Friday, September 19, 2014

The Monster Manual - just killed all the other Monster Manuals and took their stuff

I secured my copy this late evening and while I haven't had time to read it cover to cover yet, I wanted to make a few observations for those interested:

1. This is the most gorgeous Monster Manual to date. Those early reviews out there saying it's a good looking book? They are not kidding. Even the most ardent haters of the 5E style will sound lame and ineffectual if they try to argue that the 5E Monster Manual doesn't look good.

2. It has about 421 individual stat blocks, spread out over 352 pages, and covers pretty much "all the core." You may not necessarily see something surprising jump out at you (this is a book of the tried and true) but the artistic depictions and actual details of some old favorites may take you by surprise.

3. The succubus (and incubus) is now a vile race of the lower planes that plays all sides...demon, devil, whatever. Also, the incubus is distinctly more sexualized than the succubus.....

4. The spiffed up looks of the demons and devils are great, but I am especially impressed at the black-armored Erinyes, and the spined devil is freaky.

5. Where are the mohrg? Were they not iconic enough? I know they got gutted into viscera thingies in 4E, but I've loved mohrg as major foes since their 3.0 appearance. Murderous serial killer undead with drippy touchy intestine-tentacles better show up in a future book, please.

6. No nymph?

7. Downside to the book so far: it includes a nice selection of sample NPC encounter stat blocks (similar to what was released in the free mini-MM) but the advice to customize them for the core races is to use the PHB's racial details. A concise "template" of each race in the MM would have been welcome.

8. No monsters-as-playable-races options in the MM. I think they're saving that for the DMG.

9. The mind flayer illustration is seriously bad ass.

10. Revenants exist in 5E! They have a monster entry, which gives me hope they will get some space as an alternate race in the DMG or a future tome.

Two months to go before the DMG....oh, the wait will be excruciating!

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