In this episode, hosts Bart Carroll and Shelly Mazzanoble crack open the recently released Monster Manual—and dare to peek inside.

Helping navigate our tour through hundreds of monsters, Kate Irwin and Bree Heiss join the podcast. As the Monster Manual describes itself, this bestiary is for storytellers and world-builders. If you have ever thought about running a D&D game for your friends, either a single night’s adventure or a longer-running campaign, this tome contains page after page of inspiration. It’s your one-stop shop for creatures both malevolent and benign.

Throughout the podcast, we consider the art direction and creative layout behind this impressive tome. And of course, we look at the monsters themselves. We quizzed our guests with trying to match the following descriptions with their namesake monsters:

  1. This creature is a gaunt and skeletal humanoid with withered flesh stretched tight across its bones. Its eyes succumbed to decay long ago, but points of light burn in its empty sockets. It is often garbed in the moldering remains of fine clothing and jewelry worn and dulled by the passage of time.
  1. These creatures appear as luminous, wispy forms that vaguely recall their mortal features. Its face is wreathed in a wild tangle of hair, its body clad in wispy rags that flutter and stream around it.
  1. The most hideous and wicked of all giantkind are these creatures, whose deformed bodies reflect their vile demeanors. Some have facial features randomly distributed around their misshapen, warty heads. Others have limbs of grossly different sizes and shapes, or emit terrible howls each time they draw breath through misshapen mouths.

How well do you think you know these beasts? Answers are within the podcast (and of course, within the Monster Manual itself!).

The Monster Manual

The Monster Manual (available now) 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.

Podcast: Monster Manual Design