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Monster Manual (D&D Core Rulebook) Hardcover – September 30, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 487 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: D&D Core Rulebook
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; 9 edition (September 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786965614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786965618
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.7 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (487 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am an old school D&D gamer/Dungeon Master who cut his teeth on the 'Red' basic set and then moved into "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" (1st ed.), all the while trying other stuff like Star Frontiers and I.C.E. By the time 2nd edition came out, I had moved on. Just recently, I decided to get back into it and started up a 1st edition campaign. As the new 5th edition material came out, I bought them initially 'out of curiosity' and have now started a 5th edition campaign. I may move exclusively into 5th edition because of the common sense ideas, ease of play, and stunning packaging. Having the basic set of rule for 5th edition available on line for free makes it easy for new players to prepare before committing to buying anything.

That said, I have to say that I love the "Monster Manual". The artwork is amazing and each monster pretty much gets its own page, with loads of details in an easy-to-read format. In the back of the book is a section of creatures that are not as much monster as wild animal or giant-sized animal and then a section of sample NPCs. In each case, the information presented is easily usable "as is" or in a modified form. I find the information throughout the book easy to reference and access.

From a nostalgic point of view, I still love the 1st editions of Monster Manual, Monster Manual II, and the Fiend Folio for their diverse artwork (some good and some not so good) and background information. The 5th edition is much more consistent in terms of information presented and quality of artwork. First edition had a lot more monsters, but the 5th edition ones are the ones you'd actually use frequently. In essence, this one book serves me just as well as those three volumes did.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Good:
- A lot of monsters, and all the classics
- More, better organized info about each monster, and like literally EVERY MONSTER. 4E's MM has way too little, and 3.x's MM had uneven amounts of information.
- Drop-And-Go NPC's. Several pages of humanoid NPC's in the back of various CR's, all grouped up conveniently.
- 24 PAGES of miscellaneous animals and creatures. These are the types of things that just claw-claw-bite, and don't have a pathos or special abilities.
- Way better layout than previous editions. They more or less kept it to a monster a page. It feels much more like the sort of whimsical bestiary you'd see in a fancy wizarding movie or cartoon.
- Down-N-Dirty explanation of anything a DM would need to know about monsters, making the book function entirely on its own. They repeat only what's necessary in the intro section
- Not a bunch of non-info pages/advertisements in the back. Open the back cover and there's the Index.
- Awesome Cover. Nice and thick, very high quality feeling.
- The art is incredible. I know this seems like an afterthought, but the art really is fantastic and expressive. 4E's art often looked overly animated or cartoonish, and 3E's art often looked like something out of a field guide book. Neither of these are inherently bad, but the 5E MM strikes a balance that hits a sweet spot.

The Bad:
- Owlbears look dumb now. This is important. 3E Owlbear or GTFO
- Mechanically, inside a vacuum, just from looking, I feel like I want some of the more challenging monsters to just do more. There seems to be some mechanical redundancy.
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Format: Hardcover
The Monster Manual has been reviewed in-depth by several sources already, but I received my comp copy from Wizards of the Coast a little late (I'm sure it was just an oversight...) so I'm only just now getting to my own review of the world's most famous tome of monsters -- with the exception of The Monster Book of Monsters from the Harry Potter universe. Good news: The Monster Manual will not try to eat you. It may try to eat your players however.

* Keeping it simple: The first rule of The Monster Manual is that it's not going to try super hard to encompass every single variant of every single monster. Is a monster proficient with its weapons (page 9)? Yeah, sure. Are we going to list its armor and equipment? No we're not, and who would want stinky monster equipment anyway? This fits nicely with 5E's approach of keeping things simple.

* High fantasy with a touch of humor: The artwork ranges from high fantasy-style watercolors to little sketches and doodles. There is no joy quite like seeing an otyugh galumph along at high speed (page 8), its tentacles streaming behind it like a dog's ears. Also, all the women are clothed, including repeat offenders like the marilith, dryad, and succubus (an entire film has been dedicated to the teenage boy fantasies ignited by the sight of a naked succubus in the original Monster Manual).

* Legendary monsters: Many of the monsters are reimagined, and others have been given a place as legendary monsters that change the terrain and have special powers in their lair. Aboleths, beholders, demiliches, mummies, unicorns, vampires, and dragons among others. Also, the tarrasque.

* We call it Dungeons & Dragons for a reason: Dragons take up a large chunk of the book, as well they should.
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