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


A couple of things for WotC in 2024...

1. Arcane Burst would be a fine arcane cantrip for PCs, doing xd8 based on level and allowing a choice (per long rest, per level, IDK) of energy type. There is a pitifully small number of ranged attack roll cantrips, and I for one would love to shoot lightning or acid without being in melee or relying on saves.
2. AB should have been the template for an eldritch version for warlocks. Both NPC and PC.
3. If that feels too samey, I'd have definitely given the AB mechanic to warlocks first and given the flavoured attacks to wizards.

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Possibly a Idiot.
Oh yes, that's something I left out of my notes and should touch on:

Arcane Burst is a Melee or Ranged Spell Attack (which effectively removes any penalties for firing them off while in melee). The quality of PC cantrips aside, I personally feel like NPC casters should default to targeting saving throws.


I think they missed a trick with Arcane Burst. It's a good, default spellcaster ability. Why not use it to clearly show the differences between casters? Why not use the various cantrip rider effects to do so?

Necrotic Burst: Has Chill Touch's ability to shut down healing. Necrotic damage.
Befuddling Burst: Charms the target until the end of its next turn. Psychic damage.
Thunderous Burst: Deafens the target until the end of its next turn. Thunder damage.
Corrosive Burst: Next attack roll against the target has advantage. Acid damage.
Toxic Burst: Poisons the target until the end of its next turn. Poison damage.
Freezing Burst: Reduces the target's movement by 10 until the end of its next turn. Cold damage.
Concussive Burst: Pushes the target back 10 feet. Force damage.
Shocking Burst. No reactions just like Shocking Grasp. Lightning damage.

And so on and so forth. So much scope for adding in differentiation between the types of wizard whilst still having a unified approach.


Possibly a Idiot.
I think they missed a trick with Arcane Burst. It's a good, default spellcaster ability. Why not use it to clearly show the differences between casters? Why not use the various cantrip rider effects to do so?
And so on and so forth. So much scope for adding in differentiation between the types of wizard whilst still having a unified approach.
They did that for Warlocks, and it is one of my favorite changes in the book.


Technically, domains next to a deity are only suggestions in PHB, a cleric can pick any domain as long as it's justified. (I assume the DM has some say in this as well, just so you don't have clerics of the Goddess of peace picking the war domain). So the warpriest might be part of a militant order of moon worshippers, but it's not unbelievable.
I'm reminded of the Star Sapphire Lanterns (from the Green Lantern comics). Their emotion is love and they are (according to at least one comic I read) probably the more dangerous Lanterns because love conquers all.


Possibly a Idiot.

Wood Woad (VGtM)​

Today is one of the better lore entries in the book, the Wood Woad is a plant (a sorely underrepresented creature type), who used to be a person, but was ritually sacrificed to make an immortal guardian. The book goes as far as detailing the ritual process, which is a rare treat. The book also gives a few suggestions for allies, what happens to a Wood Woad who outlasts their guardianship, and how the plant sustains itself.

What the book doesn’t explain very much, is their combat capabilities.

In combat, the Wood Woad is a sturdy melee unit with some unexpected advanced movement tricks. Not only can they teleport around from tree to tree, they also possess a climbing speed, allowing them some 3d combat options. Unfortunately, the Wood Woad lacks any kind of ranged attack to exploit this impressive movement, but they do boast a bonus to stealth while obscured with vegetation, and regeneration. This means the Wood Woad can be used as an effective guerilla fighter, scoring some quick hits in an ambush, and running just as quickly away to heal up any damage dealt to them. With the eventual goal of whittling down the enemy or scaring them away.

The Wood Woad does have a vulnerability, which also shuts down their regeneration: Fire. And if you know anything about PCs, you know that fire is their first answer to any problem with plants (or just problems in general). Personally, I would alter the stat block a bit to make Wood Woads inspired by giant redwoods: give them Fire Resistance, and make Poison their weakness. PC Poison is just uncommon enough for this trick to work.

In the changeover, the Wood Woad lost their Magic Club power, but kept the extra damage from it.


Possibly a Idiot.

