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Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual: Roleplaying Game Core Rules, 4th Edition Hardcover – June 6, 2008

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Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual: Roleplaying Game Core Rules, 4th Edition + Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide: Roleplaying Game Core Rules, 4th Edition + Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook: Arcane, Divine, and Martial Heroes (Roleplaying Game Core Rules)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; 4th edition (June 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786948523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786948529
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

We didn't like 4th edition and went back to 3.5.
Lance Shaw
Some rules have been streamlined and the daily, encounter and at-will powers are smart changes but overall the game has become even more complex, not less.
There's little or no cultural information given on most monsters.
Paul Suliin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Hershberger on June 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Like all previous editions of the Monster Manual - this book contains the list of creatures and their statistics that DMs need to create opponents for their players.

Before 3rd edition, this was all this book tried to do. While a 2nd edition DM could choose to buy the Fiend Folio instead of the Monster Manual, the 3rd edition (and 3.5) DM did not have this option. 3.0/3.5 added monster-specific rules that truly turned the Monster Manual into a core rulebook.

Monster feats, exotic attacks, Templates, and rules for PC monsters - all were natural extensions of the monster concept: You have monsters - and now you want to alter them for your specific needs. In my opinion, this was a good thing.

The 4th edition Manual follows this model - although there are some differences worth mentioning.

First - the easy stuff:
The laundry list of monsters includes the bulk of classic D&D bad guys: Orcs, Unicorns, & Worgs (Oh my!). A straight book-to-book comparison will reveal many differences in this edition's inventory (e.g. 4th ed. has only chromatic Dragons).

Many will be surprised by which creatures got included - but it's worth remembering that every edition of D&D has had multiple versions of the Monster Manual (3.5 was up to volume 5). If your favorite bad guy didn't make the cut - they're not gone - they'll just be in a future product.

The creature entries seem abbreviated at first. Much as in 3.0/3.5 you will not see wordy paragraphs about a creature's back-story or preferred environment. As a DM, when I need a creature I need their stats, not their life story. Wordy write-ups take up space that could be filled by more monsters. Besides, adding thematic information like back stories is *my* job.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Rayek on August 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the best of the 4e core books for me, but still left me feeling a bit sour.

First the good. In the tradition of the 1st edition AD&D Monster Manual, this book dispenses with lengthy descriptions of monsters and instead focuses on stats. Only in rare circumstances do we get lengthy prose regarding a monster's motivations outside of being fodder for the adventurers to beat up on. Filling in the details is left to the DM. The new stat blocks are straightforward and much easier to use than their 3.5 counterparts. Special abilities are in the stat block rather than hidden amongst the monster's descriptive text. That's a welcome change indeed. Also, one of my favorite things from the last two 3.5 MM's is carried over: knowledge checks to see what our heroes might know about their current foe. All in all, this is a very easy to use book.

Then there's the bad news. There are a lot of monsters missing from this book when compared to its 3.5 counterpart. Yes, some of the new core monsters were pulled from books other than the first MM, but leaving out monsters as classic as metallic dragons reeks of a mandate from marketing. Just like with the PHB, things many veteran players expect have been left out for the sole reason of saving them for another book to sell. You want your metallic dragons and the rest of the giants? Buy `Monster Manual II'. Then there's the artwork. A friend and I spent about 10 minutes playing `spot the recycled art' with this book. Roughly 10-15%, maybe more, is culled from 3.5 books. Were the contracted artists unable to meet their deadline for new artwork, or did someone at Wizards decide to cut the budget? You be the judge.

So what we're left with is a very well designed Monster Manual that's easy to use, but missing a significant number of iconic monsters and wholly original artwork. That's good for a 3 in my book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Blank on November 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This Monster Manual shakes things up a lot. Like a lot of the new edition, it's about reimagining the old in a fun new way. Once you get to the good stuff, it's really wonderful. The problem is the good stuff is buried in the monster entries (scattered between the two to three sentence introduction, and the lore bits that give backstory to characters depending on how well they roll). You end up having to hunt around and end up missing a lot of stuff that gets buried in between big striped blocks of stats.

There's not a lot written, but man is it tightly written. No waste, very efficient and packed with new flavor and background information. Just think what they could have done if they spent a whole page on each monster. Unfortunately none of the monsters get that depth of coverage--just a few sentences. That's it. They get in a lot in those few sentences, but it's a shame they didn't expand on that. It's one of the things I really miss from the old 2nd edition books. Now it's all statblocks.

Each monster has several statblocks at different levels with different names. No time is given describing the differences between the various types of monster, in fact in most cases the name seems to be entirely about what level the monster is and what special attacks it has--rather than any particular role in it's society or anything. The difference between a drider fanglord and shadowspinner? Beats me.

The art is good and pretty consistant, but a lot of it feels like redone versions of art from the old books--and some of it is copied straight out of the old books. Not cool. The night hag, or the deathknight for example, yanked right out of their original Monster Manual entries. When they redo one though, it's ususally real eyecandy.
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