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RPGBOT.News – Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse Released

Show Notes

In this episode of RPGBOT.News, we discuss Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse, which released as part of the D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set. We talk about the included monsters, the updated races, and what we did and didn’t predict about what’s in the book.

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Materials Referenced in this Episode

Races Reprinted

  • Aaracokra
  • Aasimar
  • Bugbear
  • Centaur
  • Changeling
  • Deep Gnome
  • Duergar (Grey Dwarf / Underdark Dwarf)
  • Eladrin
  • Fairy
  • Firbolg
  • Genasi
    • Air Genasi
    • Earth Genasi
    • Fire Genasi
    • Water Genasi
  • Githyanki
  • Githzerai
  • Goblin
  • Goliath
  • Harengon
  • Hobgoblin
  • Kenku
  • Kobold
  • Lizardfolk
  • Minotaur
  • Orc
  • Satyr
  • Sea Elf
  • Shadar Kai
  • Shifter
  • Tabaxi
  • Tortle
  • Triton
  • Yuan-Ti

Transcript

Randall 

Welcome to the RPGBOT.News. I’m Randall James, Mordenkainen’s minion, and with me is Tyler Kamstra.

Tyler 

Hi, everybody.

Randall 

and Random Powell.

Random 

Good evening.

Randall 

All right, Tyler, what are we doing today?

Tyler 

Well, Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse has released today alongside the D&D rules expansion gift set. So we’re going to talk about what’s inside it.

Randall 

Okay, fantastic. So the entire gift set is Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse, Tasha’s Cauldron of everything, and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, right?

Tyler 

Yes.

Randall 

So two of those books we’ve had. I think folks are fairly familiar with it. So the one we really want to dive into is Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse. In this tome, released today, January 25th, 2022, there are all of two chapters. But the good news is they’re very long chapters. So the first chapter is on races. The second chapter is a bestiary. And yeah, so we did a news episode recently where part of what we talked about were rumors about what we thought was going to be here, what we were being told was going to be here. How close was it?

Tyler 

I think we actually did a pretty good job anticipating some of the changes to race design. So we’ll link the Future of D&D episode in the show notes. But we anticipated the changes to the ability score increases and the way they work. We anticipated the move towards instead of once per short rest, things being proficiency bonus per long rest and a couple of other minor changes. The, well, the changes to innate spell spell casting aren’t minor, but we didn’t anticipate those as well. There were a couple of surprises. The change to how subraces work was really interesting. The short version is subraces are no longer a thing. An individual subrace is now published entirely as a standalone race. So like Sea Elf, Wood Elf, Shadar-Kai, Eladrin. Like, each of those would be published as their own race. And I mean, that might sound startling for people who’ve been playing D&D For a long time, and you’re used to how sub races work. But what that lets them do is individual sub races can deviate more or less than other sub races from the, like, core racial traits. So the Duergar are in the book. And they’re a great example of this because they got rid of like all the dwarf weapon proficiencies and a couple of other core dwarf traits like Stonecunning. So they’re really, like, moving them slightly away from that… you’ve got a bunch of core traits and like one or two sub race things. And this also lets them get away from like, the mess that wizards created with tieflings and half-elves, where you’ve got sub races and, and variants across like three or four different books each.

Randall 

So with the new races that we have, how do we think about some of the balancing efforts that they put in?

Random 

With the introduction of this book, several races that have been long at the top end of the power scale, are brought down to a much more reasonable version. Technically speaking, the Yuan-ti presented in this book is not exactly called a yawn tea pureblood. And so you might get someone trying to argue that they’re different. But I think that the intention was definitely that the Yuan-ti presented in this book replaces the Yuan-ti Pureblood, and it is very much nerfed. The poison immunity is gone, replaced with poison resistance. One interesting thing is that Aasimar no longer have the sub races even broken out. Like Tyler was just talking about there, it’s just aasimar, and then at level three, you basically choose your flavor and that choice sticks with you. So one of the Aasimar, I think it was fallen or scourge, I can I can I can never keep the two straight, but had radiant consumption which would let you do radiant damage over time and also hurt yourself. Well, it no longer hurts you, but it also doesn’t really hurt enemies much anymore either. And is therefore just strictly worse than the other version, which is the the radiant wings. Something like that. I forget exactly what it is. Just another thing like aarakocra. They fly a whole lot less now, which is good. So basically, they took a lot of these real edge cases and sort of toned them back towards the middle whilst giving them compensation in general. And some of the weaker ones were given bonuses too. So like Goliath, which had cold resistance patched in later in their life, like, two years ago or something, retain that cold resistance and the Stone’s Endurance has the new proficiency bonus per long rest like Tyler was mentioning. Your your low-level Goliath are going to be real tanky compared to what they used to be. And believe me, they appreciate it.

