5E 5th Edition Foes
5th Edition Foes
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Quickly rate 5th Edition Foes

Necromancer Games

Game system(s): D&D 5th Edition,
Genre: Fantasy,

Wed 21 January 2015
Bill Webb, Matt Finch, Michael Curtis, J. Collura, Casey Christofferson, Steve Winter, James M. Ward, Skip Williams, Ed Greenwood,

Fun with stats: 5th Edition Foes is ranked #48 out of 71 products with 10 or more reviews, placing it in the 34% percentile. It is rated -3.4 points lower than the overall average product rating of 75.9%. With 10 reviews, this is the #65 most reviewed product.

72.5% HIT

Rated by 10 readers at 72.5% who deem this a HIT. A recommended purchase.
Read all 10 reviews | Write Your Own
There are 2 external reviews of this product with a combined rating of 50%. Read these reviews.

Over 200 additional 5E creatures, beasts, monsters and titans to challenge your players and enhance your adventures!
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  1. #2

    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    Sobran's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    4 out of 5 rating for 5th Edition Foes

    The headline I give here is a paraphrase of Necromancer Game's mantra, "5th Edition Rules, 1st Edition Feel". For those that are curious, no monsters are duplicated between this weighty tome and the official 5th Edition Monster Manual. Most are creatures pulled from the old monster compendiums or the original Fiend Folio. Some are terrifying, some are goofy, nearly all are entertaining. Follow the link for my complete impressions.

    Complete impressions here!
    Last edited by Sobran; Friday, 23rd January, 2015 at 09:09 AM.

  2. #3

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

    Nebulous's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Beyond Earth

    4 out of 5 rating for 5th Edition Foes

    This is a great book for 5e DMs looking to flesh out their monster encounters. It has the "feel" of the original Fiend Folio, and that is partly due to the layout and the black and white art, but also the general aura of weirdness that infests many of the monsters. A large proportion of them have abilities and Traits that set them apart from anything in the core Monster Manual, and nearly every single entry in the hundreds present are interesting to read, even if you never plan on using some (or even most) of the monsters. A lot are culled from the original Fiend Folio, but many are also updated from the 3rd edition Tome of Horrors. Highly recommended.

  3. #4

    Superhero (Lvl 15)

    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Brooklyn, NY

    4 out of 5 rating for 5th Edition Foes

    I bought this book because I've been running a 5e version of Castle Amber, and this book includes conversions for a few creatures used in that adventure, as well as providing a number of pulpy monsters that could have been used in that adventure. We didn't end up running into any of the included monsters last week, but hopefully we'll come across one or two in our next session.This is a thick PDF with a lot of detailed monsters, good evocative descriptions and a lot of great old-school feeling art. (Some of the more watercolory gray-scale shading is unappealing to me, but I will probably show many of these illustrations to my players the first time they meet a creature from these pages.) As indicated elsewhere, most of these monsters are not new, which, for me, is a plus, because it means that I am that much more likely to encounter them when incorporating older D&D or OSR modules in my own campaign. Converting monster stats to 5e is not too hard, but coming up with good conversions for the traits is a bit trickier, and I appreciate being able to pay somebody else to do that work for me. It's also not so easy to come up with appropriate CR's for some of the weirder monsters, so I'll trust Necromancer's attempt to do this better than my own.I did notice that a few of the creatures include some new mechanics that might be a bit crunchier than the super-streamlined mechanics in the official WoTC material. For instance, the Aranea includes a new condition called paralytic poisoned, which includes a sliding scale of effects based on how well the PC does on her saving throw. Not a criticism, per se, as I personally enjoy those kinds of little mechanical peculiarities, but I can see it being a hassle to keep track of on the fly.I also think the book suffers from having to use a different presentation of stats and abilities than the official 5e material. I appreciate that this is probably as much due to legal restrictions as to a contrarian creative vision, but it does make it a little slower to pull out the salient combat details when alternating between monsters from official WoTC sources and 5th Edition Foes. For instance, 5th Edition Foes presents saving throw proficiencies at the top of the stat block, while ability scores are buried a bit further down beneath the offensive actions, meaning that the distance my eye has to scan from the top of a stat block to the ability scores varies from one creature to the next. By contrast, WoTC places its ability scores at the top of every stat block, with any proficiencies immediately below. Again, not a huge problem, but something that makes me appreciate the value of getting an official license from WoTC, should that license ever be available.(Certainly, I would expect a product priced on par with WoTC's own official offerings to use a D&D 5th edition license if one were available, and I wonder if a revised version will be released if and when that happens.)In conclusion, this great PDF is a pleasure to browse in its own right, but should also provide a lot of direct utility at my gaming table.

  4. #5

    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)

    chibi graz'zt's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Palace of Zelatar

    5 out of 5 rating for 5th Edition Foes

    This book is getting a 5 stars rating from me. Not because the production values are on-par with the 5e core books, or because the quality is similar. Im not comparing these as this is a 3rd party publisher (3PP). Im giving it 5 stars because it has very iconic monsters that while not as iconic as those in the 5e MM, are nevertheless monsters we have met in many modules before. The layout is simple and every monster is giving a B&W illustration, many very well illustrated. Each entry is created by a well known D&D writer, including Ed Greenwood, and many other old timers to D&D. This book heralds, IMO, what the upcomming OGL will do for 5e, many 3PP will produce excellent additions to the game line and this, being the first, is setting the standard for quality. Necromancer games has delivered a hit.

    Oh, and this book has stats for Dagon (CR 20)!!!
    Last edited by chibi graz'zt; Monday, 26th January, 2015 at 09:15 PM.

  5. #6

    Pit Fiend (Lvl 26)

    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    2 out of 5 rating for 5th Edition Foes

    Despite the absence of a new Open Game Licence or Game System Licence from Wizards of the Coast, Necromancer Games has released one of the first 3rd Party Products for the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons: Fifth Edition Foes. Quite possibly the first 5e 3PP that isn't a short adventure.
    What Is It?
    As the name suggests, Fifth Edition Foes is monster book. In its 261-pages it contains 250-odd monsters and 115 are identified as "Special" Open Game Content, which refers to monsters used under special licence with WotC. This is a little less than half, and some of these don't *seem* to belong, not originating in the pages of 1e books.
    The product advertises that it is compatible with "5th Edition", but leaves out the "5th Edition" of what: you'll be hard pressed to find the term "Dungeons & Dragons" inside. That's because this product is written using the 3e OGL and a special licence arranged between Necromancer Games and Wizards of the Coast back in the early days of 3rd Edition, which permitted Necromancer Games to update classic monsters to the 3e ruleset. Monsters from the Fiend Folio, Monster Manual II, and even Dragon Magazine were revised and updated. This book also contains some monsters created for Necromancer Games' 3e monster books - the iconic Tome of Horrors line - and some created for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
    So, summarizing, it's a book legally presented as a 3e book but with statblocks, math, and mechanics compatible with 5e.
    Along with a forthcoming companion book of spells, Fifth Edition Foes was funded through Kickstarter. As of this writing, the PDF of Fifth Edition Foes is out but the hardcopy is being finalized. Because so many smaller publishers use the early PDF release as a way to edit, I'll be ignoring obvious typos (like "Gtrappling" in the adherer entry, or the legal entry beginning with "This printing of Tome of Horrors Complete..." and generally referencing the ToH repeated times); Necromancer Games is a small company run as a hobby so I won't hold them to the same standards as a company with a full time editing staff.

    The Good
    The book has a lot of fun, classic monsters that are good but didn't quite make the cut for the official Monster Manual. Monsters that are older than the mean average age of D&D players. I'm talking about critters such as the kelpie, hippocampus, cave fisher, crimson mist, and froghemoth. And the book includes some that WotC is unlikely to ever update, such as the flail snail, carbuncle, pech, lava child, tabaxi, crabman, grippli, and yellow musk creeper.
    Fifth Edition Foes includes full indexes, including one that sorts the monsters by type and one that sorts by Challenge Rating. This is something the actual Monster Manual was lacking.
    Most of the monsters seem to have been well converted to 5th Edition. The math seems workable: the balance of 5e is a little looser so thing just need to be "close enough". Most of the traits and powers of the monsters are workable and most seem like they'd be fun at the table. The damage seems to be about right and I saw almost no obvious conversion problems, such as referring to "Bluff" instead of "Deception"; this can be a huge problem when updating existing content, and it's all but impossible to catch every reference.
    The book contains no dragons or devils and only a single giant. And the two demons included are demon princes. I put that in the "pro" column, as I get tired of the mandatory sections with new demons, devils, giants, and dragons in every monster book. Those monsters get tired and derivative as the writers stretch to wriggle some new terrain or variant into the world.

