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D&D book Monsters of the Multiverse will miss its holiday launch due to shipping delays

The three-book gift set includes reprints of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

Tabletop RPG giant Dungeons & Dragons announced - and then promptly delayed - a new rulebook during a recent livestream. Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse will arrive in January of next year as part of a three-book set instead of the initially intended late 2021 date.

Liz Schuh, head of publishing and licensing for Wizards of the Coast, appeared on the D&D Celebration livestream to premiere the upcoming sourcebook, which will appear first in a three-book gift set aimed at expanding the available game rules beyond what’s available in the player’s handbook and DM’s guide. She also explained why it would not be available as a wrapped gift for this year’s holiday season.

“We planned to release the D&D Rules Expansion Gift Set before the holidays, but like many products in the industry, production and shipping delays forced us to move the release date,” Schuh said. “We had our own challenges with production and shipping, which forced us to delay the release until January 25th.”

The rule expansion gift set will be the only way to snag a physical copy of Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse until its standalone release on an undisclosed date in 2022. The sourcebook accompanies reprints of fellow possessively named tomes Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, along with a themed DM’s screen, all packaged in a slipcase for $170 (£124).

Monsters of the Multiverse will collect updated stat blocks for nearly 300 creatures, NPCs and items previously printed in other books. Jeremy Crawford, principal rules designer at Wizards of the Coast, explained during the livestream that the changes reflect “a new standard” for the company’s releases going forward and comprise new thinking on layout as well as concepts such as race and alignment.

“We revised the content in Monsters of the Multiverse so that it plays even better than it did before. Many of the monsters have new abilities and new bits of lore, which will make them even more fun to include in your campaigns,” Crawford said in a press release. “We also shifted the lore focus so that this material is relevant no matter where you play in the D&D multiverse, not just in the Forgotten Realms.”

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Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, released earlier this year, marked the publisher’s first attempt to rewrite how the handles race as a mechanically distinct factor, both within character creation and roleplay. Wizards of the Coast announced in 2020, amid widespread criticism for its reluctance to unseat outdated and problemated material, that its future books and products would right the ship. Their efforts since have been welcome but not without pushback from parts of the community.

How that promise will reflect in Monsters of the Multiverse remains to be seen. The product page on Dungeons & Dragons’ official website lists “30 updated player character races” as a selling point for the sourcebook. There’s no sight of lineages - first seen in playtest material from earlier this year - or other wording to indicate the company has chosen a radically new direction. An art update and expanded DM options, as Crawford previewed during the livestream, sure sounds like another punt.

Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse and the rule expansion gift set arrives at online retailers and local game stores on January 25th of next year. Digital editions will not be available until the standalone book releases.

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