Friday, June 25, 2010

DnD: Monster Manual 3 - Review & Impressions

My copy of Monster Manual 3 arrived yesterday!

Let's cut to the chase: It's the third title in the series. You should already know if you want more monsters to pick from. No one needs three Monster Manuals to run a game, but I enjoy having options - even if some of those options are rather unlikely to ever get picked.

Here are the notes I took as I read through the manual last night, paying more attention to fluff and background than stats:
  • Flavor text is now relies more on story material than game mechanics
  • New layout for the monster stat block:

    • Basic Info: HP, AC, speed, resistances, etc.
    • Traits: Characteristics that are not powers (auras, regeneration)
    • Actions (by type): Standard, Move, Minor, Free
    • Triggered Actions
    • Skills & Abilities
    • Alignment, Equipment, Language

  • I like the Banderhobb;seems like it should be a heroic tier monster, rather than paragon.
  • For those who don't already know: In DnD, behemoth = dinosaur
  • Names of monsters I do NOT look forward to saying out loud:

    • Catoblepas
    • Klurichir
    • Nalfeshnee
    • Ultrodemon (can't stop shaking my head)
    • Girallon (I may have been negatively influenced by the rock-star pose in the picture)
    • Imix (something that dangerous needs a better name)
    • Jackalwere (Werejackal wasn't good enough because . . . ?)
    • Meenloc (I'm meen, grr!)
    • Nagpa
    • Any type of Nerra
    • Norker (fear the . . . Norker?)
    • Xivort

  • I am looking forward to using Cave Fishers
  • Having trouble buying the Chitine as an established, organized race with a culture - based on their origin (They crawled out of a vat and overran the Drow)
  • Apparently, every race needs one (or more) tainted/fallen counterpart:

    • Elves/Eladrin :: Drow
    • Dwarves :: Duergar
    • Halflings :: Derro
    • Gnomes :: Spriggan/Xivort
    • Humans :: Tieflings
    • Dragons :: Primordial Dragons

  • I'm a little confused by the Drow fluff. Is there a difference between Drow, Abyssal Drow and Dark Elves - or are they all names for the same race? Perhaps the Underdark book holds the answer . . .
  • Some monsters, like the Forsaken, have so much backstory that it seems like you'd have to build a campaign around their fluff in order to justify using them. This is a potential downside to story-driven flavor-text.
  • Gremlins? Really? *sigh*
  • Glad Primordials are an option for a campaign-ending villains, now.
  • Which came first, the Nagpa or the Skeksis from Dark Crystal? Huge rip-off, either way.
  • The Nerra live in a giant disco ball. Seriously.
  • Conceptually speaking, how does one fight a shadow without using some form of light source?
  • Did Tanarukks and Tulgars really need to be two separate races? They seem kind of similar to me.

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