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


That just reminds me of an old NES game...

Seriously though, anything that puts a time pressure on the PCs is usually good. Urgency means they can't over-think and over-prep for everything, and can help enforce a proper-length adventuring day.

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Possibly a Idiot.

Vegepygmies (VGtM)​

Vegepygmies are fungus creatures that are born when either a beast, giant, or humanoid dies to Russet Mold, a hazard detailed in this very entry. The mold itself has some interesting lore: An alien lifeform that hitched a ride on some hollow metal comet (which we would call a UFO or perhaps even a spelljammer) that crashed on the planet . How to get rid of it, where it came from, and who sent it here are all equally interesting plot hooks to base an adventure on.

The Moldies (an official alternate name, which makes me wonder why they still went with “Vegepygmy” for this printing) are omnivorous to the point where they can sift soil for nutrients, though they prefer the taste of meat bones and blood. And even if that wasn’t the case, their methods of reproduction would naturally put them at odds with any local populations. Which again provides a few plot hooks. Aside from hunting down the local people and animals, consider forming a cult around them. One that willingly sacrifices their sick and elderly to the Moldies, as either the next part of the circle of life, or a form of “Eternal Life”. You could even have one of those Circle of Spore Druids as part of the cult ( Providing for a PC origin). Alternatively, they are friendly to any other fungus or plant creatures and can be used to pad out such encounters as coverage units, rather than the main attraction.

I do love it when the book describes both ecology and possible allies.

The Moldies all have Regeneration that is shut off by fire, necrotic, or cold damage (Which is only really useful if they manage to run away from a combat) and advantage on stealth checks in natural vegetation (which is how they would be running away). They also have resistance to piercing damage of all kinds (not even just non-magic weapons!), which is remarkable due to how rare such a resistance is.

For this book, they, they come in three different varieties:

Vegepygmy (Warrior)

The warriors of the mold folk are average speed CR ¼ units that can attack with claws or sling. This combined with the aforementioned traits make them more than competent for most combat situations around that tier. Their Regeneration really shines at this CR, as it is possible for a martial PC to down one relatively quickly, before anyone could think to burn them, allowing the trait to get the maximum effect out of the action economy granted. Plus, playing dead for a round or two could allow them to get into a more advantageous position as the front line moves past them.

The Warriors were given a HP boost for this printing.

Vegepygmy Chief

The Chiefs of the mold folk are stronger warriors who managed to live long enough to get to CR2 and multiattack with a spear. They also have an AoE spore attack that poisons, deals poison damage, and can produce new Moldies like Russet Mold.

The Chiefs were not significantly updated for this reprinting.


Thornies are what happens to animals who are caught by the Russet Mold spores. I have to say, they are a bit underwhelming. As a Medium CR 1 creature, they are meant to be the meat on the front line while the rest of the Moldies unleash ranged attacks, which kind of works but not really. They are too slow to be a mount (and one of their abilities implies it would be unpleasant to use them as such). They do have an ability that deals damage to a creature that is grappling them, but honestly who is going to willingly grapple a creature with spikes to begin with? It would be better if the Thorny had an attack that could grapple and use the spikes offensively.

For this reprinting, Thornies had the die on their bite attack increased, giving them more damage.


Possibly a Idiot.

War Priest (VGtM)​

The War Priest is a Cleric (this time with a proper tag) who worships a god of war. Naturally, they are found in great battles leading armies or serving as high ranking officers. The book has a table for random holy symbols, should you not be running in one of the premade settings. Though to be honest, most of them are more like holy relics, rather than the typical kinds of symbols found in the PHB.

Seeing as how we have already talked about how healer NPCs function significantly worse as healers under the new spellcaster rules (see the Bard entry for more), I will instead comment on the removal of the (Any Race) tag from NPCs. In the MM, the tag is used to denote creatures that can have racial traits added to them for the purposes of customizing them to fit your adventures. MotM does not have this tag. Nor, presumably, will future books use it. Granted, a DM doesn’t need explicit permission to change the stats of monsters, but reminders are a nice thing for DMs to have. It does make me wonder if there is going to be some quick and easy templating for NPCs in either the new MM or the new DMG. The reason I am mentioning this now (other than not trying to be a broken record) is that the art of the War Priest features an Elf or a Half Elf, but the stats are those of a human. Featuring no Darkvision or enhanced saving throws. The Cleric also worships Selûne as a War Priest, but that’s besides the point. (and maybe also a feature of Clerics in the revised edition: Pick your god and worship as you will sounds like it might be an interesting angle to work with).

