magic warfare

anonymous asked:

I often have ideas for a scene or a character but there is no plot. How can I expand these ideas into stories? I just don't know what to do with my ideas to get a story out of them. Most plotting tips require that I know at least the beginning and the end of my story. But I don't even have that.

Hi Anonymous,

I’ve heard of other writers having this same problem, so you are not alone! Here are some ideas that come to mind when I think about this.

Coming up with a Plot (from scratch)

First off, you have ideas for characters or scenes, and that’s a starting point, and you probably (I’m assuming, because it wasn’t that long ago) saw my post, What to Outline When Starting a Story, which can give some guidance on what to consider. However, if you have no idea where to even come up with a concept for your plot that post can only be so much help.

Conflict out of Story Elements

Since you have some ideas about character and scene, I’d try building off that. In some cases, you might need to flesh those out a bit more to continue (I don’t know, since I don’t know how much you have those figured out).New York Times best-selling author David Farland points out in his book Million Dollar Outlines that characters grow out of their setting. We are all influenced by our setting–where we live, where we spend our time, what century we’re part of, etc.

Setting –> Character

Farland goes on to say that out of character (and setting) comes conflict:

Setting + Character –> Conflict

Plot obviously comes from some sort of conflict, the character reacting to and trying to solve that conflict or conflicts. But let’s finish out the diagram/equation.

Setting –> Character –> Conflict –> Theme

How conflicts are dealt with in the story create the theme.

It should be noted though that this diagram may not be helpful to everyone, and it’s also possible to work backwards from it. For example, I personally don’t like the idea of starting with the setting–although, realistically, pretty much all stories start there, if only to the most basic degrees (time period, real world vs. fantasy world, Earth vs. space, etc.). I often like to start with character. But as you work on your character, at some point, you are going to be looking back at what kind of life he grew out of and where he came from, and where he is now. Other people may like to start with conflict, and work back into character and setting. So, it doesn’t have to be linear.

But let’s look at the conflict part. You need some form of conflict to have plot. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my post Are Your Conflicts Significant? the conflict should either be broad (far-reaching) or personal to the character. If it’s not either, it’s probably not that significant. However, it should be noted that you can make almost any conflict broad, or personal.

But how do you even get to that point? If you like Farland’s diagram, what I would suggest would be looking at those characters and setting. Brainstorm conflicts by asking yourself questions.

  • What conflict can come out of this setting?

For example, in some stories, major conflicts come straight out of the setting. Most if not all dystopians, like The Hunger Games fall into this category. You can even look at movies like Interstellar, which deals largely with space travel. The major conflict came out of a setting (Earth will soon be inhabitable). In a fantasy story, conflicts can come out of the world and worldbuilding (setting), whether it’s the magic system or the world itself. In Lord of the Rings, the major conflicts often come from the setting (Frodo has to make it to Mount Doom) and magic (the One Ring is a magical object that must be destroyed). In historical fiction, it can come out of setting–what are some of the conflicts the world was dealing with during WWII?

But what about something more small-scale than Panem, outer space, and Middle-earth? Setting can play a role there too. What kind of conflicts can come out of attending high school in 2017? What conflicts might be present there? What conflicts might come out of trying to start a career as a woman centuries ago? The story doesn’t have to be epic for this sort of brainstorming to work.

Les Miserableis a good example of how setting can play into conflicts, whether it’s being a struggling young mother, a convict, or participating in politics.

  • What conflict can come out of this character?

Once you have your character, you can try brainstorming conflicts for her. Now, there are sort of two ways to approach this.

One, you look at your character–her personality, strengths, weaknesses–and ask yourself, what would this character want? Figuring out what your character wants is often vital to a good story. In some stories, it can be more simple, basic, or straightforward. Maybe your character just wants money. In other cases, it might be bigger. Maybe your character wants to defeat an evil ruler. It can be somewhat philosophical. Maybe your character dreams of ridding the universe of a false god, like in His Dark Materials.

When you know what your character wants, you can start brainstorming conflicts by considering what could stop her from getting what she wants. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo volunteers to destroy the Ring, but there are literal obstacles in his way. Space, for one thing. He has to travel for miles and miles and miles. Then there are other people and creatures: orcs, Shelob, Sauron, even his own companions–these people are in conflict with him. He has to deal with getting hurt, wounded, and fatigued. All these things are keeping Frodo from his goal. And of course, his ultimate want is to return to the Shire, but he has to destroy the Ring first.

