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Monstrous Races
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Monstrous Races

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Whether you’re playing an all-monster party or just want to play a monstrous race in an otherwise normal party, this document presents rules for playing every creature in the Monster Manual, new feats and backgrounds for monstrous characters, analysis of officially published races, highly detailed rules for building your own races, new rules for tiny races, and rules for templates for player characters.

This supplement is for 5th-edition Dungeons and Dragons. Currently DM's Guild only allows community submissions for 5th edition.

What is in this document?

  • 228 playable races, and a huge number of subraces (every creature in the Monster Manual, no exceptions!)
  • 13 templates for Player Characters, including new rules for Lycanthropes and Vampires
  • Design notes discussing how everything in the document was built and suggestions for changing everything to fit your game
  • Rules for Tiny player characters and races
  • 5 new feats
  • 3 new backgrounds
  • Analysis of official published races with suggestions for ways to alter them
  • Extensive Race Builder rules for building your own races, including 2 new races designed from the ground up to show you how it works (Mongrelfolk, and Animated Tomes)
  • Template Builder rules for building your own templates for player characters
  • Includes both the full version of Monstrous Races and the Monstrous Races Compact Edition, a slimmed-down version of the document with a lot of the clutter removed to make it a great reference option on the go

Does that seem like a lot? It is! Are you still not sure? Take a look at the preview, which covers the first 20 pages of the document, including the rules for Tiny creatures and complete racial traits for 7 races.

Featured on Kotaku, a top post on /r/DnD/, and thanks to all of you fine folks, a Platinum Best Seller on DM's Guild!

 
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Reviews (15)
Discussions (17)
Customer avatar
Christopher G January 16, 2018 5:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
Tyler, the scope of this is ridiculous. I can't imagine how much time it took to put this together. Congratulations, it really is worth far more than you are selling it for.
Customer avatar
Tristen S January 11, 2018 9:46 pm UTC
PURCHASER
So, I was reading this, and I thought of something.
In Volo's Guide to Monsters, there's a tiny fey creature called a quickling. The quickling has a dagger weapon attack that deals the dagger's damage (1d4) normally, without disadvantage. So going off that, shouldn't all tiny creatures with hands be able to wield a light weapon, or at least a dagger, without disadvantage?
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 12, 2018 4:46 am UTC
CREATOR
That is an excellent counterpoint to my design, Tristen. I based my rules for tiny creatures on the creatures available to me when I wrote them. It took me over a year and a half to write Monstrous Races, so a lot of things happened in that time, including Volo's Guide to Monsters. That meant that I was basing my design decisions off of pixies and sprites. Sprites have both longswords and longbows, and deal just 1 damage with either of them.

We could also look at alternate explanations for why a quickling's dagger does 1d4 damage. Based on the art in volo's, the example quickling is weilding what looks like a rapier size for a quickling. A dagger sized for human hands would likely be at least half of the quickling's height, assuming that quicklings are roughly 1-1.5 feet tall. The word "dagger" may have been used in the monster because it was less confusing than saying rapier, and WotC likely didn't want players overriding the 1d4 damage to deal normal 1d8 rapier damage. If we take that...See more
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Stephen K January 11, 2018 1:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
An absolutely impressive feat. This is a great addition to any campaign.
Customer avatar
Jens Heika S January 10, 2018 10:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I am very glad to see the new templates in the recent update, although, the ghost template didn't come out right, firstly Ghost Traits doesn't list everything and further down Possession being left empty with only the title.

I would also like the leveled templates further explained in New Rules & Rules Clarifications, for example the first level, level Zero, isn't properly explained, like do you pay for it or do you not need to?

I am asking for more explanation because of the Lich template, which has very confusing design notes.

Lastly, the Vampire's regeneration still refers to acid and fire.
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 11, 2018 6:02 am UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for taking the time to point those out, Jen. I've just uploaded the latest version of the document, which addresses those issues.

I've added text to the "becoming a thing" sections of acquired templates explaining what happens as "level 0". Essentially, for templates which you don't acquire when you gain a level like lycanthropy, you get a few traits immediately. Liches weren't intended to have a level 0; they are a 3-level template.
Customer avatar
Emily B January 10, 2018 2:06 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I rate this as 5 stars on overall production quality, design skill, and good writing. But the particular approach here isn't going to be to everyone's tastes (and really isn't my taste, but I don't regret paying for it. It's still got some good stuff.)

