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


Possibly a Idiot.

Armanite (MToF)​

Despite recent trends to add depth to monsters, demons are still mostly shallow, being violence incarnate and bent on the consumption and/or destruction of the natural world. Armanites are what happens when someone looks at a centaur and says “What if we make that into a demon?” Though they are used by Demon Lords in place of cavalry, don’t expect to be able to ride them into battle, their insatiable bloodlust makes them fight everyone all the time, even their would-be “allies.” Best you can hope for is to point a herd of them in the direction of the enemy, and watch them blast everything to pieces.

As befitting creatures intended only for combat, the Armanite has a multitude of attacks, and a multiattack that allows them to use 3 of them at once. Used primarily as a shock trooper, you can expect them to employ their 60’ speed to rush into the enemy ranks, let loose a Lightning Lance against the group, and mop up what's left using their melee routine. With their lightning resistance and proclivity for friendly fiendly fire, they don’t care who or what becomes collateral when they let loose with the Lightning Lance, zapping their own team if that lets them kill more. As a tip, even though the Multiattack says to attack with Claw, Hooves, and Tail, it’s best for the Armanite to lead with it’s Hooves attack, potentially forcing the prone status and granting advantage on the subsequent attacks.

The changes to the Armanite are honestly an improvement all things considered. More hp, removed Magical Weapons trait. The claw does a bit of extra lightning damage, and the hooves can knock prone. Just taking something described as being feared for having multiple attacks, and actually making those attacks do even simple things like prone, goes a long way to making a monster more than just a sack of HPs, even if their entire schtick is to be a sack of HPs that smashes other sacks of HP.

log in or register to remove this ad


Crown-Forester (he/him)
Thanks for this rundown. (Minor note: firenewts were formerly humanoids, not elementals.)

So in theory, you can now have an effect that specifically targets cattle? How odd.
Thanks, that was a typo; I must have gotten myself turned around. I did that in a few other entries before catching myself and fixing it. Was looking at three things at a time - phone (D&D Beyond), book (MP:MotM), and laptop (entering data). Sorry for the mistake and thanks for the catch!


Crown-Forester (he/him)
I mean, the Bladesinger's Extra Attack is pretty much a way to do the Gish so it makes sense.
Right. I just meant that Gish has been used as a general term for Arcane Magic+Sword even by WotC for years. We've debated on these very forums whether the Eldritch Knight, Bladesinger, Fighter/Wizard multiclass, melee Artificer, or missing Swordmage class (or some combination of the above) is THE Gish. WotC's stance seems to be that the Gish is specifically the Bladesinger Wizard.


Crown-Forester (he/him)
So in theory, you can now have an effect that specifically targets cattle? How odd.
I'm pretty sure that one could argue with the DM that Smite Cattle would still work against Minotaurs.
This is just one of the many interesting insights we're gleaming into the 5.5e Monster Manual. Some things are clearly setting up for that, so I wouldn't be ENTIRELY surprised if the creature type for Minotaur in the 5.5e MM is Large Monstrosity (Cattle).


Possibly a Idiot.

Astral Dreadnought (MToF)​

The Astral Dreadnought is a CR 21 flying eel with crab claws and a beholder’s antimagic eye. Unsurprisingly, they are encountered on the Astral Plane, and can’t leave the place even if they want to. Their only purpose, it seems, is to hunt and kill mortals who use the Astral Plane as a means of travel. For this they have two powers, the ability to sever Silver Cords on a critical hit, which instantly kills, and a rather unique ability to shove anything they eat into a pocket demiplane (which also causes the astral cord to reel the character’s physical body into the demiplane from the material world). Which means this creature belongs in a category of monsters designed just to give the screws to the players, much like rust monsters.

All that out of the way, there are few interesting things you can do with a Dreadnought, it’s personal donjon is essentially a mobile treasure vault, and any number of important things or people could be trapped inside. If you manage to kill one, the donjon disappears, and everything it ate suddenly appears in the astral void around it’s corpse. Which could leave a character who was previously trapped in the donjon, now trapped in the Astral with no quick way home. This being trapped in the Astral problem could even occur for someone who gets hit with the Donjon Visit power, meaning even if you win you could still suffer greatly from the encounter!

Before I get into combat, I have an important question for you all to consider: You are under the effects of an Astral Projection spell, speeding along, and suddenly you hit an Antimagic Field, what happens?

According to AMF:
“Magical Travel. Teleportation and planar travel fail to work in the sphere, whether the sphere is the destination or the departure point for such magical travel. A portal to another location, world, or plane of existence, as well as an opening to an extradimensional space such as that created by the rope trick spell, temporarily closes while in the sphere.”

And for Astral Projection:
“The spell might also end early for you or one of your companions. A successful dispel magic spell used against an astral or physical body ends the spell for that creature. If a creature's original body or its astral form drops to 0 hit points, the spell ends for that creature. If the spell ends and the silver cord is intact, the cord pulls the creature's astral form back to its body, ending its state of suspended animation.”

