Normally, the only ways we learn about up-and-coming WotC products are through WotC themselves giving us some teasers and the Unearthed Arcana articles.
Luckily, for the new Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse (part of the Rules Expansion Gift Set) we have a pretty massive leak to sift through.
With the original release set for early December and the gift set being pushed to January 25th, it maybe shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone got a bit impatient.
Heck, maybe WotC even wanted to boost the excitement (and sales). Either way, we’ve got the leaks, and we’re going to take you through what to expect in this upcoming source book.
What Is Monsters of the Multiverse?
Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse is a new 5e sourcebook full of a huge selection of monsters and playable races.
Old playable races and monsters are returning with quality-of-life improvements, easier access, and more updates that lead us into a new era of fifth edition D&D.
This book is particularly exciting because it’s one of the first books we seem to be getting in the 5.5e series.
While we don’t have much official info on the future of D&D, a return to earlier stat blocks from this edition seems to be solid proof that we won’t be seeing a new edition any time soon.
Rather, it looks like 5e will just be morphing into something new and flexible over the course of the next couple years. With the Revised Player’s Handbook set to release in 2024, MotM looks like it’s just the beginning.
What Can We Expect To See in Monsters of the Multiverse?
Monsters of the Multiverse is set to be the “true companion to the Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual” according to D&D’s principal rules designer Jeremy Crawford.
What we’re seeing is a huge overhaul of a lot of the systems we’ve grown to love (or hate) about existing pieces of 5e so far.
From monsters already listed in the bestiaries of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and Volo’s Guide to Monsters, playable races from across the D&D multiverse, and even a new creature-creation guide, we can expect an incredibly streamlined, simpler experience.
With phrases like “quality of life” and “ease of access” being littered throughout interviews, it seems 5e is becoming a simpler, more approachable system.
If anyone who’s played 5e felt like they were part of a giant playtest, they’d be sort of right. The designers at WotC have listened to complaints across the board and are responding accordingly with this book.
What’s Been Leaked So Far?
Nerd Immersion, a popular YouTube channel that covers all things D&D, has received actual photos of the new source book from a connection of his.
That one leak, which you can watch here, has loads of information for us to sift through and is giving us a lot to look forward to.
As with any leaks, we’ve got to take this with a grain of salt, but it seems to match everything WotC has been pointing to.
Not to mention, those pictures sure look real to me. But what’s really there? Let’s get into it.
For starters, we’re looking at 33 revised playable races and over 250 revised and/or new monsters.
Most of what we’ve seen covered in the leaks touches on the changes to those playable races, but we do know some things that we’ll be seeing in playable races.
Jeremy Crawford himself has made mention of the spellcasting that we’ll be seeing in the NPCs and creatures that have spellcasting.
“They still have spellcasting, but it’s going to be a bit less overwhelming for DMs to use those monsters.”
So we can expect a move away from spell slots into a more accessible system. We also can expect a load of new traits on creatures.
“As you go through the book, you’re going to find some monsters where at first you’re like, ‘I know this one!’—but when you look at its stat block, you’ll go, ‘Well, there’s a new twist.’”
It seems as if the design team has spent a lot of work looking at what players enjoy about certain creatures and what features we would rather not see going forward.
All of these changes aren’t just for the sake of simplicity.
Crawford has also confirmed that certain creatures will have become much stronger, echoing the concerns of a large portion of the community that high CR monsters just aren’t as much of a threat as we want them to be.
Looks like no more participation trophies for high-level encounters.
There are a lot of design changes that are purely based on how the game is played. Creatures are going to be easier to run for DMs and more threatening for PCs.
But one thing that makes me the most excited is the push for more thematic accuracy.
“Is this monster the best version of itself? Is there a way we can make Zuggtmoy even more Zuggtmoy?” Crawford asked.
Oh, and did I mention the entire bestiary is in alphabetical order? That’s right.
No more figuring out what obscure category that creature you’re searching for is in. There’s no special group for Demon Lords; just flip to Z for Zuggtmoy and you’ll have found that stat block.
This book seems like it’s set to be a love letter to the fans. We love a good book of monsters with nice art (which this book is said to have plenty of), but this book is going above and beyond.
Everything is more accessible, creatures’ abilities are more true to their lore, stat blocks aren’t just dropped in, they’re explained so even the most inexperienced DM knows how to run their next encounter.
