Most helpful critical review
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Monster Manual 1 with a darker twist
on September 26, 2010
This monster manual seems to have taken the monsters from the first manual, and added a slight twist to them. For example they take goblins and add magic to the level 1 version called "goblin acolyte of maglubiyet". They also add in a few rules for player class monsters: ie. Human noble/cavalier/hexer, Eladrin Archer, gnome entropist, etc. A few of the many new monsters in this book I like are: early game beholder, Djinn, firbolg, Shadar-kai, Elemental mixes (ie fire+earth+air, cold+fire, air+earth, etc), Direguard.
If you are looking for a book that has an even amount of monsters for every level, I would suggest skipping over this one and going for Monster Manual 3. However if you are looking for a twist on a few existing monsters this would be a good book for you. Levels 1 through 3 have a limited selection of variety, focusing mainly on lizardfolk and demons. Levels 4 - 22 have 10 - 15 monsters per level, and reintroduce monsters such as: Lycanthropes, Oozes, Phase Spider, Rust Monster, warforged, metallic dragons (silver, gold, adamantine, etc) and a few more. The last few levels, 23-30, have a selection of 1 to 5 per level, focusing on demons and dragons. Two monsters above 30 are listed, Dagon - the first demon lord, and Demogorgon - Prince of Demons.
I give this a 3 of 5 simply because I feel there could have been so much more in this selection. While it is nice to have a new look at existing monsters to provide new tactics to common encounters, there are not as many new monsters to use if the old monsters are already monotonous. The style of displaying information, lore, and tactics is the same as was done in Monster Manual 1, and is still somewhat limited.
This is one to add to your collection, but not something used every game, nor as a low level substitute for MM 1.