Now a DM could argue that the Antimagic Cone power causes an Astral Projection to wink out of existence temporarily, like a summoned creature. They could also argue that it just ends the spell. Or they could even argue that the AMC means those trapped inside won’t automatically bounce back to their real bodies when they hit zero HP. Personally, I think the last option is the best one, as it actually enables the creature to do what it’s intended to do.

Assuming my interpretation, the Dreadnought is a big dumb brute who just swims up to one of the PCs and tries to eat them like a shark. Using it’s bulk, speed, and Antimagic Cone to focus on what it perceives to be the easiest target out of the pack. Chopping them down as fast as possible, and if necessary speeding away from the survivors. It’s very fast for its size, but does not have much in the way of tricks other than raw DPR. Meaning the good old hit and run tactic is it’s best bet. Which could be an interesting plot hook as the remaining PCs now have to track down this apex predator. The Dreadnought has some other options in combat, but honestly they aren’t the best because of how many actions they cost. The Donjon Visit power is a temporary control that can force a target totally into the Astral for later consumption, or provide a brief reprieve from a nasty target that's close by. Psychic Projection is an AoE option, but rather costly at three legendary actions, and honestly it might be better to use those actions to just claw a single target down.

Interestingly enough, the only changes to the Dreadnought are the removal of the Magic Weapons trait in favor of Force damage on it’s melee attacks, the addition of Unusual Nature, some language cleanup, and their Psychic Projection getting more damage.


Crown-Forester (he/him)
Odd that playable goblinoids are still humanoids but their NPC counterparts in this book are now full fey.
That's how Eladrin already worked, for what its worth. Meawhile, MM Centaurs are Monstrosities while Player Centaurs are Fey…

I would assume that when 5.5/2024 rolls around, Elves and Goblinoids for PCs will in theory potentially get updated to that.
Then they'd have to errata Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, which I doubt they'd be willing to do so quickly, and based on changes in this very book! More likely Fey ancestry is used to give some but not all of the Fey features a Fey creature has.


Interestingly enough, the only changes to the Dreadnought are the removal of the Magic Weapons trait in favor of Force damage on it’s melee attacks,
Pretty much at this rate, in regard to the Magic Weapons trait, instead of writing that as a trait in the monster stat block, now they have that trait/idea represented by having an attack/weapon of such beings do Force Damage, since that's basically raw arcane magic in 5E. Less words to type out and more space for the stat block.


Possibly a Idiot.

Babau (VGtM)​

Babau are demons born from the blood of Graz’zt, when Glasya stabbed him in battle. In the book, Mordenkinen has a very strange quip with some seriously creepy old man energy about how he thinks Babau should be beautiful because their “parents” are hot. And the book used this blurb in favor of using that page space for going into any detail about what they actually do 😐. At least it has the seemingly noteworthy fact that they have “the cunning of a devil.” Presumably that just means they can make and follow plans. Because even though they do have decent mental stats for a demon, they are only above average when compared to a commoner (and that’s discounting the demons that do have superior mental faculties).

The Babau is a strange combination of an assassin and a controller. With a decent stealth score, Darkness, and even being able to Levitate themselves at will, the Babau doesn’t actually have to smash it’s way everywhere it wants to go. A rarity among those from the Abyss. As demons, they find themselves lacking Devil’s Sight to fully exploit the darkness, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem in combat, as they have multiple ways of hindering targets. Heat Metal for anyone in metal armor, Fear for a group of targets, Dispel Magic for casters, and even Levitate can be employed to keep some targets out of the fight (though it’s more useful for getting into fighting range). At first glance, Weakening Gaze seems like a foolish thing to use, considering it targets the strong weapon users via their Con save. But with a DC of 13, it has better than average odds against anyone who doesn’t have proficiency in Con saves, like the easy to spot Paladin or Cleric. Any of these can be spammed every turn they are in combat as part of their Multiattack, allowing them to claw and cast to their wicked heart’s content.

In a twist, the changes to the stat block make the Babau more complex. The Spear attack was dropped, and the claw attack had part of it’s damage become acid damage. Most impressively, the Multiattack now lets the Babau claw twice, or replace a claw attack with a spell or Weakening Gaze, which also means that Weakening Gaze is no longer a third attack for Multiattack. This trade off is a net positive for the Babau, allowing them more effective control options while they still lay down some damage.


So in theory, you can now have an effect that specifically targets cattle? How odd.

A couple thoughts:
  1. Great for the (forthcoming, I'm sure) Cowboy (fighter) and Rustler (rogue) subclasses.
  2. Boot Hill 5E confirmed!
  3. Wizards acquired Deadlands: The Weird West?
I'll just be mooo-ving along, now.

