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D&D 5E Open Source dilemmas...(AKA Creature Catalog/Tome of Beasts/Tome of Horrors etc.)

Casimir Liber

Explorer
So one of my weaknesses has been monster catalogs/lists/manuals, and I got these books (Creature Catalog/Tome of Beasts/Tome of Horrors ) along the way. A couple of dilemmas, one being how to use them in DnDBeyond encounter building, the other is what to do when creatures get more than one treatment. For instance, these books have Lovecraftian critters sprinkled through them, but then along comes Sandy Peterson's cthulhu treatment for DnD 5e. Which treatments to follow.....does anyone else ruminate on this?
 

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Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
It is possible to add custom monsters to D&D Beyond, even though the process is somewhat tedious, especially if you want to make the attacks "rollable" in the encounter tracker.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
I
the other is what to do when creatures get more than one treatment. For instance, these books have Lovecraftian critters sprinkled through them, but then along comes Sandy Peterson's cthulhu treatment for DnD 5e.
I have the same weakness for monster books and there are several books out there that riff on the Fiend Folio so there are lots of different versions of older 1st Ed monsters or various types of demons.

The way I look at is that you use the one best suited to entertaining that players. If they don’t have access to your books they will never know multiple versions exist anyway.

With the thing about D&D Beyond I can really help as I’ve never used it.
 

Casimir Liber

Explorer
I

I have the same weakness for monster books and there are several books out there that riff on the Fiend Folio so there are lots of different versions of older 1st Ed monsters or various types of demons.

The way I look at is that you use the one best suited to entertaining that players. If they don’t have access to your books they will never know multiple versions exist anyway.

With the thing about D&D Beyond I can really help as I’ve never used it.
fair point - has made gaming alot easier. I really like it, not essential though and can always do analogue workaround :)
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
First thing, while it depends on the knowledge of you players and their metagaming level (at least half of our players are also DMs themselves, and while we can trust most to avoid metagaming, it also makes it harder for them to differentiate, monster by monster, what their character should/could know), it's always good to have more monsters, or even versions of it.

Second, on DDB, the homebrew for monsters is not that complicated and lots of things can be cut and pasted.

Finally, the library of homebrew on DDB is fairly large, if you search the homebrew monsters section, you will have a good chance that someone has done the job for you already.

The only two cautions I would give is that sometimes the job is not properly done, but you can still cut/paste into your own version if you think it's not good enough for you, and the other thing is that sometimes these 3rd party monsters are not that well designed, and using principles that contradict the usual way monsters are built in 5e, which can sometimes lead to a bit of head scratching as to how some powers are supposed to work (and, if you have ruleslawyers at your table, uncomfortable questions).
 


Lyxen

Great Old One
Does that need to be a problem? Having weird monsters that confound the players expectations is surely a good thing?

It depends how weird, weird might be good, but when it's weird rules for example how the poison works, or when it's rules that really slow down the game (multiple rolls, cumulative modifiers, not using adv/dis, lingering effects requiring more checks, effects that you don't know hot to treat with the standard battery of counters, unintuitive local rulings, etc.), I don't think it goes in the right direction.
 

dave2008

Legend
So one of my weaknesses has been monster catalogs/lists/manuals, and I got these books (Creature Catalog/Tome of Beasts/Tome of Horrors ) along the way. A couple of dilemmas, one being how to use them in DnDBeyond encounter building, the other is what to do when creatures get more than one treatment. For instance, these books have Lovecraftian critters sprinkled through them, but then along comes Sandy Peterson's cthulhu treatment for DnD 5e. Which treatments to follow.....does anyone else ruminate on this?
I love monster books too. I personally see no issue with having multiple versions of the same monster. I would either use the version I think is better, or us them all. Monsters are diverse and have variants too, so what not embrace the different stat bocks and acknowledge them as different individuals of that type of monster.

