18
\$\begingroup\$

The new book official 5e book, Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, contains a lot of the same content as the two previous books Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes and Volo's Guide to Monsters.

Currently (Feb 22nd 2022), Monsters of the Multiverse is only available by buying the complete Rules Expansion Gift Set.

Some of the content from Monsters of the Multiverse has been changed from VGTM and MTOF. For example, many races provide different benefits, and some of the monster stat blocks have been edited. No errata have so far been released to retroactively update VGTM and MTOF so they can match Monsters of the Multiverse.

When content in Monsters of the Multiverse doesn't match the versions of that content in older books, which rules take precedence?

\$\endgroup\$
3
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Related: "Contradictory parts of D&D Beyond: which is official?" and "Does 5e follow the Primary Source rule?" \$\endgroup\$ Feb 22, 2022 at 11:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason to think it would work differently in this case than in other cases where an updated version of content has been reprinted in newer books? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 22, 2022 at 15:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I'd assume Guillaume doesn't know what is done in those cases. If this sort of stuff has happened before (a monster or race reprinted without errata to the older book), I think you could turn that comment into an excellent answer \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2022 at 11:01

2 Answers 2

34
+100
\$\begingroup\$

Older versions of the races revised in Monsters of the Multiverse are obsolete. But ask your DM.

Your DM has the final say on which sourcebooks are available for selecting character options, and what rules from any sourcebooks are in use or take precedence.1 According to Wizards of the Coast, the versions of the races printed in Multiverse are the versions that "fit into the current state of the game":

Chapter 1, “Fantastical Races,” presents over 30 race options for player characters, complementing the options in the Player’s Handbook and other D&D books. These races debuted elsewhere and appear all together for the first time here, each of them revised to fit into the current state of the game.

D&D Beyond, now owned by Wizards of the Coast, gives a clear statement about the old versions of the races published in Multiverse, on their page about Legacy content:

The introduction of Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse to the Dungeons & Dragons game has revised older content. Going forward, any content that does not reflect the latest rules and lore will be categorized as Legacy Content.

Legacy content will be clearly indicated by a Legacy badge.

Legacy content will continue to be accessible and function consistently with other areas of the D&D Beyond website for anyone who owns that content. This means as an owner of Legacy content, there will be no disruption to how you wish to use and interact with that content as you do today.

Legacy content cannot be purchased directly in the marketplace.

And we see on the contents page for Volo's Guide and Mordenkainen's Tome this disclaimer:

This book contains Legacy Content! This means that the contents within don’t reflect the latest lore, mechanics, or the current state of Dungeons & Dragons. For more information, see Legacy Content.

So the position taken by Wizards of the Coast is that the older versions of these races are obsolete. From a "which ones are the most official" perspective, the races found in Monsters of the Multiverse take precedence. But from a "which rules take precedence at my table" perspective, it will always be the DM. This also tells me that it seems unlikely that these older books will be given errata to match the new publication.

As a final note, I haven't addressed monster stat blocks here because they are primarily DM-facing, and it's always been entirely up to the DM which monsters to use, so Multiverse hasn't really changed much for us, other than to provide some revised statblocks.


1 Unless you are playing an Adventurer's League game, in which case the DDAL Player's Guide determines what content you may use. Pertinent to this discussion, in AL you must use the Multiverse versions of all races.

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd also watch the skies for errata. IIRC the Tasha's changes to the artificer was also reflected in errata to E:RftLW. Whether that's be repeated for these will only be known with time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Feb 22, 2022 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good update, thanks \$\endgroup\$ Aug 26, 2023 at 2:17
5
\$\begingroup\$

For races, there is no conflict.

As far as the updated race entries go, the WotC products page for the book explains:

Each of these peoples represents a race option when you create your D&D character, expanding on the choices in the Player’s Handbook.

So there's no conflict; I would expect that in the same way that you can play a PHB "Dragonborn" or a "Metallic Dragonborn" from Fizban's, the Volo's Kobold and the Multiverse Kobold will just be two different options for playing a kobold character.

The PC race options are, as I understand it, intended to be more along the lines of the custom lineages from Tasha's, where they provide stat bonuses that can go wherever you like them and make some usability fixes. In some cases, the updated options do represent a sort of quasi-errata, like how the Dragonborn options in Fizban's allow you to use your breath weapon as part of an attack action instead of as an action, which makes it actually useful at higher levels (where the opportunity cost of not using weapon attacks made it undesirable for melee combat experts).

Errata is fine for correcting actual mistakes or clarifying text that didn't quite say what it meant, but rebalancing is really another thing entirely, especially for character-facing rules. It's often better to print a superior version of a thing as an "option" rather than try to say that everyone is required to go back and change their characters because a new version of the Ranger came out or whatever (potentially invalidating existing character choices). This is especially true where it come into contact with AL campaigns and so on; it's just easier to leave the 8-year-old information alone and print a new "option" instead.

Monsters might get errata, but who can say?

Updating monster stat blocks isn't as big a problem as updating player-facing information, but it's still potentially making a big mess.

According to the product page, the book includes

Updates to the monsters include making spellcasters easier for Dungeon Masters to run; giving many monsters more damage and resilience; and improving the organization of the stat blocks themselves.

On the one hand, I wouldn't be surprised if they released an update document to tell DMs how to update Volo's and Mordenkainen's monsters to fit with what's in Multiverse. But on the other hand, such a document would be nigh-unusable in actual table play, wouldn't provide the stat block organization benefits, and potentially sucks the wind out of the sails (or should that be sales?) in terms of moving Monsters of the Multiverse as a product.

A document that makes DMs say "I don't really need that new book, since I have all the information right here" and at the same time gives them a bad experience when trying to build and run a game... well, that's maybe not a good thing to release.

\$\endgroup\$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .