log in or register to remove this ad

 

Monsters of the City: Sins and Virtues - A Review

Monsters of the City: Sins and Virtues by Cawood Publishing takes a different approach to monster manuals for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Most creature compendiums just list the monsters alphabetically or by category. MotCSaV organizes its content very differently.

Monsters of the City cover.PNG

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Charles conducted an interview with Andrew Cawood earlier this week.]

MotCSaV is more about potential adversaries (or allies) than just “monsters.” In addition to undead and other typical monster types MotCSaV has NPCs like elite guards, horse master, bounty hunter, charlatan, etc. Some characters are interesting mashups like the werewolf spy, berserk butcher, cursed coachman, the forgotten king (an undead ruler), rich lich, etc.

The more unique adversaries are interesting. Fro example, the Sleepless Governor is a heartless, evil bureaucrat chasing power. Being a workaholic means she makes saving throws late in the day at disadvantage, but because she's so cold, if hit with a melee attack she does 1d8 cold damage from her “cold shoulder.” She also has a bully ability (save vs. Wisdom or be frightened) three times a day and uses an Icy Longsword.

What I like the most is that MotCSaV is as much a supplement for urban settings as it is a monster guide. It's broken into seven districts named for various parts of a city – castle district, wealthy, temple, market, docks, slums, and sewers. Each section has its creatures, as well as info on the authority in that district, factions, landmarks, types of stores and taverns, and sample prices for services like messengers, hirelings, and coaches. Each district also has a d20 encounter chart.

A variety of other items also tip this toward a fantasy urban supplement. In the front of the book is a 2d20 table of plot hooks. In the back is a blank city map so you can place location where you wish. A d100 city events table and city encounters and location d100 table rounds it out with monsters listed by challenge rating and creature type.

Monsters of the City Cursed Coachman.PNG

MotCSaV also includes two subclasses—cleric domain of truth and paladin order of the heart. The former has existed in prior editions, but I really like the paladin. It uses the power of love to sense evil in one's heart, help allies resist necrotic and poison damage, heal allies when the paladin makes a critic hit, etc. At 15th level this paladin can also summon a Pegasus as a holy horse.

The truth domain cleric is perfectly fine. I just find order of the heart refreshing after having DM'd so many vengeance paladins. Truth domain clerics get advantage on perception rolls and insight checks, find true paths (no traps), and divine strike.

I'm more conflicted about the other thing that makes MotCSaV unique—sins and virtues. Each district starts with a pair of creatures, representing a vice and virtue. Each set is paired thematically with the district. For example the the market district has greed and charity. The legendary beings might be influencing the district through those they have influenced or may be fighting for control of the area. It is a different idea but I can spin enough game plots through politics and personalities. I don't need legendary virtues and vices, but it is something new.

All of the art, which is abundant – Cawood Publishing didn't skimp like some companies do—is by Travis Hanson for a uniform style. I loved Hanson's Life of the Party, and it's perfect for some of the characters (especially the Daydream, which is beautiful), but might seem a bit cartoony for others. On the plus side, it means undead creatures aren't too grotesque looking, which can be a drawback for kids creating their first adventures.

I liked Monsters of the City: Sins and Virtues and not just because I like city and town supplements. It has enough interesting ideas and information that's really handy to more than overcome the pieces I'm less enamored with. It doesn't replace WotC's Monster Manual (and isn't designed to because the encounters include classic MM monsters) but is a very respectable supplement.

Cawood publishing is running a Kickstarter for Monsters of the Wilderness that ends March 4.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels



LeroyD20

Villager
I’m really looking forward to this book. The previous ones are great. I primarily play older versions of D&D, I love using these books to keep the surprises going, especially stumping players who have memorized the monster manuals.
 

I own this and find it to be an excellent resource for my Ptolus game. You can ignore the major celestial and fiend for each district, but I intend to use them, since they're also a presence in Ptolus.

The different districts give you mundane things almost every DM will eventually need (gatekeepers, bounty hunters, elite guards, thug bosses, bandit lords) but also some more supernatural stuff that also fits in well (faery godmother, saints, demon barbers, the ooze-like slither kelp, city satyrs, sewer trolls). I've already incorporated the Codfather as a crime family underboss in Ptolus' version of the Docks.
 



tmcdon

First Post
I am new to ENWorld, but I wanted to add that I own all of the books in their Monster series and they are all high quality production, both hard and soft cover editions of their books are solid. I have had zero quality issues with any of their products. They have great art work, great monster ideas, and are a wonderful asset to any DM/Gaming table! You can back their kickstarters with confidence knowing that they are going to deliver what they say they will, when they say they will, and they always seem to throw in little bonuses and extras.
In addition, they are kind and generous people. I was unable, for reasons of my own financial instability, to back their second kickstarter. They sent me the pdf for free out of the kindness of their heart. I bought the book as soon as my finances allowed.
Not only do they have high quality products, they are people worth supporting because they so readily and easily give back to the community.
 

I’m really looking forward to this book. The previous ones are great. I primarily play older versions of D&D, I love using these books to keep the surprises going, especially stumping players who have memorized the monster manuals.

