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A Blood-Soaked Review of the MM2: With Haiku!

Written by Janna - Published on June 11, 2009

Janna discovered D&D at the age of 16, and she's been rolling the dice for 16 years. (You do the math.) She is fond of intelligent villains, drow society, and campaigns that explore the Dark Side.


Picture by Brenda-Starr

Not content to merely leave us with one book of monsters, Wizards has now released the Monster Manual 2. It’s full of teeth, claws, fury and madness – and you won’t want to miss it.

What’s New?

The MM2 introduces some new creatures, and gives others their 4E debut. Among the newcomers are:

Star Spawn – These beings are destructive avatars sent by malevolent stars that hate us all and hope we die. Who knew that stars were so full of hate and hunger? Star Pact warlocks, beware; there’s a lot of nastiness in the universe, and you’re beholden to it for your power.

Fell Taint – These insubstantial predators use their tendrils to inflict psychic damage and deadly insanity. When they enter the world, they thin out the barrier between their current location and the Far Realm. That’s not a good thing.

Slaughterstone Constructs – These guys put the ‘laughter’ in ‘slaughter’! (Not really, but I’ve always wanted to say that.) What they actually do is crush you to a pulp or slice and dice you with their Whirling Bladestorm attack. Did I mention they’re large and made of stone?

And, of course, there’s Demogorgon. He needs no introduction. But the book contains all the info you’ll need to set up a local chapter of the Cult of Demogorgon.

And some of the returning favorites include:

Metallic Dragons – They’re not the good guys anymore. They’re not evil like their chromatic kin, but they’re not exactly paragons of goodness and virtue, either. The metallic dragons are unaligned, power-hungry, arrogant, and frighteningly clever. They don’t protect humanoids as much as recruit them for their own personal armies.

Centaurs – Don’t make them mad. Seriously. The Centaur Hunter is like a fully automatic weapon on four legs. He’ll hit you with his third arrow before the first wound even registers pain.

Things That Swallow You Whole – The Behir and the Remorhaz make their comebacks in the MM2. Better carry a sword so you can cut your way out if need be.

Lycanthropes – Werewolves, wereboars, and weretigers are detailed here – along with the mechanics for spreading lycanthropy to others. If you think lycanthropy sounds like fun, the descriptions of each progressive stage should convince you otherwise.

Warforged – They’re built for war, and now they’ve got Anvilpriests to help them out! Warforged Resounders can blast you with thunder, and Warforged Savages have one emotion: fury.

Duergar – The infernal dwarves of the Underdark have returned, and they’ve got groovy new hairdos! They also have happy new classes like ‘Blasphemer’, ‘Flesh-Tearer’, and ‘Hellcaller’.

The MM2 also presents expanded sets of angels, archons, beholders, demons, devils, and much more.

Monsters

There are hundreds of new monsters to choose from, all the way from little single-digit levels to 25th and beyond. It doesn’t matter what level your campaign is; you’ll find brutal adversaries for your PCs in the MM2.

Fluffy Stuff

The Monster Manual has been criticized for not containing enough background information about the monsters. The MM2 is no different; the format is consistent with that of its predecessor. You basically get a concise paragraph or two regarding the monster’s combat tactics, plus whatever knowledge you can glean through lore checks.

On one hand, I sort of miss the more verbose entries from the 2E Manual. On the other hand, it’s nice to have all of the info formatted for easy skimming so that you don’t overlook important powers or behavioral tendencies. The uber-streamlined entries don’t excite me, but they do make it easy to find information at a glance.

Artwork & Presentation

The vibrant cover portrait of a screaming Demogorgon is representative of the artwork throughout the book. The monsters look big and bad, the eladrin aer full of otherworldly beauty, and the metallic dragons look appropriately majestic.

Price and Pages

The Monster Manual 2 has 223 pages and retails for $34.95.

The Bottom Line

Reviews can be kind of stale, so I’ll leave you with these observations in (bad) Haiku form:

Monsters? It has lots.
Some of them are really sick.
Others creep me out.

If you’re a DM
Trust me: you will want this book.
Mwah ha ha ha haaaa!

(And if you want to know which monster represents you best, take Wizard’s “What Monster Are You” quiz to find out.)

Are you planning to pick up the MM2? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Written by Janna

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Janna discovered D&D at the age of 16, and she's been rolling the dice for 16 years. (You do the math.) She is fond of intelligent villains, drow society, and campaigns that explore the Dark Side.

 

 Comments

8 Responses to “A Blood-Soaked Review of the MM2: With Haiku!”
  1. coolcyclone2000 says:

    Nice haikus! I found them to be very entertaining

  2. Ameron says:

    Definitely a great book and a must-have for DMs. I too was blown away by how tough Centaurs have become. Between MM1 and MM2 I’m can’t think of too many other “classic” D&D monsters that haven’t been presented yet. Makes you wonder what kind of unnecessary filler we can expect in MM3.

  3. Yax says:

    Yax loves cool haikus
    They make reviews the awesome
    I want MM2

  4. Janna says:

    I love the star spawn.
    They are such Lovecraftian
    agents of our doom.

  5. phycoshane says:

    rust monster?im a freakin rust monster……god……im not telling my players about this.i mean it must be some type of mix up…right?

  6. Harvester says:

    Well I’ve been playing D&D (+ Cthulhu + others) for 25 years and never felt the need to mix Cthulhu with Dunge or mix it with Eberron or Dark Sun or SpellJammer or warhammer battles or Mordheim or any other table top battle system and it feels like ‘Wizards’ are just trying to use one system to advertise another……….. or re-create a GURPS type multi product (problem there is that GURPS was a roleplaying game and 4E is deffo not in that category).

    I won’t be buying this book as my group and I consider 4E ……… erhm…. very silly…… (to put it nicely!)

    and will only be using nice creatures like centaurs as baddies, if they are possessed or under mind control etc……… chuckle….. long live the Fearie…….

  7. Nathan C says:

    So have they given us the Iron Golums that I’d found so annoyingly missing in MM1?

    Loved the Haiku. :)

  8. Capt_Poco says:

    The only problem I had with MM2 is Demogorgon himself, specifically his picture. It’s a well known fact that monkeys are funny, and make things they are attached to funny/fun. So why is the god of the abyss (or whatever) just a giant two-headed monkey?

    Also, I never got Warforged. They seem to be forged (?) for war, but I’m not sure how robots jive with D&D as a setting. I mean, do some of them malfunction and decide they want to kill all humans? Do they have to obey the Three Laws of Warforgery?

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