    The Bad
    I'll start with the nitpicky. There's no index by terrain or environment. This is handy for random encounters. Because Fifth Edition Foes is emulating the Pathfinder statblock there is an entry for "Environment", but this is awkward to use when looking for a quick swamp monster. (This would be an excellent web enhancement.)
    Because the book uses the 3e OGL, the monster entries and stat blocks are formatted like Pathfinder's. This isn't too hard to understand, but if switching between the MM and this book, the different formatting slows down reading. It can be harder to quickly find the information you're looking for. Using the legacy licence also means the writing style different than 5e, with terms like "tactical advantage" instead of just "advantage" and other small differences, like abbreviating Strength as "Str" rather than writing the full word. But this isn't consistant and a few instances of plain ol' "advantage" slip in. Again, not deal breaking but a bit of a hinderance to easy play.
    There are some small mechanical problems, such as most of the grappling creatures omitting the escape DC. And monsters tend to have a lot more conditional immunities. All undead seem to be immune to fright and unconsciousness, which is not consistent with other 5e undead. And many powers that incapacitate don't allow new saving throws each round like most 5e powers do, allowing monsters to stunlock characters.
    Fifth Edition Foes repeats the Monster Manual's problem of lots of low CR monsters and fewer high CR monsters. In fact, there's only ten monsters above CR 10, fewer than the MM. Admittedly, this is less of a problem in this edition where multiple low level monsters can challenge high level parties. However, one of the things I really wanted to to see from a secondary monster product is more high level opponents. Now, if this was a big book of legacy monsters - like the Monster Manual - it'd be more acceptable, as the established monsters need to be an expected level range (for adapting adventures) and you can't omit classics just for new high level threats. But, as mentioned earlier, half the monsters in this book are newish, being pulled from other Tome of Horror volumes. The designers could have easily focused on higher CR threats and made this book more useful as the high level monster book. Instead, there is a wealth of low CR humanoids and mook creatures. I wonder if the focus was on low level monsters because the designers were uncomfortable designing for a level of play they had less experience running in this edition.
    For all the classic monsters included there are a LOT of absences. I counted well over thirty absent monsters from the Fiend Folio alone, and there are likely many more from the 1e Monster Manual 2 and Dragon Magazine. These include such beasties as the disenchanter, huecuva, necrophidius, and nilbog just to name a few. Their omission seems glaring, especially with so many merely adequate new monsters, as if the publisher was saving some monsters for a Fifth Edition Foes II. I wasn't a fan of that strategy from WotC during 4e and I'm less of a fan now.

    The Ugly
    I'll be blunt: the art is ass. Necromancer games may advertise their books as "5th Edition rules, 1st Edition feel", but what this book truly feels like is an early 3.0 Edition 3rd Party Product. This is because that's exactly what it is! The art is entirely recycled from the prior Tome of Horrors line. Some pieces are over a decade old. Now, I didn't mind the recycled art for the Tome of Horrors Complete because that was expected: it was a reprinting of older books. Reprinting the art is expected. (But, even then, some of the art was painfully low rez and detrimental to the quality of the book.) This product does not get to play the "reprint" card. Standards of minimum production values in an RPG book have increased over the years, even from small publishers.
    The flavour text for the monsters was also not updated. The entries I checked were word-for-word what was written in the Tome of Horrors Complete, even when the page had lots of negative space remaining. Some entries are particularly short, such as the chaos knight, which has zero lore. There's literally no information on their creation, backstory, legends, or place in the world. Part of what made the 5e Monster Manual such an excellent book was the focus on the monster's lore and story. The book made you want to use the monsters, and not just for their funky powers. The fact the designers didn't even try to increase the lore for many monsters is a big mark against this product.
    The formatting is also poor. Several entries awkwardly continue between pages. This is irritating at the best of times but this book does so awkwardly, pushing the title of the next entry down the page. I'd prefer if any overlap filled a column, as that permits the reader to casually scan the top of the page and identify the header of the monster without having to move the eye down.
    The innovations of 5e monster design are also largely ignored. Only one monster makes use of lair actions and only five monsters are legendary. 5e has demonstrated its system is adaptable when customizing monsters, such as the ash zombies from the starter set or the examples of monsters with added spellcasting or variant weapons in the Monster Manual. With that in mind, not every monster in Fifth Edition Foes deserves to be a new monster. We didn't need a full page for the fetch when it just adds cold damage and immunity to a zombie and a little fire vulnerability. Similar could be said of the hanged man, corpsespun, olive slime zombie, gallows tree zombie, or yellow musk zombies. This is especially noteworthy with the final one, which is the same CR as a regular zombie. That's five new monsters they could have included by just having a page of alternate zombie traits, or a sidebar on the monster's entry.
    And as a final irritant, the death dog appears in the book but is already in the 5e Monster Manual. Which is a pretty sloppy error and means one less new monster.