This is a huge document for a very low price, and probably worthwhile for the most part. Also, the practice of including design notes is really great. And it'd probably be great for making human-like species with odd powers.

However, it's kinda disappointing that most of the monsters are nerfed or changed so drastically without any real options to get some of the more important signature abilities later on. For example, you can play a giant or a dragon, but you're only going to be Medium-sized with the typical range of ability score improvements and very minor abilities. I can usually suspend disbelief, but honestly, just making a typical human or dwarf character and saying they're a titan or a drider is going to feel almost the same....See more
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Emily B January 10, 2018 2:06 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Also, this isn't an actual review because the site won't let me post this as a review. Sorry about that.
Customer avatar
Tristen S January 11, 2018 9:52 pm UTC
PURCHASER
(Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to hit the triangle button ((I'm assuming report button?)) thing, I was trying to read more of your review and idk how to on mobile and thought maybe that was how)
Customer avatar
Ben H January 10, 2018 4:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
I love this! Than you for putting it out.

I can't seem to find Chameleon Skin for the Troglodytes.
Customer avatar
David F January 09, 2018 6:27 pm UTC
One bit of errata: the rat's "no hands" ability talks about tentacles.

All in all though, a great book.
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 09, 2018 7:42 pm UTC
CREATOR
Oops! Looks like some bad copy+paste. I'll have it corrected in the next version of the document, which I'm hoping to upload later today.
Customer avatar
Charlie R January 08, 2018 4:42 am UTC
PURCHASER
I love it! thankyou!

Cannot wait to force my DM to let me use this for my next character ;)

I see you are actively updating this and just wanted to point out that under Devils alignment, you mention that Demons are Chaotic Evil. As I understand it, Devils are Lawful Evil as they arose as a direct counter to combat the Demons Chaotic Evil.
Customer avatar
Joshua J January 08, 2018 2:50 pm UTC
Two things.

1. Force your DM? GLWT

2. I always saw demons as the Lawful Evil and devils as the Chaotic evil (especially when you look at devils vs demons in MTG). Devils are the Imps and such, Demons are the ones making contracts for your soul. Contracts just seems more lawful in my mind.
Customer avatar
David S January 08, 2018 7:14 pm UTC
In D&D, Devils are the infernal fiends that you make bargains with, and Demons are the abyssal fiends of that aren't bounded by deal making.
Customer avatar
Charlie R January 08, 2018 10:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Josh... Is that you? Please don't kill me off, I was only joking.... I know I couldn't force you into anything :|

Also, IIRC Demons are born of the Abyssal Chaos: they are the very definition of chaotic evil. Devils are/were angels and gods, who, under the leadership of Asmodeus, struck a bargain to combat the demons and punish those who fell under their influence. Devils now revel in the role of twisted bargain makers, creating contracts with living souls to damm them to the 7 hells for eternal punishment. However, a devil will always uphold the deal and if you meets its terms or can get out of it lawfully, they will have no option but to let you out of the contract. A bargain with a demon isn't worth the skin it is printed on.
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 09, 2018 7:42 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for pointing out that error. I'll have it corrected in the next version of the document, which I'm hoping to upload later today.
Customer avatar
Charlie R January 09, 2018 10:24 pm UTC
PURCHASER
No worries :) I will keep an eye out for the update.
Customer avatar
Cody S January 07, 2018 11:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Fantastic work.