If your character wants to be in a relationship with someone, there are obstacles too. Maybe the love interest doesn’t know he exists. Maybe there is a family feud, like in Romeo and Juliet. Maybe there is a love triangle. Whatever your character wants, you start brainstorming what could keep him from getting it.

A second approach to brainstorming conflicts with character is to look at your character and consider what kind of situations would be difficult for them, what would make them grow. In some cases, they might be the reluctant hero. Love him or hate him, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, Edward Cullen is a good example of this sort of thing. He’s a “vegetarian” vampire living his life, and then out of nowhere, a girl shows up that is basically his personal brand of cocaine. How is he supposed to deal with this? Worse. He has feelings for her. Immediately, Edward is in conflict.

Now, you can combine both methods. And in reality, both those examples have both. Sure, Frodo volunteered to take the Ring, but he was basically the only person who could. But look at him. He’s just a humble hobbit. He doesn’t do magic, he doesn’t know warfare, and he knows very little about the world. But he’s thrown into a situation where those characteristics will be tested. Similarly, Edward is thrown into a situation, but he ends up having wants too. He wants to be in a relationship with Bella. But the fact he is a vampire and she has potent blood is a conflict that impedes that.

So you can brainstorm conflicts from setting and character.

Plot out of Conflict Types

Let’s look at this another way.

There are five types of conflict.

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cute lolita Slytherins being quietly manipulative because you catch more flies with honey than vinegar

muggleborn/half blood Slytherins selling ball point pens for a galleon each because pure bloods are so fucking sick of quills and never heard of biros before

Slytherins telling everyone their biggest perceived weaknesses so no one can use it against them in a fight

Slytherins learning to fight without wands because you’ve got to be ready for anything

Slytherins viscously defending emotional first years against anyone who dared try to fuck with them and making sure no one saw them upset

 Slytherins being horrified and fascinated to hear about muggle weaponry and highly efficient warfare without magic

Slytherin friends joining up like a pack to attack anyone who dares to fuck with their friends

Slytherins having mental occlomency/legilimency duels as a sport

Slytherins studying as hard as they can for a test because information is useful

Slytherins resigning themselves to the fact that they are never going to learn what they need to and finding awesome new ways to cheat instead

Destiny Chain
Miyano Mamoru
Destiny Chain

Destiny Chain
English & Romaji lyrics requested by @jennshaiel ♡
Feel free to let me know if you see any errors. ^^


Lead by a restarted fate
And the voices bound to it
I am scattered throughout these predetermined days

Our regret for being restrained
By the fate that we clung to
Connected us together by our rusted hopes
Destiny chain

Bearing the pain
I just drag my heart along
And the things I have to protect are reflected in my eyes
What should I pray for?
What should I do?
Because I couldn’t understand
I reached out my hand

Ah, this journeyed agony
I’ll earnestly search out the answer
From the midst of the wreckage

Lead by fate that was screaming
And the smoldering present
I’ll color in these predetermined days
And even if that faintly shining proof
Is someday smothered
The glimmer of truth will not fade
We will break free by our hands
And intertwine them
Destiny chain

I believed that if I walked away from here
While ignoring my heart
There was nothing that I couldn’t change
What can I rely on?
What should I listen to?
Because I couldn’t understand
I reached out my hand

Ah, this journeyed agony
I’ll blindly search out the answer
And write my own path

We’ve grabbed a hold
Of that future…

Lead by a restarted fate
And the voices bound to it
I am scattered throughout these predetermined days

Our regret for being restrained
By the fate that we clung to
Connected us together by our rusted hopes
We will break free by our hands
And intertwine them
Destiny chain


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evergloriousoverlord  asked:

So, about medieval warfare and magic. You said you had a lot to say about integrating magic to a medieval worlds and militaries.

Yes, I do. It’s one of the more irritating things I see in traditional high fantasy.  The people of the world don’t take into account the magic that exists in their world. If magic can be learned, it will become a part of the power structure of the world, finding uses in everything from war to statecraft to even the smallest aspects of life. When medieval armies act in the same fashion as their historical counterparts, without incorporating the differences, it’s a huge red flag that the worldbuilding was not done to my satisfaction, and, even if I elect to continue reading, I’m going to spend all my time picking out the logical errors and complaining rather than enjoying the novel.

