What Lurks Ahead
Scheduled to hit WPN stores on the 19th comes the big book of bad guys that every D&D player loves, the Monster Manual! Are your minds and bodies ready? I’m here today to bring you a quick and dirty run through of some of the stuff I love about the new Monster Manual, as well as a few of my favorite creatures from within.
So let’s get started, but first I should remind you that I’d like you to join me on Twitch.TV next Monday the 15th at 6pm CST for a live stream of the Monster Manual as I flip through every single page and take questions and comments from chat.
Bite Sized Blurbs
Each monster manual entry has at least 3 or more paragraphs that begin with a bolded statement, which acts an idea or declaration about that monster. These miniature to moderate sized chunks of text serve as back story not only help you instantly dream up the where/when/why/how of monster encounters but can also give way to entire adventure ideas. The introduction to the book also does a good job of setting the stage for various environments where monsters dwell and providing suggestions and adventure hooks.
Certain monsters like the Tarrasque, dragons, and others are considered legendary, meaning they get special actions they are able to perform in combat, making them even tougher and more versatile adversaries than you’d expect. Rich story elements are outlined as well as mechanical bits like regional effects that surround their lair, and lair actions that are taken each round as the monster interacts with the environment. For instance, he black dragon’s lair is surrounded by 6 miles of light fog, rough terrain, and as you draw closer all of the nearby bodies of water are fouled. The lair itself can fill with magical darkness, swarms of insects, and more.
The stat blocks are compact and concise, the overall layout of the book is done extremely well. This is a book you’ll want to read just as much as you want to reference it (or don’t reference it because most 5e monsters can fit onto an index card!). There is an emphasis on artwork for almost every single creature outlined within the book and the use of white space is very well done.
Monsters are deadly again, it’s not all a grab bag of push/pull/slide/condition mechanics like we were used to seeing in 4e, these monsters mean business. Multiattack is a frequent visitor to many stat blocks, and while at first I was wary of this, after many play sessions I can say that it balances out very well. I feel like monsters are nasty and dreadful once again, not just varying sacks of hit points waiting to be depleted, but unique and threatening. Some of these guys are truly going to strike fear into PCs hearts, some may also strike barbed tentacles into their hearts as well. So here’s 5 of my favorites off the top of my head along with some of my reasons why.
5 Dreadful Denizens
Still ever immune to non-silvered weaponry and their ability to completely shred through their enemies, Lycanthropes can pass on their curse to player characters.
This curse isn’t some 4th edition “fail 3 saves and you’ll get a slap on the wrist” flim flam, this is “fail your save and you carry the curse of the lycan. Embrace the curse? Well then, change your alignment and hand your character sheet over to the DM until it’s cured” serious business.
With a marvelous back story recalling how the first ever Harpy was created, we are reminded that divine intervention isn’t always a blessing. Harpies collect shiny trinkets and are regarded as sadistic cowards, their song is deadly as ever too. Players within 300 feet who hear a harpie’s song must make a wisdom save or be charmed until the song ends. Who wouldn’t want to march a band of PCs off of a cliff while enthralled by their cursed melody!?
A lesser beholder summoned from another plane by means of a profane ritual involving the severed eye stalks of a greater beholder, Spectators are a great challenge for a lower level group of adventurers. They have spell reflection, 4 different eye rays, and clock in at a challenge rating of 3. Throw one or two of these guys into the starter box adventure and you’re going to have a great time!
An undulating ooze of eyes and mouths, the 5e mouther can stop players dead in their tracks by reducing their movement to 0 due to the ground around them becoming the consistency of dough, not to mention their cacophony of laughter, screams, and wails can instill some temporary madness into everything within 20 feet of it. What’s not to love?
With the ability to make 3 melee attacks on her turn or 2 ranged with its longbow, the medusa is already a good threat with a challenge rating of 6…but then there’s that other thing they can do. What was it? Oh yeah, Petrification! Fail your CON save against its gaze by 5 or more and you’ll find yourself insta-petrified. Fail it twice, regardless of how close you miss the mark and you’re stone too. Of course, medusa’s are subject to their own gaze if you manage to find a reflective surface. Good luck!
Well, that’s it folks! Remember you can support the Dread Gazebo by ordering your Monster Manual using our links! Tune in next week for the Monster Manual live stream, I’ll talk to you then!