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.

greg-rutkowski-monsters-of-the-multiverse-1920.jpg

  • 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

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JEB

Legend
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).
Your option 2 is a thing they tried in some 3E monster books, like Monster Manual III. They didn't actually have to add too much extra material to make it work, they just had sidebars describing how each monster or race was different in the Forgotten Realms or Eberron, etc. Fizban's doing something similar with dragons also shows that it can work in 5E.

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?
Sympathy would be nice. But if that's too difficult to muster, then at least accept that there are people who like lore and hate rules, or want a mix of both lore and rules. And that if Wizards is trying to reach the largest demographic, it will try to meet those preferences somewhere in the middle, rather than leaning too far in one particular direction. They now seem to be leaning in the direction of more rules and less lore, which may work great for you, but leaves others in the cold.

Putting the shoe on the other foot, consider this: what if Wizards started leaning more heavily towards lore, and only gave you minimal rules, with the suggestion you could just improvise the rest in a game with a few dice rolls? I assume that would not be very appealing to you. (And for the record, I wouldn't want Wizards to go that way.)

I don't know anyone that buys the crunch books like Volo's and Mordenkainen's primarily for the lore.
Trust me, they exist. Speaking for myself, lore is certainly more a lure than rules for me when buying a rulebook, though I wouldn't find an all-lore no-rules book as appealing. Still, if that counts as "primarily for the lore", I guess you know at least one person like that!
 

Your option 2 is a thing they tried in some 3E monster books, like Monster Manual III. They didn't actually have to add too much extra material to make it work, they just had sidebars describing how each monster or race was different in the Forgotten Realms or Eberron, etc. Fizban's doing something similar with dragons also shows that it can work in 5E.


Sympathy would be nice. But if that's too difficult to muster, then at least accept that there are people who like lore and hate rules, or want a mix of both lore and rules. And that if Wizards is trying to reach the largest demographic, it will try to meet those preferences somewhere in the middle, rather than leaning too far in one particular direction. They now seem to be leaning in the direction of more rules and less lore, which may work great for you, but leaves others in the cold.

Putting the shoe on the other foot, consider this: what if Wizards started leaning more heavily towards lore, and only gave you minimal rules, with the suggestion you could just improvise the rest in a game with a few dice rolls? I assume that would not be very appealing to you. (And for the record, I wouldn't want Wizards to go that way.)


Trust me, they exist. Speaking for myself, lore is certainly more a lure than rules for me when buying a rulebook, though I wouldn't find an all-lore no-rules book as appealing. Still, if that counts as "primarily for the lore", I guess you know at least one person like that!
I got into D&D because of the lore, 1st and then especially 2nd edition. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't be here. Please don't tell me people don't buy books for lore, including the two you mentioned. It is ignorant and judgemental.

Edit: this was directed at AcererakTriple6, not at you JEB.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I got into D&D because of the lore, 1st and then especially 2nd edition. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't be here. Please don't tell me people don't buy books for lore, including the two you mentioned. It is ignorant and judgemental.
I didn't say that people didn't buy any D&D books for the lore. I'm well aware that people do (I actually mentioned how that's a major reason why I and others buy Setting and Adventure books, because they have the fluff text that we want). I meant specifically books like Volo's Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, where the main draw of them is the mechanics (player options, monsters stat blocks, the occasional magic item or spell, etc).
 

It's not that people don't buy books for lore, it's that WotC are no longer interested in catering to that market. They view lore as simply a prop for playing the game, not a commodity in it's own right.

This is a fairly significant change in direction from the early days, so it's unsurprising some past customers are unhappy. But it hasn't been a sudden change.
 

JEB

Legend
I didn't say that people didn't buy any D&D books for the lore. I'm well aware that people do (I actually mentioned how that's a major reason why I and others buy Setting and Adventure books, because they have the fluff text that we want). I meant specifically books like Volo's Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, where the main draw of them is the mechanics (player options, monsters stat blocks, the occasional magic item or spell, etc).
You're assuming the main draw of books like Volo's and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes was the mechanics, but as indicated by at least three of us upthread, that isn't universally true.

