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I love monsters. I just don’t care about their stats.

Written by Expy - Published on July 25, 2007

Monster Manual V in stores this month

The Monster Manual 5 was released this month. As a DM I am non-plussed. The first Monster Manual was great because it covered the classics but who needs 5 books? Personally I’d pay for the pictures so I have something to show the players. But I really don’t need the stats. Chances are my players will have perused the book and will know about a monster before I can throw it at them.

On the other hand, I like buying D&D books because they inspire me. Pictures, stories, descriptions – they all trigger a creative thought process. But the stats? I really don’t care for them.

The monster manifesto

I’ll suggest that no DM should introduce a monster or villain into a game without fudging the stats first. The classics don’t count. I won’t start messing with ghouls and goblins (wasn’t that a nintendo game?). Other than the classic encounters, nothing is sacred. Customized encounters only.

What do you think about my monster-stats-fudging manifesto?

Who would purchase a book containing only images of fantastic and alien creatures? I would.

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Written by Expy

Meet Expy The Red Dragon

Expy is the mascot for DungeonMastering.com and the real mastermind behind Expy Games. He likes to hoard treasure, terrorize neighbors, burn down villages, and tell white dragon jokes..

No matter how fearful the legends claim dragons are, they always end up being defeated in 5 rounds by adventuring parties they encounter. That’s what dragons are – experience points for the heroes in your Dungeons & Dragon party. And this mascot is no different, hence the name Expy.

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10 Responses to “I love monsters. I just don’t care about their stats.”
  1. Pé0 says:

    I bought it and not only perused but read it completly. I have a few suggestion of monster for you to put in our next game and I have a few that I really never want to meet.

    But it is a good book with many great monster would could be a good addition to a game. Finally they did something with hobgoblin and they are not stupid 2hd, or is it 1, anymore.

    I wouldn’t recommend you to buy it since I already have it and will bring it if you want in september but otherwise it’s a pretty nice book and great bathroom reading.

  2. Yax says:

    That’s what happens when I say I like the classic monsters as they are – Wizards of the Coast comes up with a bad-asser hobgoblin! I still believe I don’t need the stats but don’t get me wrong: I buy own an awful lot of D&D books.

    I don’t think I’ll buy this one (MM5) though.

  3. Gryphon says:

    Funny really we have just completed an adventure

    Now one of my biggest gripes with it is this…the monsters were stupid…they made no sense. They have been through an entire year or two of me DM’ing only to find the most difficult and interesting monsters ever encountered are Kobolds and Orc/Werewolves. The majority of the critter…no make that all were MM1 critters.

    We are in the middle of a well developed Empire, OK it is slipping into barbarism, but the choice of monsters in the adventure above was made based not on the logic of the emipre, or to enhance the long term story, but instead just for shits and giggles.

    For example within two days walk of a town we bump into a Shedu…then no more than a couple of days later we bump into Coatles…never mind a couple of Roc’s, a Dragon, and some Behirs.

    Eventually use were a couple of critters from the Creature Collection…but then there aren’t enough good Undead in the MM are there :-)

    Having read through the MM and I can’t think of a reason to use any of the critters in it. Interesting enough but no damn use normally

    Yax buddy PLEASE don’t just buy these books just for the pictures.

    They are available here… FOR FREE
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ag/20070709a

    Along with art from every product they have and is found here
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/arch/ag

  4. Yax says:

    You rock! That is exactly what I was looking for! I guess WOTC aren’t that greedy. :)

  5. Phil Smith says:

    Very good point about the stat-fudging. Not only does it keep the players on their toes, such behaviour make sure the creatures fit the campaign. As DM, you necessarily have a better idea of what’ll work best at your table and what won’t than the designers.

  6. Yax says:

    I hadn’t thought about it like that but it is true that the designers create *generic* monsters. It makes so much sense to take these suggested monsters and tweak them.

  7. Grant says:

    I did something in reverse – using the stats from the monster manual, I dressed them up as entirely different monsters. A group of players walking into a summoning chamber find four demons flickering in and out of existence, all in various shapes and sizes. They have a bit of a rumble and everyone enjoys themselves.

    Damned if I’m going to look up and keep track of several different kinds of demon – those players fought a group of four orcs, pulled straight from MM1. But it was a far more memorable encounter.

  8. Yax says:

    That skin-changing trick while keeping well-known stats is brilliant. I will be using it for sure. Probably often too.

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