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

Remathilis

Legend
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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Leatherhead

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.
 

Tutara

Adventurer
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.
 

Leatherhead

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?
...Snip...
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.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
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.
 


Leatherhead

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.
 

Leatherhead

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.
 

Leatherhead

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.
 

Leatherhead

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.
 

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