Dungeons & Dragons: Monsters of the Multiverse Showcases Big Changes to Existing Rules

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The first new Dungeons & Dragons book published by Wizards of the Coast this year serves as a major update and reflects recent changes to design philosophy that emphasizes universality over the lore of any one world. Later this month, Wizards of the Coast will release Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse as one of three books included in the upcoming D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set. The book contains a collation of player races and monster statblocks previously published in various other D&D books published since the launch of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition nearly 8 years ago. Many of these player races and statblocks have been modified to bring them in line with recent changes in 5E design philosophy first seen in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, a 2020 rulebook that notably scrapped fixed Ability Score Increases to races. 

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"We wanted to create a companion book that sat alongside the Player's Handbook and Monster Manual," explained principal rules designer Jeremy Crawford during a Wizards of the Coast-hosted press event last week. "So you'd have a sort of one-stop shopping for player races and the monsters found throughout the multiverse." The book contains 33 different player races, including the Tortle as well as the recent Fairy and Harengon races from The Wild Beyond the Witchlight. Crawford noted that the fairy specifically was designed for Monsters of the Multiverse first, which was sent to press before that adventure.

(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)

With all 33 races lined up next to each other, the design team used Monsters of the Multiverse as an opportunity to bring better game balance by making sure that the races were comparatively powerful or versatile to one another. In many cases, the races got more powerful to make sure they could bring a "more comparable level of contribution" to an adventuring party. The Monsters of the Multiverse versions of these player races also remove traits that are specific to one setting's version of a race, to reflect the "universal" version that could be inserted into any campaign setting. These changes also remove features specific to a single culture, with Crawford noting that any race, not just humans, have flexibility in their cultures. Additionally, the fixed Ability Score Increases (i.e, a Goblin having a +2 to Dexterity and a +1 to Constitution) were scrapped in favor of the floating Ability Score Increases (players choose one score to give +2 to, and another score to give a +1 to).

Also in the book are 250 monster statblocks, almost all of which have appeared in other D&D books. Many of these statblocks have also received overhauls in Monsters of the Multiverse, making many of these creatures much more dangerous. Crawford noted that the statblocks reflect a revised design philosophy in regards to a monster's "Challenge Rating," a classification of sorts meant to show how dangerous a creature is to a 4-player party. While a monster previously needed only a single set of combat options to justify their Challenge Rating, the new statblocks have multiple sequences that would "max" out a creature's lethality and match a creature's CR. Basically. DMs have more flexibility in what a creature can do while retaining its threat to a party. While almost all of the creatures found in Monsters of the Multiverse have already appeared in at least one D&D book, there is one new creature in the book- the Dolphin Delighter. 

While Monsters of the Multiverse will initially be found only in the Rules Expansion Gift Set (Amazon) that comes out on January 25th, Wizards of the Coast will release the book separately on May 17, 2022. Pre-orders for Monsters of the Multiverse are available now.