Wednesday, February 18, 2015

In Search of Monsters

I am always in search of monsters. My favorite role-playing game supplements are monster books. They usually have evocative art and interesting opponents to harass my players with. Since I tend to DM 95% of the time I enjoy flipping through the various entries and finding unique monsters to spice up your typical encounter. Also the nice thing about monster books is you don't have to read them cover to cover. You can find the entries that entice you and just focus in on them.

I am also a collector by nature. I probably have way too many rpg books. I know my wife always complains that we will one day run out of room for my collection. When that happens I tell her we have to sell the Condo and buy a house.

Over the past month I picked up five new monster books. I have some pictures of my finds.

Monster Manual 3 for D&D 4E: I have to admit I haven't really played 4E all that much. I DMed one session when it first came out and didn't really enjoy it. I did play a few encounter sessions at my local gaming shop but never had the desire to fully explore the system. I picked up MM3 on the cheap. As with most of Wotc products it has very high production values.
     The artwork is gorgeous. I probably will only use MM3 to showcase art and use the monster lore fluff from each entry. I do own most of the 4E monster books with the exception of MM1 hardcover. I have the Monster Vault, Threats from Nentir Vale, and MM2. I will eventually pick up MM1 one day but haven't since I think the Monster Vault and MM1 overlap a lot.

Legends & Lairs: Elemental Lore: This monster book was published by Fantasy Flight Games in 2003 and uses D&D 3.0/D20 system. It's 64 pages devoted to elementals and their subtypes. The artwork is black & white and above average in quality. Since I have ran a lot of Pathfinder over the past five years I can steal monsters from here since the system chassis are fundamentally the same. Might have convert a few things here and there.

Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendices I & II: This Ravenloft supplement combines two of the loose leaf appendices into one 128 page softcover. Half the book is devoted to horror themed monster. The other half is unique NPCs with a gothic horror twist. Nice selection of monsters for a darker themed game. Plus my current campaign is AD&D 2E so this will probably get some use.
     By picking up this book I mostly complete my 2E softcover collection for monster books. I even have a softcover print of Savage Coast Monster Compendium which was only released online. There is a Birthright monster book which I don't own but I don't think it is a standard monster book. Now I have to work on picking up the rest of the loose leaf 2E monster appendices.

Malevolent and Benign: An OSRIC/1E Bestiary published by Expeditious Retreat Press. This 128 page book has nice black & white art and over 150 monsters. More then half of them are illustrated. The two other notable 3PP monster books for OSRIC are Monsters of Myth and Teratic Tome. This rounds out my 1E collection quite nicely. Also can be used for my 2E game.

D20 Menace Manual: This D20 book was written for D20 Modern which is a variant of the D&D 3.X system. Half the book is monsters and the other half is organizations. I probably won't touch the organizations but might use the monsters in a 3.X/Pathfinder game. This book is full color and has high production value. If you are interested in throwing some aliens or weird monsters into your typical fantasy setting this might serve as good inspiration.

Most of these books I got on the cheap. The only one that I paid higher then cover price was the Ravenloft Monster Book.



Interior for Malevolent and Benign

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