The Book of Fiends 5e: An Interview with Will Sobel (Green Ronin Publishing)

With the launch of The Book of Fiends 5e on GameOnTabletop, Green Ronin Publishing is bringing a D&D classic to Fifth Edition. Will Sobel, Green Ronin’s Director of Sales, Marketing, and Licensing discusses the project, the creator, some of the history of this product, and its CR 31 celestial and fiend.

The Book of Fiends 5E 02 BOF_Sample.png

EGG EMBRY (EGG): Will, thanks for offering to talk about Green Ronin’s crowdfunding project on GameOnTabletop. What’s the pitch for The Book of Fiends 5e for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition?
: The Book of Fiends is a book of evil and demons and just general horrible stuff. In 2003, Green Ronin published the first The Book of Fiends for 3rd Edition and there were a lot of fans for it, so this is an update not only for the mechanics but for some of the text as well. It also works as a foil to another book we did this with Book of the Righteous. You’ll find a bunch of monsters in it that skew on the evil side of things as well as general information about the settings and planes you might find those monsters on.

EGG: Let me ask the least imaginative questions I can, why was Robert J. Schwalb perfect for developing this (other than because he is)?
: I think you hit the nail on the head. Because he is. Schwalb has a curated a very specific brand for himself with the success of Shadow of the Demon Lord. On top of that, Schwalb was one of the original writers and designers of the original version of The Book of Fiends along side Erik Mona (Pathfinder), Aaron Loeb, and our companies own Chris Pramas. It made sense to everyone involved that Schwalb take point on this book because of his overlap in experience and being Schwalb.

EGG: This book originated at Green Ronin with D&D 3.0 and 3.5 editions. Why is now the right time to bring it to 5e?
: Fifth Edition has brought with it a resurgence and rebirth for tabletop roleplaying and Green Ronin has a huge back catalog of fan-favorite books like this. That means there’s a bunch of new players and a bunch of returning players both of which might be interested in The Book of Fiends for a variety of reasons. When we brought back Book of the Righteous for 5e there was a lot more demand than we expected – which is great! Which made bringing back The Book of Fiends an easy choice.

EGG: You let me take a peek at the rough draft of this project and it looks outstanding! The writing and layouts are first rate! How many demons, daemons, and devils are included in the book? Do you have a breakdown of their CRs?
: There are over 130 baddies in this massive book. Including monsters CRs from 0 to 31, which is a big deal. So far monsters in Fifth Edition only go up to 30, so we have two fiends that are CR 31 – the Duke of Pride and the Armageddon Beast. There’s also a 30 and a 28 so that if you want to slow roll your campaign to a 31 there are stepping stones of evil. There are enough baddies in this book to go through a whole campaign set in the planes of evil and never encounter another person! If you check out the campaign there are a few previews of these monsters up already, including one of my favorites; the Veezel.

EGG: I’m enjoying reading all of the entries and other options. This is more than a demonic Monster Manual, this is a great resource for a dark campaign. Beyond the demons, daemons, and devils, what options may be unlocked as Level Ups/Stretch Goals in this crowdfunding campaign?
: So in the core text is more than just the monsters – there’s information about the various evil and dark planes that they come from like The Abyss, Hell, and Gehenna. I don’t recommend a long-term journey to any of these settings, but they’re there to add into your game as you see fit. Past that we have stretch goals that include new Class options for Warlocks, Barbarians, and a few others as well as the inclusion of a pre-written adventure we’d like to put in the book. We have a bunch of other cool ideas also, like a short-story that would be published by our fiction branch Nisaba Press.
The Book of Fiends 5E 01 BoF_setup_final_02.jpg
EGG: This is Green Ronin’s first crowdfunding project. Why test out that funding model now?
: This is actually Green Ronin’s 10th crowdfunding project! Our most recent was The Expanse Roleplaying Game which funded in August 2018 and before that we funded Book of the Righteous. 10 projects in 20 years isn’t a whole lot, but it is something that we do – but the world is changing and Green Ronin has to adapt to the market and that means trying out new things and listening to feedback.

EGG: 10th? As the self-styled “crowdfunder journalist”, I should have researched this question before I typed it. <Winks then moves on quickly.> What made GameOnTabletop the right partner for this project?
: GameOn Tabletop is a really great crowdfunding platform that rolls the front and back ends together. Right now that doesn’t mean a whole lot to customers but when we open the pledge manager it’ll mean a lot – you won’t have to go to a separate platform for that cause it’s rolled all into the one service. GameOn has a lot of cool features because it’s dedicated to gaming products and not everything – and the people who run the platform are good friends and partners of ours because they publish a lot of our books in French.

