First, a quick update about the World Wide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day this Saturday, May 23, at Imagine Games. As mentioned previously, we were too late to get the official support package for the day. However, we were able to get the adventure and maps needed to run the game, and I’ve got just about all the correct official minis, as well. What we don’t have are the official giveaways, so we’ll be making do with some unofficial ones.
If you’re in Winnipeg, and want to come play with some of the new monsters, we start at 12:30 pm at the store. If there’s enough interest, there will be a second session at 3:30 pm. If not, then not.
I look forward to seeing folks there.
And now, about the Monster Manual 2.
It’s a good book. It’s got some very nice additions to the monsters, along with some that I think they could have skipped. Of course, with a monster book like this, that’s always going to be the case, and my idea of a good inclusion is probably someone else’s idea of a waste of space.
A couple of specific thoughts:
- Rust monsters. I hate ’em. Always have, always will. Yet, according to the official WotC site, they are fan favourites*. This incarnation is a little more lenient on character gear, but still are really just a “screw you” monster. There is a nice little catch to them, though, that might actually go some way towards addressing some of the magic item economy imbalances** – if you let a rust monster eat a magic item and then kill it and cut it open, you can reclaim the full value of that item in residuum. So now I envision places in Sigil and the City of Brass where you can take an unwanted magic item and have them feed it to a rust monster for you, kill the rust monster, and give you back full value, less the cost of the rust monster and a commission.
- Demons and devils. These are always popular categories, and every monster book seems to have a heaping helping of new flavours. Sure, they’re useful monsters to throw at parties that are in areas that have few options for other creatures***, but that’s something that can be ameliorated by spending fewer pages on demons and devils and more pages on other monsters. I think we could do with less.
- Angels and archons and elementals. We’ve got a solid base of these, now, which was needed. Let’s not fall into the same trap as with the demons and devils.
- Metallic dragons. Welcome back, fellas! And my, aren’t you all bad-ass now?
- Humans and Eladrin. More stat blocks for variations of both. Very welcome.
- Half-Elves and Devas and Goliaths and Half-Orcs. Nice to have a few stat blocks for them.
- Elves and Dwarves and Tieflings and Dragonborn and Halflings. Nothing new. I am sad.
- Gnomes. I don’t like gnomes. Though my players hate them more than I do, so I still use them sometimes.
- Formorians. Yay! I like these!
- Firbolgs. Interesting take on them. I like it.
- Beholders and Mind Flayers. Four new types of beholder, nothing new for the mindflayer. Huh.
- Barghests. This version is very nice.
- Gnolls. The new flavours make me happy.
- Shadar-kai. Now extending up into the mid-Paragon tier.
- Myconids. Now at least they don’t look like they should be dancing in a Disney movie.
Those are the things that really stand out to me. Anyway, as I said, a good book. Wizards is really keeping the production values high, and turning out some solid material for 4E.
I am pleased.
*What is wrong with people?
**Reclaiming residuum from a magic item through the disenchant ritual nets you 20% of the market value of the item in residuum. Enchanting a magic item costs 100% of the market value in residuum (or other components). Thus, it takes recycling five of an item to get enough materials to create an identical item. Also, selling magic items nets you 20% of the market value. So the question becomes, who makes such items, and how can they afford to sell them?
***”All the desert monsters suck. I’m just gonna throw a couple vrocks at the party.”