Minor Detail/Typo: Under the Giant Spider Design Notes, when talking about the web ability it mentions the 'Ettin'. I believe this is suppose to be 'Ettercap'? No big deal, just a little polish.
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 09, 2018 7:35 pm UTC
CREATOR
Good eye! I'll have that corrected in the next update to the document.
Customer avatar
Robert J January 07, 2018 6:35 pm UTC
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Jens Heika S January 07, 2018 4:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
So, checking the contents and reading through it I have discovered that the Ghost and Revenent races are missing, there is an Unearthed Arcana version of the Revenent in Gothic Heroes but I don't belive there is anything close to the ghost from the MM, so you should consider adding those if possible or change your statement about including every race in the MM.
Customer avatar
Lionel J January 08, 2018 4:35 pm UTC
PURCHASER
He actually has stated that Ghosts are going to be a Template Race, so it's going to take awhile for that to be well balanced, but he's well aware that he's forgotten about ghosts. You're the first person I've seen to mention Revenents however. Not sure if he's seen that yet.
Customer avatar
Jens Heika S January 09, 2018 2:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
At least there is a fairly balanced option to play a revenent in Unearthed Arcane, unfortunately it doesn't work with anything in this excellent supplement.
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 09, 2018 7:36 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for spotting those. I've got ghost finished, and I'm working on Revenant now. Both will be in the next round of updates to the document.
Customer avatar
Brad L January 05, 2018 11:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Peryton: Design notes mention natural armor, but it doesn't have any.
Remorhaze and Salamander: Heated Body doesn't specify how often it can be used, when I assume it's supposed to be once per rest.
Roper: Notes indicate it is supposed to have slow walking speed, but it is listed as having 30 ft.
Scarecrow: Notes mention False Appearance, but isn't listed.
Skeleton: Notes mention vulnerability to bludgeoning, but isn't listed.
Succubus/Incubus: Shapechanger mentions being a tadpole, I assume copied and pasted from Slaads.
Tarrasque: Notes mention Grab, but isn't listed.
Zombie: Notes claim they aren't resistant to necrotic, but they're listed as having it.
Baboon: Notes refer to it as an axe beak.
Bat: Notes refer to it as tiny, but is listed as small.
(Giant) Octopus: Notes mention Ink Cloud, but isn't listed.
Killer Whale: Notes mention 0 ft. walking speed, but listed as 30 ft.
Winter Wolf: Has Camouflage and Snow Camouflage, which is redundant....See more
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 09, 2018 7:32 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks again for the corrections! I'll be sure to get them all into the next update to the document.

Regarding weak creatures: I intentionally stuck very close to the original stat blocks, even for very weak creatures like cats. I don't think adding a proficiency or two to the creatures will make them playable, but I'll offer some suggestions in the design notes which will hopefully appeal to players hoping to use those races.
Customer avatar
Ellie A January 05, 2018 10:30 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey, this looks GREAT. It clearly represents a massive amount of work and I'm sure it'll be useful for lots of people. I've been reading through it and will write a full review soon. Just wanted to point out some more minor errors that I noticed which you might want to fix.

Literally everything that has a natural weapon: "You are proficient with your unarmed strikes" is redundant because, as per the PHB errata, every character is automatically proficient with unarmed strikes.

Basilisk: Petrification says "levels of fatigue" instead of "levels of exhaustion" (same goes for the Medusa)

Beholder: Spectator is referred to as "Observer" everywhere except the subrace header

Devils: "Alignment" talks about demons instead

Dryad: I... don't understand how Tree Stride works. I read it over a few times and I'm still confused. Maybe I'm dumb, but there aren't any other racial abilities in this book that I couldn't...See more
Customer avatar
Hare T January 06, 2018 11:32 pm UTC
Scarecrow is immune to sleep in 'Wizard of Oz' (which saves the group in one chapter), so that's a subtle reference, maybe?

Might not be a good enough reason to keep it here, but still!
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 09, 2018 7:13 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for spotting those! I'm hard at work on corrections, and I'm hoping to upload the latest version some time today. It's going to be an extremely hefty update, and it will contain corrections for all of the issues you pointed out.

Regarding natural weapon language: I opted for what I thought was the most clear language to explain natural weapons, but after getting a lot of good feedback, I think it's safe to remove that bit of text.

Regarding Dryads and Tree Stride. That was definitely one of my more experimental attempts to adapt an ability. I reworded it considerably, and I think the new version which be much easier to understand.

Regarding Kuo-Toa: The Charisma penalty was definitely a mistake. However, there are a handful of races with ability score reductions. I tried really hard to avoid them as much as possible, but they were a necessary balancing factor in a tiny number of cases.

