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D&D 5E List of All 33 Races in Mordenkainen's Monsters of the Multiverse

Mordenkainen Presents Monsters of the Multiverse contains 33 races compiled from previous Dungeons & Dragons books.

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  • Aarackocra
  • Assimar
  • Bugbear
  • Centaur
  • Changeling
  • Deep Gnome
  • Duergar
  • Eladrin
  • Fairy
  • Firbolg
  • Genasi, Air
  • Genasi, Earth
  • Genasi, Fire
  • Gennasi, Water
  • Githyanki
  • Githzerai
  • Goblin
  • Goliath
  • Harengon
  • Hobgoblin
  • Kenku
  • Kobold
  • Lizardfolk
  • Minotaur
  • Orc
  • Satyr
  • Sea Elf
  • Shadar Kai
  • Shifter
  • Tabaxi
  • Turtle
  • Triton
  • Yuan-ti

While reprinted, these races have all been updated to the current standard used by WotC for D&D races used in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, including a free choice of ability score increases (increase one by 2 points and another by 1 point; or increase three by 1 point), and small races not suffering a movement speed penalty.

The video below from Nerd Immersion delves into the races in more detail.

 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Azzy

KMF DM
I don't like most of official D&D lore and I don't necessarily need extensive lore in the rule books. However, ultimately this is a game of imagination, and rules should come with some evocative fiction, and the rules should actually at least somewhat coherently represent that fiction. The rule books should actually try to get my imagination is going. Sell me the haregon, tell me what they're like and have that be represented in their rules. I feel the direction we're going is 4e-style disassociated mush, which I didn't like. Now I get some people really liked how 4e did things, so this is matter of preference. 🤷
As someone whose DM life involved more homebrewed settings than published settings, I haven't been a fan of much of the expansive generic lore that's been pushed in 5e (especially via Volo's, Mordenkainen's, & Fizban's). Keep generic lore short and sweet—and, most importantly, easily overwritten. The settings books are where the expansive lore needs to be.

Non-setting-specific books having either minimal generic lore that's specifically given as an example of what a DM might do, or call outs to different settings to give examplaes show how races/monsters/whatever lore looks through different lenses. I prefer the latter because to can contrast, say the orks used as mercenaries by Greyhawk's Great Kingdom against the Many-Arrow orks of the Forgotten Realms, and the Shadow Marches orks of Eberron.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I don't think that any world needs that, including Earth. Especially not a D&D world, where the DM is supposed to be guiding the story and at least understand the basic fundamentals of it (who the gods are, who worships them, who had power in the region the campaign is taking place in, the politics of the world, etc). Sure, the Forgotten Realms might be more realistic having tons of gods, pantheons, and religions, but that makes it worse for storytelling and harder for players to get engaged in the setting. If a player wants to play a cleric in a setting, and they choose the Life or Light Domain, the choice of deity for that PC to worship should be pretty simple, in my opinion. In the Forgotten Realms, instead they have to choose from a list of around a dozen gods with overlapping portfolios and minute differences, which quickly overwhelms and confuses them.

Nentir Vale, Eberron, Exandria, Theros, and even Dragonlance are more manageable and easier to tell a story in.
I don’t agree at all. It makes the world better, and Eberron especially could use more religions, especially small regional and ethnographic faiths. And “cults” that aren’t “of the dragon below”. And heretical sects.

Messy and asymmetrical is better, not worse.
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
I don’t agree at all. It makes the world better, and Eberron especially could use more religions, especially small regional and ethnographic faiths. And “cults” that aren’t “of the dragon below”. And heretical sects.

Messy and asymmetrical is better, not worse.