Xvarts (VGtM)​

Xvarts are one of the more interesting creatures, from a metaphysical point of view. Raxivort was a demon who stole a bunch of stuff from Graz’zt. One of these stolen items was an artifact that changed Raxivort into a demigod. Which sounds cool, but Graz’zt soon found out about the burglary, and instructed everyone in the multiverse to hunt down Raxivort and his artifact, for their own shot at godhood. Needless to say, there were many creatures willing to do so.

In response to being constantly hunted, Raxifvort spawned the Xvarts. Small blue monsters that were made in his image, so as to foil any divination spells used to track him down. To this day he goes around from world to world spawning more, just in case someone decides to look for him there.

To add yet another interesting twist, Raxifvort doesn’t have clerics. Instead the favored of his people tap into Raxifvort’s divine energies by virtue of having a part of that divine spark in them. Normally this would make a divine soul, but somehow the teachings of Raxifort made them into warlocks instead. It’s all slightly incongruous with every other bit of established lore about, well everything.

In contrast to the story of their people, individual Xvarts themselves aren't quite so interesting when viewed in the flesh. Basically, they are yet another short, greedy, and violent creature that could be mistaken for a type of goblin if you didn’t know the difference. The main difference you could observe is the Xvart’s ability to talk with bats and rats, but really that’s not much to go on in a vacuum.

Xvart (warrior)

The standard Warriors of the Xvarts have just enough mechanical complexity to set them apart from the legion of similar creatures. They have a shortsword attack that can automatically push opponents (so long as there is an ally nearby), a sling attack, and disengage as a bonus action. This gives them quite reliable formation breaking prowess that you otherwise wouldn’t expect from a bunch of small sized creatures, especially at CR ⅛. And, of course, they can always just push the PCs into a trap or pit for added danger.

In the changeover, the Warrior was changed into a monstrosity instead of a humanoid, and was given the auto-push rider in place of a bonus on athletics checks when pushing.

Xvart Warlock of Raxivort

As a warlock, these Xvarts enjoy the bounty that WotC has bestowed upon them with this book. As a CR 1 caster, they can multiattack with Raxivort’s Bite (which deals poison damage) or their Scimitar. Throwing in a Burning Hands for some AoE should be easy for them thanks to both their bonus action disengage and their Invisibility spell. They also boast an impressive selection of cantrips, which can allow them to set up distractions.

The Warlock had the standard caster changes for this book, gaining a multiattack and a signature spell attack in exchange for compressing their damage spells and a few third string spells that were most likely never going to be used.


Possibly a Idiot.

Yagnoloth (MToF)​

Yagnoloths are yugoloths who are in charge of writing up contracts and commanding lesser yugoloths in the stead of the higher ups. Making them fiendish equivalent to middle-management. That terrible image in your head naturally segways into their terrible form. Their most striking figure is their asymmetry: The left arm is simply massive, almost taking up ⅓ of their body mass, while their right arm resembles that of an ordinary humanoid.

Such a discrepancy in proportions lends Yangoloths to use their right arm with drafting out the contacts (though always with some exploitable loophole should the yugoloth need to break it), and their left to smash things.

In combat, the CR 11 Yangoloth has a variable multiattack that features the use of their Massive Arm attack, which deals force damage and stuns with an equally massive 15’ of reach. The Yugoloth can pair up this attack with either the one-two punch of the Electric Touch on their right arm (which can shockingly deal more damage), or a bit of tactical manipulation via their Battlefield Cunning or Teleport actions. Should a Stun land on the target, the Yagnoloth can follow it up on the next round with their Life Leech action, which automatically deals damage and grants the Yagnoloth some THP in the process.

The Yagnoloth also possesses a modest selection of spells. Lighting Bolt for ranged coverage, Invisibility for sneaking, Suggestion for negotiating more favorable contracts, and most importantly Darkness. Which can be used in conjunction with their Blindsight to perform the infamous Warlock tactic.

In the Changeover, the Yangoloth had their multiattack overhauled, allowing them to use Battlefield Cunning whenever available.


Possibly a Idiot.

Yeenoghu (MToF)​

Yeenoghu, The Beast of Butchery and Gnoll Lord, is the Demon Lord of slaughter and eating to an excessive degree. Despite the obvious parallel to gluttony, Yeenoghu maintains a powerful predatory form rather than the stereotypical portly frame you would find depicted on a creature that is constantly eating.

