spell, it does afford them some use in other pillars of play.

Fog Cloud is useful for defense, and repositioning an entire force right under the noses of the enemy.

Levitate is useful for direct control, but there are other possibilities. Kobolds typically weigh around 35 lbs, meaning the Scale sorcerer could levitate some sort of large box or crate, have 4 or 5 kobolds and all of their gear inside of it, and use it as a floating weapons platform. Alternatively, just lift a really heavy rock and have it drop on the heads of the enemy, that works too.

Mage Hand can flip levers, push buttons, open hatches, or trigger traps from a reasonably safe 30’ away.

Prestidigitation can snuff torches. Which might come in handy if they are ever fighting a PC without darkvision.

In the changeover, the Scale Sorcerer had all of their attack spells compressed into the Chromatic Bolt attack. They lost their Heightened and Subtle Metamagic powers (which to be honest, weren’t that useful for them in the first place). And they also lost the Expeditious Retreat spell, which is a real shame. In return however, they gained the spell swapping Multiattack (something that better emulates the power of quickened spell for sure), and gained the spells Levitate and Fog Cloud. This spellcaster, in particular, is one I would recommend trying out in a fight to see the differences between the old way of making casters and the new way first hand.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.

Korred (VGtM)​


Korreds are hairy fey creatures with an affinity for earth and metals. They can locate gem and ore deposits with (presumably) their nose. And their hair is magical, transforming into whatever material it was cut with. Meaning many greedy people and monsters would be interested in getting their hands on one.

Fortunately for the Korred, they are a relatively tough CR 7 creature with some devious tricks.

Firstly they are naturally stealthy in rocks, which isn’t much but might let the Korred avoid some nastier battles. Secondly they have a handful of spells that make them very hard to pin down on combat. Stone Shape can be used to block off anyone giving chase, Meld into Stone can make a quick getaway where there wasn’t one otherwise, and Commune With Nature allows them to keep tabs on anyone who wanders into their area. Thirdly, they come equipped with a 50’ rope of woven hair that they can mentally command. This rope can slither around like a snake and then tie up any interloper that the Korred can see. This hair was cut by some iron or some other heavy substance because it’s remarkably stronger than the stuff your standard adventuring party has. In fact, the Hair Rope itself could be seen as an interesting reward for lower level groups that a Korred might need help from.

Korred also come with a burrowing speed and Tremorsense, allowing them to dig behind enemy frontlines for some bashing, or alternatively get high up on a cave wall to pelt their enemies with Rock attacks. And should their other control options prove ineffective, they can also cast Otto’s Irresistible Dance.

In the changeover, the Korred lost their Stone’s Strength power (though the extra dice are still there), and had the damage of their Rock attack nerfed a bit. Most importantly, they lost the Conjure Elemental spell, and the beefy backup it provided.
 

See, this is what I'm talking about. They made the monsters marginally easier to run at the cost of making them less interesting, with fewer options. And for a new player whose only exposure to D&D monsters will be these new books, they will have a less rich experience and won't know any better.
 

kapars

Explorer
The Kobold Inventor with its boosted stats is probably the best way to play a Kobold with Pack Tactics under new rules by playing a Spellcaster or Expert . Even a Warrior could do well with +2 on attack for the thrown effects.
 

See, this is what I'm talking about. They made the monsters marginally easier to run at the cost of making them less interesting, with fewer options. And for a new player whose only exposure to D&D monsters will be these new books, they will have a less rich experience and won't know any better.
Not really, the only real change is the Korred losing the ability summon Elementals. But the DM can always just bring in Elementals to back up the Korred. New Players will be able to tell what a monster is able to do much easier, and the DM has a less of a chance of playing them sub optimally.
 


They can, if they think to do it. But if all they have to go on is this book, why would they?
No they don't need to do it. But the Korred does not need backup Elementals to be a good opponent to start with.
Plus the Korred being able to summon a Galeb Dhur made it way more dangerous then it's CR suggested. As a Galeb Dhur is nearly as strong as the Korred, and has the ability to animate two boulders with the same stats as the Galeb Dhur.
 

No they don't need to do it. But the Korred does not need backup Elementals to be a good opponent to start with.
Plus the Korred being able to summon a Galeb Dhur made it way more dangerous then it's CR suggested. As a Galeb Dhur is nearly as strong as the Korred, and has the ability to animate two boulders with the same stats as the Galeb Dhur.
My point is, those options likely won't even occur to a new DM who only has this to work with, because the possibility is no longer evident. Its not just about playability and CR fairness.
 

My point is, those options likely won't even occur to a new DM who only has this to work with, because the possibility is no longer evident. Its not just about playability and CR fairness.
Yes and it's good the option is gone cause they won't accidently start slaughtering the Level 5 party with 3 CR 6 Rocks out of nowhere.
 


My point is, those options likely won't even occur to a new DM who only has this to work with, because the possibility is no longer evident. Its not just about playability and CR fairness.
was the ability to summon other creatures that could create other creatures all in the same ball park built into the CR of that original creature or was it just assumed you would add the XP for the rest?
 


My point is, those options likely won't even occur to a new DM who only has this to work with, because the possibility is no longer evident. Its not just about playability and CR fairness.
Is every monster statblock supposed to come with a list of other monsters that they pair well with then, all to ease the burden on the "new DM" that doesn't know any better?

The idea of pairing a fey earth spirit with other fey and/or earth spirits isn't exactly a huge leap to make...
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
They can, if they think to do it. But if all they have to go on is this book, why would they?
Because it's highly unlikely that any but the very newest players will only have this book to go on. There is a ton of online support through reddit and other forums, blogs, and videos or podcasts, or even just personally knowing more experienced gamers. And if someone is so new and inexperienced as to not realize they can change monsters as they like, then it's possibly better for them to not have a more complex monster to confuse them. Once they gain experience, they'll be able to change what they like on their own.

Don't forget that throughout (A)D&D's long history, monsters were rarely complex in a good way. They either had very little to go on or were given confusing or boring abilities. And yet, many DMs have been able to play them well. So don't write them off now.
 

Is every monster statblock supposed to come with a list of other monsters that they pair well with then, all to ease the burden on the "new DM" that doesn't know any better?

The idea of pairing a fey earth spirit with other fey and/or earth spirits isn't exactly a huge leap to make...
Putting some example monsters that they team up with well is actually a decent idea.
 


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