Randall 

Yeah, it’s it’s interesting. So having so many of these things, proficiency bonus times a long rest is going to make, like, a lot of the cool features of particular races interesting. But then we’ve also, like you said, we’ve nerfed compared to the base races in a lot of places. Can you imagine like, if you’re a DM and somebody says that your table, one group wants to say, well, actually, I want to take this out of the PHB or I want to take it off an older resource. Somebody else says, I really want to take what’s in Monsters of the mMltiverse. Are you going to let people mix a match?

Tyler 

I think that’s gonna vary by table and personal preference. There are some races where it’s roughly equivalent, and it’s basically just updated text. There are some races that are clearly buffed. There are some that are clearly nerfed, like Random said. Yeah, just talk it out with your group figure out what you want to do. I imagine a lot of people are going to be comfortable with just taking the most recent version of the race and that’s a perfectly fine answer. If you just want to say like this is the most recently published, we’re just going to use that to keep it simple. That’s fine if that’s the way you want to handle things.

Randall 

Will you let somebody take the non-nerfed version but still take any three or two plus one as well as proficiency bonus times? Or you know Yeah, proficiency bonus per long rest?

Random 

Absolutely not.

Randall 

Okay, I can’t have my cake and eat it too.

Tyler 

I’m pretty sure if you do that the Fun Police will show up at your house. We all take your books and also throw you in fun jail. It’s not as fun as it sounds.

Randall 

They need to leave you one of the books. Whichever one we’re supposed to be following.

Random 

Is fun jail, like, is that where you take custard damage? Anyway… One other thing just we thought they did bring in a decent number of previously setting-specific races. You have core centaurs now and ho boy does that mean a lot of problems for character optimizing. Be aware of that.

Randall 

There wasn’t a line that said you can’t have people writing centaurs?

Random 

No, in fact it specifies that they still have the carrying capacity doubled like a large creature would.

Tyler 

Yeah, just do the the tactical deployment Fighter and have them grapple everyone in the party, rush into combat, drop everyone as a free action, and then everyone scatters. Technically, you don’t even have to be a centaur to do that, you just have to be really strong.

Randall 

We should try that between Bugbear Grylls and our goliath companion.

Tyler 

We should Oh, speaking of bugbears, bugbears got a huge buff.

Random 

They did!

Tyler 

Surprise attack, surprise attack got reworked. So the biggest problem with surprise attack was you could only use it on creatures that were surprised and it only worked once for combat. So it was both really unreliable and hard to use. And it didn’t scale as you leveled. So the damage stopped mattering pretty quickly. You can use it on any creature that hasn’t acted yet and it’s no longer once per encounter. You can rush into an encounter and make as many attacks as you want in your first turn and just melt people with it. I’m very excited.

Random 

Fun fact about bugbears. The first line about them says that they are neither bugs nor bears.

Randall 

That’s true.

Tyler 

Always important to clarify. Oh, also hey, goblins are fade out. Yeah, there are at least they have fey ancestry just like elves.

Random 

They’re actually coded like their creature type is fey is it really? Yeah, if you go look at hobgoblins there now like fey goblin or as our goblins

Tyler 

Wow, I look to our past that.

Randall 

Bugbear, also fey. That’s right, right?

Random 

I mean, I am just gonna crack this and double check and make sure but I did…

Randall 

We got the books. We could do it. Yeah, it’s true. Yeah. Yeah, I thought because bugbear… aren’t bugbear goblinoid?

