If you’ve been DMing for a while, you’ve probably already used quite a few of the monsters from the good old Monster Manual. If your players have been around for any length of time, then they probably have had characters face off against many of the horrors in that book (and their previous incarnations), as well as some of the subsequent books that have been put out by Wizards of the Coast over the last few years.
The monsters in those books are great, and you do have quite a bit of variety. But, as a DM, you know that monsters are just like dice… you can never have too many. At least that’s the way I feel.
So, I have collected a range of other monster manuals that have helped to add plenty of additional monsters and even NPCs to the mix, including the Creature Codex and Tome of Beasts from Kobold Press, both of which are great and quite popular. However, there are a couple of other books that you might not have heard of that could be nice if you need an influx of new critters and options to add to your games.
Tome of Horrors from Frog God Games
Frog God Games is a popular third-party publisher that has put out quite a few interesting books for Pathfinder, as well as Dungeons & Dragons 5E. This book has 338 pages and a variety of monsters that does a nice job of building onto the options that are available in the Monster Manual.
Some of my favorites include the Phooka, a small fey creature that could make for an interesting NPC. There are a variety of types or orcs, oozes, gremlins, elemental goblins, and some really interesting creatures. For example, there is a Mouse Dragon and a Giant Hamster. You read those names right, and there’s plenty of other strangeness and greatness in the book. You can find the hardcover version on Amazon currently, and the PDF version through DriveThruRPG.com at this link.
Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos 5E from Petersen Games
The name Sandy Petersen is likely familiar to a lot of you. After all, it was Petersen who is the author of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game that is certainly one of the most beloved properties of all time. Here, he’s bringing the horrors of Lovecraft to the realms of Dungeons & Dragons in a way that only he can. You will get information on the cults, including the Cult of Great Cthulhu and the Cult of the Black Goat. You will learn about the culture of the Deep Ones, more about various Mythos entities and how traditional fantasy races fit into the scheme of things.
Of course, it also includes stats for the various creatures that you will find in the Cthulhu stories including those written by Lovecraft and other authors who have worked on Mythos stories over the years.
One of the nice things about this book is the fact that it is more than just a collection of monsters that you can use. You will also find some great information on running horror games and using insanity and dread, along with mythos spellcasting, new player character options and backgrounds, and even several new player character races. You could even play as a Dreamlands Cat or a Mythos-style ghoul. There are a lot of weird possibilities here.
This is a massive 433-page book that’s well worth the price. The physical edition of the book should be out in August of 2019, but you can currently get in on the PDF action now at their website. I have the PDF, and it is gorgeous, but I can’t wait to get the hardcover.
If this product sounds familiar, it might be because there is a Pathfinder version that is already out in the wild. However, the 5E version does feature a bit more, including dozens of additional monsters, additional backgrounds and character options, and more than 70 new illustrations.
Kobold Press – Tome of Beasts and the Creature Codex
Kobold Press tends to put out a lot of good quality content, and that’s certainly true when it comes to their 5E monster compendiums. Both the Creature Codex and the Tome of Beasts are filled to the brim with all manner of monstrous goodness to throw at adventuring parties. My favorite, even though I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, is the ooze with a shark inside of it… the whole thing looks like a fishbowl. In fact, there are a lot of weird and wild creations inside of these monster collections. You can check them out on Amazon by clicking on Creature Codex or Tome of Beasts. They are also available on DriveThruRPG.com at Creature Codex and Tome of Beasts.
What About You?
These are just a few of the books that I have used or that I will be using in addition to the WotC books going forward, but I’m always looking for more.
Let me know if you have any books of 5E monsters that we should check out.