Dungeon Delving for Dummies: “Volo’s Guide to Monsters”

“Volo’s Guide to Monsters” is Wizards of the Coast’s most detailed sourcebook 

Stephanie Moschella |‌ ‌Digital Media Manager

Imagine this scenario: a mother has two kids, one’s name is Combat and the other’s name is Roleplay. No matter how hard they try, the mother just can’t help but love Roleplay more. But she can’t just let Combat sit there and die ⏤ they need food, water, shelter and the base level of love so that they don’t simply just perish away. But Combat is ugly, slow, tedious, hard work and overall, a pain in her a-s. The thing is, with the right parenting, Combat can grow up into an exceptional adult. “Volo’s Guide to Monsters” might be the element missing to turn the combat hating players excited to roll initiative. 

This sourcebook is jam packed with information and in depth lore surrounding Dungeons & Dragons’ most notable enemies such as beholders, hags, mind flayers and much more. There are plenty of additional resources for dungeon masters including tables, lairs with maps, historical backgrounds and even some creature psychology that can help add an extra layer to games. 

Along with this, the book includes tons of extensions for player characters as well ⏤ with 13 new and interesting races in order to keep away from any standard or traditional races. There are tips on how to roleplay certain races, which I will always and forever ignore because they’re really just full of primitive racist stereotypes. Most of the time, these “tips” are problematic amalgamations of real life racism and DM’s should be aware of this in order to avoid any pitfalls. 

New races are always a plus, as they can expand worldbuilding and character creation, but it falls flat with the racially steered tips. Avoiding this section is quite easy, as Wizards of the Coast has done some careful, albeit minimal, backtracking in order to avoid this issue present day. 

The most important section of the sourcebook is the extensive bestiary that is dedicated to a variety of new creatures ⏤ some that weren’t even included in the Monster Manual. There is an excellent range of monsters with an easy to gauge balance for DM’s to recognize what they should or shouldn’t be using against their 5th level players. 

Content wise, any DM will benefit in buying and subsequently using this sourcebook. It is extremely detailed as stated by Volothamp Geddarm himself, “I wonder what a mind flayer’s brain tastes like.” 

Overall Review: This book is an absolute must-have for DMs as it is a treasure trove of monster lore. It’s an amazing addition to 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons with charming banter from Volo and Elminster sprinkled throughout. 9/10 would recommend to DM’s and players alike!

Contact the author at smoschella20@mail.wou.edu

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