This is supported by kanon, as well. The 15 Sovereigns are split into Host and Sinister Six by the dominant version of the Host faith, but it's known as the pyrine creed because it's a regional divide that got traction with the conquest of Khorvaire by humans, not by all mean the only one, either by doing other splits, or having local/cultural cults (the three faces of War, Love, Coin, Wild... are example of those). Plus, nothing prevents worshipping both the Flame and Dol Dorn... And the gods being non-existant at best or silent at worst, they can't explicitely say how they intend to be worshipped, allowing for two groups worshipping the Restful Watch to be at each other's throat because they don't agree on the order in which to sing the various prayers.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I like how Kobold Press handles multiple religions and pantheon in their Midgard Setting: nobody is sure how many gods there actually are, because they are engaged in a divine cold war a s use different "masks" in different times and places. Tooth may he Odin, might be someone else. There may only be a handful of actual gods...
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This is supported by kanon, as well.
FOr sure. Keith is all about the world being complicated and messy.
The 15 Sovereigns are split into Host and Sinister Six by the dominant version of the Host faith, but it's known as the pyrine creed because it's a regional divide that got traction with the conquest of Khorvaire by humans, not by all mean the only one, either by doing other splits, or having local/cultural cults (the three faces of War, Love, Coin, Wild... are example of those).
Exactly. The Three Faces of XYZ are really interesting interpretations of the cosmic archetypes represented by the Sovereign Host.
Plus, nothing prevents worshipping both the Flame and Dol Dorn... And the gods being non-existant at best or silent at worst, they can't explicitely say how they intend to be worshipped, allowing for two groups worshipping the Restful Watch to be at each other's throat because they don't agree on the order in which to sing the various prayers.
I think a lot of people would flip the two bolded phrases, but yeah, absolutely.

I've a mind to make a character at some point who views the Silver Flame as tangible proof that the thesis of the Blood of Vol is correct, and is basically synchronizing the two. I also have an idea for a Kenku faith that uses the basic ideas of the sovereigns and says that their archetypal nature is part of their power, and so the way to be closer to them and to serve the world and your community best is to find the sovereign in yourself and work toward emulating that archetype as well as you can, and so all clerics and paladins and such of that faith seek to behave like the sovereign they have chosen or feel chosen by, rather than thinking of themselves as serving that deity.

Eberron is very cool, in this regard.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
You just perfectly highlighted why I despise the Forgotten Realms. There's good lore, yes, but way more just random junk that I could never use, and a ton of absolutely awful lore that gets in the way of the good stuff (does the setting really need hundreds of gods and around a dozen different pantheons?).
If you're talking about the racial pantheons, most of those were created before the Realms were (there's a whole series on them in Dragon magazines in the #50s and #60s, meaning they mostly came out in '80-'81). If you're talking about different pantheons for human cultures, I think they were going for verisimilitude, since in the real world, every culture had their own gods, so the same should be true for a fantasy world. I have no idea if they ever tried to figure out how all these pantheons worked together, however.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I don't like most of official D&D lore and I don't necessarily need extensive lore in the rule books

Keep generic lore short and sweet—and, most importantly, easily overwritten. The settings books are where the expansive lore needs to be.
The more I explore different fandoms, the more I cannot fathom why D&D players hate D&D lore.

Do other RPGs have this problem? Do people really rage at Pathfinder for "polluting" their rules with goblins who hate dogs and like fire? Are there people who want more generic versions of Traveller or Warhammer? Do people really say, "I really wish White Wolf would give me multiple choices for my vampire's origin rather than force the Child of Cain origin on me?" Do people actually homebrew Shadowrun?

As far as I can tell, this attitude that RPG Core Rules must be bland, generic, reskinnable, and modular is unique ONLY to D&D players (or games derived from D&D). Maybe I'm not in tune with other RPG communities enough, but I'm always amazed that there is a not-insignificant number of players who would be happy if the Core Trinity were nothing more than the SRD + Art.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I don’t agree at all. It makes the world better, and Eberron especially could use more religions, especially small regional and ethnographic faiths. And “cults” that aren’t “of the dragon below”. And heretical sects.

Messy and asymmetrical is better, not worse.
Eberron does have various cults, sects, and religions across the world that are mentioned in passing.

