Volo's Guide to Monsters

Brand: Wizards of the Coast
Model: WTCB86820000
ISBN 0786966017
EAN: 0090125919707
Category: Home & Office
List Price: $49.95
Price: $26.49  (127 customer reviews)
You Save: $23.46 (47%)
Dimension: 10.90 x 8.50 x 0.60 inches
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Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Immerse yourself in monster lore in this supplement for the world’s greatest roleplaying game
This is NOT just another Monster Manual! Volo’s Guide to Monsters provides something exciting for players and Dungeon Masters everywhere.
· A deep dive into the lore behind some of D&D’s most popular and iconic monsters
· Dozens of monsters new to the fifth edition to include in your epic adventures
· New playable races to allow you to build characters to fit nearly any type of story in your D&D game.
The esteemed loremaster Volothamp Geddarm is back and he’s written a fantastical dissertation, covering some of the most iconic monsters in the Forgotten Realms. Unfortunately, the Sage of Shadowdale himself, Elminster, doesn’t believe Volo gets some of the important details quite right. Don’t miss out as Volo and Elminster square off (academically speaking of course) to illuminate the uninitiated on creatures both common and obscure. Uncover the machinations of the mysterious Kraken Society, what is the origin of the bizarre froghemoth, or how to avoid participating in the ghastly reproductive cycle of the grotesque vargouille.  Dungeon Masters and players will get some much-needed guidance as you plan your next venture, traipsing about some dusty old ruin in search of treasure, lore, and let’s not forget ... dangerous creatures whose horns, claws, fangs, heads, or even hides might comfortably adorn the walls of your trophy room. If you survive.
Research has never been so dangerous!


  • Wizards of the Coast

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Top Reviews

My new favorite 5E book
by A. mazon Customer (5 out of 5 stars)
November 15, 2016

Volo's Guide To Monsters is now, without a doubt, my new favorite 5E book. Part 1 contains a LOT of in-depth information about some of D&D's most notable adversaries: Beholders, Giants, Mind Flayers, and others. The second part contains new racial options for players; IIRC, some of these were presented in other books, but it is nice to have them collected in one place. The rest of the book has a bestiary of new creatures, great and small, as well as some "plug and play" NPCs.

For the DM, this book is a treasure trove; I tend to buy 5E books for inspiration, and don't really play pre-generated campaigns, and VGtM is helping me take the campaign I'm running in some exciting new directions (at least, for me). Also, I'm all about giving players more options, so the new player races are also extremely interesting to me. I don't know how much I'll use the pre-gen NPCs, but they're handy to have, just in case.

One of my favorite things about the book is the chief conceit of its design. Peppered throughout the book are comments of Volothamp Geddarm (the "Volo" of the title) and the archmage Elminster Aumar. These little side notes add a lot to the flavor of the book, and help the reader immerse him/herself in the world.

EDIT: Another thing I like about this book that I just discovered is that the index of the book has monsters sorted by challenge rating and sorted by location. So, if you're hunting for creatures in, say, the Underdark, it's extremely easy to find them in the book. Nice addition!
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A must-buy book for DM's. A treasure trove of inspiration with new races, monsters, and in-depth mon
by slugnet (5 out of 5 stars)
November 15, 2016

This is a great addition to 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. The cutesy banter between Volo and Elminster is kept to a minimum, leaving some really great, meaty content. While I just received my print copy today, I've been using the online version through Roll20 for two weeks. My review is based on two weeks of experience with the content, plus sitting with the physical book today.

What exactly are you getting in this book?
- Nearly 90 pages of in depth monster lore, focusing on Beholders, Giants, Gnolls, Goblinoids, Hags, Kobolds, Mind Flayers, Orcs, and Yuan-ti. This is very in depth work, with multiple pages providing variants, tables, lairs (including maps), historical background, and even some of the psychology of the creatures that can really help you flesh out these types of creatures in your games.
- 7 new Player Character races, including Aasimar, Firbolg, Goliath, Kenku, Lizardfolk, Tabaxi, and Triton. These are a nice edition, and I especially like how the details for these new races includes tips on how to role-play as these slightly more unique creature types. Overall, these new races feel like they can breathe a lot of new life into campaigns for players who might be starting to get tired of the standard set from the Player's Handbook.
- 6 new Monstrous Player Character races, which feature groups that were represented in the first 90 pages. These are more limited/specialized builds that a DM would really need to weigh before including in a game, but absolutely could provide some fantastic adventures for the right group of players. The 6 Monstrous races represented are Bugbear, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Orc, and Yuan-ti Pureblood.
- An expanded Bestiary.The next 99 pages of the book are dedicated to new monsters for your games. There are an excellent variety of new creatures, including some favorites that didn't make the original Monster Manual. Personally, I was glad to see a nice balance between creature types, and that these new creatures help round out some of the groups, such as Fey. It also is nice to see a book like this deepen the bench; this section of the book provides an especially large amount of new monsters of the type covered in the first 90 pages (Beholders, Giants, Gnolls, Goblinoids, Hags, Kobolds, Mind Flayers, Orcs, and Yuan-ti). A full 10 pages of this is also used to create new NPC stats, which is a great boon to be able to build encounters that stretch across a wider CR level in more civilized locations.
- The book wraps up with 4 pages of Appendixes which provide a quick reference no matter how you are looking for a creature: you can find them by CR level, by Creature Type, or by the typical environment that you would find the monster in.

