A few years back, while I was on the road for a feature story here at Polygon, my entire role-playing reference library literally fell off the wall, shelf and all. It happened in the middle of the night, woke up the wife and kids and almost crushed my gaming PC. I still have a hole in my desk top where it all came crashing down. But in picking up the pieces, I actually made an amazing discovery.
Perhaps I’m late to the party on this one, but I found that every single book in the 5th edition has an Easter egg in it. I’m sure that 4th edition does as well. And some of them are, genuinely, very funny.
Read on for some mild spoilers.
If you flip open any D&D book you’ll find the title page. On the back side of that page is the copyright page. That’s where Wizards of the Coast lists all the credits and lists contributors. It’s where they plop the ISBN number and, sometimes, even include a nice bibliography.
But on every single one of those copyright pages, there’s a disclaimer as well.
From the 5th edition Monster Manual:
Disclaimer: Any similarities between monsters depicted in this book and monsters that actually exist are purely coincidental. That goes double for mind flayers, which absolutely, utterly, and completely do not exist, nor do they secretly run the D&D team. Do we really need a disclaimer to tell you that? You shouldn’t use your brain to consider such irrational thoughts. They only make the mind cluttered, confused, and unpleasantly chewy. A good brain is nice, tender, and barely used. Go ahead, put down this book and watch some reality TV or Internet cat videos. They’re really funny these days. You won’t regret it. We say this only because we love you and your juicy, succulent gamer brain.
From the Player’s Handbook:
Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of splitting up the team, sticking appendages in the mouth of a leering green devil face, accepting a dinner invitation from bugbears, storming the feast hall of a hill giant steading, angering a dragon of any variety, or saying yes when the DM asks, "Are you really sure?"
One of my very favorites comes from Out of the Abyss, a campaign that we wrote up on Polygon just recently.
Disclaimer: Before you take on demon lords, consult a physician. Do not drink alcohol while taking on demons lords. Taking alcohol and demon lords may increase your risk of death. Other side effects of demon lords may include hallucinations, mindless rage, gluttony, greed, paranoia, self-delusion, bestial urges, nihilism, hedonism, megalomania, a messiah complex, cannibalism, multiple personalities, and homicidal psychosis.
Sometimes it’s just good advice, as in Princes of the Apocalypse...
Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast urges adventurers to remember that not all rock creatures are earth elementals. A talking rock that controls boulders is a galeb duhr. A talking rock wearing jewelry is a dao. A silent rock that’s resistant to non-adamantine weapons is a stone golem. A rock with wings is a gargoyle. A rock without a K is a giant bird. A rock that sits there and does nothing could be just a rock or a balor disguised by an illusion. In all cases, proceed with caution.
... and the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast does not officially endorse the following tactics ... First, always keep a straight face and say OK no matter how ludicrous or doomed the players’ plan of action is. Second, no matter what happens, pretend that you intended all along for everything to unfold the way it did. Third, if you’re not sure what to do next, feign illness, end the session early, and plot your next move. When all else fails, roll a bunch of dice behind your screen, study them for a moment with a look of deep concern mixed with regret, let loose a heavy sigh, and announce that Tiamat swoops from the sky and attacks.
They’re also not above trolling the father of the Forgotten Realms. From the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide:
Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast cannot be held responsible for any actions undertaken by entities native to or currently inhabiting the Forgotten Realms. ... In the event of a catastrophic encounter with any or all such entities, blame your Dungeon Master. If that doesn’t work, blame Ed Greenwood, but don’t tell him we told you that. He knows more archmages that we do.
What’s coming up on the copyright page of Volo’s Guide to Monsters, their latest take on the iconic Monster Manual? I know, but I’m not telling. You’ll have to wait until November like everybody else.
You can check out more on Volo’s Guide in our feature, right here.