This is a great addition to 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. The cutesy banter between Volo and Elminster is kept to a minimum, leaving some really great, meaty content. While I just received my print copy today, I''ve been using the online version through Roll20 for two...
This is a great addition to 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. The cutesy banter between Volo and Elminster is kept to a minimum, leaving some really great, meaty content. While I just received my print copy today, I''ve been using the online version through Roll20 for two weeks. My review is based on two weeks of experience with the content, plus sitting with the physical book today.
What exactly are you getting in this book?
- Nearly 90 pages of in depth monster lore, focusing on Beholders, Giants, Gnolls, Goblinoids, Hags, Kobolds, Mind Flayers, Orcs, and Yuan-ti. This is very in depth work, with multiple pages providing variants, tables, lairs (including maps), historical background, and even some of the psychology of the creatures that can really help you flesh out these types of creatures in your games.
- 7 new Player Character races, including Aasimar, Firbolg, Goliath, Kenku, Lizardfolk, Tabaxi, and Triton. These are a nice edition, and I especially like how the details for these new races includes tips on how to role-play as these slightly more unique creature types. Overall, these new races feel like they can breathe a lot of new life into campaigns for players who might be starting to get tired of the standard set from the Player''s Handbook.
- 6 new Monstrous Player Character races, which feature groups that were represented in the first 90 pages. These are more limited/specialized builds that a DM would really need to weigh before including in a game, but absolutely could provide some fantastic adventures for the right group of players. The 6 Monstrous races represented are Bugbear, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Orc, and Yuan-ti Pureblood.
- An expanded Bestiary.The next 99 pages of the book are dedicated to new monsters for your games. There are an excellent variety of new creatures, including some favorites that didn''t make the original Monster Manual. Personally, I was glad to see a nice balance between creature types, and that these new creatures help round out some of the groups, such as Fey. It also is nice to see a book like this deepen the bench; this section of the book provides an especially large amount of new monsters of the type covered in the first 90 pages (Beholders, Giants, Gnolls, Goblinoids, Hags, Kobolds, Mind Flayers, Orcs, and Yuan-ti). A full 10 pages of this is also used to create new NPC stats, which is a great boon to be able to build encounters that stretch across a wider CR level in more civilized locations.
- The book wraps up with 4 pages of Appendixes which provide a quick reference no matter how you are looking for a creature: you can find them by CR level, by Creature Type, or by the typical environment that you would find the monster in.
All in all, the content is incredibly useful for any dungeon master who wants more content. The new monsters alone are worth the price of admission. The new character races are also an excellent new addition, although their uniqueness may make them more useful for some groups over others; that said, options are always nice to have. The first 90 pages of lore will be most useful to DM''s who are planning on using the types of creatures listed in their campaigns. Especially if you are using those creature types, I highly recommend this as an addition to your collection, as the amount of material provided on these creatures is sure to spark your imagination and spin new adventures for your table.