So, with that being said, how can a writer include magic into their world in a wholly organic fashion? This requires thinking long and hard about what magic is in your universe, how it works (and how it doesn’t), what it can do, and how common it is. I’ll preface this by saying that these are simply my opinions and things I find appealing in a good setting. You may not like them, and you may even think the things I’m complaining about are things that you enjoy. That’s fine.

Anyway, let’s go examine what we need to do, and provide some examples, so your worlds can be as seamless as possible.

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doctorshufflepuff  asked:

Recently got back into MysMes fandom and dang, rerereading your Vega headcanons is Amazing, A+++. Your voice is so much fun with excellent phrasing and comedic timing (even through text like how) and I forgot how much I Love Vega. Like what the heck wow.

✿ You know, I was just talking to a friend about Vega and how much I loved their character ‘voice’. So much funny nonsense came out when I got into their head, and it’s a tone I was never quite able to replicate with anything else! 

also look at this sweet face how can you not love ‘em.

Witchy Real Talk: Stagnant Gods

So this is something that has been showing up a little bit in my life lately. It’s something that some might find controversial (so… warning on that front), but it’s also something that I think is rather important to address. After all, it’s part of what makes paganism tick in the real world.

Where am I going with this? Well, I want you to think of any god or goddess from a pre-Christian pantheon.

Really, Josh? Really? Making us do imagination drills again?

Too late. After I told you to do it, you did it, didn’t you?

Damn it!

Right. Anyway, I’ll use Odin and the Morrigan as my two examples. Odin because he features prominently in a post that I recently shared, regarding modern souls entering Valhalla. The Morrigan is my other example because she is one of my patron deities, and because she provides a nice alternative deity to reference.

Originally posted by warinfinities

When either of those names are mentioned, there are variations that come to mind, yes, but they’re all variations on a theme: Odin, a larger than life bearded warrior wearing leather and chain, seated on a massive throne in a mead hall singing songs of glory and warfare while partying it up (let me not go into specifics about how Valhalla is not the stereotypical party lodge we think of with the Norse and is actually a place where warriors rest and save their strength for the coming of Ragnarok). The Morrigan in her single form (rather than her triple aspects) dressed in armor and tattoos and wielding a spear as she walks through the battlefield with a crow perched on her shoulder, collecting the heads of those who have fallen in battle (no, not as grim as it sounds… the Celts believed the head to contain the soul of a person - she collects the heads/souls and takes them to Tír na nÓg - the Otherworld).

And in thinking about these images, I couldn’t help but to stop and think for a bit. Could it be that in our desire to learn who these gods were, and what our ancestors believed, we have frozen the images of the gods that we hold in our minds?

Originally posted by emreozcan

Now before I move any further on this topic, I want to get something clear. This is merely food for thought. If it does not resonate with your faith, spirituality, or tradition, then that is perfectly fine! But it is something that has a certain level of importance in my personal faith and tradition, as I feel that paganism - generally speaking - is based around change and growth. Why should our gods be any different in that regard?

Where was I? Oh, yes! Could it be that our notions of what the gods were like may be outdated?

Part of why I was thinking of this is because of how far humanity in general has come, both in standards of living and in technology. Prior to the arrival of Rome and the Church (and even during and a while after), Celtic society was heavily dependent upon whether or not cattle could survive through the winter. Cattle was essentially one of the most important resources a family could own (along with land, which could be farmed and grazed). When battles were fought, it was often in an attempt to gain both land and livestock. Some of the major rites performed throughout the year were dedicated specifically to cleansing and protecting one’s herd (a huge part of Beltane, for instance, was ensuring that a herd be passed between two large bonfires - the flames, smoke, and ash cleansing disease and bad luck from the cows in the process). The Norse weren’t too different, relying upon the health of crops and livestock throughout most of society, and the acquisition of riches from raids so as to promote honor and wealth for one’s leaders and gods.

The Morrigan was (and is) a goddess whose domains - generally speaking, for as I’ve mentioned before, she’s a triple goddess - include magic, honor, warfare, the cycle of life to death to rebirth, and courage. Odin was (and is) a god whose domains included knowledge, wisdom, honor, and prophecy (while he was definitely a warrior, he was a warrior in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom… Thor and Tyr were easily more warlike than Odin… but since combat and battle could be waged for varying reasons, it makes sense that multiple gods had a role to play in a warrior’s life). How can these two gods be seen in the modern world, but still hold their original roles?