Tyler 

Yeah, they’re, so goblinoid isn’t a creature type. It’s it’s a loose grouping of three closely related races.

Randall 

Yeah, did all the goblinoids gained fey ancestry as part of this?

Tyler 

They sure did.

Randall 

So there you go. Bugbear are fey creatures.

Tyler 

Yeah. And if you’re familiar with fey ancestry from the elves, they did change fey ancestry so the immunity to magical sleep is now part of the trance feature which elves stone they get? Fans history is just resistant to term effects.

Randall 

Okay, so all of these creatures we’re talking about are resistant to charm.

Tyler 

Yes.

Randall 

And only elves got to keep the fact that the… You can’t make me go to sleep, which actually makes sense because they didn’t need to sleep in the first place. So why, like, my body isn’t capable of this. Do you think if I could turn off the world for 10 hours at a time I wouldn’t? The elf gestures around, like, all of this.

Tyler 

Gestures to the world indistinctly.

Random 

So the playable versions of goblins and hobgoblins, the creature type stays humanoid. But when you go and look up hobgoblins actually in the bestiary, the two hobgoblins presented there are both type fey.

Tyler 

Really!

Random 

They’re typed fey, parentheses goblinoid.

Tyler 

Interesting. I wonder why they did that.

Randall 

But goblinoids are also humanoids.

Random 

No.

Randall 

I… go ahead.

Random 

Since there’s no longer subtypes in a way that actually matters, they put it in parentheses, but that doesn’t really mean anything. If you are a humanoid, you are humanoid and your subtype doesn’t really matter. The overall type like fey that absolutely matters for a handful of things, but the like the subtype goblinoid, or I am so pleased, they put a marut in this book, which means that we’re getting more inevitables. It does my heart good.

Randall 

And in the inevitables are inevitable because… They’re like The Incredibles, but instead of more being like, “wow, that was surprising” it’s like, “wow, I expected that.”

Random 

I am gonna drive up there and slap you with this book. Inevitable are just one of the coolest things. They’re basically constructs created by lawful deities for the explicit purpose of enforcing a law of the universe. So like maruts, presented in this book, are constructs who hunt contract breakers. If you have broken a contract sufficient, either a sufficiently important contract or like broken a lot of contracts, a god can just be like, I’m going to send a robot to your house and tell you to cut that out. It’s like a CR 14. Like this, this is not a robot made to mess around. This is a robot made to kick your teeth.

Randall 

So do they typically tell you to cut that out by killing you?

Random 

No?

Randall 

Okay.

Tyler 

It depends on what their orders are. I’m pretty sure they’re lawful neutral. So if they were ordered to tell you by killing you, I’m pretty sure they would feel obligated.

Randall 

That’s fair.

Random 

They are however, very smart. They’re smarter than any human can get until it takes class levels.

Randall 

Okay. All right. Okay, cool. Those are the races. I guess I’ll ask the question. Were there particular races that came into the book or anything that you were super excited about with what you saw?

Tyler 

Well, I was definitely excited to see the buff to bugbears because I’m playing one and I’m selfish that way. There were some other races that really got some much needed updates, I think. Deep gnomes got a cool buff. Firbolgs got some buffs.

Randall 

Wait, actually, what is a firbolg?

Random 

Firbolgs are interesting. They’re basically like, what if you took a troll and then made it kind of afraid and, like, human-sized?

Randall 

Okay, so cowardly trolls.

Random 

Yeah. Here. Not that this does the listeners any good but there you go. A firbolg.

Randall 

Yeah. Okay. Look, yeah, he looks he looks intimidated.

Tyler 

Yeah, they’re nice forest creatures. They can talk to animals and plants and stuff and the plants can’t understand. Like they can understand you and they can’t do anything about it. But you can tell your houseplants that you love them and they’ll understand.

Randall 

That’s nice. That’s actually that’s a great feature.

Tyler 

Yeah, so I think I’m… I’m really excited that a lot of the settings specific races got reprinted like the Shifter and we got the Fairy and the Harengon from a couple of adventures. They didn’t reprint the Owlin, which is kind of surprising. We just got that in the Strixhaven book. So they I guess they just decided it wasn’t cool enough to bring into the multiverse.