Despite being a Demon Lord dedicated to destruction, Yeenoghu is responsible for the creation of the Gnolls, who are his chosen way to influence the material world, though he also boasts a selection of loyal demons (some of which he also created). Other cultists are rare, and take on Gnoll-like traits, including the signature Rampage power and gaining the Gnashing Jaws attack (which should be considered a Bite attack for maximum synergy with Gnoll warbands), and most importantly, the “kill everything and eat it” mentality. Which is basically what all plots involving The Beast of Butchery devolve into.

That said, it would be interesting to see how PCs react to finding a young orphan who has become a Cultist of Yeenoghu (perhaps they did something horrible, like killing someone to make an escape, or ate some humanoid flesh in the presence of a Gnoll raid, and the Gnolls said “Kid, you are alright, come with us!”). Could they redeem such a person?

Speaking of cultists, you are going to need some backup when you run Yeenoghu. Both in order to maximize his powers, and to cover his weaknesses. Creating some higher CR gnoll backup is as easy as selecting an NPC and appending the Rampage trait and a Bite attack to them. His main problem will be dealing with Flying PCs so make sure that there are more than a few ways to knock them out of the sky. Keep in mind that Demons can also be cultists, so feel free to add Rampage to them too.

The Lord of Gnolls has his own lair, the Death Dells, which he largely treats as his own hunting grounds in order to play out The Most Dangerous Game. His lair actions largely serve to help his Gnoll and Hyena underlings, by granting them advantage or giving them speed boosts, but he can also spike someone to restrain them just long enough for the hunting pack to catch up.

As for his personal combat routine: At CR 24 (25 in his lair), Yeenoghu is a melee ground bound brute with a few control options. His multiattack allows him to attack with his signature flail, The Butcher, three times (presumably once with each head). Each of the heads of this flail have a different rider, two of them being control options, and the other extra damage. Paralysis is the most devastating option to be sure. Yeenoghu can also cast spells, but realistically (outside of using Invisibility to ambush) he would only use them if he had no other choice. Yeenoghu possesses the Rampage bonus action of the Gnolls, so if you are using some backup that can capitalize on that you should. His legendary actions are very basic: Move, attack (with some control), and AoE attack.

Once again, I have to stress that Yeenoghu needs backup to perform at his best. Don’t send him out without an entourage.

In the Changeover, Yeenoghu lost his madness table. He gained immunity to all non magical B/P/S, which makes him immune to fall damage. He lost the Spiritual Weapon spell, and had the damage on his other attacks bumped up a bit. I have to say it took me a moment to parse the new formatting on his Flail. Previously it was a numbered list, which made it easy to interpret as a subfeature of the attack. Currently, the numbers were replaced with bolded names, which make them look like separate actions in the new format.


Possibly a Idiot.

Yeth Hound (VGtM)​

Yeth Hounds fey creatures created by power fey creatures, as a reward for other creatures. Allowing basically anyone to initiate a wild hunt of their very own. They are also banished by sunlight, forcing them into the Ethereal until the sun goes down.

Yeth hounds can telepathically communicate with their masters and send back sensory information over any distance, and I can’t help but be inspired to use this as a somewhat malicious plot point. I am envisioning a Yeth Hound being “gifted” to someone who doesn’t want such a minion, and said “minion” going out into the world to perform hunts on their own volition, with the violent results being livestreamed directly into their master’s mind. This setup could even be used on a PC, providing a grim adventure hook: The PCs must play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse (or is that dog-and-cat?) and try to hunt the hunter down via the visions.

In combat the Yeth Hound is quite capable, despite being modeled after a dog. For starters, they possess a flight speed, which allows them to ignore most of the problems associated with being a quadruped in combat. Instead of biting every turn, the Hound should use its Baleful Baying power at every opportunity. The dreadful howling will frighten enemies, causing them to flee (and subsequently drawing AOs) and cause the Hound’s bite attacks to deal more damage. At least until their quarry makes their save. At which point the Hound can employ the tried and true drag-and-drop strategy on small sized targets if they are being extra cruel.

In the changeover, the Yeth Hound had their keen senses folded into their perception score.
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Possibly a Idiot.

