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Angry Drunk Review - 5e Monster Manual: A Modern Relic
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Krusk
Knight


Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 496

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:15 pm    Post subject: Angry Drunk Review - 5e Monster Manual: A Modern Relic Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Its a new day children. Wizards has released the newest edition of the biggest RPG around, and its time to actually read it. This brings me back, and its time for Uncle Krusk to tell you all about the joys of the good old days. RPGs were made for Real Men, and players respected the DMs divine will without even thinking of debate, and Rules Lawyers didn't exist... oh, wait? Were you a player? Sorry, this essay was for DM's. Let me swap gears for you real quick, hold on...

Welp, it happened. 5e DND has been released. This is the begining of the end, and should be considered a return to the dark ages. All the years of advancement with rules, mechanics, player agency, and even tone is out the window. DND is going back to the Bad Old Days, where knowing the rules gets you burned at the stake. It looks like 3e may well be the best we will ever get. Bend over, and warm up your mouth, because you will be sucking a lot of dick.

Welcome to the Drunk Review of 5e's Monster Manual. The first book for 5e that gives us context as to what players really should be expected to be able to do. Our drink for the evening is Yeti, because its both delicious, but also decently proofed which I will need to get through this book. I said elsewhere that there were off the top of my head 10 monsters that didn't piss me off and we will see how good a guesser I am.

One thing this review won't touch on is the obvious error of bonded accuracy. Its obviously terrible, and explained at length elsewhere. Go ahead and google stuff if you want. What I will touch on is the general composition of monsters, and why they were horrible. In addition to bonded accuracy. I'll also let you know how each monster fairs against some basic teams, specifically two major tests. 1 - Can it beat 6 dudes with bows at a decent range. (For which I will use the Challenge 1/2 Scout at the back of the book) and 2 - Can it beat a flying dude. For which I won't use stats, and will point out that most things in this book can't deal with flying foes (or even dudes in a tree). To be fair to the book, I will call out any improvements it does make. These are few and far between, but do deserve recognition. I'll also probably nit pick the hell out of it, but thats why they probably should have hired an editor to check for consistancy.

*Edit Thanks for the TOC Aryxbez
Monsters A-Z
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The Credits
Ill start with the un-numbered credits page first. Mostly to make a few call outs. Specifically the idea that [zs] didn't touch this book. Reading this sequentially after the players handbook, this makes you excited. I won't name him because I don't want this to turn into the same as all of his threads and hope this avoids his google analytics. Overall this is exciting. I opened the MM and this was the first thing I checked.

I'll also call out the playtesters. They don't exist for this book. Or rather, "over 175,000 fans of D&D" playtested this. Thats obviously a marketing BS thing, but its here. I'd like to have maybe seen the real playtesters listed as well afterwards. Maybe that was the "Additional feedback provided by" right afterwards that doesn't have any spacing, but that seems really vague and potentially random. I also suspect no one actually playtested this.


No, this is an RPG, not a card game. But yes, it is completely ridiculous.

Contents
This is a table of contents. Its also not numbered but real page numbers start on 4, so maybe this is 3? Not really a big deal. The picture associated is amazing. Its some sort of giant frog eating a dude. This is probably the happiest I was reading this book. I'd post it but I can't find an art gallary yet. Which is disappointing, because I'd think that would let me show people how cool this frog is, and convince people to buy the book. Just take my word for it.

Introduction
To this books credit they only have one introduction. I don't know why so many RPGs have 4-5 of them with different names. This one they all fall under introduction, but have different sub titles. This book claims that all monsters in it are culled from previous editions (Drink for grognard appeal!). I don't see that as a great thing, and would have liked some new ones, but its also the first book in a new edition. So, I can see the appeal of "hey here are updated stats for stuff" over "here is new stuff". Unfortunatly they chose some real lame monsters. It also then goes on to say that the DM can change anything in this book to fit their world. Not unheard of, but it basically just invalidates the entirety of the fluff in this book from a players perspective. "Hey this might be how your DM does it. But maybe not". This is the gripe of not having a core setting, and a subject for a whole other thread.

How to use this book
I actually am not too upset with this part. It explains that this is a core book and the DM should read it to get ideas for monsters and adventures. I'm not crazy about the idea that it says its for DMs only, but straight up has tons of players options in it though.

What is a Monster
"A Monster is defined as any creature that can be intereacted with and potentially fought and killed". It then goes on to explain that this totally includes elves, dwarves and humans that might be friends with the player characters. That said, you don't get stats for them. Its got a suggestion at the end for giving them stock NPCs random racial buffs, but we will discuss that later. Short term, no entry for humans, dwarves, or whatever.

The book also claims to have ready to play easy to run monsters for all levels in any climate. I found it was hugely over populated with underdark foes and had very few "Woods" foes or "any plane but hell" foes.

where do monsters dwell?
This section was an awesome idea. It basically gives examples of things that can be dungeons and encounter areas for dungeons, the underdark, the wilderness, towns and cities, underwater, the planes of existance. I'd have prefered an entry on each plane, and maybe an entry on deserts, artic wastes, swamps, jungles, etc seperatly. Basically more of this. On one hand, no other edition I've read the MM for has it presented so straight forwardly and easily found, but on the other they have had a long time to get it right. Its also got an awesome underdark fungal forest on page 5.

what monsters to use?
here is where they break down size, type, speed, CR and all the stuff you care about. My first big hurdle? The max size is 20X20ft "or larger". Gargantuan is the biggest now. That thing people always complained about with dragons, where they are too small for the sense of scale you want? Well now its official. Unless they are "or larger" for whatever that is (Drink for unclear rules implying the DM should just Make Some Shit Up)

Also, right next to a size chart is an explanation of templates. It doesn't seem to have context, but it also just says "Templates are applied to stuff. Go buy the DMG for tips", which seems totally un-needed.


