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D&D 5E 5th edition Monster Manual: I think the really nice art detracts from the mediocre functionality of the book.

D'karr

Adventurer
So do I.
I think the OP forgets that much of this was due in part to playtest feedback.

Monsters were the thing that changed the most from the playtest ones to the current ones, but except for monster encounters (about 60) very late in the playtest I recall hardly any monster playtesting. And the playtest had nothing to do with book layouts.
 

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drjones

Explorer
There is no proof the playtest consisted of the majority of players. Also, I don't remember a section in the survey about the monster manual and custom creation.

That's right, the playtest and surveys had a significant lack of input from people who didn't care, people who don't actually play, forum trolls, online know-it-alls, the incredibly lazy; you know the heart and soul of Dungeons and Dragons fandom.
 


Dausuul

Legend
My only quibble is that I still miss the three ring binder form factor of the 2e Monstrous Compendium. It was modular, customizable, expandable, and laid flat on the table during the game. It's a nitpick though, I really love this book.
The three-ring binder was a nice idea, but two major flaws killed the execution of that idea IMO. First, they printed double-sided pages with a different monster on each side; that meant you couldn't merge Compendiums and keep your monsters in alphabetical order. And second, both the pages and the binders themselves were far too flimsy. Unfortunately, I suspect the cost of fixing these issues would have been prohibitive (limiting monsters to one per double-sided page jacks the page count way up, and making the pages out of heavy cardstock or plastic would make them much more expensive to manufacture, ship, and store). I'd love a return to the MC style if they could fix the problems and keep the price reasonable; failing that, I prefer old-fashioned monster books or digital delivery.

As for the OP's complaints: I agree on the need for an index of monsters by CR. Fortunately we have folks like Mouseferatu around to compensate with awesome spreadsheets, but the MM really should have that sort of thing built in. As for custom monster guidelines, I want 'em too, but a thorough treatment of custom monster creation would take up more than a few pages. If they'd put it in the Monster Manual, they would have had to either sacrifice a bunch of monsters to make room, or present an abridged set of guidelines. Neither of those is a good solution IMO. Better to do what they're doing: Put all the "DM customization toolkits" in the DMG, where there's room to really flesh them out, and let the Monster Manual be just a big book o' monsters.
 

Gargoyle

Adventurer
The three-ring binder was a nice idea, but two major flaws killed the execution of that idea IMO. First, they printed double-sided pages with a different monster on each side; that meant you couldn't merge Compendiums and keep your monsters in alphabetical order. And second, both the pages and the binders themselves were far too flimsy. Unfortunately, I suspect the cost of fixing these issues would have been prohibitive (limiting monsters to one per double-sided page jacks the page count way up, and making the pages out of heavy cardstock or plastic would make them much more expensive to manufacture, ship, and store). I'd love a return to the MC style if they could fix the problems and keep the price reasonable; failing that, I prefer old-fashioned monster books or digital delivery.

Yep, execution of the idea wasn't well done. Better materials these days fixes the main issue. As far as alphabetical order, yeah, it's an issue, but not a big one. One solution that comes to mind is something people want for all the books: PDF distribution in addition to the printed version. While they seem unwilling to bend on the PHB or DMG, maybe they will eventually see the light and do it for the Monster Manual. It would allow for options like a customizable binder and people could even just pay for the monsters they want, downloading a PDF for each monster, if that's how they want it. Electronic distribution lends itself handily to the Monster Manual, much more so than the other books. Piracy isn't really as big a problem with the MM as it is for the PHB anyway, as you typically only need one per table.
 

the Jester

Legend
Art is great and stuff, but its not like anyone (save for the dm perhaps) is looking at a picture of the said monster(s) as they fight them.

I don't think I have ever played in a D&D game where monster pictures weren't shown to the players frequently.

Heck, if I know I'm going to use a specific monster and the clearly superior art for it is in an old edition MM or other source, I'll often bring that source to the game so that I can use the superior picture (a good example would be the xorn art- the 1e MM has far better xorn art than any edition so far, possibly excepting 5e, as I have not yet seen the xorn pic in there).
 

the Jester

Legend
There is no proof the playtest consisted of the majority of players.

Everyone was invited. People who chose not to participate and have their voice heard chose not to have their voice heard.

My only quibble is that I still miss the three ring binder form factor of the 2e Monstrous Compendium.

Wow- going back to a 3-ring setup is about the only thing I can think of that would make me really unlikely to buy the new D&D monster product. It was awful, IMHO, and the awfulness grew with every new release of monsters (that no longer fit in anything like alphabetical order, and that ripped yet more of the pages free until you started to lose some).
 

Fion

Explorer
My only quibble is that I still miss the three ring binder form factor of the 2e Monstrous Compendium. It was modular, customizable, expandable, and laid flat on the table during the game. It's a nitpick though, I really love this book.

Oh man the Monstrous Compendium was the most bad ass 'monster manual' D&D has yet had. The art was almost entirely fantastic, especially the inserts and the variety of monsters was exceptional.
 



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