Monstrous Races is a certified DM's Guild Masterpiece by the Going Last Tabletop Gaming Podcast!
This wonderfully detailed tome is clearly the culminating work of a mad scientist—a dreamer, who wants everyone in the world to play campaigns filled with Xorn Druids and Intellect Devourer Bards. Not satisfied with the meager choice of species in the Players' Handbook, author Tyler Kamstra decided to create the options for anyone to play any of the creatures found in the Monsters Manual in this massive product spanning 283 pages of incredible content.
Many of the different monster types feel ripe for conversion to playable chracters. Outsiders and monstrous humanoids like devas and bugbears have great flavor that Kamstra was easily able to mine into PC abilities. The trick to lots of these had to do with balance, and Kamstra also spends plenty of his pages detailing the specific choices he made during his design process. Many of these include tweaks to increase or decrease the power level of some of these monsters.
Of course, the fun part of this book is that so much effort has gone into allowing players the opportunity to mess around with the scary monsters. Creatures like Hydras and Cockatrices are presented in a way that can truly make a player feel unique. Many of these say something like "normally unintelligent, but..." to make it clear that these PCs are awakened and may act in ways completely unlike their rest of their species. Which is great, because the abilities Kamstra has developed are totally awesome. I want to play a Sphinx Cleric of Lore immediately.
This document is too enormous of a task to not have a few errors, but Kamtra's design notes do an incredible job of allowing a player and DM to judge the content for balance and playability. Monstrous Races surely won't be a perfect fit for every campaign, but the incredible craft of this book should absolutely be celebrated. And when a player does need a taste of something a little different, this book is always going to be waiting with 228 options ready to play.
You can hear more of my thoughts about Monstrous Races on Episode 230 of Going Last!
[5 of 5 Stars!]