EGG: Any chance we’ll see The Book of Fiends for Fantasy AGE?
: The Book of Fiends is a pretty specific project. We’re bringing it to Fifth Edition because it was so popular almost 20 years ago and we want new players to be as excited about this as we were back then. Schwalb also put a lot of work into translating a lot of the mechanics between the two editions and even that was a lot of work – translating all those monsters to AGE is a much bigger task. So never say never, but probably not any time soon.

EGG: The last time we talked, it was about the impact of the Alliance Game Distributor shutdown. Can you give us an update on how Green Ronin weathered that storm? How are you supporting their re-opening?
: Alliance has begun re-opening as of this week, which has changed quite a bit for us on a lot of levels. Last time we talked I explained that Green Ronin does all their flooring and fulfillment through Alliance so when they closed we had to shut down our online store – you could still buy our PDFs but we couldn’t ship any books so we turned that part of our website off completely. Alliance asked us to slow roll orders so we have been slowly sending them things to ship to our other retail and distribution partners but we plan to open our online store on Monday so that we can start shipping books again! Part of weathering that storm, like I was saying earlier, is changing and going into different markets. You’ll probably see more crowdfunding campaigns from us in the future as we try to figure out what Green Ronin looks like at the other end of this since retail stores and distributors are still working at fractions of their old formats. Including another one fairly soon after this one that involves The Expanse Roleplaying Game.

EGG: More Expanse is a win for everyone! This is Green Ronin’s 20th anniversary. Congratulations on that! Green Ronin had plans to celebrate that this year, but COVID-19 altered those plans. Anniversary-wise, what’s still on the roadmap for 2020?
: There’s been quite the shift internally because of the global situation – which affects not just us but our retail and distribution partners working at smaller capacities (which means ordering smaller capacities), our shipping partners, and most importantly our printing partners. A lot of the products that we had slated for the last half of this year have been pushed back an unknown amount. We also had a fairly robust plan for Gen Con 2020, but with that canceled we’ve had to pivot. Instead we’ve started doing livestreams – you can catch Crystal and Steve most Mondays talking about Mutants and Masterminds with other things coming up pretty frequently. We’ve also started a podcast hosted by yours truly – the first episode hasn’t gone live quite yet but we’ll be sharing plans on that shortly. All of the products we announced at the beginning of the year are still on the calendar but we’re going to be moving some things around and giving ourselves some more space. If anything this has added products because we’re trying to focus on smaller PDF releases so that we don’t clog up printers and shippers – the best example is that the Threefold campaign Five and Infinity is going to be released in chapters before it gets released as a full book.

EGG: Thanks for talking about this GameOnTabletop project. For fans that want to see more about this, or follow Green Ronin, where can they check?
: You can keep in touch with our blog, the Ronin Roundtable, which you can find at [our website] as well as our social media. We have quite a bit of fun on Twitter. There’s a fan run Discord server that we’re active on that will help keep in touch and we recently did an overhaul on our newsletter which you can sign up for. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about demons and devils and being evil!

The Book of Fiends 5E from Green Ronin Publishing

End Date: 06/09/2020 17:59 (GMT-4)

Green Ronin's classic The Book of Fiends monster book returns in a new edition with Fifth Edition rules.”

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG and Amazon.

log in or register to remove this ad

Egg Embry

Egg Embry

EGG I cannot believe you did not ask about Freeport! Oh well. Thanks for the interview on this. I will probably back it despite my frustrations with Lost Citadel.

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
EGG I cannot believe you did not ask about Freeport! Oh well. Thanks for the interview on this. I will probably back it despite my frustrations with Lost Citadel.
"We have a huge back catalog of 3E stuff and we've now brought back two of them for 5E ..."

EGG asks a question about something else entirely.


That definitely feels like Sobel was waving a giant "HINT" sign about 2021.


Those are some awesome authors on this. I don't run 5e games so this will be a pass for me, but Shadow of the Demon Lord is one of my favorite games by Schwalb so I can only imagine what this book will be like.


I have the original. I never used it, but damn, it was one dark and evil looking book! I might get this one but I probably won't use it either, but the quality would be impeccable.

Visit Our Sponsor

An Advertisement