D&D 5E New Monster Manual Cover

The 2025 Monster Manual cover has been unveiled!

From IGN, the cover of the 2025 Monster Manual!

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@Morrus
 

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Kurotowa

Legend
I 99.9% agree with this but I would say that if the cover was pornographic or excessively violent, that might just turn me away from buying the book. That isn't the case here of course.
Well, sure. That's why I said least, not none.

To pull aside the curtain a little, the book cover is advertising. A picture is worth a thousand words, and the picture on the cover is meant to quickly convey what the book is about and who it's trying to appeal to. That way a potential buyer can more easily decide if a book they know little about is something they might want to purchase.

Now, does this always work? Of course not. Advertising often lies to the consumer. Also back when my parents were being published, unless you were a big name the novel covers got done cheaply and with minimal input from the authors, which often resulted in them being hilariously inaccurate*. But the general idea at least holds.

This cover for the Monster Manual accurately conveys that it is a book full of D&D monsters. Everything beyond that is nitpicking over art direction and artistic styles that's almost entirely a matter of personal taste.

*One such cover for an edition of one of my father's novels: A woman clearly based on a popular actress of the day, who was at least 10 years older than the book's protagonist. She was holding a ray-gun that looked copied from a child's plastic toy, when no such weapons appeared in the story. A "spaceship" that was clearly a jet fighter with the wings cut off is flying past overhead. That's what happens when a publisher who knows little about the story submits an art order to an artist who knows even less about the genre.
 
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One such cover for an edition of one of my father's novels: A woman clearly based on a popular actress of the day, who was at least 10 years older than the book's protagonist. She was holding a ray-gun that looked copied from a child's plastic toy, when no such weapons appeared in the story. A "spaceship" that was clearly a jet fighter with the wings cut off is flying past overhead...
It's cool that your father wrote the old sci-fi novel with that silly cover. No, not that old sci-fi novel, the other one with the same silly cover. No the other one. Look three shelves down, next to all the other old sci-fi novels with the exact same cover. It's the one with the alien planet floating amongst the stars in the background. You can't miss it.
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
Yeah, I like my scaley and spikey beholders, but recent depictions don't really capture the flavor of outsider madness that I think of when I think of beholders.

Thinking about it, I think my favorite 5e depictions are some of the art depicting Xanathar:

View attachment 366778

Though I also like artist Chris Rahn's (@ChrisRahnArt) concept art for Xanathar, that has a much darker theme:
View attachment 366779

Yeah, I like the second one more. The top one feels much less like "intimidating monster mob boss" and more like "goofy familiar showing off his collection"

Again, size makes a big difference here.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Now, does this always work? Of course not. Advertising often lies to the consumer. Also back when my parents were being published, unless you were a big name the novel covers got done cheaply and with minimal input from the authors, which often resulted in them being hilariously inaccurate*. But the general idea at least holds.


*One such cover for an edition of one of my father's novels: A woman clearly based on a popular actress of the day, who was at least 10 years older than the book's protagonist. She was holding a ray-gun that looked copied from a child's plastic toy, when no such weapons appeared in the story. A "spaceship" that was clearly a jet fighter with the wings cut off is flying past overhead. That's what happens when a publisher who knows little about the story submits an art order to an artist who knows even less about the genre.

UGH! That is like, my single biggest pet peeve about novels (in general). I cannot stand when the cover is just... wrong. Like depicting a protagonist who had brown-hair as a red-head, or giving them a weapon they never wield in the story. Drives me nuts
 


Uta-napishti

Adventurer
Wow, sick burn on Easley, a great artist.
Anyway, taste is a funny thing. And art gets strong reactions when so much expectation is hanging on it.
I will get the alt players handbook cover, cause it's awesome and cozy. I'll pick the standard Dungeon master's guide despite not really liking the standard cover (cause identify even less with the spider scene on the alt cover ), and the standard monster manual cover (because despite it being unclear what is going on in the scene, I find it visually pleasing). No, I don't care about having an unmatched set :D
 

Uta-napishti

Adventurer
I do think all the standard covers have the problem of not really answering the question of "what the heck is going on in this scene?". I think the answer might be "nothing yet" because all the monsters and characters just have to stand there looking mean cause its not their turn yet until the players and DM have finished rolling initiative,
 


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