Personally, I'd say that the draw of books like those is that they contain a mix of lore and mechanics. A balance that Wizards would be wise to retain. But modifying the presentation, as in Fizban's, seems like a good way forward.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Personally, I'd say that the draw of books like those is that they contain a mix of lore and mechanics. A balance that Wizards would be wise to retain. But modifying the presentation, as in Fizban's, seems like a good way forward.
I'm going to be honest, this whole argument that there's a new book that's primarily a collection of crunch from two older books means "WotC doesn't care about lore anymore" seems a bit of a stretch.

It seems pretty obvious (to me, at least) that WotC is building out a "multiverse" idea of D&D lore, where there's an archetypal concept of the races and classes that exists in the "First World" (and is what gets published in "core" material), and every setting develops those concepts and might discard them for something else entirely, if it fits the setting's established lore.

The lore material from Volo's and Mordenkainen's obviously didn't make the cut to be included in this new blueprint, and is thus being excised by the publication of the new book.

Nothing about this says to me "lore doesn't matter", it says to me lore matters enough that they're willing to make obvious changes during an edition cycle to see their new vision developed.
 

Remathilis

Legend
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).

Two would be infinitely more manageable if WotC wasn't binging on settings like a guy on a two-week free trial of Netflix.

Classically, D&D settings could be divided into those who hewed close to the default lore (Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk), those which were transitive between worlds and didn't contradict the default lore (Planescape, Spelljammer, Ravenloft) and those who deviated greatly from the lore (Eberron, Dark Sun, Dragonlance). Considering there has never been a time where ALL settings were in print at the same time, it was feasible to present "default" lore that was 100% compatible with Faerun/Oerth, 90% compatible with the transitives, and then address the deviations either separately in their own book or in a small sidebar.

Of course, right now WotC is supporting as many settings as they did at any one time in 2e (Faerun, Eberron, Ravenloft, Theros, Ravnica, Strixhaven, Exandria, and to a lesser degree Oerth) with promises or teases of even more (Spelljammer, Planescape, Krynn, Athas) plus whatever other crossover settings or new settings they want to yet add. There is no possible way they can address (for example) elves on all the settings mentioned, and it would be obsolete anyway the moment they added a new setting to the pile.

Which really leads us back to option one, which presents its own perils. Much of D&D's major elements aren't unique to D&D, elves, dwarves, dragons, orc, etc. are all generic. D&D has very limited specific imprint they have placed on these to say Our Tropes are Different and stripping what little there is to make them more generic runs the risk of losing anything that is identifiable as "D&D". Without Corellon, elves lose the Blessing of Corellon and its reason for existing. A setting like Athas has no need for Tiamat, so she becomes world-specific lore. (Unless you create some madeup explanation why she remains important, like the First World). Taken to its extreme, you run the risk of Mordenkainen, Bigby, Tenser and Tasha losing their names on spells or Vecna's relics disappearing from the DMG.

I don't know what the answer is, to be honest. I don't know what you say about elves that aren't setting specific, except "they have pointed ears and don't sleep". I fear D&D will become GURPs, a Generic Fantasy Simulator d20 that doesn't feel the need to be its own world and instead offloads all of the worldbuilding to setting guides and DMs to do. I don't know could possibly be true of all D&D elves from Athasian to Zakharan. And as D&D keeps adding settings, I imagine the core identity will dilute further. What is an elf? A collection of mechanics. A function.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Which really leads us back to option one, which presents its own perils. Much of D&D's major elements aren't unique to D&D, elves, dwarves, dragons, orc, etc. are all generic. D&D has very limited specific imprint they have placed on these to say Our Tropes are Different and stripping what little there is to make them more generic runs the risk of losing anything that is identifiable as "D&D". Without Corellon, elves lose the Blessing of Corellon and its reason for existing. A setting like Athas has no need for Tiamat, so she becomes world-specific lore. (Unless you create some madeup explanation why she remains important, like the First World). Taken to its extreme, you run the risk of Mordenkainen, Bigby, Tenser and Tasha losing their names on spells or Vecna's relics disappearing from the DMG.
I don't think Corellon, Gruumsh, Lolth, et al, are going anywhere. They're the sort of archetypes that get promoted to the "First World", just like Bahamut and Tiamat.