All in all, the content is incredibly useful for any dungeon master who wants more content. The new monsters alone are worth the price of admission. The new character races are also an excellent new addition, although their uniqueness may make them more useful for some groups over others; that said, options are always nice to have. The first 90 pages of lore will be most useful to DM's who are planning on using the types of creatures listed in their campaigns. Especially if you are using those creature types, I highly recommend this as an addition to your collection, as the amount of material provided on these creatures is sure to spark your imagination and spin new adventures for your table.
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Xanthar, clearly doesn't know everything...
by Albert Lamm (5 out of 5 stars)
December 3, 2018

Arrived today in absolutely perfect condition, I've noticed a few negative reviews here and there and think it's less of a knock on Wizard's of the Coast & Amazon, and more of a case of in unluck of the draw.

For the book itself, content wise, I love the new races even if they are a little on the basic side design wise (I felt they could've spaced them out better and made each new race page closer to players handguude layout where you have a big gorgeous illustration followed by their name in big print spaced out away from the next races, instead it reads with slightly bigger print, illustrations sometimes on the next page, all sort of run into one another. In short, it's somewhere between a strait up list and what the player handbook does with the core races. Maybe that's a minor complaint but that did bother me, enough to write this blurb.)

Otherwise, still very happy with this book and happy to have it in my collection.
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Adds variation and richness to monsters for D&D.
by Chris in Colorado,Top Contributor: Fantasy Books (5 out of 5 stars)
November 10, 2017

I'm a DM who has been playing since the late 80's. So I'm always looking for products that make my life easier. Functionally, this book gives you more options for monsters. Now in my group I often just build my own from scratch. I'll build monsters and encounters to challenge my players and avoid the cookie-cutter templates. My group has experienced players and former DM's, so they'll recall original builds easily and they'll play their characters with more "knowledge" than their character might actually have.

Volo's guide has the monsters "out of the box," but then has sub-sections after each monster that show variations you can add in the game to make them different, more challenging, but also stay within the spirit of the monster's original design. For example in the beholder section, they have alternative eye socket powers. So previous knowledge from another game won't aid the players when they encounter your re-skinned creations.

If you have someone at your table who is a rules lawyer, and they take issue with things that aren't in the books (you're cheating!), this will help you create variations that you can point to and say "actually this can exist." It also just gives more ideas and culture for the monsters. This includes behavior, biological functions and culture which all really help build verisimilitude. So if your group likes a lot of realism and detail, Volo's guide has done the work.

The book is very detailed, and is written from the perspective of Volo, a traveling wizard from the Forgotten Realms setting who has a very high opinion of himself and is prone to conflation. Thankfully, there are annotations from Elminster (also from Forgotten Realms) that help either confirm, or in some cases, completely refute what Volo is saying. This makes it for a more amusing read.

This guide was necessary for D&D. Some of the monsters in the book are as old as the game (over forty years) and the community takes them for granted. It's nice to see a product that freshens up the old, brings some new and ultimately helps give a DM tools to create a more immersive experience.
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Great book with a good information on Monster Races.
by Craig J. M. (5 out of 5 stars)
September 3, 2017

The book is laid out in 3 section with the first section giving the DM insight into the a number of different monster races such as Beholders, Giants, Gnolls, Goblin races, Mind Flayers and Yuan-Ti. The next section gives several new player races such as Aasimar, Goliath, Lizardfolk, Tabaxi and my new favorite the Kenku. While the last section has stats for a bunch of new monsters related to the races detailed in the front of the book and some new NPC types. As with all Wizard of the Coast books the art work is great. I really like the Monster Lore section, I used the Goblinoid background to expand the Hobgoblin Empire and Yuan-Ti's that I was using already using in my campaign. I also like some of the insights like monster tactics. This is a great book for your D&D library and I hope future editions will expand out some of the other races that couldn't make this edition.
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More playable races, more monsters, lore to create deep monster encounters.
by Jayson (5 out of 5 stars)
March 30, 2019

Players will want this book for the additional playable races. There are 7 with full details as you would find in the Players Handbook Including Aasimar(part angel), Firbolg(gentle beasts), Goliath(a giant), Kenku(part bird), Lizardfolk, Tabaxi (part tiger), Triton (mermen). It also contains additional rules for playing pure blooded monsterous races. They give stat block examples for monsters that are in the lore section, which contains lots of info to draw from. Examples given include Orcs, Gobliniods, Yuan-Ti, and Kobolds.