In Combat, the War Priest is a competent CR 9 Frontliner, with some short range coverage attacks, and some significant control options. Holy Fire, their default ranged attack which can be used as part of a multiattack, offers Blindness. While they cannot swap out an attack for a spell, they can cast a few worthwhile ones. Hold Person provides paralysis. Banishment totally removes an enemy from the field for a short time. Dispel Magic is handy for enemy casters. Guardian of Faith punishes foes who try to press checkpoints. Flame Strike is OK when fighting enemy formations. Lesser Restoration and Revivify are more for after combat. And the rest of their spells are kind of just around for flavor purposes.

As a Bonus Action, the War Priest can heal a target for 12ish HP. Which is basically nothing at CR 9. Even their own multiattack deals over 4 times that much damage in a single turn. I have no idea what WotC is going to do for healers moving forward, but I hope it isn’t more of this. Full disclaimer, I hate combat healing, but I can’t even call this healing. I am fully aware that if the PCs are able to do it, they will, and it will force encounter design to go out of whack. But NPCs aren’t PCs. They are tools for the DM to use. If a DM wants there to be a combat healer to direct a narrative in combat like “You need to disrupt the cultists giving the Demon vigor!” or “This monster is massively powerful, but my prayers will help protect you” It should be an option.

The War Priest was totally overhauled for this new printing. Losing a ton of spells, the entire spell slot mechanic (which is, imo, necessary for NPC healers if you aren’t going to give them beefy powers to compensate), and the Guided Strike reaction (which was mimicking the signature Channel Divinity of PC War Clerics). In return, their Maul strike deals extra radiant damage, and can be used in a three part multiattack in conjunction with their new Holy Fire attack.


Seeing as how we have already talked about how healer NPCs function significantly worse as healers under the new spellcaster rules (see the Bard entry for more), I will instead comment on the removal of the (Any Race) tag from NPCs. In the MM, the tag is used to denote creatures that can have racial traits added to them for the purposes of customizing them to fit your adventures. MotM does not have this tag. Nor, presumably, will future books use it. Granted, a DM doesn’t need explicit permission to change the stats of monsters, but reminders are a nice thing for DMs to have. It does make me wonder if there is going to be some quick and easy templating for NPCs in either the new MM or the new DMG. The reason I am mentioning this now (other than not trying to be a broken record) is that the art of the War Priest features an Elf or a Half Elf, but the stats are those of a human. Featuring no Darkvision or enhanced saving throws. The Cleric also worships Selûne as a War Priest, but that’s besides the point. (and maybe also a feature of Clerics in the revised edition: Pick your god and worship as you will sounds like it might be an interesting angle to work with).

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 do lament the loss of racial traits to make NPCs unique (yet another bit of flavor sacrificed for spreadsheet balance) but that said most end up ribbons anyway (darkvision, bonus to a type of save, etc) or were wildly ineffective (dragonborn breath damage was almost always the worst choice beyond CR 1). A few times they matter (flight, resistances, useful innate spells) they would change the CR anyway and you're basically building a new monster anyway.

Maybe the updated DMG will devote some much needed ink towards modifying monsters beyond squinting and saying "close enough".


Possibly a Idiot.

Warlocks (VGtM)​

If for some reason you haven't read the rest of my posts in this thread and jumped straight to this post to find out about how the new NPC Warlocks fair under the new spellcasting system, I have good news for you: I am going to once again tell you that Warlocks are absolutely awesome under the new spellcaster rules. (Which is not the case for some other spellcasters, I assure you!) Do keep in mind these aren’t the only Warlocks in this book, but these are the ones most people are thinking of when they go looking for a Warlock NPC, due to their names.

NPC Warlocks have more leveled spell uses, seeing as how they are no longer restricted to just two or spell slots. Warlocks typically come with some sort of additional signature power, like a bonus action or a reaction, that mimics a Warlock Spell, further stretching their magical potential. And finally, Warlocks don’t default to Eldritch Blast. Instead they each have a far more flavorful attack option that is thematically tied to their Patron. Fiendlocks shoot Hellfire explosions, Feylocks have a befuddling word not entirely unlike Vicious Mockery (but WAY more powerful), and GOOlocks rip holes in the fabric of reality which causes eldritch fear in the hearts of all who are inside of it. Seriously, I have seen people complaining that the new NPC Warlocks don’t have Eldritch Blast, and all I can think about is how I wish PC warlocks worked more like their new NPC brethren by not needing it to reach their maximum potential! Other Warlocks have similar custom attacks, which can be found in their entries.

All the Warlocks in this entry also come with Mage Armor at-will, so there is no reason why they shouldn’t have running in any given situation (unless, maybe, they just woke up or were recently Dispeled)

Warlock of the Archfey

The Warlocks with Fey patrons. At CR 4, they have the most non-combat utility in their skill and spell selection. Their signature attack is the aforementioned Bewildering Word. Which can be used in a Multiattack. Should their enemies prove resistant to this attack, they can fall back on a Rapier with extra force damage. As a bonus action they can teleport and turn invisible, making escapes easy. Their Combat spell selection is a bit on the thin side, but that was effectively true for all warlock NPCs to begin with. Hold Monster is the stand out option here.

We went over the broad strokes of the changes already. The Feylock also gained more AC and HP, giving it significantly more resilience.

Warlock of the Fiend

Warlocks with a pact from the Lower Planes. At CR 9, they toss Hellfire everywhere, all the time. It’s basically that Fireball meme but as an actual stat block. While they do have some social grace, they are meant to burn things to the ground. Should someone attempt to accost them, they can use Fiendish Rebuke to punish the attempt. Banishment is their primary control ability, and Plane Shift can be used to make an escape.

The Fiendlock was massively changed for this new update. They lost a lot of seemingly arbitrary powers in favor of the new system, and also gained a bit of armor.

Warlock of the Great Old One

Warlocks with powers from the Far Realm. They aren’t as sociable as the other kinds of warlocks, which is understandable. At CR 6, their Howling Void attack is an AoE that deals a bit of damage and frightens those caught in the rift. If the AoE isn’t a viable option, their dagger can be used at ranged or in melee, where their Whispering Aura can score a bit more DPR. Their spells are mostly utility.

For the Changeover, the GOOlock unfortunately lost their mind-control spells, which is a shame. They, too, gained a bit of armor in the crossover.


Possibly a Idiot.

Warlord (VGtM)​

Warlords are not the 4e leader class that can non-magically heal, but they can still lead armies around. Maybe if the Warlord fans start saying “Warlord Confirmed” on every WotC announcement they can get one in sometime around 2028.

As an NPC, Warlords come with a table of battlecries to shout in the heat of battle. But I have to say this table lacks the flavor that other such tables in this book.

The warlord is a Legendary CR 12 creature, as befitting a creature that lives for combat. Instead of Legendary Resistance, they have the inferior Indomitable to bolster their saving throws. They also have Survivor, which is a tweaked variation of Regeneration, having no bypass but only functioning between 1 hp and ½ of their total hp. Which is only a minor inconvenience in most fights. Offensively they have the standard warrior toolkit featuring a multiattack that can use a Greatsword or a Shortbow, and rely on Legendary Actions to make up the DPR. While their own extra attack can be used, it is often far better for them to command a heavy hitter on their side to make an attack for them (So include some smashy allies in the encounter for them to use). Should you want something other than DPR out of your warlord, they can also inflict fear on a single target for a single turn at the cost of two legendary actions.

All in all: As a Warrior they are far too basic to warrant being a Legendary Creature for this CR Range. As a Warlord, they leave even more to be desired. I get that healing is a problem, but playing chess with their allies was a totally overlooked option for some reason.

Warlords were not significantly changed for this reprinting.


Possibly a Idiot.

Wastrilith (MToF)​

Wastriliths are amphibious Demons that foul any water they inhabit with abyssal influence. This unholy water can be used to poison anything that lives or drinks the water, going as far as corrupting them. The book recommends using Chapter 2 of the DMG to represent this corruption, but any of the cultist options presented in this book would also work. As would the Flesh Warping power of the Sibriex, or the Demon Ichor tables from Descent into Avernus. You could even twist the script a bit to make Sea Spawn or Deep Scions their fishy minions. There is also a seemingly throwaway line about how the corrupted water gives Temp HP to Demons, that could be expanded to make a “healing potion” of sorts for any of the Wastriliths cultists or minions.

