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Inside the Dungeons & Dragons ‘Monsters of the Multiverse’

Dungeons & Dragons is bigger right now than it has ever been before, and its designers have spent nearly eight years building on its latest incarnation. A new introductory collection wants to tie all these posts Player Handbook design decisions together, and cut a path towards the next.

Next week, D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast D&D Rules Expansions Gift Set is releasing a new collection of three source books designed to help players expand their campaigns with new creatures, items, racing options, and more, with exclusive covers, a slipcase, and a Dungeon Masters screen. Two known rulebooks are included, the one already published Xanathar's guide to everything and Tasha's kettle of everything. But even if you're a diehard collector who already has them, there's still a compelling reason to check it out: The early release of the next, most comprehensive rule and statistics book for the fifth edition, Mordenkainen presents: Monsters of the Multiverse.

Image for the article titled D & D's Epic New 'Monsters of the Multiverse' Makes it easier than ever to create characters and creatures

Picture: Wizards from the coast

"This is the true companion to Monster manual and to Player Handbook. It's an amazing collection of creatures and NPCs, many of which appeared in Volvo's guide to monsters and The tomb of the enemies of Mordecai-but now integrated and updated, " D&D's most important rule designer Jeremy Crawford told the press at a recent event. To Crawford and D&D's designers, Monsters of the Multiverse presents the evolution of nearly a decade of change for the fifth edition, bringing together hundreds of monsters and lots of playable races introduced in previous books and digital releases, while making it easier to create characters and use a wide variety of these creatures, and races in a campaign. than ever before - or as mechanically complex as either a player or a Dungeon Master wants them to be.

"We looked at many of the monsters that previously appeared in print and thought, 'We can make a number of these a more streamlined experience,'" Crawford said. "We had talked publicly at the D&D Celebration that we've made a number of our spell monsters easier to run. They still have spellcasting, but it's getting a little less overwhelming for DMs to use these monsters. We also have different locations created new features.When reviewing the book, you will find some monsters where you first think, 'I know this one!' - but when you look at its statistical block, you will go 'well, there's a new twist.' "

For Crawford, this meant not only repeating rules for streamlining or for the sake of change, but making creatures feel like they have their maximum potential. "Is this monster the best version of himself? Is there a way we can make Zuggtmoy straight more Zuggtmoy? ” asked Crawford. "We were looking for opportunities in any case to improve the monster, make it easier to run ... and make them far more dangerous to run than they were the last time they were on tap."

The reason for the last point is, in fact, that the current iteration of D&D has been around for eight years now, and although lots of newcomers are joining the game's community, there are plenty of seasoned veterans accustomed to the creatures as they were written nearly a decade ago. Perhaps in some cases, these creatures were never as dangerous as indicated by their assigned "CR" or Challenge Rating, a shorthand indicating how threatening a creature should be to an average adventure party.

“We’ve gotten pretty consistent feedback since the core books in 2014 that a number of our monsters with high CRs felt a little too weak, as if they were hitting below their challenge rating,” Crawford admitted. Monsters of the Multiverse will not fundamentally change previously established challenge assessments, but will instead look up a creature's statistic to ensure that they justify the CR they were previously assigned.

"Part of this work was also that we changed how these monsters achieve their challenge rating. In the previous books, the monsters hit their challenge ratings, but we used a different method to hit them. In the past, all a monster had to do was "to have a set of combat options that, if the DM chose the right set, the monster was the challenge assessment. Here is the problem with that approach: If the DM does not randomly choose the golden path, a number of these monsters will fall out of their challenge assessment." Crawford explained.

Image for the article titled D & D's Epic New 'Monsters of the Multiverse' Makes it easier than ever to create characters and creatures

Picture: Wizards from the coast

"That's exactly why the math supports the feedback from fans we got from many groups," he said. "But then we would have other DMs to say that the monsters worked exactly as they were printed because these DMs randomly chose the optimal order of things that created the monster's optimal challenge assessment. Monsters of the Multiverse, we have changed the approach. We have now made it so that each of the monsters has multiple choice sequences leading to the same CR. And so what it's going to do is give groups that never fought the optimal version of the monster [a challenge that feels] far more powerful ... We also protected their non-combat capabilities, so it's possible for a monster not to be as threatening as its CR suggests, but we made it clearer for the DM when they take that route. DM will be able to make a more informed choice. ”

Crawford sees this kind of revision as the true core of what Monsters of the Multiverse is about for players, rather than just a collection of hundreds of monster and race entries and their associated stats. It will also make this information from multiple sources of source books available in one convenient place, offering information to conveniently integrate these rules into games and delivering them in a more accessible way. This is true not only in the sense of the rules, but in perhaps the most nerdy of all things you could ever wonder at yourself for a Dungeons & Dragon book: organization.

"One of the things I'm most excited about having to do with DM convenience is that when I're preparing a game with this book, we've changed the literacy of all the monsters," Crawford explained happily. "So, when you go back to Zuggtmoy, for example, if you wanted to look up in the demon lord's, Zuggtmoy's bloc, you would not find her if you went to 'Z' - you should remember that she was a demon lord, and beat her up under 'D.' Now if you go to 'Z' you will find her! It's a small thing but I think this change alone will make many DMs life easier. There are still a few small categories - they are in the table of contents and will become clear when you review the book - but for the most part, when you think of the monster's name, you will go for it. that previously appeared in an appendix at the back of e.g. Volos guide-they are now integrated into the book in alphabetical order. "

Image for the article titled D & D's Epic New 'Monsters of the Multiverse' Makes it easier than ever to create characters and creatures

Picture: Wizards from the coast

Reorganizing rules also meant taking old proposals for creative adaptation and integrating them into an archetypal statistical block along with the original. "What we did when we brought creatures in from previous books, we looked for any place they might have suggested, 'here's how to customize the monster to make another monster' - if we felt that adaptability was compelling enough for DMs to use in campaigns, no matter where they are in D&D multiverse, we did the work for the DM and created a new state block. There are a number of new statistical blocks like it, now we just give you the second monster with its own statistical block, ”Crawford explained.

It also gave the team the chance to add some brand new creatures to the process. "One of the most delightful is the Dolphin Delighter fae dolphin", teased Crawford." When I composed the dolphin page for this book, I realized that dolphins in the game had often been associated with seals, which are also included in the book along with other fae-aquarians. We're finally introducing a telepathic, teleporting fae dolphin! "

From a narrative perspective, the book sounds like Mordenkainen, introducing readers to creatures that exist in forms across all planes of existence in Dungeons & Dragons, so re-presentation of rules allowed the design team to add a little narrative flair and flavor. "We made sure that what we say about the monsters is the most useful no matter what world you are in. What made it possible for us to do was to add some really juicy pieces of multiverse learning because we did not only talked about them in a specific world.These are truths about the creatures on a multiversal level.It allowed us to insert some really nice details that go into some of the D&D's old lore, "Crawford added.

All this means Monsters of the Multiverse lays the groundwork for something beyond the refinement of what came before; according to Crawford, it should also prepare players for what comes next Dungeons & Dragons as they approach 2024, the game's 50th anniversary, the game's next development. "While we are talking, we are working on revisions of the key rulebooks, which will be backward compatible [with fifth edition material], and all that we had in mind while we worked on Monsters of the Multiversesaid Crawford. "This book is ready for use and will continue to do so for years to come."

That D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set is available from January 25, 2022, while Monsters of the Multiverse will be available separately, in both digital and physical format, from May 17th.


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