For example, there seem to be a number of variations of the Silver Flame faith across the world. There are also some different systemizations of the Sovereign Host depending on where you are. The elf religions all play on the core idea of "how do we preserve our ancestors and honored dead?" (i.e., Undying, Undead, Society for Creative Anachronism). And the Blood of Vol is a response to the question of "How could the Host let people fade in Dolurrh?" that mingles some misunderstood ideas from the Vol faction of elves.

If I were to make further sects or religions in Eberron, I would look at some of the fundamental questions, motifs, and cosmology of the setting. Maybe there is even a strange cult to the Baker's Dozen motif of the setting.
 

The more I explore different fandoms, the more I cannot fathom why D&D players hate D&D lore.
Because it is kinda rubbish? Most of D&D lore is incoherent mishmash of generic fantasy stuff without any unifying creative vision. There are exceptions such as Dark Sun and perhaps Eberron though.

Do other RPGs have this problem? Do people really rage at Pathfinder for "polluting" their rules with goblins who hate dogs and like fire? Are there people who want more generic versions of Traveller or Warhammer? Do people really say, "I really wish White Wolf would give me multiple choices for my vampire's origin rather than force the Child of Cain origin on me?" Do people actually homebrew Shadowrun?

As far as I can tell, this attitude that RPG Core Rules must be bland, generic, reskinnable, and modular is unique ONLY to D&D players (or games derived from D&D). Maybe I'm not in tune with other RPG communities enough, but I'm always amazed that there is a not-insignificant number of players who would be happy if the Core Trinity were nothing more than the SRD + Art.
The difference is that most of the other things you mention have a specific setting. D&D doesn't. So there is always a conflict between keeping things vague enough that they're suitable for several settings, whilst not becoming so vague that they say basically nothing. Recently they've been veering towards the latter.

But I actually want good lore. Which is not to say I necessarily want extensive and detailed lore. But I want species, classes and creatures to be strong evocative archetypes, and I want the lore, the rules and the art communicate that to me. I want the books to get my imagination going, and give me ideas of what to do with these things. Random assortment of mechanics with 'do whatever' as lore really doesn't do that.
 
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Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
The more I explore different fandoms, the more I cannot fathom why D&D players hate D&D lore.

Do other RPGs have this problem? Do people really rage at Pathfinder for "polluting" their rules with goblins who hate dogs and like fire?

With Pathfinder, you're expected to play in Golarion. The game and the setting go hand to hand naturally, so it's not a problem. Same with Glorantha and Runequest, Empire Galactique and the namesake empire, Star Wars and the 6 films depicting that universe... On the other hand, Mythras is generic and the lore parts are advice to the GM "if your world is magic rich, then using rule X and Y is great, if you're playing in an historical campaign, disregard the Magic chapter altogether..." Those are examples of games that do it well.

D&D is sitting in the middle of the highway, with an "implied setting" derived from bits of lore that are baked into the rules, that you need to houserule away if they conflict your setting, or to accept and make your setting conforming to those -- which is a problem when rules change, including the fluff...


As far as I can tell, this attitude that RPG Core Rules must be bland, generic, reskinnable, and modular is unique ONLY to D&D players (or games derived from D&D). Maybe I'm not in tune with other RPG communities enough, but I'm always amazed that there is a not-insignificant number of players who would be happy if the Core Trinity were nothing more than the SRD + Art.

Actually, I question Art as well for a truly generic thing. Art can force a vision of the implied setting and make it "less generic". On the other hand, an assumed setting is fine for most people I guess. But it needs to be assumed.
 

Scribe

Hero
Because it is is kinda rubbish? Most of D&D lore is incoherent mishmash of generic fantasy stuff without any unifying creative vision. There are exceptions such as Dark Sun and perhaps Eberron though.
I mean, over decades of retcon, rewrite, consolidation, merging, splitting and negligence...yeah?

The need for an actual core setting to change that perception (reality?) really couldnt be any stronger. Its gotten to the point where there almost is no D&D lore, its just too much of a mess.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I mean, over decades of retcon, rewrite, consolidation, merging, splitting and negligence...yeah?