I’m not going to go citing American Gods here - in either the book or television formats. Instead, let’s take a look at what these gods represent in a modern context.

First: Conflict. Both the Morrigan and Odin are called upon in moments of conflict. Both are asked for blessings prior to battle, and both are asked for the wisdom that can ensure survival. In some circumstances, both are also asked for prophetic inspiration so as to see possible outcomes. It pains me to say that war is still a very real part of life today, and therefore the gods continue to maintain their warrior aspects. But for those of us who either aren’t or can’t be soldiers, what role do these gods play?

I see both gods being less about strictly war and more about conflict in a general sense. For instance, it could be something as simple as a game (remember, in my article about technopaganism I addressed the fact that one could dedicate their game or even their in-game avatar to a deity so as to try to win in their honor) or something as complex and stressful as a court case. I mean, think about it! I can easily see Odin tearing the defendant apart in the court of law without having to lift a finger - knowledge is power, after all!

The post I shared a little while ago regarding the souls entering Valhalla is another wonderful example of this. No struggle, no matter how visible or invisible, is something to take lightly. Addiction, abuse, depression, anxiety, illness… even just trying to make it day by day in a society rife with corruption… all of this can be seen as a battle. Sometimes the battle is waged against one’s body (addiction, illness); other times, it is waged against one’s own mind (depression, anxiety); and still other times, it is waged against outside forces (abuse, society). Would the Morrigan or Odin ignore someone who is fighting every day of their life in favor of someone who takes up a gun or sword?

Honestly, I don’t think so.

But if I were to give a more extreme example, let’s take a look at modern religious practice in comparison to the corresponding practices in their original time-frames. Both the Celts and the Norse practiced ritual human sacrifice.

But that doesn’t make sense! You can’t compare that aspect of religion to the past!

Actually… I can. See, while my comparison is not one of derision, it is one of observation. The difference here is that I’m not trying to describe these ancient cultures in a bad light. At the time, it was not uncommon for human lives to be offered to the gods for the sake of blessings or appeasement. Quite often, these individuals were volunteers. If not, then it wasn’t uncommon for these sacrifices to be criminals or prisoners of war.

Today, we view ritual human sacrifice as monstrous and unnecessary so long as our intentions are made clear, and our less violent offerings made with love. 

Originally posted by whatsaftertheparty

So… are the gods starved because of the lack of human sacrifice like Supernatural makes them out to be? Or have they, like us (or have we, like them…) moved on to see things differently?

Personally, I don’t think the gods are stagnant in their ways of antiquity. I do, however, see Odin welcoming the souls of those who have lost their fight to cancer into the halls of Valhalla. I do see the Valkyrie guiding the souls of our soldiers and law enforcement to the afterlife. I see the Morrigan sending her crows and ravens to remind me that each day is worth the effort and struggle, even when depression tells me it isn’t worth it and anxiety tells me to flee or shut down.

In Conclusion…

While the two gods I’ve focused on are fairly similar in that they were seen as deities of knowledge, wisdom, and war, this does not apply solely to warrior deities. Perhaps Aphrodite’s domain over beauty now encompasses the beauty of heart and soul, in addition to physical beauty (in all of its forms). Or, perhaps Bast continues to be a protector goddess of magic and motherhood, making her presence known through perfumes and acts of compassion.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is this: the gods speak to all of us in different, unique ways. If they appear to you in their “archaic” forms, then that is all well and good. But if an aspect of a deity resonates with you and clearly has that deity’s name on it without necessarily being recognized by the older stories, don’t cast it away immediately. Think on it and meditate on it. It could be that the deity has changed and grown over the centuries in ways we don’t necessarily understand. Follow your heart and your intuition. Faith is not something that is taught, but is something that is felt.

All of this is food for thought, as I mentioned before!

Originally posted by craftiestbeer

Blessed Be! )O(

anonymous asked:

why do you hate elves but love warcraft elves?

