The Tabletop Spotlight is on D&D’s latest: Volo’s Guide to Monsters!
D&D Fans get a great new book from the esteemed lore master Volothamp Gendarme and Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy brought it over for us to check out in detail:
Volo’s Guide to Monsters is a fantastic book to add to your collection. The reason is that it’s basically a monster manual, but written from the point-of-view of someone who is from the game world. It’s got lots of little annotations from Volo and from another famous lore master Elminster! The book is actually really easy to follow. I’ve had the weekend to at a copy (yes, I did spend my own money on a copy because it’s that cool) and I really like it.
Aside from expanding on a handful for of major societies (like Orcs, Goblins, and Giants for example) it has a lot of great info for different variants of your favorite monsters. Within those chapters it has has charts you can use to quickly create backgrounds for important NPC/Monsters. I’ve already used it to create some quick NPCs to torment my players. The charts borrow a lot from the 5e character creation which is a plus. It allows the DM to get the core or skeleton of a character worked up and you can flesh it out later. But it’s enough detail that it gets you started.
It also adds some new player character classes for you to utilize in your campaign. I’ve mentioned this in the video but it has the Goliath race – which is one of my favorite.
If you’ve poked around in the D&D Monster Manual you’ll recognize the rest of the book. It’s got maps and a list of Monster Stat blocks too. It’s all great info for the DM to have.
As a side note, this book is a great resource to let players actually use in game. Why? To be honest, it’s easy to mess with them when you give them the information. Think about it, how many times have you had a veteran player just “know” how monsters would fight or their weakness in combat? It’s called meta-gaming. Players can’t help it sometimes, especially if you’ve been playing for a long time.
What this guide allows you to do is level the “knowledge” playing field by giving all the players at the table access to the same “book” written by Volo. The best part – Volo isn’t always 100% correct. So while the players may THINK they know about how to approach an encounter with a Giant based on Volo’s guide, you can throw a curve ball at them. As both a DM and a player, I appreciate it when the DMs modify encounters and keep me on my toes.
Overall, Volo’s Guide to Monsters is a great resource to have. DMs can use it to rapidly create NPCs/Monsters, reference maps, and have access to tons of lore information. Players can use it as “in-game” knowledge for monster encounters and just when they think they have it figured out, the DMs can change it up! That’s a winner in my book.
Volo’s Guide to Monsters $49.95
Hobby Store Exclusive Cover
Explore the breadth of D&D’s monsters in this immersive 224-page volume filled with beautiful illustrations and in-depth lore. Volo’s Guide to Monsters provides something exciting for players and Dungeon Masters everywhere!
The esteemed loremaster Volothamp Geddarm is back and he’s written a fantastical dissertation, covering some of the most iconic monsters in the Forgotten Realms. Unfortunately, the Sage of Shadowdale himself, Elminster, doesn’t believe Volo gets some of the important details quite right. Don’t miss out as Volo and Elminster square off (academically speaking of course) to illuminate the uninitiated on creatures both common and obscure. Uncover the machinations of the mysterious Kraken Society, what is the origin of the bizarre froghemoth, or how to avoid participating in the ghastly reproductive cycle of the grotesque vargouille.
Dungeon Masters and players will get some much-needed guidance as you plan your next venture, traipsing about some dusty old ruin in search of treasure, lore, and let’s not forget … dangerous creatures whose horns, claws, fangs, heads, or even hides might comfortably adorn the walls of your trophy room. If you survive.
- Chapter 1: Monster Lore takes several iconic D&D monsters and provides additional information about their origins, their dispositions and behaviors, and their lairs—above and beyond what is written in the Monster Manual. Dive deep into the story behind D&D’s most popular and iconic monsters, including beholders, mind flayers, and the yuan-ti, as well as classics like orcs, gnolls, and kobolds.
- Chapter 2: Character Races presents character races that are some of the more distinctive race options in the D&D multiverse, including the goblin, the orc, and the firbolg.
- Chapter 3: Bestiary provides game statistics and lore for nearly one hundred monsters suitable for any D&D campaign. Gain access to rules and story for dozens of monsters new to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, such as the froghemoth, the neogi, and the vargouille.
Volo can TOTALLY be trusted…right?