This is what you wanted, right?

Types
The classics are there, along with a quick definition of what they mean. Aberrations are Aboletihs and Beholders that sort of thing. I'd prefer they give aberations people who haven't played the game before might understand but whatever.

Beasts are new. This now includes all animals and magical beasts. I approve of getting rid of magical beasts but this really became a catchall "We don't know where else to put it". Its got rules like "Most are unintelligent" and "some have magical powers" but also "includes all varieties of ordinary animals". I don't really know that I'm a fan of the Unicorn and housecat sharing a grouping.

Celestials are also new. they are basiclly the whole "Gods = Good" problem, and all celestials are employed by gods, and also good aligned. Basically angels. I don't really see this being broad enough to be in the same league as "Every single normal animal, and a bunch of made up ones" but I can sort of see it.

Dragons - The section on how dragons are magic is interesting. Mostly because according to this same book.. well we will get to that.

Fiends - Oh evil gods get these. But maybe also good aligned angels? Probably not.

Giants - They really restict their future work space with giants in this book. Here they mention there are 6 varities of true giants. So hopefully no one needs a splat book later.

Humanoids - Now get monsterous humanoids too.

Monstrosities - This is literally described as a catch all for everything that cant be placed elsewhere. As in they use the words "in some sense serve as a catch-all catagory for creatures that don't fit into any other type". Generally sentient humanoid shaped stuff though. So not unicorns which are sentient horse shaped. Because that would be silly.

Plants - Because of their weird definition earlier, they actually have to go and spell out that trees aren't plants, but are actually considered "Flora". I'm positive this will F up plenty of PHB stuff, for druids and clerics in regards to spells. I like that they call out fungal creatures as plants. Venus fly trap. Plant. Oak Tree. Flora. Mushroom? Depends how big, but maybe and probably.

alignment
I just want to thank them for saying unintelligent beings with low intelligence have no alignment. Especially if they have no concept of good v evil and act on instinct. I mean, it totally falls apart later in this book when they don't use it, but hey at least they came up with one.

Armor Class
They explain how natural armor, shields and AC are factored into monsters listed ACs and noted which they use. It dosn't call out how to apply it if I fight a dude with both. I'm from baltimore, so all I can think about is crabs. Crabs have an exoskeleton and thus have natural armor. If I were a crab dude I'd wear armor every time I knew I'd fight something. Why? because when you punch through my carapace it takes forever to heal, and its probably not as strong as say a magical ice pick this adventurer is swinging at me. That dude will punch holes and destroy my innards. I want something say, magical and hard to protect me.


See, this one gets it. Wear a set of shell-platemail.

Anyway. The Monster Manual gives no explanation for how to get armor on a crab person. Its basically left to "You figure it out" (Drink!). I guess you could say its either or, or maybe say its both? Who knows. the example on the page after armor stuff actually calls this out as an option for hill giants. Giving them different armor based on whim without adjusting Challenge Rating (which I'll get to in a minute), but doesn't really explain how to do it for things with natural armor.

Dancing Otyogh
The dancing otyogh on page 8 is pretty fun. Basically this book is like a medieval manuscript. It sucks to write, but occasionally someone draws something funny in it.

Challenge Rating
They go on to explain that this works the same way as 3rd edition. I mean they don't use that language, but thats what CR still means. That said, it all seems totally ad-hoc in how CR is handed out. So enjoy that as we get to the monster section.

special traits
Some monsters have spells innately and some have it as though they were casters. Its basically the same as 3.5. You can swap what spells are known for caster monsters but it "might cause the monster to bea greater or lesser threat than suggested by its challenge rating". Not going to tell you how much, or how to tell. Just that it could come up.

also stuff sometimes is psionic. This works just like spells, but we wanted it to be a different word. Its as tacked into the section as it was to this.

multiattack
This is in the middle of the "how to attack" section which is pretty blank overall. Its the same as the PHB, go read that. What is interesting is the multiattack mechanic. See, someone in 5e realized it sucks to only get to do one thing a turn. Their solution was not to let people do more than 1 thing a turn. Their solution was to give well over 50% of the monsters multiattack. Multiattack means they attack a few times as the same action. I feel like it would have been easier to give out more than one action, but hey at least this way you fuck the players only.

grapple
Get that bottle read, because this is where we really get going. The grapple rules for monsters are in a sidebar in the middle of a bit on limated usage actions. X/day, recharge, all that BS. Its two half paragraphs that just says "Sometimes monsters fuck you." Some monsters apparently just grapple you. No check, no save nothing. Just a big old dicking. On your turn you can spend your action to try to break free, but you probably can't. Drink up buddies, its all down hill from here.


this is basically how 5e goes.

equipment
Randomly thrown in at the end is a bit on equipment and how can equip monsters with stuff. You'd think this is where they mention armor rules or something, but they don't. Instead they explain that "you [the DM] decide how much of a monster's equipment is recoverable after a creature is slain and whether any of that is still usable". Yeah. They double dicked on that one sentance. The DM decides if you can recover it, and if you do recover it, the DM decides if you can use it. I know thats always sort of been the case, in that the DM says if you broke stuff, but this section only exists to remind the DM that "Hey maybe the players broke the armor of that dude they just killed and can't use it". Oh and they bring it up again just to be clear. "A battered suit of armor made for a monster is rarely usable by someone else". Its seriously a two sentance paragraph, and they bring that point up 3 times. Fuck you players, you are not allowed loot. Ever. (Drink)

legendary creatures
This being the big thing for 5e monsters, you'd think it gets a lot of page space for it. It gets 4 paragraphs totalling 14 sentances. I won't devote a lot of time to it, because it basically it says "Remember immediate actions, monsters get those and you don't. Fuck you".

Well thats the boring stuff. I'll move into actual monsters shortly. Before I do I want to touch on two generic things.

1 - I actually like the art style. This doesn't mean I like each piece, but overall I like the style. So Ill only complain a little about this sort of thing. Apparently I'm the extreme minority.
2 - They do this god awful thing where hide mechanics outside the stat block to make it look like the statblock is clean and easy to read. In reality this means that a DM who just flips open the book to a page and says fight (95% of them) is fucked. You've seriously got to read the entire entry to ensure that your monster doesn't have some crazy hidden immunity or attack power. This is probably the worst part of the book. (Drink).

Ill post this now, so I've got something up, and come back later tonight/tommorow and get the next one posted. I figure 3k words isn't bad for a start. I'll do monsters A - Bored.

*Ok, notepad was obviously not where to write this, suggestions?


Last edited by Krusk on Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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schpeelah
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In what way are "beasts" and "celestials" new? The beast type was in 3.0 (albeit as separate from both animal and magical beast rather than the sum of both), and upper planes outsiders were called celestials ever since we decided "aasimon" was a stupid name.
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Stahlseele
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Joined: 14 Apr 2010
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Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

google docs?
wordpad?
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Krusk
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

schpeelah wrote:
In what way are "beasts" and "celestials" new? The beast type was in 3.0 (albeit as separate from both animal and magical beast rather than the sum of both), and upper planes outsiders were called celestials ever since we decided "aasimon" was a stupid name.


In the way that celestial has never been a creature type. You may have pretended they were a type, but doesn't make them one.

Beast existed in 3.0, but not 3.5, which had a whole lot more content and a longer lifecycle. they also existed in 4e.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creature_type_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons)


notepad++ seems to work better so far. Any cautions for it?
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

never used it, but many coder monkeys and linux freaks seem to swear by it, so make of that what you will ..
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Night Goat
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Are those seriously all the types they have? No Constructs or Elementals or Oozes or Undead? No Outsiders that aren't Celestials or Fiends? What the fuck?
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Krusk
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lets keep it going, I'm only halfway done that Yeti and the best is yet to come. Its the part anyone actually cares about. Monster time. I should also say I'm a big fan of their 1 monster per page policy. Which they mostly stick to except for important monsters.

Aarakocra
First up is the Aarakocra. I've played a lot of DND, but apparently never heard of them. They look like some sort of bird man. I assume its an old school throwback included to ensure we don't have another Monster Manual opening with Aboleth. These can fly, and throw javelins at you, so I have no idea how they are CR 1/4. A hunting party of these will waste 1st level PCs. They can seriously see the party. Fly out of range, and spend 3 turns summoning air elementals, so you should always assume they have one with them. Those are CR 5. So enjoy that level 1 party. A CR 5 monster fucking you up, while a bunch of bird dudes throw spears at you. Apparently their racial enemy is gargoyles, but no reason for this is really given. Oh also this race has "no concept of political borders or property ownership" doesn't care about money, and just steals whatever it wants. They can beat flying foes, duh, and being such a low CR its not worth putting them against my archers. But they win thanks to their elemental pal.

aboleth
Aboleths. These are a legit monster, lets check them out. Awesome. They got a visual redesign. Not a huge fan, as now they look like giant worms with tentacles and wierd round mouths. Anyway, they are CR 10, so all that BS about how badass they are is apparently not true anymore. To acually find aboleth's challenging, you've got to turn the page. It turns out that their "Regional Effects" from being in their lair, give it the power to make illusory doubles of itself. Maybe you can use this to enslave at a distance? otherwise you basically just suck always, and can spy on stuff. Its not really clear. I'd like it to work to make them cool, but it probably doesn't. In reality, they sort of suck and if they weren't aquatic would probably die to my archers that spread out and just blast it for damage and can't deal with flying foes. Oh right, aboleths have some sort of signature thing right? with mind control? Not really. They have a 3/day "Enslave" power which lets them force DC 14 wisdom saves or be charmed. The charmed creature does what it says, but gets a new save if it takes damage. So its a low DC, to a save everyone gets, and allows tons of re-rolls. Oh, and their highest stat is str, not int. They rock 18 ints, so your party is generally smarter. Even if these have lived forever. Lets keep going though. They pass on memories between generations, but apparently also never die and if they would die they respawn in the plane of water without a method to prevent it. No idea why we aren't overrun with them, considering they have existed longer than gods. Drink.

lairs
This is a good time to talk about lairs. Which I originally didn't mention. Lairs give boss monsters random free actions and powers when they are inside of them. It sounds cool on the surface, but in practice they are all the same. Some variant of "surround terrain blasts at people and knocks them around or does damage to them". Its basically worthless. You might want to care about regional effects though. These are also generally worthless, but give the DM some neat insight into how a powerful monster can warp reality just by living in a place. Note there is no method listed to create lairs, establish lairs, or otherwise have a lair. So if the DM arbitrarily decides something is a lair, everything gets slippery.

Angels
It talks about how angels are the embodiment of law and good, and even chaotic good dieties get LG angels, and if an angel gets a chaotic or evil command, it will disobey them. So I'm not really clear on why CG dieties spend some of their divine essense to make them. Considering that half the time the angel disobeys. Go ahead and drink here. It then goes on about how sometimes they do commit evil acts and a single one gets them cast out. They lose their connection to their god, but keep powers. So I'm not really clear on the downside for them. Especially if made by some CG god they don't like. Seems like a get out of jail free card. Thrown in here is the tidbit that they don't eat, drink, or sleep. Kind of nice to see in a statblock somewhere, but I guess this will do.

deva
These are basically super hot shape shift, hang around in disguise and are nice to people. Not really sure how that fits the "Divine Will of the Gods" stuff above, but thats what they do. They are CR 10, and generally lame. Their change shape ability lets them turn into any humanoid or beast with a CR less than theirs, so if your DM is good at dumpster diving, these are pretty badass. If not, they are basically melee brutes.

Planetar
Basically a second set of random brutes, with a higher CR and bigger numbers. It throws in some biblically themed spells too for kicks, so it can be the "Hand of Jesus" I mean "the gods". It can do insect plague and control weather. Without shapeshift I don't see this being hard for a party to beat at all.

Solar
I think the intent here is to make this a BBGG for your game. Its CR 21, Apparently there are 24 in total of these, and they all work for specific dieties while the rest wait for a time for their services to be needed. Doesn't really line up with the whole "any god can make them" bit or really anything. Makes it seem like they are their own order, generally allied with dieties. But apparently not for some reason. (Drink for conflicting text 2 pages apart). Basically this dude flys around and blasts people with a bow and sends his sword to harass people. Its legendary teleport seems like it would be really handy, but the rest seem basically useless. Considering you can use one after each PC goes (up to 3/round) immediate action teleport 120ft can be nice. Just use it to constantly avoid PCs and harass weak PCs. Basically they are cool in fights, but have no real actual neat powers for anything else.

Animated Objects
Drink a lot here. This book loves animated armors. IIRC there are 3 different versions, but they are all the same thing at different CRs. This entry is for armor, flying swords, and a rug. All 3 have the special note of "You don't get a check to notice that these are animated objects" power. The armor and sword are supposed to look like loot, and the rug is supposed to look like a magic item. The rug is especially bad, as it basically kills one PC, and then dies immediatly to the party beating on it. Basically, the DM includes it when they want to kill a PC, and just randomly declares that the rug they are on kills them. I hope you really enjoyed the 2e days of hitting everything you see with a 10ft pole. This book does.


The face of horror.

Ankheg
This guy is almost someone I won't complain about. My only complaint is its bite ability. It bursts out of the ground, grabs the weak party member and bites it. Its bite gives it a free grapple. If it wins that grapple, it can only bite that target with advantage. If said bite hits, it gets to keep grappling. Basically it latches onto one PC, and kills him while the party beats on it. Its AC is 14, so pretty much everyone continually hits and eventually it dies. But maybe it kills a 1st level PC.

Azer
These guys do 5 fire damage if you hit them. They are CR 2, so you can fight them at level 1. Your barbarian has like 15-16 HP. These guys will mow through your party quickly, even if you are the one hitting them. Also, they have a bit about how their weapon is heated and its included in the attack. It isn't for one handed attacks but is for two handed. Not sure what thats about. But lets keep going. Somehow these guys use a shield (pretty sizable one from the pic) and keep a shield bonus to AC, even if they make two handed attacks. Whats up? Were these not built using the same rules as the PCs? (Drink)

Banshee
This book also loves ghosts. Like spooky pass through walls and yell at people ghosts. The banshee is CR 4 this time, and exclusively the remains of dead elves. Because elves are special. Anyway, these monsters suck. Tactically, they fly up to the party out of melee range causing everyone to make a save for their "horrifying visage". Basically everyone saves. If they fail they are frightened. Then she uses her action to wail. Maybe she kills someone, but DC 13 means most likely not. Then she flies away because she basically can't do anything else. But at least the party can beat on her with whatever weapons they want to kill her. AC is 12, and 58HP isn't bad. Although she is a bit of an HP sponge with her list of resistances.


Elves are special.

Basilisk
This picture is pretty badass. Its a CR 3 monster and anyone who looks at it in 30ft has to make a save or turn to rocks. There is no "only make this save 1/day" or anything, so assume someone is rocks during the fight. Luckily you can just run away from it, with its move of 20. If your scouts close their eyes, they can just slowly "move action Shoot it with disadvantage for closed eyes" until it dies. It has a line about how it can turn itself to stone, so expect to argue with your DM about how to do that with "the gleam in my armor" or "This spoon i totally carry". Especially without facing rules. Apparently their eggs are highly prized. How highly prized? Oh, fuck you. Your DM will make something up. (Drink) You can also sell their gullets. Want to know what for? Fuck you.