Other Elves: *posh, faux elegant, obnoxious, elitistic, repetitive, predictable, “magic nature society”, would die the moment they fall from their high horse*

Warcraft Elves: *throw pocket sand at your eyes and then shank you with a jagged, rusty knife. Try to maintain an air of elegance that crumbles immediately when a threat approaches and they go full fucking savages, SUPER LONG EYEBROWS, suffering from a crippling addiction to magic as a species (in the case of High/Blood Elves) which is perpetually relevant in lore, suffering from the backlashes of their magic having demonic origins (Night Elves), some of them turn into sick snake monster Nagas (Night Elves again), Night Elven Wardens are the sweetest, coolest assassins ever, specializing in anti-magic warfare and assassination by the use of poisoned throwing daggers and literal weaponized vengeance given a corporeal form to smite those they hate, an elf was so pissed one time that she became the leader of the undead faction and now engages in chemical warfare and her name is Sylvanas Windrunner, the coolest and toughest Elf Ranger of the Second War eloped with the coolest and toughest Human Paladin of the Second War after said war was over and they just skedaddled like fuck you we gonna go marry and love each other and be happy haha see ya and her name is Alleria Windrunner like DAMN being kick ass is in the BLOOD*

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice- Part 3

Part 2.5 (contains links to rest of the parts).

Pairings: Loki Odinson x Reader

Plot: Loki takes an apprentice he finds himself getting unusually attached to.

Originally posted by avengers-of-mirkwood

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The Eastern Front

((All I can see is Newt Scamander in the Wizarding War after losing one of his dragons, so.

Newt Scamander had jumped at the opportunity to work with creatures he so loved, and had studied for so long.  

Second Lieutenant Newton Scamander hadn’t known it would be like this.

Warnings: Descriptions of creature injury/violence and death, general warfare, etc.  Inspired by the above picture.))

It’s cold.

It’s colder than he can ever remember being, but he doesn’t feel it, not now.  His breath escapes in rapid plumes, disappearing behind him as he tears through the brush, stumbling along the Black Sea coast.  Earlier, he had been trying very hard not to think about how much colder it would be getting, once winter rolled in properly.  Now, he thinks of nothing, deaf to the explosions of spells far too close.  He ignores the shouts, the bright flashes of light; everything that could spell danger is drowned out by the suffocating panic threatening to overwhelm him now.

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“I Am Curse Proof”

I know that magical warfare is a thing that happens from time to time between our witch peers. I know when I was first starting out and introduced witchcraft to a friend, we got into it in an explosive fight and got into it ourselves. Not fun stuff.
But whether you’ve found yourself in all out warfare or if you just suspect that somebody might be preparing to curse you, draw this on yourself to block any attempts to curse you.

**Disclaimer: This may not work against lesser malicious spell types such as hexes and jinxes.
If requested I can make more sigils specifically to block those lesser spell types**

anonymous asked:

Does the difficulty of conquering Dorne make sense? With such a small population and limited water, couldn't a conqueror with an attitude like Tywin Lannister simply work to hold the major water sources and put the rest of the population to the sword? Or is his bloody nature unusual for medieval warfare?

Yes it does. 

  1. The locals are more adapted to the water situation than would-be conquerors. They know where the wells are and which ones are and aren’t marked on maps, they’re more used to going without water, and they have the opportunity to poison the wells first to deny them to the enemy.
  2. The small population actually works better with the water situation. The larger your army, the more resources it requires, and vice versa. And if and when the supply of resources if cut, the larger army feels the effects faster and more intensely. 

At the end of the day, brutality is not a magic wand against guerrilla warfare, as Lord Lyonel Tyrell found out when he tried to hold Dorne against the Dornish. 

They say, that war makes monsters of men. I found this strange, when I first read this. Obviously, the reader is meant to assume the monsters are the ones making war, the ones directing people to their deaths. But what of those made monstrous by the weapons and spells of the enemy? Who have parts removed, from face and body, that they look no longer like themselves? What of those who made those spells, at the order of the warmongers?

Who truly is the monster in it all?

Many would call me a monster for what I have done, indeed my friend of many years has condemned my actions, and I wonder now if there was some truth to his words when he called me monster. Then again, there were those I worked with, and if, as I believe, I am not a monster from my own actions, I certainly am one for permitting theirs.

My rivals and opponents claimed, as my power grew, that I was not just evil, that I created it also. That the spells I used were new monstrosities unleashed on the world, but in honesty this is not true. 

I am not so much a genius as my once-friend, where he created spells and theories with abandon, I researched and found ones long lost. In the libraries of Bingen I found the legal cruelty of the Nightmare Curse, in travels to the sites of the first magic in Mesopotamia I found Mardkhora, the Devouring Curse. I talked to people to learn spells of their cultures which can help or hinder as the user chooses. Spells for survival are often, I realised during this, turned to cruelty, the Skinning Curse and the Butchering Curse originally mere spells used by butchers on their meats, never intended to touch human skin.

