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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 (every creature in the Monster Manual, no exceptions!)
  • 116 subraces 
  • 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, Large, Huge, and Gargantuan player races
  • 5 new feats
  • 3 new backgrounds
  • Analysis of all of the 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 KotakuVice, and the D&D Character Lab Podcast, a front-page post on /r/DnD/, and thanks to all of you fine folks, a Platinum Best Seller on DM's Guild in less than 48 hours!

 
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Reviews (27)
Discussions (61)
Customer avatar
Jeremy H November 13, 2018 4:07 am UTC
PURCHASER
I was tinkering a bit and trying to build an Ooze character when I noticed some oddness. In the main entry for Oozes you say the Movement is 30 Walking, but then for *every* sub-race you state the Movement is 20? Am I reading that wrong? It seems a bit inefficient to word it the way it is presently. Also, I noticed there aren't any Ability Score Increases for the Ochre Jelly and Gray Ooze. Also, how do you justify Oozes being able to speak but others, such as Animated Armor, Shield Guardian and Shadow cannot? I know you are trying to keep everything balanced according to the point-buy system you explain, but I think sometimes too much focus on balance breaks down.

Back to Oozes (or other Amorphous types), how about a Feat that would allow more control of their form to Entangle or form hands and other rough body parts.

I'm still a huge fan of your work, I just thought you might appreciate the feedback. :^)
Customer avatar
Tyler K November 13, 2018 5:51 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thank you so much for taking the time to point those out. You spotted several errors in the Ooze entry. The 30 ft. speed in the shared racial traits is an error; all of the ooze subraces have a 20 ft. walking speed, and some of them have a climb speed. The ability score increases are missing from the Gray Ooze (+2 Constitution) and the Oche Jelly (+1 Strength, +1 Constitution) entries, but they're detailed in the design notes. I'll correct those issues and post an updated file soon.

Regarding speech: If you look at the design notes throughout the book, I explain my reasoning for granting speech. Many creatures, including the ones you listed, are already intelligent and can't speak. I opted to retain that limitation to stay true to the original creatures. Creatures like oozes and most beasts are unintelligent, so I assume that they've been affected by something similar to the Awaken spell. Awaken grants the ability to speak, so I grant the ability to speak to those creatures. While the ability to speak...See more
Customer avatar
Nathaniel F October 02, 2018 9:07 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The werewolf template's stats don't match with the design notes. For example (without giving extra information) you mention adding a proficiency to help bring it up to the other lycanthrope templates, but said proficiency isn't actually listed under the template.
Customer avatar
Tyler K October 03, 2018 4:39 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for spotting that, Nathaniel. I'll correct that and get an updated version posted momentarily.
Customer avatar
Isabelle W September 11, 2018 2:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
As I've said previously on Monstrous Races 2, I love both of these supplements! But they don't seem to have been double (or triple) checked properly. The things that stood out to me in this one is an entire part missing under the Published Races part, in this case the Hobgoblin. It cuts off at "If you want to strengthen the hobgoblin," with the rest of that part missing. There might me other such things in the document, but this is the first thing I found while jumping back in forth while using it in writing an adventure.
Great stuff otherwise!
Customer avatar
Tyler K September 11, 2018 4:34 pm UTC
CREATOR
I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying my work, and thanks for taking time to point out that issue.

Would you double-check that you have the latest version of the file? It looks like I've already corrected that issue, but if it didn't make it into the version on DMsGuild I want to be sure to upload a corrected version.
Customer avatar
Isabelle W September 11, 2018 7:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Yes, I'm sorry! I realised that I were using a previous version. Didn't think to check if it had been updated!
Customer avatar
Tyler K September 11, 2018 8:21 pm UTC
CREATOR
Oh, good! Well, if you do spot any additional errors, please let me know so that I can get them corrected as quickly as possible.
Customer avatar
Matt S August 02, 2018 10:49 pm UTC
weird question maybe, but is the preview of the latest version, or an older one?
Customer avatar
Tyler K August 03, 2018 4:10 pm UTC
CREATOR
The preview is always of the latest version. DMsGuild auto-generates a new version of the preview every time the files are updated.
Customer avatar
Lee R August 01, 2018 10:18 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I've been getting an error when I try to open the preview. I'm not sure if it's a glitch on my computer, but is this happening to anyone else?
Customer avatar
Tyler K August 02, 2018 5:07 pm UTC
CREATOR
Looks like the PDF preview is causing all sorts of problems lately, and I'm not certain why. I've attempted to regenerate the preview several times but it continues to cause errors.

