As it is for many players, The Monster Manual was my introduction to Dungeons & Dragons, while my eyes devoured all the mysterious creatures and hypnotizing artwork.
I knew I was hooked
The Monster Manual for the 5th Edition of D&D is a beautiful bestiary, crafted in a way that makes it much more appealing and useful compared to many of its ancestors.
Let us go through The Monster Manual in further detail!
First and foremost, The Monster Manual is huge, it clocks in at 352 pages with approximately 450 distinct monster stat blocks that also include 40 different types of dragons spread across four age categories, WotC made sure this book was great value for its money.
The eccentric designs grasp the reader’s attention instantaneously, with the front cover featuring a fierce beholder, the book has a modern touch yet holds the classical feeling we all associate with the Monster Manual.
What’s the Content like?
Let’s start with the monsters, I mean it is the Monster Manual, after all, the list of monster stems from all the monster books throughout the previous editions. All our beloved standard monsters are present and there are even quite a few I didn’t expect to be released so soon such as death knights, demilichs, yochlols, modrons, and flumphs. There’s a pretty unique monster too, the magnificent Tarrasque at CR 30, there are only a few gods that are more powerful than this legend.
There are about 15 pages dedicated to metallic dragons, four alternatives of brass, bronze, and copper dragon types. I would prefer to replace some of that portion with devil lords or demon princes but that’s just me.
My favorite part is a section right after the introduction in the book titled “Where do Monster’s Dwell” which contains a wonderfully useful list of lairs of different monsters for specific environments. For instance, in the environment “Wilderness” it mentions a swamp inhabited by lizardfolk that worships a monstrous black dragon.
There is a new system in the Monster Manual called Challenge which is basically for selecting when a monster can be a suitable opponent for a player. A number indicates what level of a monster is appropriately challenging for a player, but not deadly. There are still some kinks to be worked out in the system though.
Although the Monster Manual holds statistics for more than 300 monsters and scattered creatures (generally mundane animals), What I personally find to be an excellent addition is the insertion of 21 NPC stat blocks that range from challenge 0 to challenge 12. This is extremely helpful as NPC villains appear quite frequently and it’s rather difficult to find suitable stat blocks for them, if anything, I wish there were more than 21 in this section.
Monster Manual 5th Edition
The Monster Manual for the 5th Edition of D&D is an especially valuable gem in all the books released for the 5th Edition. With a simple and clear layout, it's easy to use for beginners and the content makes it interesting enough for older D&D fans. If i had one criticism it would be that, the book's odd refusal to pin down exactly how hard a specific monster is tends to be kind of annoying, but overall, there's very little to criticize about the Monster Manual at all. The layout and design of the book is fantastic, there are beautifully written monster descriptions that I could read over and over for years to come not to mention the exotic and fascinating artwork of the creatures themselves. I recommend this book to all players out there, especially dungeon masters, who will find that this book actually helps you come up with campaigns based around the creatures themselves.