In all seriousness, thanks to the OP for the work and insights. :)


Possibly a Idiot.

Bael (MToF)​

Archdevil Bael, Duke of Hell. The Bronze General. Vasal of Mammon. Tactical genius. Naïve politician. Bael only really cares about fighting, which makes you wonder how in the hells he came to serve under Mammon. While that story may be lost to time, the results of the partnership are anything but. Mammon enjoys perhaps the most secure realm in all of the Nine Hells thanks in no small part to the efforts of Bael. In fact, there are several Archdevils that think Bael should be in charge instead of Mammon, if only so they could send him to the front lines of the Blood War.

There are a lot of high CR threats in this book. With 44 tier 3 and 27 tier 4 monsters respectively, it's just amazing how much space in this book is devoted to monsters that the vast majority of people will never actually use. Most campaigns of D&D end somewhere around level 11, and even the ones who go higher are likely to focus on a handful of these end game baddies.

Bael, being a legendary CR 19 Archdevil, is an endgame threat that your party isn’t likely to face anytime near the start of the game. Fortunately enough, there are ways to have his influence felt beforehand. Notably, Bael has his own cult of highly devoted warmongers. And if for some reason you feel like decimating your lower level PCs in combat, Bael loves to accept surrender, providing the conquered pledge both service and soul to him. Being press ganged into one of Bael’s 66 companies, and trying to find a way to escape with your soul could be an interesting campaign. He may just be one of the few Archdevils that a group of PC’s has a reasonable chance of tricking out of a contract.

And now for Bael’s favorite part of these entries: The Combat analysis. Bael is a General, direct combat is a last ditch effort. He has 66 companies filled to the brim with Barbed Devils. For the record, a company typically consists of between 80 and 200 soldiers. Which means somewhere between 5000 and 13000 units are under his command. Barbed Devils get two 150’ ranged fire attacks per turn. So good luck with that, I hope you are packing immunity to fire and the ability to fly at the very least.

Should the PCs somehow manage to separate him from the vast majority of his forces (and make no mistake, he needs allies to get the most out of his fight) combat isn’t going to be easy. Firstly, he can Teleport at will or as a Legendary action, or even cast fly on himself, making him all but impossible to lock down. Secondly he has Regeneration, that is turned off by cold damage (something he is resistant too) and radiant damage. Most sources of Radiant damage aren’t long-range attacks, so if it gets too spicy, he can do a tactical withdrawal into some hit-and-run until enough of the PCs are disabled. For his other Legendary Actions, he can cast any of his spells, make his allies immune to fear or charm (mostly useful against demons I suppose) or just burst down a target with an extra attack. His Morningstar swings for a significant 26 average damage every time it connects. While that might not feel like much against a t3 Fighter, the Tactical Genius is going to use his teleporting powers to Geek the Mage first. And it will only take one round to do so, Providing he shares his strategy with his troops.

Bael’s spell selection has a splash of control and a great big heaping of duplicity. Bael clearly read The Art of War and took it to heart. These spells have a hefty DC of 21 to overcome, even if they are targeting someone with advantage on the roll, it can still punch through. Fly is great for mobility, Alter Self or Invisibility can be used to ambush or get a few rounds of that sweet sweet regen in. Charm Person and Suggestion can be used to gain info on the enemy (or send one enemy home). Dispel Magic, Wall of Fire, and Dominate Monster are great for neutralizing threats.

Major Image is a great spell here. Like seriously, it only needs to last for one turn and could be anything! A wounded ally calling for help, a summoned devil popping up as backup, a wall that blocks line-of-sight. A bridge over a chasm. Major Image takes one action to disprove, and as long as the image eats one PC’s action it’s a win for Bael. If it manages to trick two PC’s that’s just gravy. The only way it could be better is if it was the 6th level version, which lasts independently of concentration.

Now for the changes. Bael’s Morningstar lost some damage. He also lost access to a few spells, namely Inflict Wounds, Counterspell, Symbol, and Animate Dead (the later two weren’t useful in the middle of combat anyway). In return Bael can cast any spell he knows as a Legendary Action. Dreadful becomes Dread, and no longer requires a Bonus action to use, just triggering whenever an enemy starts their turn next to him instead. Over all, the changes are a net positive.
Last edited:


Possibly a Idiot.

Balhannoth (MTof)​

The Balhannoth resembles a roper, without eyes. But they function more like a super-powerful mimic with mind-reading powers. Their entire shtick is to change the shape of their layer into something that your party is looking for (such as a resting place, treasure vault, etc) and then use it’s powers of teleportation and invisibility to separate the party from each other, eating them one by one. The Balhannoth supposedly feeds on fear and despair, but it has a bite attack and large fanged mouth, so I find such claims to be a little suspect. Maybe it just uses fear as a garnish? Because if it did feed off of such negative feelings, it wouldn’t want to kill anything. It would just stick creatures in a hole they can’t escape from till they died from starvation, and feed off the bad vibes from the other side of a wall or some other totally boring and safe thing like that, because they totally have the power to do so.

