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The Monster Manual, released in 2014, is one of the three core rulebooks for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. It presents rules and game statistics for monsters, and is intended primarily for use by the Dungeon Master.

Official synopsis[]

A menagerie of deadly monsters for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

The Monster Manual presents a horde of classic Dungeons & Dragons creatures, including dragons, giants, mind flayers, and beholders—a monstrous feast for Dungeon Masters ready to challenge their players and populate their adventures.

The monsters contained herein are culled from the D&D game’s illustrious history, with easy-to-use game statistics and thrilling stories to feed your imagination.


The Monster Manual contains statistics for over 300 monsters, miscellaneous creatures (mostly mundane animals), and NPCs.


As described on the book's index page, the front cover depicts the beholder crime lord Xanathar of Waterdeep, ambushing explorers in the depths of Undermountain. This explicitly places this event in the Forgotten Realms. On the back cover, a grick can be seen.

According to Expedition to Undermountain (2007), Xanathar maintains a lair in the third level of Undermountain. Intruders are readily spotted by hidden eyeball beholderkin and reported to Xanathar. However, he prefers to avoid physical combat where possible.

The cover image is drawn by Raymond Swanland. A higher resolution wallpaper of this image can be found at Wizards.com.


The Monster Manual begins with an eight-page introduction which briefly describes how to use the book, how to read statblocks, monster types and locales, various rules relevant to monsters such as experience point values and resistances, and the rules for legendary creatures.

List of monsters[]

The main section of Monster Manual contains game statistics for the following creatures:

aarakocra, aboleth, angels (deva, planetar, solar), animated objects (animated armor, flying sword, rug of smothering), ankheg, azer, banshee, basilisk, behir, beholders (beholder, death tyrant, spectator), blights (twig blight, needle blight, vine blight), bugbears (bugbear, bugbear chief), bulette, bullywug, cambion, carrion crawler, centaur, chimera, chuul, cloaker, cockatrice, couatl, crawling claw, cyclops, darkmantle, death knight, demilich, demons (balor, barlgura, chasme, dretch, glabrezu, goristro, hezrou, manes, marilith, nalfeshnee, quasit, shadow demon, vrock yochlol), devils (barbed devil, bearded devil, bone devil, chain devil, erinyes, horned devil, ice devil, imp, lemure, pit fiend, spined devil), dinosaurs (allosaurus, ankylosaurus, plesiosaurus, pteranodon, triceratops, tyrannosaurus rex), displacer beast, doppelganger, dracolich, dragon, shadow (young red shadow dragon), dragons (ancient, adult, young and wyrmling statblocks for each of the black, blue, green, red, white, brass, bronze, copper, gold, silver dragons), dragon turtle, drider, dryad, duergar, elementals (air elemental, earth elemental, fire elemental, water elemental), elves: drow, empyrean, ettercap, ettin, faerie dragon, flameskull, flumph, fomorian, fungi (gas spore, shrieker, violet fungus), galeb duhr, gargoyle, genies (dao, djinni, efreeti, marid), ghost, ghouls (ghast, ghoul), giants (cloud giant, fire giant, frost giant, hill giant, stone giant, storm giant), gibbering mouther, gith, gnolls (gnoll, gnoll pack lord, gnoll fang of Yeenoghu), gnome, deep (svirfneblin), goblins (goblin, goblin boss), golems (clay golem, flesh golem, iron golem, stone golem), gorgon, grell, grick, griffon, grimlock, hags (green hag, night hag, sea hag), half-dragon (half red-dragon veteran), harpy, hell hound, helmed horror, hippogriff, hobgoblins (hobgoblin, hobgoblin captain), homunculus, hook horror, hydra, intellect devourer, invisible stalker, jackalwere, kenku, kobolds (kobold, winged kobold), kraken, kuo-toa (kuo-toa, kuo-toa archpriest, kuo-toa whip), lamia, lich, lizardfolk (lizardfolk, lizardfolk shaman, lizard king/queen), lycanthropes (werebear, wereboar, wererat, weretiger, werewolf), magmin, manticore, medusa, mephits (dust mephit, ice mephit, magma mephit, mud mephit, smoke mephit, steam mephit), merfolk, merrow, mimic, mind flayer, minotaur, modrons (monodrone, duodrone, tridrone, quadrone, pentadrone), mummies (mummy, mummy lord), myconids (myconid sprout, quaggoth spore servant, myconid adult, myconid sovereign), nagas (bone naga, spirit naga, guardian naga), nightmare, nothic, ogres (ogre, half-ogre), oni, oozes (black pudding, gelatinous cube, gray ooze, ochre jelly), orcs (orc, orc war chief, orc eye of Gruumsh, orog), otyugh, owlbear, pegasus, peryton, piercer, pixie, pseudodragon, purple worm, quaggoth, rakshasa, remorhazes (remorhaz, young remorhaz), revenant, roc, roper, rust monster, sahuagin (sahuagin, sahuagin priestess, sahuagin baron), salamanders (fire snake, salamander), satyr, scarecrow, shadow, shambling mound, shield guardian, skeletons (skeleton, minotaur skeleton, warhorse skeleton), slaadi (red slaad, slaad tadpole, blue slaad, green slaad, gray slaad, death slaad), specter, sphinxes (androsphinx, gynosphinx), sprite, stirge, succubus/incubus, tarrasque, thri-kreen, treant, troglodyte, troll, umber hulk, unicorn, vampires (vampire, vampire spawn), water weird, wight, will-o'-wisp, wraith, wyvern, xorn, yetis (yeti, abominable yeti), yuan-ti (yuan-ti abomination, yuan-ti malison, yuan-ti pureblood), yugoloths (arcanaloth, mezzoloth, nycaloth, ultroloth), zombies (zombie, beholder zombie, ogre zombie).