The need for an actual core setting to change that perception (reality?) really couldnt be any stronger. Its gotten to the point where there almost is no D&D lore, its just too much of a mess.
Not gonna lie, I think 4e was onto something with Nerrath/PoL-land as a default setting. I also think that their attempt to put their own spin certain "generic" monsters (giants/titans, elemental myrmidons, demon/devil reshuffle, angels, etc) was inspired, but I think they went too far in attempting to "differ" them. But that's the catch-22 of this: move too far away from the generic soup and people with rebel; make the generic soup too generic and people will complain.

That said, I imagine 6e is shaping up to be an edition like 2e was: a revision rather than a reinvention of the edition before it, heavily dependent on multiple setting rather than a single implied/default one, and a significant amount of the lore-rework will be scrubbing controversial elements out of the game's lore.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
The more I explore different fandoms, the more I cannot fathom why D&D players hate D&D lore.
Strawman.

Do other RPGs have this problem? Do people really rage at Pathfinder for "polluting" their rules with goblins who hate dogs and like fire? Are there people who want more generic versions of Traveller or Warhammer? Do people really say, "I really wish White Wolf would give me multiple choices for my vampire's origin rather than force the Child of Cain origin on me?" Do people actually homebrew Shadowrun?
False equivalency.

There's a huge difference between wanting a game (like D&D, Hero System, etc.) to be setting-neutral with little or no default lore so that it can support homebrew settings as well as multiple, different published settings each with its own specialized lore opposed to playing a game (like Vampire, Warhammer, Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, etc.) where the game provides rules that facilitate its setting. If I'm playing Vampire: The Masquerade, I'm playing it for the setting. If I'm playing D&D, I'm either playing in a homebrew setting with my own lore or a prepublished setting with its own lore—in neither case do I need some bland generic lore that's going to get dropped the moment that I choose an actual setting.

As far as I can tell, this attitude that RPG Core Rules must be bland, generic, reskinnable, and modular is unique ONLY to D&D players (or games derived from D&D). Maybe I'm not in tune with other RPG communities enough, but I'm always amazed that there is a not-insignificant number of players who would be happy if the Core Trinity were nothing more than the SRD + Art.
It's not unique—there are a number of universal game systems that support creating one's own setting. It's a pretty old school approach—in earlier editions of D&D, the assumption was that you were going to homebrew your own setting (the creators were surprised that people wanted to play in a published setting). Look at the amount of baked-in lore D&D has had in each edition—it's nonexistent to light from the begining to 1e, with 2e and later starting to pump out generic lore books. That was one of the big problems with 4e, IMO—it shoved its Nerath setting so far up the rules, that it forced other settings (like the FR) to change and swallow a good deal of it.
 

Amrûnril

Explorer
The more I explore different fandoms, the more I cannot fathom why D&D players hate D&D lore.

Do other RPGs have this problem? Do people really rage at Pathfinder for "polluting" their rules with goblins who hate dogs and like fire? Are there people who want more generic versions of Traveller or Warhammer? Do people really say, "I really wish White Wolf would give me multiple choices for my vampire's origin rather than force the Child of Cain origin on me?" Do people actually homebrew Shadowrun?

As far as I can tell, this attitude that RPG Core Rules must be bland, generic, reskinnable, and modular is unique ONLY to D&D players (or games derived from D&D). Maybe I'm not in tune with other RPG communities enough, but I'm always amazed that there is a not-insignificant number of players who would be happy if the Core Trinity were nothing more than the SRD + Art.

Speaking for myself, it's not a matter of hating the lore, but rather of hating the broader idea of any particular set of lore being definitively described as "D&D lore". I've always seen the game as a toolbox of pseudomedieval fantasy elements, some original, some from traditional folklore, some from modern fantasy, to be adapted and assembled to create unique stories and suit unique groups of players. Privileging any particular combination as "D&D lore" means discouraging exploration of a rich and expansive range of contradictory possibilities.