I don't even use an incarnation of D&D proper--to the degree I'm interested in the D&D circle of games I'm in 13th Age, PF2e and to some degree SotDL--but I found Cawood monster books so charming I've bought a couple just on spec, and figure if I want to actually use them I'll convert.
 

Travis_Fauber

Villager
Monsters of the City: Sins and Virtues by Cawood Publishing takes a different approach to monster manuals for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Most creature compendiums just list the monsters alphabetically or by category. MotCSaV organizes its content very differently.


[EDITOR'S NOTE: Charles conducted an interview with Andrew Cawood earlier this week.]

MotCSaV is more about potential adversaries (or allies) than just “monsters.” In addition to undead and other typical monster types MotCSaV has NPCs like elite guards, horse master, bounty hunter, charlatan, etc. Some characters are interesting mashups like the werewolf spy, berserk butcher, cursed coachman, the forgotten king (an undead ruler), rich lich, etc.

The more unique adversaries are interesting. Fro example, the Sleepless Governor is a heartless, evil bureaucrat chasing power. Being a workaholic means she makes saving throws late in the day at disadvantage, but because she's so cold, if hit with a melee attack she does 1d8 cold damage from her “cold shoulder.” She also has a bully ability (save vs. Wisdom or be frightened) three times a day and uses an Icy Longsword.

What I like the most is that MotCSaV is as much a supplement for urban settings as it is a monster guide. It's broken into seven districts named for various parts of a city – castle district, wealthy, temple, market, docks, slums, and sewers. Each section has its creatures, as well as info on the authority in that district, factions, landmarks, types of stores and taverns, and sample prices for services like messengers, hirelings, and coaches. Each district also has a d20 encounter chart.

A variety of other items also tip this toward a fantasy urban supplement. In the front of the book is a 2d20 table of plot hooks. In the back is a blank city map so you can place location where you wish. A d100 city events table and city encounters and location d100 table rounds it out with monsters listed by challenge rating and creature type.


MotCSaV also includes two subclasses—cleric domain of truth and paladin order of the heart. The former has existed in prior editions, but I really like the paladin. It uses the power of love to sense evil in one's heart, help allies resist necrotic and poison damage, heal allies when the paladin makes a critic hit, etc. At 15th level this paladin can also summon a Pegasus as a holy horse.

The truth domain cleric is perfectly fine. I just find order of the heart refreshing after having DM'd so many vengeance paladins. Truth domain clerics get advantage on perception rolls and insight checks, find true paths (no traps), and divine strike.

I'm more conflicted about the other thing that makes MotCSaV unique—sins and virtues. Each district starts with a pair of creatures, representing a vice and virtue. Each set is paired thematically with the district. For example the the market district has greed and charity. The legendary beings might be influencing the district through those they have influenced or may be fighting for control of the area. It is a different idea but I can spin enough game plots through politics and personalities. I don't need legendary virtues and vices, but it is something new.

All of the art, which is abundant – Cawood Publishing didn't skimp like some companies do—is by Travis Hanson for a uniform style. I loved Hanson's Life of the Party, and it's perfect for some of the characters (especially the Daydream, which is beautiful), but might seem a bit cartoony for others. On the plus side, it means undead creatures aren't too grotesque looking, which can be a drawback for kids creating their first adventures.

I liked Monsters of the City: Sins and Virtues and not just because I like city and town supplements. It has enough interesting ideas and information that's really handy to more than overcome the pieces I'm less enamored with. It doesn't replace WotC's Monster Manual (and isn't designed to because the encounters include classic MM monsters) but is a very respectable supplement.

Cawood publishing is running a Kickstarter for Monsters of the Wilderness that ends March 4.
I really enjoy Cawood Publishings work. I own all their books to date & they currently have a new Kickstarter going on go check it out. The art by Travis Hanson is always amazing too.

I've yet to break into using these villains & monsters in my current campaign but look forward to doing so to give my players something new & challenging to face.

One feature I like is the addition of the new higher beings to add to a campaign. I feel this could be a good option to add divine beings the PCs can face for meddling in mortal affairs. This way you don't have to bring out all the famous beings we all know & love in your dungeons & dragons campaign for a big showdown.
 
Last edited:

Sethnidilaw

Villager
Monsters of the City, like its predecessors, is a great addition to any DM’s repertoire of supplements.
I own all of them and can’t wait for the already funded next instalment in the series – Monsters of the Wilderness.

Monsters of the City great spins on established monsters and amazingly cool and intriguing new creations.
Add in the lore and plot hooks, top it with the wonderful art and you have one of the most versatile additions to your arsenal of supplements.

Highly recommended!
 

RoleCraft

Villager
I've been reading Cawood Publishing's content for a couple of years now, and it's all been 100% quality stuff. I was fortunate enough to help support the Monsters of the City Kickstarter (my very first Kickstarter), and everything about the book is pretty frakin' cool. The Sins & Virtues theme is especially genius, as it can be improvised and adapted to multiple uses for 'civilized' locations beyond the book's example. Highly recommended as a resource for DMs and players!
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top