I've emailed the DMsGuild support people, but their support guy is at Gencon for the next week so for the moment it looks like we're stuck.
Customer avatar
Michael I July 31, 2018 3:37 pm UTC
The preview is actually only 8 pages. Includes a table of contents for just the preview, rules for adjusting build points for races based on size, and a small spell list with one spell. Certainly not what is listed in the description.
Customer avatar
Tyler K July 31, 2018 4:33 pm UTC
CREATOR
Shoot. DMsGuild makes it really difficult to set up the previews, and it looks like it selected the wrong file from which to generate the preview. I'll re-upload the files and reset the preview, and hopefully that will fix it.
Customer avatar
Tyler K July 31, 2018 4:59 pm UTC
CREATOR
Okay, I think I have it fixed now. Thanks for spotting the issue!
Customer avatar
Mike H July 22, 2018 5:56 am UTC
PURCHASER
Same problem (no download for order 10 mns ago). Submitted request thru order confirmation “contact us” link so hopefully resolved soon. Looking forward to reading
Customer avatar
Tyler K July 22, 2018 2:51 pm UTC
CREATOR
Sorry about that. I've re-uploaded the files, so hopefully it's working now. If you're still having issues, reply here and I'll keep looking for a solution.
Customer avatar
Evan W July 21, 2018 11:21 pm UTC
PURCHASER
i cant download this how do i download it
Customer avatar
Noah A July 21, 2018 11:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I cannot download it either, what's going on? Everything else I've bought today has been working fine.
Customer avatar
Tyler K July 22, 2018 3:45 am UTC
CREATOR
Sorry about that, folks. I just uploaded an updated version of the file, and DMsGuild's servers take a few minutes to update the download links with the new files. It should be working now. Also keep in mind that the product includes two files, so you may get best results by going directly to the product page (this page) and clicking the download links immediately beneath the "You Have Purchased This Product" text.

If that still doesn't work, please reply to me so I can get it sorted out as soon as possible. I'd hate for anyone to spend money on my work and not get what they paid for.
Customer avatar
Evan W July 22, 2018 4:29 am UTC
PURCHASER
I still do not see a download link i apologize for the inconvenience of this happening
Customer avatar
Daniela T July 22, 2018 12:53 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey there!
I signed up onto this site to purchase your product and I am also having the same issue, I cannot download it. There is no text under the 'you have purchased this' text. I'm not angry or upset about being unable to download it, but I am eager to read the PDF if you have any other means of delivering it aside from this page? I can provide proof of purchase if need be.
Thank you for your time!
Customer avatar
Tyler K July 22, 2018 2:49 pm UTC
CREATOR
I've re-uploaded the files. Hopefully that corrected the issue. If anyone is still having problems please reply here again and I'll see what I can do.