    The Awesome
    When they developed these monsters they opted for hard fights, rounding down CRs. If a monster was in-between a 4 and a 5 they went with 4, to give players a challenge. Because players are a resourceful lot. I like this, and it's nice to have some scary monsters. I like that they didn't play things safe.
    I'm thankful his book exists for many monsters I think of as iconic. My first monster book was the 2e Monstrous Manual, so I associate creatures like the aurumvorax, crypt thing, catoblepas, leucrotta, quickwood, and wolfwere with D&D. They're as much a part of D&D to me as the illithid and beholder (and more so than the assorted devils and demons, which were not part of that book). Often moreso, as it took me many years to add a mind flayer to my 2e game, and I never used a beholder, while the aurumvorax made a couple appearances.
    A few of the new monsters are pretty neat. Like the grue, which is really a nerd joke that has taken on a life of its own. It's earned its place as a monster. The bone cobbler sounds fun, as does the grimm and midnight peddler. (But I would have loved some more lore and hooks for these.)

    Final Thoughts
    Wizards of the Coast has said that they were holding back the Open Game License to give people time to digest the rules and learn how to make good products, so publishers would make better 3rd Party Products rather than rushing to get them out the door. I've been skeptical of the full truth of that statement, but Necromancer Games does demonstrate the logic in the idea.
    A couple extra months would have done wonders Fifth Edition Foes.
    A delay would have giving time for new art to be commissioned, new lore to be added, and some sombre through on the wisdom of having six freakin' variant zombies in the book. It would have permitted more time to learn the rules, to be able to tighten monster powers. And it would have given more time to feel comfortable with high level play, allowing some more dangerous creatures to be written and playtested.
    Fifth Edition Foes feels like it was rushed out the door to make the narrow window where it would have no competition with other 3rd Party Products (or even official accessories). Rather than trust the quality of their monsters and product, they opted to release now and cash in on the post-launch excitement for the edition, while fans are hungry for new content.
    It's a useful product. I don't really regret my purchase. But I did opt to get the $20 PDF (pricey for a PDF) rather than the dead tree version (over twice as much), which helps mitigate my disappointment. There are monsters in the book that I will be happy to use, and monsters I wanted to use from the Tome of Horrors Complete but never found time to use. More monsters is always good. But in the end the book is a poor example of how to upgrade a product for 5th Edition, and that you cannot make a 5e product just by using compatible rules. An important lesson I hope Necromancer Games learns and other publishers take to heart.
    XP Shadow Demon, Tormyr, Fergurg, Guyanthalas, jadrax gave XP for this post

  6. #7

    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)

    Join Date
    May 2008
    City of Sharn

    3 out of 5 rating for 5th Edition Foes

    Overall a great 3rd party effort. Some of the CRs are a little off (and they even admit that). It weirds me out that they put Death Dog in when we already have a death dog in the MM for WotC. SOme of there monsters are great additions to any game (Chaos knight) and some are great old ones redone (yellow muck creeper). I would say this book has more hits then misses.

  7. #8

    5 out of 5 rating for 5th Edition Foes

    All I could ask for in a monster supplement.

  8. #9

    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

    Zarithar's Avatar

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    Jan 2008

    5 out of 5 rating for 5th Edition Foes

    I am very pleased with this product. It has given me a number of creatures which I can use to spice up the Desert of Desolation campaign I am running currently. I am particularly happy with the various undead and creatures from the Elemental Plane of Fire which are included (as they can easily be used in my campaign).I am a sucker for bestiaries in general, so this was an easy sell for me. I have come to realize that many of the creatures are basically conversions from older 3.5 or 3.0 material, but I don't have a problem with that, as it saves me from doing the conversions myself. Another criticism I have seen is leveled towards the artwork. True, the quality is not the same as that found in a WoTC or Paizo hardcover, but it has a great, old school vibe which I really appreciate. Two thumbs up!

  9. #10

    3 out of 5 rating for 5th Edition Foes

    A decent addition..most of these I'll never use, but still more choices if I desire.

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