An Early Look at  D&D’s Newest Monster Bible

By Cecilia D'Anastasio on at

Happy Halloween, geeks and freaks. Today, we have a special preview of the new Dungeons & Dragons monster supplement, Volo’s Guide to Monsters, to satisfy your beastly cravings.

Volo’s Guide is a whole new take on the nearly 40-year-old Monster Manual. This time, it’s got some story, framing it more as an academic debate than an encyclopedia: “Esteemed loremaster” Volothamp Geddarm describes the iconic monsters of D&D’s Forgotten Realms universe while the Sage of Shadowdale argues his take on monsters is too classic. The two duke it out academic-style in comments scattered throughout Volo’s Guide, to be released 15th November.

D&D’s lead designer Mike Mearls told Polygon recently that Volo’s Guide is meant to question and draw out D&D’s monster tropes:

“If you take a look at something like a mind flayer, it has that sort of ‘50s science fiction feel. It’s the creepy monster that lives under the bed and eats your brain by the end of story. But I think with a 21st century approach, you can say, ‘Well, who is the mind flayer.’ And it sounds funny, but then you start getting into it. What’s with this guy eating brains...

What’s the biology of the mind flayer? But no one asked about its feelings. But when you think about, it the game tells me that mind flayer has an 18 intelligence. The highest intelligence a human can achieve, that’s their average. Literally, they walk in the room and they are the smartest being there. They are smarter than every human they’ve ever ate. So talking to us is like meeting dogs, for them. What’s that got to be like?”

Of course, like any D&D head knows, the real pull of Monster Manuals are the illustrations. Publisher Wizards of the Coast has provided us with an exclusive preview of a few pages. Also included are new race options, lore and a bestiary. Check out the art (and lore!) below:

An Early Look At  D&D’s Newest Monster BibleVolo’s Guide to Monsters

An Early Look At  D&D’s Newest Monster BibleVolo’s Guide to Monsters

An Early Look At  D&D’s Newest Monster BibleVolo’s Guide to Monsters

An Early Look At  D&D’s Newest Monster BibleVolo’s Guide to Monsters

An Early Look At  D&D’s Newest Monster BibleVolo’s Guide to Monsters

An Early Look At  D&D’s Newest Monster BibleVolo’s Guide to Monsters