Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (Book) Review
“A menagerie of deadly monsters for the world’s greatest role playing game”
Whether you’re just beginning your foray into the Dungeons & Dragons universe, or you’re a Dungeon Master from way back looking to stay current with the latest edition of the game, the Monster Manual for D&D’s 5th edition has a lot to offer to monster aficionados of all types. With over 300 pages of monsters to pore over, it’s bound to be a favorite part of your library.
At first glance, you can immediately see the quality that was dedicated to putting this book together. With a sturdy hard cover and nice thick pages, it’s bound to stand up to the test of time. As you page through the book, one thing that instantly stands out is the artwork. There are tons of illustrations, many in a classic hand painted style, that really help to put a face to your adventures. While some of them may fall a little short of your imagination, for the most part they are inspired creatures that live up to their impressive legacies. From powerful dragons to silly looking owlbears, the skillful illustrations add an extra element of fantasy to your gameplay.
The Monster Manual is far more than its great images, though, providing tons of information for Dungeon Masters old and new. The book starts out with an overview of what you can find in the book, explaining everything from what monsters are to how to use the challenge system, and everything in between. Challenge ratings are new to this version, and they basically tell you how challenging a monster will be. For example, if your party is made up of 4th level characters, monsters with challenge ratings below that should be completely doable, 4th level monsters will be challenging but possible, and those above 4th level will be extremely challenging.
The bulk of the book is (obviously) devoted to the monsters, and you’ll get a ton of information about them. Of course, you’ll get information about things like skills and armor, but you’ll also get a lot of background information and interesting facts as well. It makes for a book that is invaluable for dungeon masters, but also just plain interesting on its own. Following the many pages of monsters are two appendices that cover miscellaneous creatures and nonplayer characters, with an index of stat blocks finishing the book. Overall, it’s a ton of useful information that is easily accessible and oh, so fascinating. It’s a great investment for both D&D pros and hopeful, and a great coffee table book for monster lovers of all stripes.