Demons that corrupt are far more interesting that the Demons that simply destroy. And the Wastrilith can deliver on the corruption front. If you want to run a Shadow over Innsmouth inspired adventure, but with less Lovecraft, you have an option here.

In Combat, the Wastrilith is an incredibly fast CR 13 skirmisher, who also boasts significant terrain manipulation powers for further speed control and area denial. While in the water at least. Given a recent second opinion about how breathing works, it is entirely possible for the Fishy Fiend to drag an enemy deep below the surface and have them drown. The water around the Wastrilith serves as light obscuration, difficult terrain, and a patch of poison. Making it incredibly hard for a creature without a swim speed to escape to the surface. The Demon can use their Grasping Spout to aid with this tactic as part of their standard multiattack.

Wastriliths were not significantly changed for this reprinting.


Possibly a Idiot.

Wizards (VGtM)​

The entry you have all been waiting for, I am sure: Wizards. The iconic spellcasters of D&D. All of which have been changed in accordance with the new formatting of this book. Wizards for 5e have been branched off into schools, and the 8 schools from the PHB (plus a generic apprentice) have been represented here. All of the Wizards have Wizard in their name, which counts as having the Wizard tag in every area except the most useful one: Performing a quick search by tags on D&D Beyond.

Because the “New” CR system assumes DPR and “Ease of Use for DMs” (instead of just having the DM know that tossing out a Wall spell or the like is one of the most devastating things you can do as a Wizard), you would think that WotC would make it so that a Wizard NPC could cast a spell and toss out an attack for DPR. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Each of these Wizards has an ability that is modeled off of the PC school of the same name. They also possess the Arcane Burst attack (for some reason the attack is significantly different depending on the Wizard) and often a Multiattack for their offensive output, but lack the ability to swap one of those attacks with a spellcast. Instead, most of the Wizards here use their bonus action and/or reaction to use their signature powers. If you know about the Wizard in the PHB, you know that most of their subclass powers aren’t exactly the most impactful things. Portent might be the most infamous outlier, but even that is primarily just a way to land the impactful spells more often. I cannot help but feel like some of these Wizards are half-baked, considering other Wizards in this book have fared much better in the transition

Interestingly enough, there is no random table for spellbooks in this entry, despite that being the obvious pick for a NPC Wizard table.

Apprentice Wizard

Apprentices are CR ¼ Magelings. People who have just started out training in the arcane arts. They know just enough magic to get themselves into trouble, and possibly defend themselves when said trouble comes knocking. In combat, the Apprentice should have Mage Armor running (if they know it is coming). Laying out the DPR with their Arcane Burst attack and Burning Hands spell.

In the changeover, the Apprentice lost Shield and Mending, but gained Mage Armor and Mage Hand in their stead. They also lost their dagger attack, but gained a bit of HP.

Abjurer Wizard

Abjuration is the school that deals with protective magics and anti-magics. To illustrate this, Abjurers have the Arcane Ward reaction, which can be used to reduce the damage one target receives from a single source of damage. For offense, they have the Arcane Burst (force damage) and Force Blast (which sort of mimics Thunderwave) attacks. Both of which are actually quite a bit more potent than you would expect from a defensive mage seeing as how they are CR 9. They have a selection of spells that spans defense, utility, and (for some reason) offense. All of their Big Ticket spells require concentration, and which one to pick is entirely dependent on the situation the Abjurer is in. Area control or single target control, self defense or targeted defense. Options are good.

Outside of the entirely new spellcasting system, the most notable change to the Abjurer is the lack of Counterspell, or any equivalent reaction. If any Wizard should have countermagic, the Abjurer is it. The other notable changes are the new format of Arcane Ward, which is no longer a rejuvenating pool of damage reduction, but a single use reaction with a recharge of 4-6. And a slight boost to HP.

Conjurer Wizard

Conjuration is the school that deals with teleportation and summoning. To that end, the Conjurer has a Bonus Action Benign Transportation (recharge 4-6) that can be used for teleportation (even swapping to characters around if need be) and the Summon Elemental power, which does exactly what you think it does: giving the Conjurer a CR 5 elemental pet, but without the need of Concentration. Conjurers have an arcane burst that deals force damage, and a selection of offensive and control spells to pick from. They also have Fly, which could be useful if they ever get to fall back to extreme range with it.