Behir
Same for the behir picture. Somehow this thing is CR 11. Basically its a moderatly persuasive, but realtively stupid dragon that likes to eat people. And shoots lightning for kicks. Apparently its a long time foe to a dragon, and attacks on site, which seems suicidal. Its fast as shit, so the archers go down quick, but it can't do anything if you can fly. Which seems a big drawback when your foe is a dragon. So stay out of its 20ft line breath weapon and you are good if you can fly. Also, being huge, you should expect it to swallow the party fighter on the second round of combat. Its got +10 to hit and makes 2 attacks. If it bites someone it hit with its constrict last round it swallows them and begins to take 21 damage a round. This is yet another of those "One dude dies" monsters unless somehow no one can fly by this point.

Beholder
Big B. The beholder is one of the iconic DND monsters. Lets not ruin it. They have a lair, and its the same BS-ie "move stuff around" and "hamper movement" power everyone gets. In combat the beholder throws out tons of saves each round. In reality, I'm not sure how effective it is. Its got loads of HP for its CR, and a decent AC (considering bonded accuracy) along with a fly speed, preventing most of the party from contributing. It throws out 3 eye rays a round on its turn, and its legendary action is to use another one. So its throwing 6 a round. That said, most rays suck and hopefully you don't roll poorly. Most of your saves are DC 16, which seems low for level 13. You've got "Charm for 1 hour" which is nice, and doens't have the lame "until someone hits you" exemption others do. Paralysis gives a save every round, and with the low DC means it sucks. Fear also gives a save each round. Slow is nice in that its one save and done for the fight, but it depends how many bonus actions the party is getting. Enervation is straight damage, and its a low number. Save for half. Telekenetic just throws people, which is pretty much the dud roll. Sleep is nice, but awakens if it takes damage regardless of source. Petrification could be cool, but its save twice or die. disintegration is save or damage, and generally worthless. Death. This is actually save or damage. So still kind of worthless. its the best damage making spell you've got, but it still does damage. Oh and it kills you if you hit 0HP, instead of the normal death point. I think my archers could take it, but it would take a long time. Same tactics as the basilisk, but it would be at disadvantage due to distance, not blindness.

Death Tyrant
This is a lich beholder. Its basically the same thing with bigger numbers and "Death powers" for its regional effects. Althought its "if you rest within 1 mile it blasts you with a random eye ray half the time" is interesting. Its worth noting for the DM at least, wheras most just tell you about the environment. You might care about this one. Mostly just to dick people over. "You wake up, and then turn to stone" but its worth rolling. Its main eye cone is different than anti-magic, and i think generally worse. If you die in its cone, you turn into a zombie. Which sucks and all, but isn't going to help a beholder win. The normal one uses magic eye zone to make people flying at it fall. This just means it gets some throw-away cannon fodder. And it doesn't have AOE powers, so its not slaying hordes of dudes. I honestly think the normal one is harder, even though this has a higher CR. Unless you factor in "Effectively limitless zombies" which is cooler for plot stuff, but not as hard to fight. Also, the art is terrible.

Spectator
This is another of those "We like low level beholders". They always suck. "A lesser beholder that is summoned from another plane of existence by a magical ritual, the components of which include 4 beholder eyestalks". (Drink) You don't get more detail than that. Just summoned from "somewhere" using "some method". These apparently look basically like beholders, and are insane, but are LN, and super loyal to their summoner. You summon it and it gaurds something for you with a really intense dedication. Their power of create food and water is a nice touch, considering it talks about how you summon one, and don't see it again for decades and it just sits alone. Its got crappy eye rays, and no central eye. It does have spell reflection, so if it does pass a save (it gets no save prof) it can throw it back at you which is helpful.


Last edited by Krusk on Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Krusk
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Night Goat wrote:
Are those seriously all the types they have? No Constructs or Elementals or Oozes or Undead? No Outsiders that aren't Celestials or Fiends? What the fuck?


No I just only commented out the types that had anything especially interesting. Full list is

Aberrations
Beasts
Celestials
Constructs
Dragons
Elementals
Fey
Fiends
Giants
Humanoids
Monstrosities
Oozes
Plants
Undead

Correct in that there aren't non-fiend/celestial outsiders. Those generally got grouped into something else. Usually elementals or Aberrations. Slaad for instance are now aberrations.
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Axebird
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
Most of your saves are DC 16, which seems low for level 13.


Since ability scores cap at 20, and proficiency is +5 at 13th level, someone saving with their primary ability score and proficiency in the save is probably at +10. Someone who has it as an off ability score and no save proficiency is probably at -1 to +1. Someone with one or the other is at around +4 or +5. Even in the best case scenario, a 25% failure rate every round for something that just straight up knocks you out of the fight is abysmal.

Add +5 to these numbers if you've got a paladin in the group (note that you're basically fucked if you don't).


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Night Goat
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I like Spectators. They're memorable to me because of the one you encounter in Baldur's Gate II, who you can talk out of guarding its chest instead of fighting it.
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RedstoneOrc
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Find any more intelligence saves? There has to be more than two ever orwhy even have a six save system?
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Krusk
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RedstoneOrc wrote:
Find any more intelligence saves? There has to be more than two ever orwhy even have a six save system?


Not signifigantly, its basically dex, wis, con with the rare occasional str. Ill call out any weird saves I do see from now on. Int/cha.