Randall 

Was the ln in the playtesting material for Strixhaven? And I’m just like, we’re going wild. Oh, say again?

Tyler 

For the UA for Strixhaven, yes.

Randall 

Okay. All right. Yeah, I wonder was there a chance that it wasn’t gonna make it and therefore it didn’t make it into this print? Overly speculating on why they would leave it out versus everything else.

Tyler 

Actually, now that I think about it. The… the Owlin, if I remember correctly, were first in the Unearthed Arcana, like, races of the Feywild or something where we saw fairies for the first time.

Randall 

Okay.

Tyler 

I might be misremembering. I’ll have to go back check and we’ll link it in the show notes once I figured it out. But some races didn’t get reprinted like Warforged and Kalasthar, which are both Eberron races didn’t get reprinted. But shifters did for some reason.

Random 

Changelings also did.

Tyler 

Changelings did, Yes. And but

Randall 

everyone, did everyone use the three plus ones or two plus one?

Tyler 

The ability score increases? No, because the Eberron rising from the last war supplement came out probably two three years ago now. So it’s like long predates… I’m pretty sure it came out pre-Tasha’s as well. So it doesn’t have any of the new race changes, but the the Warforged barely changes if you if you update it to use the new rules. So like, no big change there. A lot of the core races and stuff would look pretty different under the new system, but like variant humans and Warforged and Simic Hybrids, like anything that already comes with a flexible ability score increase isn’t going to change much with the new roles.

Random 

I was very happy about Kenku. Kenku got a very noticeable buff, and they’ve always been a very fun race. So seeing this whole like they can give themselves skill bonuses now and can talk outside of their mimicry, which was always a weird roleplay thing. But the skill bonuses I mean, it’s there’s definitely reasons why You wouldn’t use a kenku now apart from just the stats spread, which because they’re in this book is no longer a thing for the roleplay benefits, so I was excited to see them. And also satyrs getting reprinted in this book as a playable race. Very happy about that.

Tyler 

So the one of the changes to the Kanku is kind of easy to miss: their Expert Forgery thing previously only worked if they were copying things that other people created. Now that Kenku can copy things that they created. If you a Kanku become a master craftsman and want to duplicate a previous work, previously, it’s like, Ah, I hope somebody else is better than you so you can copy them. But now you can copy yourself and feel like you actually got good at something. They, the Kanku also point out one big change in the race design: the way racial skill proficiencies work. So some races grant you additional skill proficiencies Kenku give you two, Tabaxi give you two. Some races give you ones and give you none. Anyway, prior to Tasha’s, most races would give you like here’s a scale or here are two skills and you’re locked into these. A handful of races, including the Kenku, gave you two proficiencies from a short list. So Kenku got like deception, stealth, a couple other options, and you can pick from the four. We’ve gone back to that, which was surprising after Tasha’s because Tasha’s what you just change whatever proficiency you get. So now, some races will have a list of proficiencies that you can pick from. Like, the Tortle gets, I think eight options, which is almost the entire skill list. So I don’t know why they bothered. Kenku still get four I believe, but Tabaxi went right back to having to fix skills: stealth and perception. We’ve gone back to some races having their skills locked in. Like, we saw this with the Owlen in the Strixhaven book, where they were they’re locked into stealth. I imagine some players are probably going to stick to the like stick to the custom origin rules and just say Yeah, fine, reassign it, whatever. But in a lot of cases, the skills that you get from the race make sense for the races anatomy in some way. Like with Tabaxi, you’re supposed to be quick, sneaky and observant, so stealth and perception makes sense. Alan are owls and they have soft, fluffy feathers, so stealth makes sense. Yeah, I’m curious to see what they do with it in the future. I think the ability to choose from a list is going to be used as a balancing point for the races. It’s another interesting lever that WotC can pull to make races. Interesting.

Randall 

No, that makes sense. And so to say we’ll have a link in the show notes that would guide you to a list of all the races that are printed in monsters of the multiverse. And so you’ll be able to follow up with that. I think it’s worth talking a little bit about the bestiary.

Tyler 

Yes.