Which brings up a problem with the Balhannoth. It’s not that I can’t see how they set traps and feed, it’s more like I can’t see why they would ever willingly fight.

As a legendary CR 11 monster, the Balhannoth is smarter than an animal, and just a little dumber than a humanoid. It can kinda-sorta read minds from up to a mile away, then they can kinda-sorta reshape reality to make their lair look similar to whatever that mind wants (This is not an illusion! However, a routine inspection will reveal the area to be fake in some fashion). After this lair is shaped up, they send out a psychic ping that makes creatures think “Hey, that thing I want is probably around here somewhere!” Then they wait for the hapless creatures to come into their trap, where they hang from the roof, totally invisible.

Once a target gets into range, they can teleport it into a slippery oubliette for later, or grapple it and then teleport both itself and it’s snack up to the ceiling where it can make a quick escape via a side cave. Or it could teleport to any number of places where the target simply cannot run from them, and the rest of the group cannot easily find them. They could be hundreds of feet in the air above the party when the encounter starts. A lucky pull would allow them to chow down for a few rounds before help arrives to interrupt their dinner. When the help does arrive, it only gets in a turn of combat before the Balhannoth teleports away with dinner, or teleports the offending party away for more time to eat.

While it’s attack routine is a fairly standard bite + two tentacles (that can be used to grab). The Balhannoth has some incredible actions available to it due to being a Legendary CR 11 monster with a Lair. It can turn selectively invisible, which means unless it’s actively attacking you, you won’t be able to see it, even when it’s eating your friend. It can teleport itself and it’s grappled dinner as a legendary action, and it can teleport any target it senses with it’s 500’ of blindsight as a lair action. This offensive teleport could even be used to drop targets from the air, if no pit is available. It technically has a lair action that lets it reshape the lair, but that actually takes 10 minutes to fire off, so it’s almost never actually going to happen in the middle of combat.

Basically, it acts like a trapdoor spider, if that spider had the power to teleport.

The only changes to the Balhannoth, other than giving it’s powers proper names, were lowering the damage of it’s Bite attack. (Which subsequently lowered the damage potential of it’s Multiattack) and the Multiattack no longer has the option of 4 tentacle attacks instead of biting.


Possibly a Idiot.

Banderhobb (VGtM)​

Giant Amphibian and Hag enthusiasts rejoice! Today is a good day for toadies. The Banderhobb is a sort of homunculus created by hags in a ritual. Though they can teach this ritual to others if the price is right. For the short span of what counts as their life, they serve their creator without question. Normally, they are created explicitly for kidnapping or theft, but they could also potentially be used as a bodyguard, thug, or postal service.

In order to better find the target of their abductions, the Banderhobb has the Resonant Connection power that could best be described as a mystical compass that always points toward whatever they have a piece of, so long as it’s within a mile. Or you could imagine it as that one arrow from the Crazy Taxi games I guess. A potentially interesting hook for this power would be abusing it to find some long-lost treasure, like a broken sword you have a piece of. Or perhaps the hags (or even PC’s) gave the Banderhobb the wrong lock of hair, making the toad track down the wrong target.

When the fearsome froggy finally finds it’s fortune, it furtively founds it’s foray by falling upon it's foes from fields of faint fulgor.

That is to say it can use it’s Shadow Step to teleport into any area of dim light or darkness, then hide as a bonus action using Shadow stealth. This is useful for both ambushing a target, and running away from the group after it has secured the target. To help with securing the target, it can multiattack using it’s tongue to draw the target into close range, and following up with a Bite that grappels the target. If the target can’t break free, on it’s next turn, the Banderhobb will Swallow them. Restraining and blinding the target in it’s belly, letting it’s necrotic gastronomical juices knock the target out (fortunately, they can’t kill the target this way, even if they wanted to) At this point the only way to get the target out of that trap is by killing the toad, which causes the Banderhobb to regurgitate. Alternatively the Banderhobb could make it all the way back to their master, and then regurgitate. Either way, you are getting out of that mess the same way you got in (thank goodness, the other option is much less appealing.)

After it swallows it’s target, the Banderhobb bounces away, it has no reason to stay in combat. The encounter can evolve into a chase. If that chase fails, the encounter can spin off into a tracking skill challenge. If that fails, the Hag could send a gloating dream, or another Banderhobb with a letter, just to rub it in.

The Banderhob only has formatting changes for easy reading. While it technically gained the Multiattack Power, it effectively always had it if you read what the abilities do. Now the fact it can attack twice or Shadow Step and attack in the same turn is listed up front.
Last edited:

Epic Threats

An Advertisement