D&D Volo’s Guide to Monsters Previews Collection

Volo’s Guide to Monsters, a new hardcover book of monsters for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, is releasing very soon (November 15, 2016 or earlier in gaming stores). The book features new monsters for a Dungeon Master to unleash on his players, lore and lairs for classic monsters, and new playable races. Here are some previews to look at while you wait to get this book in your hands.

Get to Know the Crossroads

After a diversion into some discussion of Nemesis, I return this week to encourage people to get to know things. In the name of this spooky season, I am continuing with demons, devils, ghoulies, ghosties, goblins, and so forth. Ok, so I covered a type of devil and scarecrows thus far for the month and that’s it. Whatever, let’s not make a big deal about it. Rather than discuss a particular creature, I wanted to instead talk about the folklore of the crossroads, and the supernatural beings that are said to patronize them. Don’t worry, there will be some discussion of D&D critters, though maybe not the ones you think. If you’ve missed the rest of the series so far, you can catch up with it here.

Too Much of a Good Thing: Success and Magic Items

Instead of helping people get to know D&D creatures and their lore, this week we will discuss something completely different: magic items and player success. So very often, these two things go hand in hand. The players accomplish a task (saving a village, killing a monster, etc.), and not only enjoy the victory, they are compensated materially. Sometimes, the goal itself is the attainment of a magic item. The discussions in which I have participated tend to agree that groups questing for items for each other is a good way to provide story for everyone, while linking it to an item. The warlock wants a spellblade that once belonged to a fallen paladin in order to forge a stronger link with her patron and power her magic with the broken oaths. Sounds like a good, terrible quest for everyone.

Unearthed Arcana: Encounter Building Breakdown

Huh, new UA today, and on what is for some of us a holiday. I guess WotC doesn’t take Indigenous Peoples’ Day off? Either that, or they decided it should be a gift-giving holiday. Anyway, today Mearls is tackling an alternate approach to encounter building. Overall, we see very little expansion or revision of DM-facing content, and especially not with something as bone-dry as encounter building.

Get to Know the Erinyes

We’re official into October. For many people I know, October means one thing: Halloween. While I am certainly not opposed to a fancy dress party, not to be confused with the Fancy Dress Party, I’m not exactly someone who goes crazy for the holiday. I like making stuff, but going to a party means I have to socially interact with people, all of whom might realize at any moment that I am the worst. Rather than have it be proven, I prefer to stay at home to cultivate my mystique. I might have veered from the point. Regardless, this time of year sees a whole host of devil and fallen angel costumes, of the classical, re-imagined, scary, or sexy variety. A kind reader (you can tweet to @tribality or @standsinthefire if you want me to cover something, or just complain about/to me) asked if I would cover demons or devils in the new future, and this time of year is perfect for it. Without further ado, let’s talk about one of my favorite devils: the erinyes.

Azer | Kenku | Giants | Scarecrow | Erinyes

Get to Know the Scarecrow

Welcome to Fall. The time of year where we lament that it is still too warm for this time of year and yearn for cold weather, only to complain when the weather is actually cold. The time of year where bonfires, raking the yard, and drinking to excess in the name of team loyalty rule the day. It’s also the time of monsters, honoring the dead, giving thanks, pilgrimages, and the harvest. While Halloween gets most of the focus, with growing interest in Day of the Dead and All Saints’ Day, I’ve always felt a strong pull to the mythos surrounding the harvest. There is just something about the lore and superstitions associated with the harvest that stirs my creative juices. So let’s kick off the season with a look at a seasonal staple, the scarecrow. If you’ve missed the previous creatures I’ve covered, you can find them below.

Azer | Kenku | Giants | Scarecrow

Get to Know the Giants

Much like a robotic assassin from the future, I’m back…and I’ve brought giants with me. No, I’m not training them to the zone entrance where an AFK ogre is blocking the entrance. In a previous article about the kenku, some comments suggested creatures I should cover in the future. One of those suggestions was giants, as topical a choice as any, due to the recent release of Storm King’s Thunder. Full disclosure, I have not read through the supplement, so it’s possible there is some other stuff going on in there to which I am not privy. I do, however, have a lot of historical information and the basic 5e information, so onward we trudge. To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.

Unearthed Arcana Breakdown: The Ranger, Revised

In today’s Unearthed Arcana article, Mearls returns to one of the most hotly discussed topics of 5e design: the ranger. This isn’t UA’s first take on an alternate ranger, either – and the blogging/third-party-publishing community has followed suit. That previous article lays out a lot of what WotC sees as The Issues, but the solution they presented was not particularly celebrated in the conversations I saw about it. To be fair, though, the core of the problem is that there’s probably less consensus on the ranger’s identity as a class than any other class in the game. In this article, I’m picking apart what I see in the document.

Unearthed Arcana – Ranger Revised

The new and improved Ranger is here from Wizard of the Coast’s Mike Mearls! After a few cracks at the ranger, we get an 8 page PDF that renames its archetypes to conclaves and they hope will have everyone loving the class again. We also see the re-introduction of the Deep Stalker Conclave who is most at home in the Underdark and was last seen in Unearthed
Arcana: Light, Dark, Underdark!. They basically fixed the base class, left the Hunter alone and fixed the Beast Master.