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Fifth Edition Foes» Forums » Reviews

Subject: It was a large collection of monsters rss

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john Whyte
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Reading through my pdfs (of which I have far too many) I always find something that I keep stumbling across and going 'I should read this' or 'I should do something with this'. I'm sure I've done it with this product before. This is a 261 page bestiary. Lots of monsters. For (in case the title wasn't obvious enough) 5th edition.

The book is entirely in black and white. Some of the artwork is good. Some of it is new. Some is reprints from The Tome of Horrors Complete (Pathfinder Version) (which I'm sure is a reprint from other Tome of Horrors products).

And that book: The Tome of Horrors, deserves a special mention. When Necromacer Games acquired a licence to rerelease certain monsters from Wizards of the Coast, they released them under the OGL. This has meant that the monsters can reappear in Pathfinder. And also it has meant they can reappear in 5th edition.

Now I was expecting 99% of the book to be reprints of that source. But it is not. I would have said that only 50% of the monsters come from there. And the monsters that do come from there often have their flavor text updated.

The monsters skew heavily towards the lower end of the scale. Half are CR2 or below. Only 16% are CR8 or higher. The monsters are presented well abet in an unusual format. If I had to guess I would say that Frog God's weren't quite sure if they could use the 5e stat block (or if that type of presentation was copyrighted) when this went to print. For example the CR is at the top of the monster, there is a heading called 'OFFENCE' which lists a creatures speed, and their attack actions. This heading is before the statistics of the monster. It's not bad but after seeing a lot of 5e stat blocks it's not usual.

The monsters seem to conform to 5e construction rules. One comment is that there are less proficient saving throws and proficient skills than I would have expected.

Even now with Volo's Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes released a bulk of these monsters are still unique.

For me if I found a hardcopy of this at a reasonable price I would probably buy it. I don't think my collection is missing anything without it as monsters in 5e are really easy to 'rig up'. It hasn't seen much use for me as I have hopeless at remembering what pdfs I have.
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Mark Wilson
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Nice review. The preponderance of new creature books in D&D always mystifies me a bit. As you mention, it's so, so easy to "rig up" something...which can be as simple as just describing a monster differently - and not even change a single stat - and have it feel totally foreign. I see successful KS's of not even general lists of new monsters, but entire books with nothing but "New Variations on {Specific Monster Type}" and I wonder who's actually using them.
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john Whyte
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mawilson4 wrote:
Nice review. The preponderance of new creature books in D&D always mystifies me a bit. As you mention, it's so, so easy to "rig up" something...which can be as simple as just describing a monster differently - and not even change a single stat - and have it feel totally foreign. I see successful KS's of not even general lists of new monsters, but entire books with nothing but "New Variations on {Specific Monster Type}" and I wonder who's actually using them.


In my mind there can be good monsters, but they revolve around new or different actions. Or really good fluff.

But I think it's a hangover from 3.5 and 4th where building a monster as a gm was tough. I think for 3.5/pathfinder I own a total of 21 monster books. 17 have seen regular use.
5e - I barely use anything outside the monster manual. Sometimes The Tome of Fate.

Also another big change in 5e is you can just up the number of monsters. Players level 8? Add more goblins. In 3.x you have to upgrade the creatures to threaten the players.
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jodokast wrote:
mawilson4 wrote:
Nice review. The preponderance of new creature books in D&D always mystifies me a bit. As you mention, it's so, so easy to "rig up" something...which can be as simple as just describing a monster differently - and not even change a single stat - and have it feel totally foreign. I see successful KS's of not even general lists of new monsters, but entire books with nothing but "New Variations on {Specific Monster Type}" and I wonder who's actually using them.


In my mind there can be good monsters, but they revolve around new or different actions. Or really good fluff.

But I think it's a hangover from 3.5 and 4th where building a monster as a gm was tough. I think for 3.5/pathfinder I own a total of 21 monster books. 17 have seen regular use.
5e - I barely use anything outside the monster manual. Sometimes The Tome of Fate.

Also another big change in 5e is you can just up the number of monsters. Players level 8? Add more goblins. In 3.x you have to upgrade the creatures to threaten the players.


That's good perspective, thanks. And it makes sense. I think a portion of it might just be peoples' endless appetite for shiny new stuff, regardless of usefulness. But the difference in editions is not something I experienced, as the most I ever did in 3.5 and 4e was play in scattered one-shots.
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