Yuan-ti (VGtM)​

So, the Yuan-ti in this book are divided up into individual entries, much like the Drow were. But I won’t be covering them individually, partly because I am almost done with this book, partly because the lore in the Yuan-ti PC race write up has to be touched upon in order to gain a new frame of reference for the Yuan-ti Monstrosities presented in this book, and partly because the Yuan-ti Malison warlocks in this book should be discussed as a group for reasons I will talk about later.

The Yuan-ti humanoids are snake people, who may or may not be affiliated with the Yuan-ti Monstrosities. The Monstrosities are the snake people who are trying to topple governments, and kidnap humanoids in order to turn them into more monsters. There are no more references to the caste system (outside of the allusions to slavery with the Broodguard), nor any references to their lack of emotions.

Additionally, the type 4 and type 5 Malisons were not reprinted or even hinted at for this book.

Yuan-ti Anathema

The Anathema were once Yuan-ti Abominations, but underwent a ritual with the intent to bestow godhood upon them. Anathema are not quite divine, but consider themselves demigods, and expect everyone else to act like it. An Anathema can lead a city, or even multiple cities, and uses all the resources that implies to wage war.

In combat the Anathema is a CR 12 melee controller, boasting both a climb speed and a swim speed to round out their mobility. They possess both the Darkness spell and Blindsense, allowing them to do the Warlock tactic, but also have a grappling attack in their Huge Constrictor form, allowing them to keep someone in the Darkness with them, making said tactic much more effective. Their aura of fear provides another control option, which can last quite a long time, should the victim not make their save. And finally, they boast the Polymorph spell, which can be used as a control option, or as beefy backup.

In the changeover, the Anathema lost the Divine Word spell (a big loss). Additionally, their multiattack was overhauled, losing one of their attacks. They also lost the Shapechanger tag (Seriously WotC! Standardize your tags and make them index friendly, there was no reason for that change other than making things harder on the DM than they should be!), but kept the ability to change their shape into a huge snake, albeit without the reference to any magic spell, which prevents them from being counterspelled or having to use concentration at least. Their advantage on perception was folded into their perception score (allowing them to keep the bonus even when they change shape into something with one head), and on a positive note, they had their climb and swim speeds buffed by 10’ each, to a total of 40’

Yuan-ti Broodguard

The Broodguards are all that remain of humanoids who were transformed by a ritual, making them dumb muscle and totally subservient to the Yuan-ti. Broodguards can still comprehend and carry out assigned tasks, such as guard duty, and are often left to watch over Yuan-ti eggs (hence their name). The ritual for making a Broodguard is quite well documented by this book, even going so far as providing counters to prevent the ritual from completing.

But mostly, Broodguards only exist to be meatshields for the other Yuan-ti, which is somewhat reflected in their stat block. A CR 2 melee unit with an Average speed, their most notable features are their Reckless ability, and their collection of immunities to status effects. You would think that they could use some form of ranged weaponry (maybe even a poison spit attack), but they don’t.

In the changeover, Broodguards were stripped of their Humanoid status and turned fully into Monstrosities. They also had their Mental Resistance power replaced with outright immunities.

Yuan-ti Malison Warlocks (with a tag no less!)

The rest of the Yuan-ti in this book are Yuan-ti Malisons* who have formed various pacts with the Yuan-ti gods, but also act as priests. Each type of 1-3 is represented with a different pact. Though it would be relatively easy to retrofit any of the god-pacts with any of the Malison-types by comparing and contrasting the MM entry with their stat block, I have to admit that the Warlocks fit quite well with the pre-selected types. Of note, all of these warlocks lost the shapechanger tag, but gained the warlock tag. More importantly, the wording of their Change Shape Bonus Action allows them to use their Spectral Fangs attack, which can be quite the surprise when facing down an otherwise normal snake, and they can even use their multiattack with it, making their snake forms more deadly. All of these warlocks have Devil’s sight, but only the Nightmare Speaker has the ability to pair it with Darkness ( handy if you are making a group of them).

*See the MM, but they will likely be changed when that book is revised as well.

Yuan-ti Mind Whisperer

Mind Whisperers are type 1 Malisons who entered a pact with Sseth, the Sibilant Death. The primary god of the Yuan-ti, and the one responsible for their ongoing schemes to take over the world. As devouts of Sseth, Mind Whisperers have a reputation for being extra sneaky and backstabby.

