Volo’s Guide to Monsters Review
Review by David Lent
Volo’s Guide to Monsters is an exciting supplement for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. 5th Edition has proven to be a much better game than 4th Edition. Volo’s Guide to Monsters is just as high quality as all the other 5th Edition books and the artwork contained within the 224 pages of the book is stunning. This book has 120 new monsters, 7 new character races, maps of monster lairs and enough monster lore to satisfy any Dungeon Master. The book has quotations by Volothamp Geddarm and Elminster Aumar, hence the name Volo’s Guide to Monsters.
Chapter 1 is all about monster lore. The monsters it covers are beholders, giants, knolls, hags, goblinoids, kobolds, mind flayers, orcs and yuan-ti. In the past, monster manuals did not have enough information about creatures to help a DM write a campaign. In this book, there is so much background information that you could write a novel about some of the creatures. There is information on a creature’s lair, treasures, personality, flaws, ideals, bonds, languages and everything else you want to know about the creature. I wish this book existed when I made a campaign using a hag as the main villain. The background on the hag’s lair really would have come in handy. With this book, you no longer have to guess these things. In addition, this book covers multiple types of hags.
The section of the book on character races is useful to regular players. It covers Aasimar, Firblog, Goliath, Kenku, Lizardfolk, Tibaxi and Tritons. In addition, there are now monstrous character races such as bugbears, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs and Yuan-ti. Tritons interest me the most because I am a fanatical scuba diver. They are an underwater humanoid race and a DM can request that the players all choose to be Tritons so the entire campaign can take place underwater! Pages 116 and 117 of the DM Guide has random undersea encounters and underwater encounter distances tables that you can use.
Chapter 3 of the book is the bestiary. All 120 creatures are written up the same way as in the Monster Manual. There is a description of the monster, a drawing, general background and its playing stats. Some of the more notable creatures are dinosaurs, froghemoth, wood woads and ki-rin. To top this off there is also an appendix listing creatures by the environments they are found in.
This book adds a lot of information that a DM can use to make a more interesting campaign. An encounter is much more interesting when you actually have enough background information on the monster. Instead of just having a party walk into a monster in the forest, you can set up an actual encounter in an environment that the monster actually is supposed to live in. I recommend this book highly for DM’s and I believe players will greatly enjoy the new character races.
Buy you own copy here.