But, then, I believed that these changes and actions of the peoples of the past were all necessary. That the changes from spells of innocence to curses of cruelty were all for those peoples Greater Good.

So I took them for my own.

 – Magical Warfare by Gellert Grindelwald, written during his incarceration in Nurmengard. The piece garnered much censure and was quickly pulled, not just for Grindelwald’s lack of regret or apology, but also his wilful listing of numerous dangerous spells, artefacts and potions in the piece, many of which were illegal.

(Image Source)

(My thanks to violetlucidity for the help with picking the incantation for the Devouring Curse. The spells are all linked to spell-checkers-official where you can read more about each one.)

Volo’s Guide to Monsters

So, I am really excited, because I found THIS BAD BOY AT TATE’S LAST WEEKEND.

I love it. It’s like something my old Planescape Wizard would carry around and reference when making knowledge checks…

This is Volo’s Guide to Monsters, the third splatbook for D&D 5th Edition (following the free Elemental Evil Adventurer’s Guide, and the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide).

Volo’s Guide to Monsters is supposedly written (in universe) by the famed wizard and guidebook writer, Volothamp Geddarm, with heavy editing by the famed wizard Elminister. Volo is one of the most enduring figures in the Forgotten Realms setting, famous for his questionably accurate guidebooks, and penchant for being too curious for his own good. Fortunately for people concerned with accuracy (and unfortunately for anyone who enjoys reading in-universe fiction), Volo’s Guide to Monsters is mostly written from an out of universe perspective, with Volo and Eliminster’s (and amusing) notes being relegated to frequent captions throughout the book. The clever DM who prefers to refer back to older editions of D&D Lore (or their own interpretations) can always claim Volo’s information is inaccurate if need be, but for the most part it’s presented as is… at least for the Forgotten Realms.

The book is divided into three parts. The first chapter, Monster Lore, expands upon the stated lore of nine iconic D&D adversaries; Beholders, Giants, Gnolls, Goblinoids, Hags, Kobolds, Mind Flayers, Orcs, and Yuan-Ti. A preface at the beginning notes that, while they would have loved to examine other D&D monsters (such as Dragons, the Gith, and the various Fiends), they’ve elected to set those aside for future supplements. (Here’s hoping for a Planescape splatbook!)

The Monster Lore chapter mostly serves as a recap for D&D Lore, at least to people who haven’t encountered it before. People who have been playing a while (or who are just big fans of AD&D Settings) will find a lot of familiar stuff here; there are subtle references to Planescape and Spelljammer, and call backs to AD&D supplements like The Ilithiad. Each section goes into detail about the personalities, psychology, and cultures of the various creatures listed within, often revealing unexpected or unusual bits of lore. Some fun examples;

  • Beholders reproduce by dreaming other beholders into existence; almost always by accident.
  • Stone Giants have a deep, philosophical culture where they practice their own brand of psuedo-platonism. The less intelligent Stone Giants are sent to the fringes of society, where they’re likely to encounter adventurers.
  • Gnolls reproduce through slaughter; their victims are fed upon by hyenas, which then bloat and explode into gnolls. A single gnoll can create a warband if left unchecked.
  • Hobgoblins designate a lone Goblin as jester when forming a war host, out of fear one of the Goblins will attract the vestige of a trickster god and become a powerful Nilbog.
  • Hags can transform into different flavors of hag, and some deliberately try to spend a few centuries as every different kind. (As a side note, why are there only lady hags, Wizards? Give me an Evil Miracle Max please.)
  • The lone Kobold attacking the adventurers is not stupid, but merely buying time for the rest of the tribe to escape.
  • Kobolds are also sequential hermaphrodites, so gender isn’t really a thing for them.
  • A Mind Flayer retains memories of their host body, but the Elder Brain suppresses these. If a Mind Flayer leaves their enclave, they can become independent thinkers… though they still need a way around the brain thing. Get a ring of sustenance, a circlet of disobedience, and a bottle of gith repellent and you could be a functional member of society, almost!
  • Luthic, the Orc Goddess of Birth and Death, is the thing holding most tribes together. It’s said that when the rest of the pantheon falls and she’s forced to enter the battlefield, she’ll single handedly put an end to the war with Maglubiyet. Probably by kicking his ass and crushing him between Acheron’s Battlecubes.
  • Yuan-Ti Purebloods eagerly seek out luxury while in human lands, for while in Yuan-Ti territory they’re bottom rung snake people.