--
Saves
You are most likely going to be sitting on a +5-+6 + party buffs. That gives 50/50 chance. Thats generally not worth spending an action on. Sure you can spam a ton of it and hope a PC fails one or two but generally you should expect these to fail and be suprised if they don't. Thats not super enjoyable for anyone. "We fought the beholder, and john almost got slowed, but then we killed it" isn't memorable. "We fought the beholder, and the fighter went insane, the wizards turned to stone and the assassin got the jump on him to make it out alive" is something you remember. Even if you then cure the "being stone" or "being insane" conditions with minimal effort.
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Krusk
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, were back. Long day at work means we crack open another one and get back into it.

blights
This is part of their efforts to make the feywild a bigger deal than it was previously. Its not a bad idea, and this is a concept that is totally needed. They start with a story about how all blights actually can trace their origins to a vampire who got staked's stake that a druid took and turned into a plant. Its not really less roundabout when they explain it. Its kind of neat, but then they explain that actually, any tree or plant contaminated by an evil mind actually turns into a blight. So maybe the prior thing is untrue, or maybe they breed true. It doesn't seem super important, until the final paragraph, where they reveal that most blights are under the control of that original evil tree.

needleblight
Needle blight are the mid range blights that are basically really mean pine trees. Their entry talks about how they can communicate via pollen and alert others to their location, but their stats don't give them the ability. So this is sort of left to the DM to just make stuff up. (Drink)

twig blights
Twig blights are the weakest at CR 1/8, but are another of those suprise monsters. If they don't move you can't tell the difference between them and a normal shrub. No save, no check, just suck it. (Drink)

Vine Blight
This is the "tough" blight at CR 1/2. Its got that same Fuck You hide ability, but actually has some neat powers. It can basically cast a modified form of the 3.5 entangle spell, forcing Strength saves or restrained. Apparently these are capable of speech, so you can run into really lame swamp things if you want.

bugbears
these guys have been a long favourite of mine. Their new face looks dumb, but otherwise the fluff is basically the same. Of note is their deity that is brought up. I kind of wish this sort of thing was in the PHB when listing deities the 400 other deities they mention, but they don't. They will mention deities a lot in here. Apparently they worship the same god all goblins worship, Hruggek and if they die they get to fight by his side. The important notes here is that this is the first time you will notice the lack of a "As a PC" section. It isn't in the back either. You just can't play bugbears anymore. I personally believe anything with an Int deemed sentient should be fair game, but thats another topic. What is on topic is the idea that people love to play monsters. People bitched about it with 4e, when all they got was that lame write up at the back of the MM. This book just doesn't even mention its a thing you can do. My hope is its in the DMG, but I think I'm optimistic. The real thing we should talk about with bugbears is their propensity to ambush attacks, their stealth bonuses, their near 27HP, and the fact that they do 18 damage on a melee attack as CR 1. Remember, your barbarians have 18HP. The real moral of that story is that if you see bugbears just run. If they get to start combat, they will kill you. The chief just has bigger numbers, but by CR 3 you probably don't really care much. He is churning out 19*2 damage.

Bulette
This might be one of the ones I liked. Its got a decent AC, and a burrow speed. So if the goal is killing it flight doesn't matter. And thats usually the goal (Get these bulettes out of my field). At CR 5 these are pretty impressive. Its going to porpise out of the ground using its move action damage power, and then bite for decent damage. It even goes into how they were made by a mad wizard and stuff.

bullywug
These got a weird swamp trash people vibe I wasn't into. They can speak with frogs and stuff which matches its fluff, but their fluff is really sort of off putting. I just don't really see how they have a civilization if they share terrain with kobolds, dragons, lizardfolk, and other swamp monsters. It talks about how they are nasty, brutish, and fiercly protective of their territory. I just see them harassing some dragon, being eaten, and thats the end of it. Are there parts of a swamp that are worse than others? What makes a part of a swamp better real estate than other parts?

Cambion
A cambion is the offspring of a fiend and a humanoid. So basically a statutory rape baby. Some succubus or incubus knocks up a human. Because their parents were bad, they are also bad, even if it doesn't want to be. Out of the box they get planeshift, which means they are worth talking about at higher levels as peons. Overall its a generic "Half devil dude". In a game with Tieflings, I don't really see a need.

Carrion Crawler
The carrion crawler is all about stalking people and eating them when they sleep via paralysys tentacles. It says they hunt things, but they suck in combat, aren't fast, and can't hide. So they probably don't actually do that. In reality, the DM says you slept too close to corpses and some of these came out to kill you in the night. It says it ambushes a party, but all that gets it is one paralyzed rogue, and beaten to death by a party.

Centaur
Pretty generic except the part about how they only trade with elves. Because elves are special. Other than that its exactly what you expect a centaur to be. Fast, decent HP, terrible AC, some sort of charge power, and a nature fans. This can be number 2 i don't hate. But I'm not a fan.

Chimera
Chimera are large now. I'm also still confused why DND chimera never got snake tails, that was always neat and in most of the pictures if you google it (outside of deformed kids). Apparently Demogorgon made them way back in the day. It also talks about how they hate dragons, but are CR 6. So good luck with that. Thats a constant theme in this book though. The Chimera will throw out loads of damage with a breath weapon, a bite and a claw each round. (recharging the breath), but its ac is 14, so most people can take it down pretty quickly. That seems to be key to defending the kingdom. Just get a bunch of dudes to swarm something, don't hire a hero to do it.