Random 

Yeah, there’s a lot of great stuff. One thing that I do just want to call out that I immediately noticed I had to read through. Well, two things that I noticed that I read through. So one, we seem to be importing some of Pathfinder 2’s crit fail. So there are a handful of saves that I ran across, where abilities on monsters where if you fail to save by five or more, it has some worse effect. And that included things like taking maximized damage from the ability, or one of them was if you fail to save by five or more you were also stunned by the attack, something like that. So that there’s there’s definitely some of those. And I wonder if that’s something that we’re going to start seeing more of is like degrees of failure, like we talked about in our failure episode. Go listen to it. The other quick thing, several spellcasters that… now that spellcasting is not strictly speaking, spellcasting the same way that like a player character does. There are a handful of monsters listed in here that have spellcasting actions and the ability to change shape, and can spellcast while  change shaped. Some of which are druids like the Archdruid. There’s a Drow Arachnomancer, which is never a pair of words that I wanted to say in my life. That does this. There’s also a cloud giant smiling one, which is a fascinating, basically like a trickster Cleric that’s a giant, because memnor, and anyone from my Strahd campaign will have a great time with that. But yeah, you know they can. It’s interesting to see that it calls out like even when you’re changing your shape, you still get this spellcasting except one. There’s a yuan-ti that we looked at that can’t do that while the snake. Who knows why?

Randall 

Yeah, so I do want to really focus on the arachnomancer. For longtime listeners, folks will be aware that Tyler famously does not love spiders.

Tyler 

Do not care for them.

Randall 

Not at all. So I think we should spend at least a few more moments. I want to say I when I heard the word “arachnomancer,” I was extremely disappointed that he or she does not summon spiders.

Tyler 

You know that does feel like a missed opportunity. I… do they have Conjure Animal on the spell list?

Random 

No, they have insect plague on the spell list  There ya go, that’s spiders.

Randall 

But I think it doesn’t say flies in particular?

Tyler 

I don’t think it specifies in the spell, but it does say insect. So I guess arachnids are off limits.

Randall 

There’s like the false spiders that are technically insects, but they look like spiders. So I guess that could be kind of fun to bring in.

Tyler 

Good God is, is that a thing?

Randall 

That is absolutely a thing. There are a lot of there are a lot of things you see. It’s like, oh, that’s a spider. And it’s terrible. But at least arachnomancers can’t can’t summon them. Because they’re spiders. Nope, whole cloud of them coming out your face.

Tyler 

Jeese. Thank you, nature. Jerk.

Randall 

Like, yeah, it seemed really cool. And I feel like you could… what level? Are you looking at that right now, Random? Do you know what level the right answer is?

Random 

CR 13.

Randall 

That’s nice, actually. So that’d be an awesome higher level BBEG.

Tyler 

Could it not be?

Random 

It absolutely would. Yep. That would be fabulous.

Randall 

Like, imagine going, going into that layer. And like, there’s webs everywhere. And like it’s, yeah, I feel like we’ve seen this as a scene in the movie, and it’s a good time.

Random 

One other thing that I will say as you call out BBEGS, there’s a lot of them in this book, quite literally. Because we are stealing from a couple other books to fill out this book. Every prince of hell and demon lord is printed in this book. And which includes among other things, Orcus.

Tyler 

Oh good.

Random 

We have a printed Sepilok for orcas, which includes his wand, in this book. What each of the nine princes of hell and seven devil lords? Something like that are represented here with you know, their they’ve got their lair actions, they’ve got all that. There’s some, there’s a lot of really big scary stuff in here. On the one hand, it’s really fun to go through and read them. On the other hand, it almost feels like padding a little bit. You’re probably never going to use more than one of them at least in in a campaign. Maybe, like, two if you’re pitting them against each other or something. But realistically, it’s that almost feels a little bit disappointing to just see a lot of this space taken up by this stuff that’s functionally eye candy.

Tyler 

Yeah, and there’s definitely some stuff here that’s just straight reprinted from previous supplements. Like, the Astral Dreadnought is copy pasted straight from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. The darkling and the darkling elder are just straight copy pasted from Volos Guide to Monsters, like, they didn’t even add new art for them, which is kind of disappointing. Like they’ve got all these cool monsters and they couldn’t… new art guys, come on.