The second chapter is focused on Character Races! Unusual ones, too. Each of the new races is given a brief write up like the ones in the Monster Lore chapter, and each comes with their own unique quirks and lore.

Aaismar are back, having previously appeared as an example of a generated race in the DMG. These celestial humanoids are no longer the spawn of humans and angels; instead they represent blessed births, and people born to be agents of the divine. Every Aaismar comes with their own invisible celestial guide (who offers advice and guidance), and each Aaismar can transform into a more obviously celestial form once per day, sprouting wings and gaining additional powers. There are three flavors of Aaismar now; Protector (the classic angel), Scourge (in which the light is SO BRIGHT IT BURNS), and Fallen (the Edgelord). Over all, a huge buff over the DMG version.

Firbolg are a new race, having gotten a big lore overhaul from previous editions. They’re a giant, fey like race that hides in the forests and specializes in Druidic magic. They also specialize at avoiding detection, being able to vanish from sight or disguise themselves as smaller humanoids. 

Goliath are back! Wanna play a jolly mountain giant? Now you can! Their classic D&D traits are still there; powerful build (which is pretty common in this book), athleticism, endurance..

Kenku are an interesting race. Crow men, cursed to be unable to fly, or produce anything original. Kenku speak by mimicking sounds they’ve heard, and can never come up with ideas of their own… however, they’re excellent plagiarists, and get a huge chunk of roguish skills for free. 

Lizardfolk have an alien viewpoint on the world, never fully empathizing with humans. They are cunning hunters and artisans, able to craft goods from the bones of their enemies between fights. Plus, they start with free armor! Good armor!

Tabaxi are agile cat people, created by the Cat Lord of the Beastlands, who dedicate themselves to exploration and curiosity. They are also SO FAST. Like, Sonic fast. The fastest.

Triton are a noble, aquatic people. Somewhat pretentious, but skilled at warfare and magic. They’re not familiar at all with the surface and kind of tend to act like Fish Thor.

Finally, Bugbears, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Kobolds, Orcs, and Yuan-Ti Purebloods all get playable race rules! Orcs and Kobolds are particularly interesting; both are the only races in the game with an ability penalty (-2 INT and STR respectively), but in exchange they end up with two of the most potent racial abilities in the game (the ability to charge to foes as a bonus action, and the ability to always have advantage provided an ally is within 5 feet of your target). 

And to top it all off? All of these races are organized play legal! Though you do need to adhere to a predetermined faction and backstory.

The last chapter is the Bestiary, which makes Volo’s Guide a kind of Monster Manual II. There’s a good mix of NPCs in here; some are variants of the creatures covered in Chapter I (like the Annis Hag, or the Stone Giant Dreamwalker). The real star, though, are the classic D&D creatures that have been reimagined for 5e. Flail Snails! Vegepygmies! Cranium Rats! Every team member was allowed to put one of their favorite classic monsters in the book, making Volo’s Guide a nostalgic romp through the weirder days of D&D history. Rounding it out are some generic NPC statblocks for things not covered in the PHB or the Monster Manual, like Wizard’s Apprentices, Blackguards, and Warlocks. 

All in all, Volo’s Guide to Monsters is probably the first “must purchase” 5th Edition Splatbook. Unlike the Forgotten Realms focused Sword Coast Adventure Guide, the information inside is broad enough to be setting agnostic, and the lore inside is super entertaining. The thirteen new races also make it an appealing purchase for players, though the book only has a single new spell and no new archetypes, feats, or equipment. If you’re coming here looking for some sick racial exclusive sub-classes, you’re gonna be disappointed.

There also aren’t any race specific backgrounds either, disappointingly. You’re stuck with re-fluffing the generic ones, which can be a bit weird in some cases (Though I look forward to people playing Kobold Nobles). 

Still, if you have any interest in 5th Edition… GET THIS BOOK. DO IT.

The special variant cover edition of Volo’s Guide to Monsters is available at your friendly local game store. You can also purchase the basic cover for a lower price on Amazon. If digital content is more your thing, you can grab a full digital copy of the book (with tokens and maps) on Roll20.