THERE are a lot of sourcebooks for Dungeons & Dragons out there. D&D 5e (the current edition) has something like 50 sourcebooks, ranging from the quintessential Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide to books covering individual world settings and adventures. There’s a lot to work with, especially if you’re an RPG completionist.
One of the “essential” rulebooks for a DM (or involved player) is the two-volume Monster Manual; a bestiary covering the major examples the various monsters, beasts and potentially antagonistic NPCs adventurers might encounter.
There’s always room for more, however, and the D&D latest sourcebook from Wizards Of The Coast is Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters Of The Multiverse, which (as its title suggests) offers exactly that – it is a collection of monsters from across the D&D Multiverse for DMs to incorporate into adventures and campaigns.
There are more than 250 creatures (mostly monsters and demons and Feywild creatures, but a few “regular” entities too) in the bestiary, with more than 30 player races including Centaurs, Fairies, Changelings, and Minotaurs also included (some of which have been rebalanced).
The book contains some colour commentary from the wizard Mordenkainen, with some additional insights from Tasha of Tasha’s Cauldron Of Everything fame.
There’s a lot in here, but most if the contents are reprinted material (albeit updated for 5th Edition) so you’re not getting more than 250 new monsters, but rather more than 250 monsters that have been in other sourcebooks and are now in one book, designed to work with the 5e rules.
In fairness, Wizards Of The Coast have been completely upfront with this; the official blurb notes that it is “Compiling and updating monsters that originally appeared in Volo’s Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes”.
In this regard, Monsters Of The Multiverse is very helpful for a DM who, for example, isn’t interested in running an adventure set in the Feywild (and thus doesn’t have The Wild Beyond The Witchlight sourcebook), but is interested in having some Darklings (for example) make an appearance in their regular campaign.
The other thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t include every monster from the various sourcebooks, and should arguably be viewed as akin to a Monster Manual: Part II rather than a complete guide to everything that’s been released since the Monster Manual was published in 2014.
Despite Mordenkainen’s name literally appearing in the title, he’s not really present much in the book; there’s a few notes from him scattered throughout the text but otherwise there wasn’t really a “framing device” explaining why his name was on the book – especially since there’s also a few notes from Tasha (of Tasha’s Cauldron Of Everything) in there too.
While there really are quite an array of monsters in the book – including actual demons – there’s also a few mundane additions to the bestiary, some of which had me scratching my head. In particular, I’m not sure why unremarkable NPC types like and “Bards” or “Swashbucklers” are included in the bestiary – besides already being common enough characters/archetypes, they’re not really “monsters” in the traditional sense, either.
I did like the accompanying artwork, however. – each of the creatures is well illustrated in that vibrant style that D&D does so well – although I gather many of these images may also be re-used from the other sourcebooks (which I don’t have, so cannot confirm).
The stat blocks are laid out clearly and the info is easy to access, and there’s certainly a great variety of creatures to add to adventures here as well – from the mundane to the exotic to the demonic. Some of the infotext is a bit light on context, though – it doesn’t always suggest how or where a DM might wish to employ a particular creature.
Ultimately how much benefit you’ll get from this will depend if you have Volo’s Guide To Monsters and Mordenkainen’s Tome Of Foes already. If you do, then there’s not much point in getting this since you’ve already got most (if not nearly all) of the information anyway.
If you’re new to D&D and looking for a useful addendum to the Monster Manual, however, then this will be very helpful indeed for you.