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Monstrous Manual (2e) $9.99
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Monstrous Manual (2e)
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Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Billie V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/04/2019 12:09:37

I still remember the winter of '94, when our long suffering DM allowed me to borrow and read his white cover Monstrous Compendium. I remember how the paper was so delicate it threatened to tear as I turned the pages, the strange sweet smell of the print, the glossy full color pictures. Possibilities dripped from every page. It was hard getting AD&D books in those days, there was a limited window to obtain the books before the print run ended, and then you just had to hope you'd trip over a copy on a shopping trip to some larger, more important city, marked down and forgotten in a bargain bin beneath dusty old copies of TORG. To have one, to hold it... it felt like pure, raw potential for adventure.

That reverence, that glee, came rushing back as my Monstrous Manual arrived by post. The smell was different - that odd sweet smell was gone, replaced by the soft sour smell of paper. The page size seemed different too, at least from how I remember it. But it never felt this thick, this heavy, even in the clunky old binder... I was reminded of a regional phonebook as I hefted it and felt the weight.

Visually, the book is beautiful. Other reviews speak of the blacks not quite being black enough, but I can tell you that as of June 2019 that problem is resolved. Black lines are bold and strong, colors pop, text is easy to read and despite a few editing quirks (the Dracolich entry describes rules regarding a "host" before explaining exactly what a host is one section later, for example) I've yet to find a single typographical error. The entire thing feels like it was made by someone who loved the game and wanted it to shine. The leather style cover is beautiful, although strangely devoid of the details a person might expect (no Wizards logo, no blurb on the back).

In terms of cost, this may well represent the best value for money out of any 2nd edition AD&D book on this site. I checked other titles and similar costings apply to books literally half as big or smaller, and usually with black and white artwork. Purchasing an original, second-hand copy of a Monstrous Manual, or worse, an intact Monstrous Compendium, is too rich for my blood - the cost of this item, the cheap rates of shipping, make it available to even the most hard-done Dungeon Master.

If I had to nitpick about faults - which I do, it's a review - I would say firstly that I'm a little crestfallen this title isn't offered in Hardback. It's a strange decision not to do so, as the Players Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide are both available in such a format. I certainly would have paid the extra $5 for it, and looking at the Discussion section, so would a lot of customers.

Secondly, there was a blank sheet included in the book in case an imaginative DM might invent a monster - a conceit that dates back to this book's early days as a three ring binder that a DM might add to as needed. The problem is that this page is no longer loose leaf, and is securely fastened to the binding. In order to photocopy it, I would have to bend the book so savagely it's spine would be broken... or take to my new book with a razor. I shall do neither, and so this page is wasted.

Finally, there were a series of Encounter Tables in the original Monstrous Compendium series, showing a series of simple dice rolls to determine what, if any, random monsters a party might enocunter whilst travelling through a desert, a forest or the open sea. A DM would simply look up the biome their players are travelling through, make some checks, look up the monster and roll for surprise. It seems strange to me, that the decision was made to keep the Monster Summoning tables in the back of the book as an Appendix but not those random encounter tables. Now, I fully acknowledge there is nothing stopping me from compiling my own tables using 60% Common monsters, 25% Uncommon, 10% Rare and 5% Very Rare as ratios, but many time-strapped DM's were helped out by having pre-prepared tables they could pick up as needed, and as DM's we buy resources like this to save us time.

Overall, though, I have no regrets purchasing this. I would go so far as to say this book is a must-have if you're planning to try out 2nd Edition AD&D.

Keep up the good work, Wizards of the Coast.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/01/2018 14:19:16

Just got my PoD copy of this book and it is beautiful!.

The pages are matte and the color printing/contrast is somewhat subdued compared to a more expensive printing process but the text is pin-sharp and it's 380+ pages of sheer nostalgic monstrous bliss!

I missed out on the WotC reprints so I'm thrilled to see this as PoD - my money's waiting to buy the PHB and DMG as soon as they're available (hopefully soon?).

Yeah, it would've been better still as a hardback but the softback version is awesome (the cover printing is terrific btw - really vibrant).

Five stars DriveThruRPG and WotC - more please!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by ken d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/26/2006 00:00:00

This is probably the biggest monster valur for the buck. Almost 400 pages of great info. Every DM needs one!<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Extensive library of creatures for one low price. Best monster info value past or present!<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The scan is light. It's definately readable, but should be MUCH darker. A rescan is definately in order!<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Daniel F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/26/2006 00:00:00

Had a copy of this book originally, this replacement is well worth the price.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Gidget L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2006 00:00:00

The 2nd edition AD&D Monsters Manual is just as good as I remember it. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Again I liked the price, availability, and PDF format.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: I couldn't find anything to dislike.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Annalisa R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/20/2005 00:00:00

The pages look a little washed out/low contrast. Only the alphabet is bookmarked. But otherwise it's a good rendition of the hardcover, with every single page (and front & back cover) copied. Good bang for the buck (less than a fourth the price of the hardcover) and a handy reference to have on a laptop.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: All pages and pictures are there. Page structure is maintained. Text is readable.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Low contrast of the text (it's readable, but it could be better). Only the alphabet is bookmarked (could have at least bookmarked the appendix and index).<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Roger P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/11/2005 00:00:00

Everything I remembered from the game and a lot more.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Eaqse of use---uniformity<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Size. In one volume, it is a pretty big download and draw of printer ink.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jacob S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/05/2005 00:00:00

The other comments about this are good - the scan quality seems good but the bookmarks are only by letter. It would have been better if the bookmarks had been the index. Good scan quality, though.

A good resource for those who want to resurrect classic monsters that haven't made the 3E cut, but be aware that lots of the monster artwork in this book has been redone, so if you're looking for a single replacement to your original Monstrous Compendiums I and II and liked that artwork, it's not all going to be here.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Tons of monsters in one book! Much better discussions of society / motivations / ecologies than current 3E monster books.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jason M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2004 00:00:00

This manual is readable and just fine. However, the bookmarks could have better designed with just a bit more work. As it stands, it is simply the alphabet, meaning that if I want to get to goblins, I have to first click on "G" and then I have to scroll down until I eventually get to goblins. It would have made a decent product good if the entire list of monsters were clickable in the bookmarks.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Manual (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Westcott P. &. S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/01/2003 00:00:00

i was surprised that there were no reviews of this volume when i bought it. While not covering every well known D&D creature (The tiamat dragon, for example, was missing), this is a remarkable volume. Most species are given a full page, not only giving statistics but information on the D&D creators vision of their appearance, behavior, and even beliefs where appropriate, as well as how they interact with each other. The creatures are alphabetized by category. i.e., werewolves are filed under lycanthrope. The volume scanned was in quite good condition and the PDF is very readable. Because of the large sixe (391 pages) Bookmarks for each letter of the alphabet were a godsend, though I would have preferred an html linked index.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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