Conjurers have had one of the better transitions. Their only noticeable lack is of the higher level Conjuration control spells, but freeing up their summons by removing the Concentration from it really opened up their combat options. Also their Benign Transportation recharges automatically now. Overall, a good change.

Diviner Wizard

Diviners wield the school of Divination, seeing the future, plucking at the strands of fate, seeing the unseen. All that kind of jazz. They can deal a lot of damage with their CR 8 Arcane Burst, which is radiant damage (how?). They also have the Overwhelming Revelation AoE stun power (nice). And their signature Portent allows them to force a reroll on any d20 attack save or check they can see up to thrice daily. The Diviner has the weakest selection of spells so far, being mostly utility spells, alongside Fly and Lighting Bolt for some reason.

Diviners have had one of the worst transitions, losing all of their control spells, which is what made Portent so powerful on them. Portent was also changed to 3/day, instead of recharging whenever they cast a divination spell, which honestly makes it more usable. They also got a smattering of more HP.

Enchanter Wizard

Enchanters use Enchantment magic, which is all about mind control in D&D. The book specifically calls out malevolent Enchanters as some of the most evil spellcasters. A nice nod to recent online discourse. Enchanters are on the weaker side of the Wizard spectrum, being only CR 5. They have a Psychic flavored Arcane burst, and Instinctive Charm to redirect attacks from themselves to another target. They boast a selection of charm spells (though nothing on the level of actual mind control like Dominate Person, or even just Crown of Madness). They do have Hold Person as a control option at the very least.

Enchanters didn’t lose much in the transition, but they didn’t get much either (basically just some HP). Honestly, they are only going to truly miss Fireball and Dominate Beast. But IMO, WotC should have at least thrown in some way for the Enchanter to directly mind-control their enemies for flavor and gameplay elements.

Evoker Wizard

Evokers cast the spells that burninate all the peasants and their thatched roof cottages. Seeing as how Evocation is the school of direct elemental damage spells, like Fireball, and a few other elemental effects. The Evoker has an Arcane Burst, but that is a secondary attack to their Sculpted Explosion, which is a souped-up variation of Fireball with a 4-6 recharge. Their spell section features a few supplementary damage spells and Wall of Ice for a control option.

For the changeover, the Evoker had most of their damage options compressed into Sculpted Explosion. They also lost the notable spells Mirror Image, Counterspell, and Misty Step from their spell selection. Even going as far as losing the Sculpt Spells signature power, all in exchange for a boost to HP.

Illusionist Wizard

Illusionists practice the art of Illusion, which is mostly just an excuse for the DM to make stuff up more than normal. Illusionists are only CR 3, have an Arcane Burst of the psychic type, a Displacement bonus action that gives disadvantage to incoming attack rolls, and a spell selection full of misdirection spells that can be used for soft control.

The illusionist lost basically nothing in the transition, other than the Fear condition from one spell. In exchange they gained some HP and a different recharge mechanic for Displacement.

Necromancer Wizard

Necromancers practice magic that manipulates the dead, commonly known as Necromancy (which is a sort of misnomer) Necromancers (at least ones of sufficient level) typically animate undead to do their bidding, backing up their army with control or debuff spells as needed. At CR 9, they have a necrotic Arcane Burst (They really need to change the name going forward), can summon 5 undead as a bonus action, and have a small selection of control spells to fall back on. Their signature Grim Harvest ability triggers whenever they kill a target with Necrotic damage, regaining them a bit of HP

In the changeover, Necromancers lean more towards the Conjurer level of changes. They lost a bit, but everything that was kept made them better in practice. (Cloudkill would have been nice to keep though). Summoning undead is a nifty power that really works thematically, given that it’s hard to just have someone walk around with a bunch of zombies all day long. Necromancers also gained a bit of HP.

Transmuter Wizard

Transmuters practice Transmutation, the school of magic that changes things, and are vaguely inspired by IRL alchemist. Transmuters are CR 5, have an Arcane Burst that deals Acid Damage, and use a selection of spells primarily composed of control and utility effects. Their signature ability lets them change the passive bonus on their Transmuter’s Stone or cast Alter Self as a Bonus action. One nifty trick you can pull is have the Transmuter Polymorph themselves into a Brontosaurus*, twice, allowing them to become a massive melee threat and extending their encounter lifespan significantly.

*:Earlier in this book

Transmuters didn’t lose much in this reprinting, basically just the Blink and Expeditious Retreat spells, in return for a bit more HP.

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