I mean, what changes do we actually expect to see in 2024 high elves compared to the 2014 high elves? A rearrangement of their racial features, maybe slightly broader proficiency grants? Elves are so well known in the fantasy genre as a whole that I don't think the loss of a little specificity is going to dilute the overall trope. D&D type fantasy is so well established that the game is no longer dependent on its own material to define tropes.
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
I am not sure we're seeing a wide range of currently supported settings, though I can see your point of view. In my opinion, we're seeing the death of settings. If we look at the idea that leveling goes fast and that campaigns end mostly before 10, then maybe the profusion of settings we're seeing is because the idea of a recurring group or plot in a particular place is going out of style, with setting becoming the backdrop for a specific adventure path. We're not having "Forgotten Realms", we're having "the arctic setting" designed to play RotFM and the "SC setting" desinged to play descent into Avernus (both with a nod of being part of the same world for the grognards), Strixhaven is a setting that will probably stay underdevelopped once everyone did the campaign it is hosting and so on. Eberron is a strange beast, mostly supported by its original designer, but Witchlight will probably be followed by another domain that could be totally disconnected from the one of the adventure. The lack of follow-up to Ravnica, for example, seems to become the standard way. Maybe they're counting on DMsGuild to provide additional, unofficial content, at most.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
RE: Lore in Monster Books

I think I like having a lot of lore in the books when I don't have a fixed opinion to the contrary and/or don't hate what the lore says.

To really hate it, I think it needs the behavior/characteristics/conception to be tied to a particular cosmology that doesn't fit with my past experience or current wants. Making a bunch of giants elementals annoyed the heck out of me. Tying some PC races intrinsically to a certain historical animosity annoyed me.

I wasn't particularly tied to gnolls in early editions, so making them more demonic wasn't a big deal. Changing the goblinoids clashes with some of my past ingrained ideas, but I can see making something cool our of it -- but I understand why others may loathe it.
 

JEB

Legend
I'm going to be honest, this whole argument that there's a new book that's primarily a collection of crunch from two older books means "WotC doesn't care about lore anymore" seems a bit of a stretch.

It seems pretty obvious (to me, at least) that WotC is building out a "multiverse" idea of D&D lore, where there's an archetypal concept of the races and classes that exists in the "First World" (and is what gets published in "core" material), and every setting develops those concepts and might discard them for something else entirely, if it fits the setting's established lore.

The lore material from Volo's and Mordenkainen's obviously didn't make the cut to be included in this new blueprint, and is thus being excised by the publication of the new book.
It's certainly possible that Mordenkainen's Monsters of the Multiverse is an anomaly, since it's a compilation and update of previously published material. But it's also clear that these new versions are meant to replace, not supplement, the originals. And furthermore, the presentation of races here matches the approach taken with character races in the last three books, as well as in recent Unearthed Arcana releases.

Having a core archetype for races and such makes sense for a multiversal approach... but if this new book is an example of what that will look like, it's not encouraging. A few sentences containing some biology or a stereotype is a significant downgrade from the books this drew on, not only giving players much less inspiration, but also magnifying some of the issues that folks had with the previous presentations (such as essentialism).

Now, Fizban's suggests that they can find a way to include inspirational lore while still including that multiversal flexibility... though it still has some of the same issues as this new book (we learn little about the gem dragonborn, for example). And for all we know that may have been a last gasp of an older approach, partially reworked into the new paradigm.

I guess we'll see what happens in the next two years, though.
 

It's certainly possible that Mordenkainen's Monsters of the Multiverse is an anomaly, since it's a compilation and update of previously published material. But it's also clear that these new versions are meant to replace, not supplement, the originals. And furthermore, the presentation of races here matches the approach taken with character races in the last three books, as well as in recent Unearthed Arcana releases.