Daniela: I'm flattered that you signed up just for my work! Unfortunately, the DMsGuild content creator agreement legally prohibits content creators from distributing their work by any other medium once it's uploaded to DMsGuild.
Customer avatar
Evan W September 19, 2018 1:32 am UTC
yooo what I thought I typed this but forgot but you are another Evan W
Customer avatar
Alec H July 18, 2018 1:11 am UTC
PURCHASER
Yo, will you be doing Montrous Races for the monsters in Volos and Mordenkainens?
Customer avatar
Tyler K July 18, 2018 1:41 pm UTC
CREATOR
Yes! I'm working on volume 2 right now, which will cover Volo's. I'm working on the Yuan-Ti Anathema right now, which is the very last thing I need to write to complete volume 3, then I'll do some editing and proofreading, and hopefully I'll have volume 2 out in the very near future. Once that's done I've got a couple small side projects I want to explore, then I'll move on to volume 3, which will cover Mordenkainen's.
Customer avatar
Sebastian M June 25, 2018 6:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
If I wanted a physical copy is there any way that could happen, or is it possible?
Customer avatar
Tyler K June 28, 2018 4:57 am UTC
CREATOR
Unfortunately, you're on your own for that. DMsGuild doesn't do print-on-demand (except for WotC-organized projects like Monsters of the Guild).

However, you're free to print products for your own use, so you could go to a local print shop and have it printed and bound.
Customer avatar
Sebastian M June 28, 2018 8:08 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks a lot! I will be taking a trip to Staples tomorrow then.
P.S. love the work
Customer avatar
Derek H May 31, 2018 12:32 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you for making Reincarnation cool again. Now I can write up several tables, including ones for arcane versions of the spell.
Customer avatar
Brad L May 30, 2018 6:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hey, an update! Anything specific/big here, or just a compilation of the various changes people have recommended since the last one?
Customer avatar
Tyler K May 31, 2018 2:29 pm UTC
CREATOR
Any time a product on DMsGuild is updated, your "Updated Products" list will include a list of all of the update messages from the creators. Most of the time when I update the document it's just minor text corrections (typos, etc.), but sometimes there are bigger corrections. I've made several updates, so unfortunately I can't tell what's new in the document compared to the last version you downloaded.

Most recently I've made improvements to the text of the Lich template to clarify how the template's abilities work, and I fixed a bunch of missing stuff in the Wolf traits.
Customer avatar
Jacob B May 19, 2018 10:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Have you considered revising regeneration to something like "half your level rounded down" or "con modifier + 1/4 level"? Or is that still too powerful in comparison to the hit dice spending?
Customer avatar
Tyler K May 20, 2018 3:02 am UTC
CREATOR
The issue with regeneration on PCs is that it's an infinitely deep resource. No matter what the cap is, it's still an infinite resource. No matter what the cap is, players will likely be happy sitting at that cap. Or, if the cap is extremely low it will make regeneration function so infrequently that it's not appealing.

Plus, thanks to 5e's death mechanics, dropping to 0 becomes largely meaningless because you pop back up on your next turn at no cost. Players could be knocked unconscious every turn indefinitely at basically no cost except the movement to stand back up.

Tying regeneration to hit dice puts a limitation on its daily usage, but it still allows the player to use it enough that it's fun, and they still get to feel like they're regenerating a ton more health than a normal creature could.