Regarding Scarecrows and Immunity to unconciousness: Several creatures...See more
Customer avatar
Brad L January 05, 2018 9:42 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'm a little under halfway through the guide, and here are some errors/suggestions I noted:

Pixie: Gets cantrips that can only be used once per rest?
Rug of Smothering: Design notes mention Athletics proficiency, but don't have it listed.
Bullywug: Typo - "are" instead of "air" under Ambphibious.
Centaur: Design notes mention a hoof attack, doesn't have it listed.
Crawling Claw: Notes mention +2 Dex, only gets +1 in the list.
Darkmantle: Notes mention Crush and Grab, doesn't have them listed.
Devils: Typo- "expect" instead of "except" under Devil's Soul.
Doppelganger: Notes mention that you didn't go for 1d8 damage on the Slam, but Slam is listed as 1d8.
Djinni: They have Lightning Resistance, which gives resistance against...fire damage.
Hill Giant: Just a suggestion, but since they're kind of lacking in anything interesting, would giving them Siege Monster make sense?
Sea Hag: Notes mention Horrific...See more
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 09, 2018 6:24 pm UTC
CREATOR
Wow, hanks for spotting all of those errors! I'm hard at work making corrections, and I'm hoping to have another update posted some time today. There's a number of other issues that I spotted, so it's going to be a hefty update.

Regarding Pixies: The once/day cantrip is weird, but it's consistent with the original monster. If you want to weak the pixie, making it usable at-will is a good change.

Regarding Lycanthropes: That was the first template I wrote, and I used them to work out the template building rules. Several people have caught errors, so it's clear that I didn't do a good enough job proof-reading them.

Regarding bites: Generally, yes, bites deal piercing damage. However, there are exceptions like the axe beak.

Regarding: once a day vs. long rest. Yes, generally those are the same thing, but there are a handful of rare exceptions. I opted to mimic the language in the monster manual, but if it becomes a problem in your games I would definitely use long...See more
Customer avatar
Brad L January 05, 2018 6:51 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just bought this and I'm super excited about it. I haven't actually...LOOKED at any of the monsters yet, but I do immediately have questions regarding Tiny creatures. If I'm reading the Tiny rules right, a Tiny creature can use a regular-sized shortsword normally, correct. It's light, so they wouldn't have disadvantage on using it, and the only downside is they can't two-weapon fight. If that's the case, why exactly would a Tiny creature ever use a tiny weapon, when even a tiny Maul would do less damage than a regular-sized Shortsword? Perhaps I'm jumping the gun or reading the rules incorrectly, but this really stood out to me.
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 05, 2018 7:59 pm UTC
CREATOR
That was definitely an error. My intent was that tiny creatures could use light weapons, but with great difficulty. I improved that bit of text, and I just uploaded the most recent version of the file.
Customer avatar
Brad L January 05, 2018 8:18 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hm, I'm not noticing any changes under the Tiny rules. How long does it generally take for this website to put up the most recent version? What exactly did you change, so that I'll know when I have the most recent version?
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 05, 2018 8:41 pm UTC
CREATOR
I'm not sure, unfortunately, and DM's Guild doesn't make it very easy to check. Try downloading a fresh copy and look for "Healing Constructs and Undead" in the "New Rules and Rules Clarifications" section. If you see that, you have the latest version of the file. The new version is appearing in the "Full Preview" on the product page, but I don't know if that affects the files available for download.

I reworded the second paragraph of the second paragraph of the Tiny Races rules. Tiny creatures can now only use normal sized weapons if they have the Light property, and they suffer Disadvantage on attacks rolls while doing so.
Customer avatar
Mathew P January 05, 2018 7:31 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, I just purchased this,
I loved the monster races from 3.5, and was excited for volos monster races when they were being released. I'm really excited to read this in detail! However, after purchasing it hasn't given me a download link, is that just due to the updated file being uploaded soon?
Customer avatar
Tyler K January 05, 2018 1:49 pm UTC
CREATOR
Yes, that's almost definitely the issue. A few things take some time to work their way through the system, and file updates seem to be one of those things. This is my first product on DM's Guild and I'm still getting my head around a few difficulties in the system, so something I did probably caused the download links to be temporarily non-functional. I'm looking the files for the product, and they seem to be in place.

Try again now, and the file should be there.

You might also try going to your Account page, then look for "Updated products" under "My Library" at the top of the page. Whenever a DM's Guild product is updated, you'll see a number in parentheses after that link.
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Pages
294
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on January 02, 2018.