Having a core archetype for races and such makes sense for a multiversal approach... but if this new book is an example of what that will look like, it's not encouraging. A few sentences containing some biology or a stereotype is a significant downgrade from the books this drew on, not only giving players much less inspiration, but also magnifying some of the issues that folks had with the previous presentations (such as essentialism).

Now, Fizban's suggests that they can find a way to include inspirational lore while still including that multiversal flexibility... though it still has some of the same issues as this new book (we learn little about the gem dragonborn, for example). And for all we know that may have been a last gasp of an older approach, partially reworked into the new paradigm.

I guess we'll see what happens in the next two years, though.
I don't know: I still think both versions of Kobold and Hobgoblin can still be used in 5E games, outside of RAW only tables and Adventurer League.
 

JEB

Legend
I don't know: I still think both versions of Kobold and Hobgoblin can still be used in 5E games, outside of RAW only tables and Adventurer League.
Sure, in the same sense you can use Unearthed Arcana material, or D&D Next material, or third-party material, or conversions from older editions or from other games, or entirely homebrew material.

Also, those two exceptions are rather large ones, aren't they?
 

Sure, in the same sense you can use Unearthed Arcana material, or D&D Next material, or third-party material, or conversions from older editions or from other games, or entirely homebrew material.

Also, those two exceptions are rather large ones, aren't they?
I view the original 5E Kobolds as the regular, run of the mill standard Kobolds in Kobold society. The UA(New) version of the Kobolds are the ones who are Dragonwrought Kobolds who are more awakened to dragon blood in their veins. The original 5E Hobgoblin are the Lawful Evil samurai Klingons we're all familiar with while the UA(New) Hobgoblins are those who ditched that Military Draft.
 

JEB

Legend
I view the original 5E Kobolds as the regular, run of the mill standard Kobolds in Kobold society. The UA(New) version of the Kobolds are the ones who are Dragonwrought Kobolds who are more awakened to dragon blood in their veins. The original 5E Hobgoblin are the Lawful Evil samurai Klingons we're all familiar with while the UA(New) Hobgoblins are those who ditched that Military Draft.
And that's fine homebrew lore for your games. But technically that's not supported by the new official lore, which only presents one approach to those races. If they'd mentioned alternative approaches like that, on the other hand...

Going back to your previous post, though, you do raise a very interesting question: how will Adventurers League handle this? Theoretically they could let people pick either Volo's or MOTM versions from here on, but they banned SCAG and EEPC in 2020. Will Volo's and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes be banned as well, in favor of MOTM? Their decision there could indicate a lot.

EDIT: Checked the FAQ on their site and noticed this, which could be relevant: "The most current version of any rule is used - even if
it’s reprinted in another book."
 

Going back to your previous post, though, you do raise a very interesting question: how will Adventurers League handle this? Theoretically they could let people pick either Volo's or MOTM versions from here on, but they banned SCAG and EEPC in 2020. Will Volo's and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes be banned as well, in favor of MOTM? Their decision there could indicate a lot.
Well, something tells me that they'll probably go with the latest version because its Adventurers League. But because I could two chairs care less where Adventurer League knows where it can go at this point.

I'll actually be legit surprise, though, if they do allow people to choose which versions they want.
 

Well, something tells me that they'll probably go with the latest version because its Adventurers League. But because I could two chairs care less where Adventurer League knows where it can go at this point.

I'll actually be legit surprise, though, if they do allow people to choose which versions they want.
I think the more interesting question how they'll handle D&D Beyond. I suspect a lot if users are going to see content they paid for changed.
 

I think the more interesting question how they'll handle D&D Beyond. I suspect a lot if users are going to see content they paid for changed.
I would not be surprised: thank goodness I've yet to jump to the digital era of DND.

All I need to get is a copy of Volo's Guide to Monsters and I'll be all set on the 5E races.
 

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