Of course, I encourage you to experiment in your own game. If you ever want to try something new, you should absolutely do it. Experimenting with new ideas is a ton of fun, and...See more
Customer avatar
Jacob B May 20, 2018 2:40 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for your thoughts, in my own games I do usually say something along the lines of "does not function if you drop to zero" but I like the hit dice as well, they scale with levels alot better than the static regeneration, thanks again!
Customer avatar
Jacob B May 18, 2018 3:31 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Also something to consider for alot of the larger than than large races to help balance the BP is huge negatives to any attempts to hide or stealth and for most of the monsters in here, how their unique physiology makes having armor and weapons made difficult if at all possible, so it would be far more expensive and hard to find. Another big thing for larger races is a huge penalty to dexterity because of their size. Whenever you get around to making rules for those races I feel like these would help balance out alot of the strengths they get from being large beings.
Customer avatar
Tyler K May 18, 2018 11:32 pm UTC
CREATOR
Those are definitely things I'm considering. I've got a lot of ideas, but I haven't settled on a final version that I'm totally okay with. WotC just released the latest Unearthed Arcana with Centaurs and Minotaurs, and even WotC is shying away from rules for large character races. That's not really helpful for people who want to play large races, but I hope it gives some impression of the design difficulties involved.
Customer avatar
Jacob B May 19, 2018 12:37 am UTC
PURCHASER
Yeah that's a monumental challenge, the best I could come up with is either having a "zoomed out " campaign where large is medium medium is small etc. Or giving huge races size large, and then the powerful build feature, but neither really address the problem of size being very powerful all that well.
Customer avatar
Jacob B May 18, 2018 3:10 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey love the idea and execution of alot of these monsters, it really does bring home the flavor of playing the monster without breaking them. Just one or two questions, why do certain races who feel more inclined towards heavy armor (planetar angles for example) still only get the ability to fly in light or no armor? And if they can't why is it rated at a BP of 4 if they will be able to rarely if at all use it depending on their class choice? Finally why do hill giants get 2 +2s while all the other giants get much less in their stats, too high of a BP?
Customer avatar
Tyler K May 18, 2018 11:18 pm UTC
CREATOR
Those are excellent questions! I don't think I adequately explained the armor limitation on flight anywhere in my design notes. The idea was originally taken from the Aarakocra traits published in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion, and that became my basis for balancing flight. Flight is a massive advantage for players, which is why the BP value is so high. But even with the high BP cost, flight is still very appealing. Limiting flying characters to light armor means that they're sacrificing the convenience of heavy armor's AC for the defensive advantage of flight. Characters looking for better armor while flying should consider the Powerful Flyer feat, which allows them to fly in medium armor.

Regarding Hill Giants, you got it exactly right. If you look at the design notes for hill giants, they basically have nothing going on except for their size and their stats. Other giants get resistances and other cool racial traits. I wanted to keep giants balanced against each other, so hill giants got...See more
Customer avatar
Jacob B May 19, 2018 12:33 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the prompt reply! Yeah I guess that makes alot of sense, I just really got attached to the idea of a planetar in heavy armor flying through the sky on a quest to retrieve his power. My thinking was that because some of the races get very few stat bumps needing a feat would be very costly to them, but I can see where giving them the ability for free would make it too good.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H May 05, 2018 11:30 am UTC
PURCHASER
Looking forward to an update. Tons of good stuff in here so far. I'm wondering though, how could you scale the natural improvement of the monster as it grows in level? I mean, d4 damage for a natural attack is all well and good at 1st level, but what about at level 9 or 10? There was a similar homebrew I saw for Pathfinder years ago, Pathfinder Bestiary Levels. If you can track that one down it might be helpful.

For many of these critters I would rather see a Race as Class option. But, that's likely too oldskool for a lot of 5e players to get their heads around (lol). How would you balance a standard Class progression with a Race as Class progression? I think Savage Species had a similar problem and their answer was a form of Multi-Classing. They had the monster PC level up until it was a fully powered "adult" form and then it could begin to acquire levels in a regular Class. I dunno… any thoughts?
Customer avatar
Tyler K May 06, 2018 3:12 pm UTC
CREATOR
Regarding scaling: Natural weapons in 5th edition, just like manufactured weapons, don't scale as characters level. A dagger still does 1d4 damage at level 20. A character's damage output typically improved due to ability score increases and class features like Extra Attack. Monstrous Races also includes the Natural Weapon Master feat and the Natural Weapon fighting style, each of which improves your natural weapon damage by one die size up to a maximum of 1d12.

Regarding race-as-class: That was something I intentionally tried to avoid. A lot of other people on DMsGuild have published race-as-class approaches to various monsters, and some of them seem like viable options. That's just not what I set out to write. Despite how clearly absurd the idea may be, I wanted every race to be playable from level 1 just like the races in the player's handbook with as a few new mechanics as possible.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H May 07, 2018 12:48 am UTC
PURCHASER
Ah, I missed that Feat. At the back, right? Thanks for explaining your rationale.

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Adamantine seller
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Pages
298
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Original electronic
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on January 02, 2018.