All in all, there’s a lot to be excited about.
Playable Races in Monsters of the Multiverse
While it appears we aren’t getting any new races, not even the races highlighted in the Travelers of the Multiverse UA, which was almost certainly set for this book, we do have a whopping 33 playable races making a reappearance with some hefty revisions having been made.
While this is all from the leak and subject to a good deal of scrutiny, it does align with what we knew about this book – that there would be 30+ races appearing in it.
Here is the full list of playable races from the leak.
Most of these races are undergoing some pretty serious changes, but in this article we’re going to focus on the more general changes being made. Here are the categories to expect changes in:
- Ability Score Increases
- Sunlight Sensitivity
- Innate Spellcasting
Ability Score Increases
In the past 2 years we’ve seen a huge trend in the ability score increases for characters.
Each new race we’ve received has had no set increases. Instead, we’ve been given the option to take +2 in one ability score and +1 in another or to gain +1 in three different ability scores.
This is huge in allowing players to take on any class with any race, and it’s been a welcome change in additions to the PC roster. Surprising no one, it looks like that’s here to stay for good.
Each and every playable race in this new book is subject to the new character creation method and comes with no preset ability scores.
Now go, be free, make your Tortle wizard, your Goliath sorcerer, or your Tiefling barbarian. It’s your choice now.
This rare racial feature gave creatures disadvantage on attack rolls and checks that relied on sight when they were in bright light.
It was a way to nerf certain strong subclasses that felt thematically appropriate but in now way enticed anyone to play those characters. I’m here to tell you that this trait is no more!
Now you can play your kobold or svirfneblin without worrying about leaving the dark. The light won’t burn your sensitive little eyes anymore.
Innate spellcasting has been a common occurrence in a lot of the more magical races. It shows up as some form of racial feature granting all members of the race the ability to cast one or a few certain spells.
In the past, this has been a once or x times-a-day ability tied to a specified casting ability (i.e., Intelligence, Wisdom, etc.).
The races featured in this book have been revised to have innate spellcasting where you get to choose the spellcasting ability from Intelligence, Wisdom, and Constitution.
These abilities also now all feature the “once you have cast a spell using this feature you may cast it using spell slots of the appropriate level or higher” text.
This essentially means that races are getting known spells rather than the strange ability to cast a certain spell once a day.
Now that once or x times a day is the free casting, and everything after that can be treated as a normal addition to your prepared or known spell list.
This is great for spellcasters looking to pick up spells not provided to their class or just more spells in general.
With the new rules allowing you to choose your spellcasting modifier, you just have to make sure you’re choosing the one that makes sense for your class. You are no longer restricted to races that “match” your class.
Several of the races appearing in this source book were previously subraces of different races.
We no longer have the “subrace” specification, meaning these are in fact their own separate subraces.
That means races like the Eladrin, Sea-Elf, Deep Gnome, and Duergar no longer benefit from any abilities of the main race.
With features like Dwarven Resistance and Fey Ancestry being locked away from some of these subraces, we see an influx of new features to rebalance the races in interesting ways.
Some of these are as simple as copy and paste from the previous main race, some of these include entirely new abilities.
Tracking movement speed is always important, even more so for races that have historically been a bit slower.
Well, now any creatures that had been stuck with a 25-feet movement speed have been brought up to the standard 30-feet movement speed.
In addition, all flight, swimming, and climbing speeds have been made to equal your walking speed.
This means the Aarakocras strange combination of a 25-feet walking speed and an insane 50-feet flying speed has been balanced to a nice, calm 30-feet walking and flying speed.
All instances of magic resistances or condition resistances have been changed in this new book.
Magical resistance previously provided characters with resistance to all spells and other magical effects, where now it’s been dropped to just spells.
Condition resistances have been clarified to provide advantage on not just the saving throw to be affected by a condition but also now any saves to end a condition.
This is a bit of a nerf to the insane ability magical resistance was, but the condition resistance is an excellent and well deserved buff.
Now, if you whiff your first save on a poison you’ll still be able to benefit from your resistance on later turns.
There’s a lot to come in the new Monsters of the Multiverse book.
The magnificent wizard Mordenkainen and his colleagues at WotC have put in a lot of work to answer concerns from the players, and we may just be looking at a bright new future.
Will this book live up to the expectations many of us now have? We’ll soon see.
As always, happy adventuring.