Regarding DnD Beyond, I know there is a large homebrew section, so you can put in your own monsters, but I have never done it myself.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
It depends how weird, weird might be good, but when it's weird rules for example how the poison works, or when it's rules that really slow down the game (multiple rolls, cumulative modifiers, not using adv/dis, lingering effects requiring more checks, effects that you don't know hot to treat with the standard battery of counters, unintuitive local rulings, etc.), I don't think it goes in the right direction.
Crikey. I have about 30 3rd party monster books and they all follow the same rules for 5E.
 

dave2008

Legend
Crikey. I have about 30 3rd party monster books and they all follow the same rules for 5E.
Some of the early Kolbold books were ports from PF1 and had some things that, while they may not have been against the rules, didn't follow the 5e standards and guidelines. And there are other 3PP books that do similar things. You probably have them and just don't see them as an issue (which I don't either), but others do.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
Some of the early Kolbold books were ports from PF1 and had some things that, while they may not have been against the rules, didn't follow the 5e standards and guidelines. And there are other 3PP books that do similar things. You probably have them and just don't see them as an issue (which I don't either), but others do.
Ah, yeah, now I think about it one book (maybe 5E Foes- or something like 1sr Ed foes 5E feel) uses the term ‘combat advantage’.
 

dave2008

Legend
Ah, yeah, now I think about it one book (maybe 5E Foes- or something like 1sr Ed foes 5E feel) uses the term ‘combat advantage’.
Yep, stuff like that. But it also includes things like not following the DMG guidelines for monster creation / CR. Which some people are fine with and others are not. I find this a lot in 3PP products, though admittedly the monster creation rules are a bit cumbersome until you get used to them and some of the elements are controversial to some. It doesn't really bother me because I don't worry about CR when I make encounters (but I do when I make monsters), but it can be a problem for some. A lot of 3PP products have monsters that are tougher than there MM or DMG CR equivalent, or at least that is what I have found.
 

Ah, yeah, now I think about it one book (maybe 5E Foes- or something like 1sr Ed foes 5E feel) uses the term ‘combat advantage’.
Fifth Edition Foes. I have it and while it's kinda cool, it was very early in the edition and there were some issues with wording. Combat advantage was because they didn't know if they could use "advantage" under the OGL. Some of the monsters also have abilities that go outside of 5E's assumed concepts, such as a monster that can break even magical weapons if hit by them.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Thanks guys for providing a few examples, honestly it's not that important in particular for me, but I just thought I'd mention it in case it might bother some people. But certainly feel free to disregard that comment if it's not important to you.
 

Nebulous

Legend
but then along comes Sandy Peterson's cthulhu treatment for DnD 5e. Which treatments to follow.....does anyone else ruminate on this?
I'm about to use a color out of space from that Peterson book in my 5e game. It is going to scare the bejeezus out of the PCs. The color is going to literally melt an ogre in front of their eyes when they get to the top level of this tower. What they do from there, I imagine is either fleeing down the eight flights or jumping from the rooftop.

SDUsQQT.jpg
 


Larnievc

Explorer
Which ones did you really like and why? I forgot to add I haev the Boreal Bestiary (which is small but interesting)
I really like Tome of Beasts 1-2, and the Creature Codexes. Arcanum of the Ancients has some good monsters (but it’s not just a bestiary). The Shattered Land monster book is an interesting read. There’s tons out there. 👍
 

Casimir Liber

Explorer
I really like Tome of Beasts 1-2, and the Creature Codexes. Arcanum of the Ancients has some good monsters (but it’s not just a bestiary). The Shattered Land monster book is an interesting read. There’s tons out there. 👍
Wait...there're two Tome of Beasts?! Wow will take a look.....thanks for the heads up as am in a campagin-building mode :)
 


Which ones did you really like and why? I forgot to add I haev the Boreal Bestiary (which is small but interesting)
Since no one else has mentioned them, the Monster Manual Expanded books (I, II, and III) are excellent monster books available on the DM's Guild (the first two with PoD if you want, with the third, which was just released, with PoD later in the year), all with loads of monster variants on MM, VGtM, and MtoF monsters, as well as some updates for creatures that haven't made it to 5e yet...
 

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