Playing DnD is a large task and running the game is an even bigger task. To help, the DM/ Storyteller needs the best materials they can get. Ask anyone in the community and how to carry and what to carry it can be decisive.
In one camp are the hard covered bookers. They will carry the 40-60 dollar book sets in designer made bags everywhere they play. (One time I saw someone bring their set of books in a rolling suitcase bag) Along with character sheets, extra dice, the modules separate from the books, more dice, food they have, DM screens, notebooks, and did I say dice? Cause. . . MOAR DICE. By the time the event is over there’s a good chance everything will be stuffed into different corners of the bag they came in and at least one page has been dog- eared. I appreciate their determination, but my shoulders are too weak for that.
In the other camp there are those who ONLY get PDF files of the books. Unfortunately they have traded shoulder strength for laptop battery life and that is it’s own struggle. Half the time these players and storytellers can’t seem to bring a charged up laptop. They are placed by a outlet in hopes the computer won’t misbehave. Except the character sheets they might have for new players, EVERYTHING is digital; dice rolling app, character creation app, module and notes on the laptop and NPC stuff on a different app, music coming from their tablet and maybe even the map for combat.
Who do I side with? >:) I am a heathen and do both.
Volo’s Guide was my first added book for DnD (Besides the player’s handbook) and StrixHaven: A Curriculum of Chaos was my first PDF. But for spooky season we will be examining the hard book Volo’s guide, one of the older books for 5th Edition and had been overlooked by me for a bit. I knew about the monsters like Yuan-ti and Beholders, they have their own chapters for them. And of course I know about the player races because that’s why I originally got the book! Aasimars and Kenkus are my jam! But in this post I’ll be putting my top five monsters from the Index in order. From page 121 till the end, it’s on sight. And this was a fun little excursion to go on, I didn’t know half of these cool creatures were here, I definitely want to see more of them. (This isn’t a ranking, just a list of them)
1. Catoblepas – No, don’t ask me to say this in IRL, I will it call it Cat- o -bil. I will not apologize. But this thing is SO COOL! It rots anything it stares at and lives in the swampland, it’s head too heavy for it’s next to lift it. It has a tail with a mace attached to it and it smells like absolute DEATH. It’s this bloated buffalo, warthog, hippopotamus dinosaur thing that in DnD culture seems to be a bad omen, held as pets but Hags sometimes! Reminds me of a stretched out Pumba.
2. The Flail Snail – It’s unassuming and usually threatening no one no how. But when someone picks a fight with it, this snail will not hesitate to answer the call. Apparently their shells are collectible and can make some cool anti-magic shields. It’s mace like tentacles are no joke and there are five of them, each soaking up about 10ish damage. Since this is scaled for lower level players, 1-3’s, it could be a gauge on how blood thirsty the part is. This snail will bring the punch if invited to, leaving no crumbs.
3. Fire Newts – They are adorable and I squealed when I turned the page and saw them. These warriors live near hot springs, volcanic areas. They are amphibians that NEED hot water as well as heat. They are militaristic and thus will die fighting anything in it’s territory. They are also highly religious, worshiping this Prince of Evil Fire Imix, which means they are always looking for wars. Because wars mean captives, and the Prince likes that. (I guess) They also have mounts from giant striders, which looks both birdlike and reptilian. They have amazing spells as warlocks and armor when put with their mounts, and that is FIRE. ❤
4. Withererling Gnoll – So they already had a chapter on them but I didn’t know they knew a ritual to bring a skeleton of themselves back. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how common this is, I’ve never seen it in my adventures, but in doing this it helps keep their numbers of the tribe up all while not having to feed the being. They aren’t motivated by hunger anymore so it is beneficial, but it’s sooooooo creepy. I think they take the most violent race award now, away from the orcs.
Grungs – FROG FREAKS WITH CASTE SYSTEM! Immediately when I found these guys I made a group of them in an imaginary rain forest. Like they are color coordinated and SOOOOO CUTE! And vicious. I found one of my older adventure notes that we had to fight a small outpost of them before getting into the dungeon, and poisonous skin was the ban of my existence! These guys have a lot of potential and even have a table for different poisons for the different colors. They remind me of the deadly colorful rain forest frogs I looked up when I was younger, and I adore this concept.
There are plenty more but these are my favorites, with some honorable mentions for the Shadow Mastiff, the awful Redcaps, and the horrifying flying heads called the Vargouille, I’d say Volo’s guide has plenty for a storyteller to make a solid adventure.