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In Which We Talk About Volo’s Guide to Monsters

Volo’s Guide to Monsters. It’s a catalog of creatures that some might consider strange, mythological, or downright legendary. A small number of them have been approved for player use, and when the book launched we – the admins, Matt Sernett, Chris Lindsay, and others – worked together to create some narrative-driven reasons for those monstrous races to exist in the world of the Forgotten Realms, and more specifically in organized play.

The Realms has long been a place of human- and “general humanoid” (elves, dwarves, halflings)-driven fantasy. Many of the options in VGtM escape that by offering more opportunities to play as a savage race (orc), a race typically known for villainy (yuan-ti), and so on. These narrative reasons bound those characters to specific factions under the intention of, say, a goblin being able to walk into a tavern and saying “It’s ok, I’m with a group you already know and I’m not here for your cattle!”; this method worked in many cases, but let’s be honest: not nearly enough.

We want the game and the campaign to be story-first, for sure, and this is a mechanic that, while necessary at the time, may get in the way of what we hope to be some awesome stories that you will all no doubt tell in the future. The admin team is serving as the Dungeon Master of this wild, global campaign and we want our players to have fun while still experiencing as much of the narrative direction we’ve put forth so far. To that end, the following rules update is going into immediate effect and will persist even after season 8 launches:

Races chosen using Volo’s Guide to Monsters may become a member of any faction that narratively appeals to them.

Going forward, and as part of our paperwork & rules reduction goal, the Volo’s Guide PDF in the Player’s & DM’s Packs will be removed. We want to see awesome stories, and considering the impact of having them in unique factions versus the impact that a character can have on an ongoing story (see all the Red War stuff in recent months!), we’re going to realign with the “any race; any faction” mentality.


2018-07-15 update/clarification:

  • this guidance is not retroactive in that existing characters are not being awarded a free pass into a different faction; leaving one’s faction carries all the normal penalties.
  • any adventure event that results in the changing of one’s race and a required faction change (such as changing into a Yuan-ti during the course of Tomb of Annihilation) is not ‘undone’; any previous adventure documentation stands, including such potential elements as “Enmity of <faction>” and so on. Adventure events no longer require a character to change their faction unless the text explicitly calls for it.
Alan Patrick

Alan Patrick

Community Manager at D&D Adventurers League
Hailing from the wilds of central Michigan, Alan has provided a warm home to a wife and two cats over the years.Of course, they all have to fight with the ever-expanding collection of beholder-related paraphernalia - and the recent arrival of his son.
Alan Patrick

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Author: Alan Patrick

Hailing from the wilds of central Michigan, Alan has provided a warm home to a wife and two cats over the years. Of course, they all have to fight with the ever-expanding collection of beholder-related paraphernalia - and the recent arrival of his son.

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