Chuul
Somehone around here did a review of some book and mentioned they hated Chuul. I like them. Aboleth servants somehow, these are basically lobotomized shimp lobster people. Chuul are apparently supposed to go onto the land and do the aboelth's bidding. The book does a decent job making them feel like filter crustaceans. It talks about how they gaurd ruins, linger in secret command posts, and stuff like that. I can see them popping out from inside some cave you thought was abandoned pissed because you invaded it. Their sense magic power makes sense, with the fluff of "go get magic stuff for aboleth's". They have that "Fuck you free grapple" attack, and can actually make two a round with a free paralysis if its got something grappled. (Con save dc 13 and CR 4). I can see a couple of these posing a threat to a party, and the party can't really fly yet.

Cloaker
This is a classic Fuck You monster brought back for fun. Its opening line talks about how they look like cloaks, and they have that Fuck You ability where if they pretend to be cloaks, you are fooled. (drink) Apparently they follow parties around dungeons and prey on things in the underdark after a battle. To me it sounds like they pretend to be loot. Because they are super intelligent, they also can form societies and talk and stuff. Thats stupid, but not new. This, like all of the Fuck You monsters, basically has combat tactics of "pick someone and kill them, then die". It opens with a bite, and if it hits it free attaches. Once attached, it splits damage dealt to it with you, and gets more free bites. Its a DC 16 str check to break free which is hard for the wizard at this level that it intelligently picked as a target. Its also a check, not a save, so if you are somehow proficient, you don't get it. They randomly have the ability to make illusions of themselves. This may have existed in Pre3e stuff, but it seems totally random.

Cockatrice
Its a CR 1/2 monster with the ability to turn you to stone, but only for 24 hours. These seem kind of fun in that you can release like 10 of them on a party, and not risk the TPK, even if the party doesn't win. Fly speed of 40 means you aren't getting away, and the pic is sweet. This is a solid contender for monster #3.

Couatl
They mention these guys a lot in 5e. I don't remember ever caring about them before, but I think this is part of their initiative to plug things you don't really remember well and make it seem cooler than it was. These are basically super intelligent snake birds. They worship some dead god (thats basically all they say on it), and generally are just super nice dudes. At CR 4, these guys are pretty much DM plot device givers. Its got 100HP, and 97AC. Its got dream and scrying. Its got a DM F U power that says you can't scry it, read its thoughts, or sense its emotions so you just have to listen to it and hope it isn't tricking you or ignoring details. Its also got change shape, into anything CR 4 or less. So whenever the DM wants, one spring out, protect you, charge you with a sacred mission and leave. If you try to get out of the mission, its got a poison bite that knocks you out, with +8 to hit.

Crawling Claw
This really didn't need to be a monster. Its CR 0. You can briskly walk away from its 20ft move speed, and has 2 HP if you really care. This should seriously have just been a spell, or a thing that some dudes can just make. Instead it gets the same entry space as the bird snakes to make it seem cool. Apparently these are severed hands of murderes animated by magic to do stuff. Somehow this doesn't become a goul, ghast, or zombie though. You can make them through rituals, but they aren't in the PHB so players can't do it. If this mystery ritual is done with a still living murderer, it binds his soul to it. This lets him re-attach and seperate at will. But if it seperates the dude passes out. So not super helpful for him, or anyone really.


its just this guy. But without all the personality.

Cyclops
These are a group of giants excluded from the special giant thing they will bring up later. This means they won't mention that giant thing yet in the entry. So if you read about giants in any manner aside from doing a review like this, you will ask "How do cyclopses interact with that thing?" to which the answer is make something up. (Drink) Its basically just a big bruiser monster almost entirely indistinguishable from a hill giant, except they suck at ranged attacks. They make a ton of odessy references, but they seem kind of forced. Like someone said "Cyclops only live in the odyssy, please do a copyright free version of that" without realizing you can just straight steal from greek myth and its allowed. They are the sons of gods, they herds of animals and seal them in their caves at night with boulders, They mistake clever mortals for gods and are tricked by magic.

This brings me to D. D is a big section, and I'm probably going to do a single entry for the entire thing. Its got dragons, devils, demons, and of course everyone's favorite, the dragon turtle.


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Lago PARANOIA
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Krusk wrote:
Are there parts of a swamp that are worse than others? What makes a part of a swamp better real estate than other parts?


Swamps are pretty prime real estate if you're a tribe of hunter-gatherers. Doubly so if the water and water quality doesn't bother you. They only suck if you make your living through agriculture or large animal herding.

Quote:
Its a CR 1/2 monster with the ability to turn you to stone, but only for 24 hours. These seem kind of fun in that you can release like 10 of them on a party, and not risk the TPK, even if the party doesn't win. Fly speed of 40 means you aren't getting away, and the pic is sweet. This is a solid contender for monster #3.


Unless you run a mixed enemy party, whereupon these things become nightmares. I don't think the 5E D&D game developers gave a lot of thought to mixed enemy groups (like how intellect devourers interact with grapplers or surprise monsters), which I think is a pretty idiotic oversight since 4E D&D looooved throwing mixed parties at people. Not everything 4E D&D did was stupid and evil, people.
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Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.


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mean_liar
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Here's the Wikipedia-fueled summary:

Swamps are either forested or shrub'd, and then there are not-swamps.

Forested swamps occur from boreal to tropical areas, so there are the typical climate bands to separate creature types. Additionally, while freshwater, they can be whitewater (quick-moving rivers) or blackwater (slow-moving, less nutrient-dense), so there's an additional separative value there. There's also peat swamps, where the swamp is so full of fallen vegetation that it's ceased to decompose.

