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Get mind flayed with an adventurous first look at guide to the monsters of D&D

By Josh Weiss
D&D Monsters & Creatures guide front cover

Life is just one big role of the multi-sided dice. You do your best and hope to high heaven that you don't get chewed up and swallowed by a giant eaten by a giant corpse-eating worm known as a Carrion Crawler...

*clears throat*

Oh, did we mention we're on a D&D kick because Ten Speed Press gave us this exclusive look at Monsters and Creatures: A Young Adventurer's Guide? Well, we probably should have made that clear before we went off on the whole "Carrion Crawler" pep talk thing.

Written by Jim Zub (Marvel's Agents of Wakanda), Stacy King, and Andrew Wheeler, this beautifully-illustrated publication (the first of several companions) is your one-stop shop for spotting and identifying the fauna of the D&D universe, from dragons to Demogorgons. In a way, it's almost like a handy Pokédex for the iconic role-playing fantasy game. You probably shouldn't venture into a storyline without it at your side.

"Writing about the creatures and powers available in the worlds of D&D without falling back on statistics was a challenge at first," Zub, who has been writing the Dungeons & Dragons comic book since the fifth series launched in 2014, tells SYFY WIRE. "So much of D&D is built around those numbers, and we want these books to stand on their own as storytelling and idea generation, not rules and charts."

Below, you can check out two excerpts from the upcoming book. With Stranger Things back in the pop culture limelight thanks to the release of Season 3, we even got our hands on the spread for the dreaded Mind Flayer!

Mind Flayer Dungeons & Dragons

"Each book has 70+ new pieces of artwork, so die-hard D&D gamers can enjoy seeing new visions of classes, creatures, and locations they haven't seen before," says Zub. "As a Dungeon Master, the guide can be a great way to show players what they're up against without accidentally giving away the stats ... These books really are meant for new people to discover the potential of D&D. It's an introduction to all the pieces that make up a great game, helping them imagine their own heroic persona and the quests they could go on."

Carrion Crawler Dungeons & Dragons

"As experienced Dungeon Masters or players, it’s easy to forget how intimidating tabletop RPGs can be for people who haven’t ever played them before," continues Zub. "These guides lay out the major concepts (class, race, equipment, creatures) in a way anyone can understand while encouraging them to create their own stories."

When it comes to his personal preference of creatures in the game, Zub admits himself partial to that bizarre mix of night-hunting bird and salmon-eating mammal: "Owlbears! It's a completely ridiculous concept, somewhere between savage and silly, but it's one of those unique creatures that feels like D&D to me because I'd never seen anything like it before."

D&D Monsters & Creatures guide front cover

Monsters and Creatures: A Young Adventurer's Guide goes on sale everywhere Tuesday, July 16. You can pre-order a copy on Amazon right here

Check back with SYFY WIRE this coming Monday (July 15) for an exclusive first look at Warriors and Weapons: A Young Adventurer's Guide, which was also written by Zub, King, and Wheeler.