Appendix A: Miscellaneous Creatures[]

Appendix A: Miscellaneous Creatures contains additional statistics for various creatures, primarily animals and fantastic variants of animals. Little to no lore is printed for these creatures, and only a few have art.

ape, awakened shrub, awakened tree, axe beak, baboon, badger, bat, black bear, blink dog, blood hawk, boar, brown bear, camel, cat, constrictor snake, crab, crocodile, death dog, deer, dire wolf, draft horse, eagle, elephant, elk, flying snake, frog, giant ape, giant badger, giant bat, giant boar, giant centipede, giant constrictor snake, giant crab, giant crocodile, giant eagle, giant elk, giant fire beetle, giant frog, giant goat, giant hyena, giant lizard, giant octopus, giant owl, giant poisonous snake, giant rat, giant scorpion, giant sea horse, giant shark, giant spider, giant toad, giatn vulture, giant wasp, giant weasel, giant wolf spider, goat, hawk, hunter shark, hyena, jackal, killer whale, lion, lizard, mammoth, mastiff, mule, octopus, owl, panther, phase spider, poisonous snake, polar bear, pony, quipper, rat, raven, reef shark, rhinoceros, riding horse, saber-toothed tiger, scorpion, sea horse, spider, swarm of bats, swarm of insects, swarm of poisonous snakes, swarm of quippers, swarm of rats, swarm of ravens, tiger, vulture, warhorse, weasel, winter wolf, wolf, worg.

Appendix B: Nonplayer Characters[]

Appendix B: Nonplayer Characters containts statblocks for humanoid opponents. This marks a change from previous editions of the game, such as Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, which had included NPC statistics in the Dungeon Master's Guide. Appendix B contains statistics for:

acolyte, archmage, assassin, bandit, bandit captain, berserker, commoner, cultist, cult fanatic, druid, gladiator, guard, knight, mage, noble, priest, scout, spy, thug, tribal warrior, veteran.

Development and release[]


Development took around two years: one year broad "strategic" development, and one year "tactical" development.[2]

This section is incomplete. Please add information on the writers' point of view; and remove this {{secstub}} notice when finished.

The graphic design team began with a period of research, aiming to produce a work that looked more organic and less like a textbook (as had been the case with the Monster Manual's 4th edition predecessor), but still easy to read. D&D 5th edition's trade dress and logos were also being developed at the same time.[2]

Kate Irwin served as lead art director, commissioning 429 individual pieces of art and 89 watercolor splatches. Dan Gelon gave feedback for all monster art. Bree Heiss served as lead graphic designer, a title she shared with Emi Tanji. Many of the commissioned artists had previous experience making art for earlier editions of the game. Some of the commissioned art went unused, and was set aside for later products.[2]

Announcement and previews[]

Lead designer Jeremy Crawford, graphic illustrator Bree Heiss, and art director Kate Irwin continued to work the Monster Manual right up to the deadline.[3]

The Monster Manual went to press on Friday, July 25, 2014.[4] Pre-release copies were available to staff as early as August 18, when author Jeremy Crawford tweeted a photograph of his copy next to a garden gnome.

From August to September, various monster preview articles were posted, offering complete finished pages from the Monster Manual for the sphinx, bone devil, umber hulk, golems, intellect devourer, and kobold.[5]


The Monster Manual was released in September 2014, for $49.95 US or $57.00 Canadian.[1] The store release date was Sept 19 for Wizards Play Network stores, and Sept 30 for all other retailers.[6]

A PDF index of "monsters by challenge rating" was released in 2014.[1]

Reception and influence[]

Critical reception[]

The Monster Manual won two Gold awards at the 2015 ENnies, for Best Interior Art and Best Monster/Adversary. It won two 2-15 Origins Awards for Best Role Playing Supplement and Fan Favorites: Best Role Playing Supplement.[1]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition was highly successful, and saw unprecedented growth. In 2018, the Monster Manual appeared as #76 on Amazon's top 100 bestselling books.[7]

Influence on other works[]

External links[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Monster Manual - Wizards.com (archived)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Monster Manual Design, D&D Podcast, 11/10/2014, Wizards.com (archived).
  3. "Hit home stretch for the Monster Manual. Jeremy, Bree, and Kate are burning the midnight oil getting the book ready. Can't wait to see it!" Tweet.
  4. "Monster Manual went to press on Friday. Starter Set reprint leaves Tuesday. Definitely qualifies as the good kind of busy." Tweet. Jul 26, 2014.
  5. Sphinx, Bone Devil, Umber Hulk, Golems (PDF), intellect devourer, and kobold. Wizards.com (archived)
  6. "September 19 is the Monster Manual's release date for WPN stores. It's September 30 everywhere else." Jeremy Crawford, Twitter.
  7. How Well is 5th Edition D&D Selling?, Unpossible Journeys

Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manuals
Monster Manual (1e)Monster Manual II (1e)
Monstrous Compendium Volume One (2e)Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (2e)Monstrous Manual (2e)
Monster Manual (3.0)Monster Manual II (3.0)
Monster Manual (3.5)Monster Manual III (3.5)Monster Manual IV (3.5)Monster Manual V (3.5)
Monster Manual (4e)Monster Manual 2 (4e)Monster Manual 3 (4e)Monster Vault (4e)
Monster Manual (5e)Monster Manual (5e revised)
Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition
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