After players get the Players Handbook the next two books I recommend are this this book for the playable races, and Xanathar's Guide to Everything for the extra classes, feats, invocations, and spells.

For DM's there are over 100 monsters, plus variants. There are several monsters have lore that allows you to build deep encounters, and even full story arcs around their society. The lore section can help players flesh out monstrous races as well.
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Good buy
by Amazon Customer (4 out of 5 stars)
September 25, 2017

Volo's Guide to Monsters Review

I bought this book back in May and have been using it as supplement to the weekly games that I dungeon master for. I have rated this book on durability, ease of use, value added to the game, and cost.

This book is a great supplement for the dungeon master who wants to add depth to some of the common villains the heroes will face off against. In addition, it also expands the DM's choice of unique monsters to spice up the game. This book is also an excellent choice for players to pick up if they want to expand their race choices.


First off, the actual look and feel to the book is up to the Wizards of the Coast standards. The hardcover should come undamaged and without any additional stickers on it. The book is weighty but it is still easy to handle and flip through.

Value added
The body of the book is split into three sections. The first of which deals with groups opposing the players. Beholders, orcs, and gnolls are a few of the villains this section helps you make more interesting. Beyond just adding flavor, the book contains tables that make this creation easy and fun to use.

The second section of the book introduces new playable races for the players to use. These races offer more interesting choices for the players. Roleplaying loving player will find a lot to love here playing by affording them the opportunity to play outlandish characters. Be warned that power gamers are likely to find imbalances and exploit them. So, you should expect to trim some race abilities down. Included in this section are stats for playing races that are typically the fodder for the party, such as orcs or kobolds. These races are great picks if the party wants to be villainous.

The final section is an expansion on the monster manual. This includes more variations on some of the monsters included in the first section as well as completely new creatures. In this section, there are also whole new sets of monsters that can be used to create new and fun interactions. Several creatures have been brought back from the grayhawk era of D&D.


In terms of price, I got this on sale for about $35 dollars and it is well worth it for that price. I would recommend waiting for it to be on sale as the sticker price of $50 is a bit pricy and sales are often.
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by Andrew V (4 out of 5 stars)
November 21, 2018

First off this is my favorite DND 5e books, the races and monster stats in this have been an amazing asset to the campaign I'm writing and gives me larger and more in depth hoard of creatures. That being said, all books I've bought for DND 5E have been at a local gaming store and I decided too order Volos Guide on Amazon because the price was so low compared to retail stores. When I got this book the print quality is absolutely horrible, I would have rather spent the extra money for a book I could have seen before purchase because the print is just embarrassing for a company like wizards of the Coast, but you get what you buy. Would recommend the book, but if you want a higher quality product maybe don't buy it from Amazon. I would have given 5 stars but the print gets a 2/5 luckily I'm happy to have the book at a reduced price so it gets a 4/5
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A perfect resource for DMing
by Sharvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (5 out of 5 stars)
May 4, 2017

I love that they really expanded on some monster races. Especially the hags. I'm running a game where the fey are a large part of the game so having hags and a better idea how to play them and to expand on their living, including their "lairs" has really helped me in expanding a side story with a coven of hags being a returning villain. And my players (and myself) love the extra races, especially the monster races. Currently my group is running a party of goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears. And a kobold moon druid is one of the strongest, coolest builds I've ever seen.
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This is a very well done and useful supplement, with a section of monster ecologies and ...
by Devin L. Cutler (5 out of 5 stars)
July 19, 2017

This is a very well done and useful supplement, with a section of monster ecologies and culture for a variety of commonly used intelligent foes (hags, gnolls, kobolds, orcs, goblins, yuan-ti, etc.). These sections are very thorough and well done and provide information on culture and the lairs of these creatures (along with sample lairs to use on the fly).

The next section is on new PC races, such as lizardfolk, goliaths, and some others. Goliaths were already introduced in a free online supplement, but on the whole, these new PC races are fine and add variety to player options.

The final large section contains new monsters (some of which are variations of the creatures presented in the first section) and others entirely new. You get some hilarious new kobolds (like a inventor who torments the PCs with random crazy inventions)! Also at the end are some very useful new NPC stat blocks.

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