As for Warhammer, I've never played the tabletop version, but in the Total War adaptation, I'd absolutely prefer a more generic version with, for instance, fewer predestined allegiances and animosities and fewer narratorial presumptions about my motivations.
 

Thank you for sharing your perspective, that's an angle I hadn't considered. I'm glad Wizards has found a format that works better for you.

If the information in Volo's Guide to Monsters or Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes had been organized much like the info in Fizban's, do you think you would have found it more appealing? (To be clear, I don't mean cutting the information back, I mean organizing it into smaller sections and the like.) Or is any kind of suggestion of default lore unappealing to you?
I very much wish the Fizban's format was available for the first two books. Fizban's lore was purposefully vague, and had sections on "how this lore is interpreted or even ignored/unknown in these settings" section, which was very helpful in reconciling things (although smashing up Sardior and saying, nope, steel and song dragons probably don't really exist were a bit annoying, but still can be worked around). Volo's and Mordenkainen's were a mash-up of some previous lore with some new, fairly incompatible stuff, with not much on how it all works with existing settings. Some of it worked fine (I thought the goblinoid stuff in Volo's was really well done and interesting), but a lot had issues. Even worse, I remember plenty of posts with people complaining how they didn't like this "Forgotten Realms" lore, when in many cases (such as the gnolls and yuan-ti), the information was actually contradicting previous FR lore!
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
The more I explore different fandoms, the more I cannot fathom why D&D players hate D&D lore.

Do other RPGs have this problem? Do people really rage at Pathfinder for "polluting" their rules with goblins who hate dogs and like fire? Are there people who want more generic versions of Traveller or Warhammer? Do people really say, "I really wish White Wolf would give me multiple choices for my vampire's origin rather than force the Child of Cain origin on me?" Do people actually homebrew Shadowrun?

As far as I can tell, this attitude that RPG Core Rules must be bland, generic, reskinnable, and modular is unique ONLY to D&D players (or games derived from D&D). Maybe I'm not in tune with other RPG communities enough, but I'm always amazed that there is a not-insignificant number of players who would be happy if the Core Trinity were nothing more than the SRD + Art.
D&D has always had a "build-your-own setting" basis. Most other games that aren't generic (like GURPS) have a built-in setting.
 


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I don’t agree at all. It makes the world better, and Eberron especially could use more religions, especially small regional and ethnographic faiths. And “cults” that aren’t “of the dragon below”. And heretical sects.
What are you talking about? Eberron has that. It has a ton of those. From the top of my head, here are all of the "small regional/ethnographic cults/faiths" that exist in Eberron:
  • The Blood of Vol/Order of the Emerald Claw (primarily followed in Karrnath and the Lhazaar Principalities)
  • The Ghaash'Kala Orcs of the Demon Wastes that worship the "Kalak Shash" (the Silver Flame)
  • The Shulassakar (couatl yuan-ti) that also follow the Silver Flame, but with more rainbow-based imagery, as they focus more on the Couatls that sacrificed themselves to create the Silver Flame.
  • The Dragons of Argonnessen that worship the constellations of the various dragon-gods (Bahamut, Io, Chronepsis, etc), who they believe created the Sovereign Host.
  • The Kalashtar that follow the Path of Light
  • The Riedran state-religion of the Path of Inspiration
  • The Undying Court of Aerenal
  • The Tairnadal Spirits of the Past
  • The Changeling following of The Traveler
  • The Warforged "Becoming God" that they're trying to bring into existence by worshipping them
  • The Blades, a cult that worships the Lord of Blades
  • The Vulkoor-worshipping Drow of Xen'drik
And Eberron's approach to polytheism is actually more accurate than the Forgotten Realms'. In the Forgotten Realms, there's this giant pantheon of dozens of gods, and most people just choose one to worship in a monotheistic way. In Eberron, most people just worship the whole pantheon of the Dark Six, the Soveriegn Host, the Dragon-God-Constellations of Argonnessen, or one of the other pantheons. Some people do prefer certain gods in the pantheon to others, but they worship the whole pantheon, like in real polytheism.
Messy and asymmetrical is better, not worse.
Eberron's cosmology is messy, asymmetrical, and more realistic than most fantasy pantheons. It has a ton of different pantheons, gods, faiths, and culture-specific religions. However, it is still more manageable than the Forgotten Realms because it purposefully avoids redundancy when it comes to religions like this.

Fantasy religions can be super-complicated, realistic, and messy without being redundant, like the Forgotten Realms pantheon is. And it is even pretty easy to understand and comprehend, at least compared to the Forgotten Realms' mess of ever-changing and often-overlapping gods and pantheons. Just because Eberron doesn't have a 3 separate deities of magic, death, and justice in the main pantheon, and three more of basically the same portfolio in off-shoot/race-specific pantheons doesn't mean that it's "worse" or "less realistic" than the Forgotten Realms pantheon.
 


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
What about players who aren't good at making up their own fluff, and would find a book that's all or almost entirely crunch to be dry and boring?
🤷‍♂️

In my mind, there are two scenarios that are about equally better than the current version of how WotC treats crunch-books like Volo's Guide to Monsters or Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. These are the two options:
  1. From now on, all crunch-books have basically no setting-specific lore at all. There can be some about how the genetic identities of certain creatures/races would influence their behavior (Harengon are twitchy herbivores like Rabbits, people dislike/distrust Dhampir because they drink blood, Tabaxi are every stereotype of cats ever rolled up into an intelligent humanoid race, etc), but nothing specific, like the gods that created the various races, the lands that they come from in specific settings, or their religion/specific culture.
  2. From now on, when a book like Volo's Guide to Monsters or Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes presents information about the specific culture of any player race from any setting that contains that race, it has to do the same for every other (or, at least, most other) variant version of that race's culture in an official D&D 5e book, and maybe even some others that the writers feel like including (like how Fizban's Treasury of Dragons mentions how the dragons act on different worlds, like Eberron, Dragonlance, and Tarkir).
Option 1 is what I'd prefer, because I think it's more realistic and feasible. Crunch books are for crunch, setting and adventure books are for fluff.

Option 2 could work, but it would probably increase the page-count of all crunch books in D&D 5e a ton. It makes all of the settings have roughly equal representation in the books, and also avoids the problem of having a base setting, but it's less realistic.
What about players who don't want to buy an entire setting book just to get some substantive, inspiring ideas about how beholders or dragonborn might behave?
So, in this hypothetical, I'm supposed to worry that there are players that don't want to make their own setting, but also don't want to buy an existing setting book, or learn about the existing settings online . . . and I'm supposed to feel sympathetic for them?

I'm not worried about those hypothetical people. I'm 100% onboard with removing all setting-specific fluff text from the crunch books. If people want to learn about an existing setting, they have to buy a setting book or read one of the wikis about one of the existing D&D settings.
Also, you may see the books that you buy for mechanics as "polluted by lore," but for some gamers the lore is the selling point, and for others it's the combination of both that makes role-playing games appealing.
I don't know anyone that buys the crunch books like Volo's and Mordenkainen's primarily for the lore.

I know that 5e has this whole "you only need the core rulebooks to play the game" thing going, and I think it's great for the hobby, but I think that "you need to buy the 3 core rulebooks and a setting book if you want to play in an existing setting" is already pretty accurate, and that it wouldn't be that difficult to shift towards that style of game design.
(Sidenote: I think you really would have liked 4E, and should seriously consider checking out the core rules for that edition, if you haven't already. EDIT: Well, maybe not Essentials. Original 4E.)
I've been told this several times. I honestly wish that I had gotten into the game when 4e was still going, because I would have loved using the online character creator that they had in my campaigns. I might try it some time . . . but my group has fun with 5e, and we wouldn't want to change things just to change them.
 

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