Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chimerae, Dragons, and Bugbears, OH MY!

  A month ago, I did my really basic review of the PHB for the new 5th edition.  My verdict- I LOVED IT!  This edition very much reminds me of the old days when I used to enjoy the game much more than what Wizards did at the beginning of the century.  I know there are plenty of 3rd-lovers out there, but I know a ton of them love this edition as well (so far).  

  Well, the next most important book in the core set is the Monster Manual.  I've read, reread, and reread again this thing like any good, self-respecting DM would.  So how does it stack up with my expectations so far?

"I can SEE you!!!"
  Well, I have to say that I like it just fine.  Gone are the 4th edition blocks and the ridiculous concept of 'troop type' with monsters.  We're back to 'a monster is a monster', which is great.  We're gone from the days of the old 2nd edition 3-page-long stat block for each monster, detailing what climate they lived in, how many you would find, and what levels of villains would be in each group.  TMI much?  I grew up on that and those stats were almost completely ignored.  I wanted to know the basics- Ability Scores, HP/HD, equipment, AC, and saves.  This edition gives just that (and a little more).  It still keeps the 4th edition style of icons indicating 'actions' for each monster, but not the 'Press K on the keyboard to attack' mechanic that 4th edition really fell into.  

  There is one part that I especially enjoy- the NPCs appendix at the back of the book.  Instead of including Humans as a monster race, they are basically represented in all their professions and can be easily modified to represent any of the 'common' races.  I need bandits and thugs often in my campaigns, and there they are!  No longer do I have to take the Human monster type and modify it to fit my needs- it's already done!  That is probably the best part of the Monster Manual for this edition.

  There is one gripe that I have with this book- The background and detail of most of the monsters is sorely lacking.  I'm happy to know that the Goblinoid races worship Muglibuyet, but I want to know more about Duergar.  I simple column of three paragraphs is not enough to tell me anything about the race.  I know that, as the DM, it's my responsibility to flesh that out.  But sometimes a little  hint or two are rather nice.  

  Overall, I'd have to say that I love this Monster Manual in the same way that I love the PHB- it's back to the DnD that I used to know!  Most importantly, it serves its purpose beautifully, as it has for generations and multiple editions.  I am geeked to put this stuff into use!
  Let me know what you think and, as always, Happy Gaming!

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