Monster Manual Special Edition
Published by Wizards of the Coast
320 full color pages

The special edition of the Monster Manual brings the last of the 3.5 core rule books to the fold. Like previous special editions in the series, this one has a black leather cover, ribbon for book marking purposes, and silver edged pages. It also incorporates some of the errata on the official web page.

Like the previous books, this one is not really meant to serve as an ‘errata’ edition. With its high cost, it’s too expensive. Rather, it’s a showpiece for collectors who enjoy the game and want to have on their shelf a nice book.

There are no visible changes to the layout and text that I notice when reading. It still boasts some of the best artists in the industry applying their trade to monsters. At the same time, there are those who wish that some of the illustrations had been changed. I’m sure we could all point to at least one monster that needs an updated look. There are those who wish that this special edition was using the new format introduced in the Dungeon Master’s Guide II, and tweaked since then. After all, the book does sell itself as having a new format. Unfortunately, that’s the new format the was new back then so to speak!

It doesn’t. It uses the same layout and standard formatting as the original 3.5 edition of the Monster Manual. Handy but crowded. Core rules with many standard staples of fantasy gaming as well as a few of the stranger, wholly originally D&D monsters in 3.5 format. This includes the classics like orcs, ogres, gnolls, and the unique like beholders, mind flayers and carrion crawlers.

For those who do buy it solely for the purposes of having a corrected Monster Manual, you’re in trouble. John Cooper, a reviewer with eagle’s eyes for catching mechanical mistakes, has pointed out a plethora of minor gaming mistakes in the Special Edition over here, . In direct play, most of these errors are not going to spell life and death, but the idea of having a core book, years on the market now, with all the errata collected in it, is a sound one and to see that years latter, the new printing of the book still has all these mistakes in it, is disheartening.

For those collector’s who want to finish off their special edition collections, there are few reasons not to. It’s highly unlikely that they will be printing a ‘corrected corrected’ special edition Monster Manual and the purpose of this special edition, is to have a fine looking book. It matches the previous two books in the collection and has all the ‘flash’ of a collector’s item.

In that at least, it succeeds.

The real test for WoTC, will be to see if they’re able to incorporate John’s suggested errata into the new printing of the Monster Manual, as new printings seem to follow fairly closely after the special edition printings. That’ll be the review to keep an eye out for.