In combat, the CR 4 Mind Whisperer functions as an artillery with a bit of control on the side. Their primary form of control is the Hypnotic Pattern spell, which can be quite effective if they can prevent their allies from striking the wrong foe. The rest of their kit is tailored to Social encounters, which is nice when dealing with a politically active opponent.

In the changeover, the Mind Whisperer was overhauled, changing from a melee focused unit with lots of mind control potential to a ranged unit that focuses on incapacitation.

Yuan-ti Nightmare Speaker

Nightmare speakers are Type 3 Malisons who made a pact with Dendar the Night Serpent. They are oracles of sorts, and love to torture people into having nightmares, which they can interpret as prophecies. While the Mind Whisperer’s primary mechanic was Charm. The Nightmare Speaker’s primary mechanic is Fear.

In combat, the CR 4 Nightmare Speakers are melee controllers, though you have to be careful with their concentration, as even their non-spell Invoke Nightmare attack has it. As for interesting tactics, they can use their signature fear attack even while in snake form, allowing for an ambush. Additionally, The Nightmare Speaker can fear one target and constrict another, giving their team a two-for-one control special. Should their control options prove to be less than effective, they can always fall back on Darkness for the infamous Warlock combo while blasting away with Spectral Fangs.

In the changeover, the Nightmare Speaker did lose a bit of their control potential (notably the Hunger of Hadar and Hold Person spells). But the extra spell slots more than makes up for it.

Yuan-ti Pit Master

Pit Masters are type 2 Malison priests of the sleeping god Merrshaulk, who was the first god of the Yuan-ti but has fallen out of favor on account of how he is sleeping on the job most of the time. In an attempt to wake him up, the Pit Masters perform lots of ritual sacrifices. The main thing you are going to notice about them is their lack of hands, seeing as how their arms are just snakes (they do have Mage Hand to somewhat compensate). Their gimmicks are sleep and poison (but not the poisoned condition, strangely). And they are notable for having the most dangerous snake form of these warlocks.

In combat, the CR 5 Pit Master is likely to open up with their Merrshaulk’s Slumber attack, even while in snake form, which can cause up to 5 targets to fall asleep. That can be followed up with Hold Person for a bit more control. Making them a slightly more dangerous take on the Mind Whisperer, but only for the sake of Combat.

In the changeover, the Pit master had their skills recalculated using the right numbers, resulting in a small boost.


Possibly a Idiot.

Zaratan (MToF)​

The Zaratan rounds out the quartet of high end animalistic elemental threats. This time taking the form of a gargantuan earth elemental world turtle. As essentially a living island or hill, you can have the Zaratan lie around for years with nobody knowing exactly what lies beneath their feet. Only to rouse itself from slumber and go on a rampage. You could even have a cult dedicated to waking it up or keeping it asleep running things in town. Or both, because secret conflicting conspiracies are fun to spring on your players.

In combat, the Zaratan functions as a walking earthquake, knocking over buildings and people as it simply moves though the area. Making essentially a more competent redo of the Tarrasque. While it can swim (in order to give off the island disguise) I wish it had the ability to at least ignore the difficult terrain that it makes (I would be tempted to include this power on principle when I use one), if not a full burrowing speed (which I would include if I was feeling extra deadly that day). At least it has a few ways to deal with ranged attackers. Not only can it simply knock over any buildings that they are perched on, it can also spit rocks accurately over an impressive range or as an AoE with a shorter blast that can potentially knock them prone out of the sky. Again, showing up that overgrown lizard.

The Zaratan also has an interesting selection of Legendary actions. Despite being relatively slow, it can get some extra movement or melee attacks. It can withdraw into its shell for resistance to all damage, and while there, heal itself. Which is something that will send PCs into a panic to counter. Though once again I would consider slightly modifying these actions to allow the Zaratan to heal up to full before it has to come out of its shell. At that level of the game it might just be warranted.

In the changeover, the Zaratan had all of its attacks reworked into various elemental damage types.
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They made all the races homogenous. Changed the lore and descriptions of races so they're Twitter approved now.
I'm not sure it's possible to have anything approved on Twitter. It's a cesspool.

What don't you like about the new versions of races? I didn't think I'd like them, but it turns out that there seems to be more design space to make races interesting when what differentiates them is more than which ability they get a boost to.

Epic Threats

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