Mordenkainen’s Bestiary: More Humanoids

I’ve recently been reading through Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and reviewing the content here. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the elves and duergar featured in the bestiary section of the book. Today I’m looking at the bestiary’s remaining humanoids.


The derro have already been featured in Out of the Abyss, but in Tome of Foes we get more information about their gods and their origins. Since they’re inclined toward insanity, there’s a random table for describing the nature of a derro’s madness. There are also some small changes to the derro stat blocks, which make the derro savant a little more distinct.


There was a lot of excitement when it was revealed that the giff would be included in Tome of Foes. They’re eccentric and regimented hippos who love their guns. I don’t think regular guns fit too well in Dungeons & Dragons, but I wouldn’t say the giff’s guns are very overpowered. Any player character who manages to get their hands on a giff firearm is going to also need to find a way to get ammunition and gunpowder in order to use it, so I don’t think it’s likely to warp the feel of the game a lot.


Tome of Foes has a whole chapter on the gith, which I plan to review next week. The bestiary also provides us with stat blocks for five new kinds of gith. I think the githzerai that are included here are most interesting. The anarch is a githzerai whose psionic abilities allow them to stabilise an area of the plane of Limbo in order to establish githzerai colonies. While in their colony they can access a number of lair actions, including casting lightning bolt with the ability to modify the damage type. They also have a number of legendary actions, including the ability to reverse gravity. The other githzerai in the bestiary is the enlightened, who has the ability to punch an opponent a little way into the future.


These don’t come across to me as a very strong concept, but they appear to be descended from people who’ve gone to the Shadowfell to dwell on their misery. It seems like they sneak up on people and drag them into the Shadowfell for stronger creatures to deal with. Why do they do that? I guess they’re just hateful and misanthropic?


These folks were once elven mages who plotted against the Raven Queen. She turned them into hunch-backed vulture-people. Now they can only acquire new knowledge and power from dead societies, so they plot behind the scenes to destroy societies. They’re equipped with a lot of spells that they can use to get others to do their dirty work.


These humanoids are travellers who have lost their identity while wandering the Shadowfell. They’re normally invisible, except to children, so Mordenkainen says that a child’s imaginary friend could actually be a skulk. A summoned skulk can take on some of the summoner’s appearance. As a dungeon master, I like the idea of using having a villain who uses a summoned skulk to do their dirty work, because the skulk’s appearance (if the player characters are able to see it, or get a description from someone who can) could help lead them to the summoner.

By Chris Booth Twitter  Instagram  Website


I’m an illustrator and dungeon master living on Wurundjeri land, in Melbourne, Australia. I like RPGs as an opportunity to bring people together to tell a story. Currently training to be a real-world cleric.

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