Randall 

To be a little bit forgiving. The idea was that if you buy the core rulebook giftset and if you buy this extension rule set gift set. At that point, it’s kind of this is the new complete system and you can go make it happen. And so it made sense to, like, it’s supposed to be alleviating people from buying Volo’s or for buying Tome of Foes. And the reality is it’s just disappointing if you’re a person who buys every single book because you already have the content.

Tyler 

Yeah, that’s that’s pretty much exactly it. The accessibility for new players or for people, people who are just getting the game people haven’t bought all the books already. Like I went to my friendly local game store today pick up my copy. And the guy running the counter told me Yeah, he hadn’t picked up any of the books in the new gift set. So he was really excited about it. There are definitely people playing the game out there who are just going to buy this, maybe skip over Volo’s and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes in favor of the new books. And that’s honestly a great answer. It’ll probably save you 100 bucks on books.

Randall 

Yeah, I’m forgetting if we knew this when we did the the the previous News episode. But more recently, D&D Beyond has actually come out and said a bit more about how they’re going to handle that.

Tyler 

I may have missed that. Do you know, like, we know the release date is in May. But did you see more details?

Randall 

Well, and but also that they’re not basically they’re promising that they’re not just going to delete the old content or the old structures. So they’re going to have some way of presenting you if you purchase the old content by D&D beyond you there will be a mechanism for you to view the old content and if you purchase the new content, a mechanism for you to view the new content as well. So they’re not just going to be ripping out the content that people have previously purchased. So I think great decision and it directly addresses I think a lot of the angst that we saw previously. That’s really good to hear. Yeah, we’ll grab a link and we’ll put that in the show notes if people want to read up on it themselves.

Tyler 

Good idea they did. They did basically the same thing with Dragon born when Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons came out where you still have the classic dragonborn traits in there. And then you have the the variants and then the two sub aces that came from Explorers Guide to Wildemount… Wildemount? I’m still not sure on that one honestly. But yeah, the… as they add more More options to existing pages the interface is getting a little cluttered. So I’m hoping that D&D Beyond will eventually clean that up. Great site. Little difficult to use that sometimes.

Randall 

Yeah, I’ve actually it’s interesting to me that neither of you saw this to the point where I’m wondering like, Am I now having very, very vivid RPGBOT.News dreams now? And then they said they wouldn’t ruin the old content and it was great! Yeah.

Tyler 

I’m sure you probably didn’t see it, and I missed it. Sadly, I am not omniscient. As much as I pretend.

Randall 

That’s fair. I, I believe that. All right, well, hey, folks. The gift set is out. Feel like we mentioned that. We’ll have a link, you know, pick it up at your local friendly game shop. But if you are hopping online, we’ll have affiliate links in the show notes. And yeah, thanks a lot. We’ll see you next time.

Tyler 

I think we did good. That was good.

Randall 

Is everybody having a good night?

Tyler 

Yeah.

Random 

Oh look at Dan actually do an ASL.

Randall 

Nice. We’ll make sure we transcribe that in the podcast

Tyler 

Aarakocra, Aasimar, Bugbear, Centaur. Changeling, Deep Gnome, Duergar, Eladrin, Fairy, Firbolg, Genasi… Genasi? Githyanki, Githzari, Goblin, Goliath, Harengon, Hobgoblin.

Randall 

What else do I have to say?

Tyler 

We didn’t start the fire!

Randall 

I’m done now. It’s fine. I did my best.

Tyler 

It was good. I enjoyed it.

Randall 

Just getting, I’m not done! Githzerai, Goblin, Kenku, Kobold, Lizardfolk. Minotaur, Orc, Satyr, Sea Elf, Shadar-Kai, Shifter, Tabaxi, Triton, Yuan-Ti.

Tyler 

We didn’t start the fire…

Randall 

Alright, we did it. That’s the whole list.

Random 

Yuan-Ti Anathema are back.

2 Comments

  1. Cody February 16, 2022
    • RPGBOT February 17, 2022

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