Shrub swamps don't have super-tall trees due to their water content (too much). Not-swamps include marshes (shrubs, no trees, but drier and muckier than a shrub swamp), bogs, and fens, which are all kind of similar save for their soil content but they're all shrubby.

DnD probably doesn't distinguish between swamps and wetlands, so that means there's also saltwater mangrove forests and some other wetlands that honestly to me read like they're swamps so go figure.
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infected slut princess
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Didn't the Dutch make polders for swampy areas. Or something, I don't remember. I'm not going to look it up because I would rather use my hands for mastorbatoring.
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Blicero
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The thing with the blights sounds like the origin story of that Gulthias dude from the original 3E Sunless Citadel/Forge of Fury/... sequence. Is he namechecked or anything?
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Dogbert
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Monster Manual wrote:
A couatl can't lie, but it can withhold information, answer questions vaguely, or allow others to jump to the wrong conclusions


I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is the very definition of lawful evil, not good. It's exactly how Devils redact their contracts.

Really, wtf MM? This is basically a troll quest giver, and the main reason why there are so many murderhobo players with gamer PTSD out there.
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name_here
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
At CR 4, these guys are pretty much DM plot device givers. Its got 100HP, and 97AC.


I, uh, think there's a typo in there.

Quote:
I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is the very definition of lawful evil, not good. It's exactly how Devils redact their contracts.

Really, wtf MM?


Being forced to give complete, truthful answers is a pretty shit deal, really. It's only evil if you're an asshole about what you leave out.
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ACOS
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dogbert wrote:
Monster Manual wrote:
A couatl can't lie, but it can withhold information, answer questions vaguely, or allow others to jump to the wrong conclusions


I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is the very definition of lawful evil, not good. It's exactly how Devils redact their contracts.

Really, wtf MM? This is basically a troll quest giver, and the main reason why there are so many murderhobo players with gamer PTSD out there.

QFT!


name_here wrote:

Quote:
I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is the very definition of lawful evil, not good. It's exactly how Devils redact their contracts.

Really, wtf MM?


Being forced to give complete, truthful answers is a pretty shit deal, really. It's only evil if you're an asshole about what you leave out.

Except "allow others to jump to the wrong conclusions" is well within the realm of being an asshole.
IOW, I fail to see your point.
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Dogbert
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

name_here wrote:
It's only evil if you're an asshole about what you leave out.


You mean like all the things a 5E DM is most likely to leave out?

There's a big difference between little white lies and blatant Faustian misdirection, and the way the book states it particularly makes Couatls manipulative bastards.

5E Players Handbook wrote:
Lawful evil (LE) creatures methodically take what they want, within the limits o f a code of tradition, loyalty, or order.


No matter how good the cause, the moment you're potentially sending someone to their death based on a lie (a lie of omission in this case) you're no longer "lawful good." They may be manipulative bastards for "the greater good," but you know what they say about the road to hell and good intentions.

If I die in vain based on a faustian lie, I'm coming back as a Revenant and then hunting the damn oath breaker to the very end of the world if needed. Period.
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Whipstitch
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dogbert wrote:
Monster Manual wrote:
A couatl can't lie, but it can withhold information, answer questions vaguely, or allow others to jump to the wrong conclusions


I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is the very definition of lawful evil, not good. It's exactly how Devils redact their contracts.

Really, wtf MM? This is basically a troll quest giver, and the main reason why there are so many murderhobo players with gamer PTSD out there.


Well, you're half right. Obviously, this fucker will be used to troll players, because it's power set makes it hard to verify the veracity of any vague statements it happens to make, and that makes the couatl low-hanging fruit for a certain kind of DM. With that said, the mere ability to prevaricate isn't really the problem--hell, even straight up lying isn't always an evil act.*



*Yes, this means I think Immanuel Kant can go fuck himself.
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RobbyPants
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Dogbert wrote:
Monster Manual wrote:
A couatl can't lie, but it can withhold information, answer questions vaguely, or allow others to jump to the wrong conclusions


I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is the very definition of lawful evil, not good. It's exactly how Devils redact their contracts.

A lot of people do genuinely seem to view blatant lies as more severe than omission, misdirection, vagueness, or other forms of deception. They all will admit that deception is "shifty" and they don't like when it's done to them, but they still put lies on a different pedestal. I don't know if this is in some way related to the ten commandments or if it's some other stupid cultural bias we have in western society.

That being said, I would say that deception in general is a problem, and I would not rule "allowing others to jump to false conclusions" as "good", even if they didn't technically lie. Either the couatl needs an alignment change or that bit needs to be redacted.

That, or just drop alignment, but we can't cuz D&D.
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Schleiermacher
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Or, y'know, allow that you can be good-aligned on balance without being a perfect role model in all areas of conduct at all times.

If the Couatl protects the weak, heals the sick and takes the fight to evildoers, I'm unlikely to condemn it for a love of word games.

Edit: Plus, yeah, some lies are more harmful than others. Verin from WoT was a habitual liar and manipulator, but she was certainly Good.


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codeGlaze
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Krusk wrote:
[notepad++ seems to work better so far. Any cautions for it?


NP++ is fantastic.

I also use Sublime Text 3 for heavy lifting. Its's easier to customize, has more built in features... etc. But you probably won't need most of what it offers.

NP++ is fast and reliable. Good stuff.

edit:
Holy shit, the art direction in this book is all over the place.

Both gold dragons are depressingly disappointing ... and WTF is with that manticore?!

...I'm pretty sure they recycled art for that Intellect Devourer.
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