Monster Manual 2!

2009 May 26
by Dante

I was lucky enough to receive a spankin’ new review copy of the Monster Manual 2! I’ve not had the chance to actually exercise any of the new baddies in my campaign, but after reading through the book I am very excited to do just that.

The Good Stuff

There’s a lot to like in the MM2. Some very iconic critters show back up: Rust Monsters, Genasi, Barghests, and the like… all exciting to see again. There is a large 14-page section on Metallic Dragons of varying difficulty levels (something for nearly every party level) and some truly excellent artwork. There’s a whole host of new additions as well, I hope to review these new monsters as I get the chance to unleash them on my unwitting players.

Speaking of excellent artwork, they’ve got the Dimensional Marauder which I believe made a cameo appearance in the new Star Trek movie. I’m pretty sure they reused that artwork from before, but its still pretty striking. The Marauder makes use of a new snatch-and-grab style mechanic that can teleport the player and the Marauder itself around the map, giving close combat a bit more pizazz.

Located confusingly AFTER the glossary there is a single page that has racial traits for Monster Races intended to be NPCs, or if you’re really brave, Player Characters. The options provided are Bullywug, Duergar, and Kenku. My mind immediately went to what havoc Vanir could wreck as a bullywug player character, but its probably wise to not give him any ideas.

The Bad Stuff

It seems that the nerf bat has struck, sadly. Petrification seems to still exist in its normal form, however many of the death effects appear to be AWOL. This was most noticable to me when reading the section on beholders… to me a beholder isn’t a beholder if it can’t kill you with a Ray of Death. Can the abilities of these new beholders still kill your players? Absolutely. They just do so in a more roundabout fashion.

It seems they are taking the opportunity to elaborate on sections previously created in the original Monster Manual… seeing some omissions from the Monster Manual make their return is encouraging, but part of me was wanting for a bit more originality.


The Monster Manual 2 appears to be a pretty solid addition on its surface, but the proof will be in the pudding as I drop some of these monsters in place in the campaign.

For a truly excellent in-depth look at the Monster Manual, head on over to the Critical Hits review. They even take an in-depth look at the contents of the Monster Manual 2 in two excellent articles. They’re worth a read!

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Asmor permalink
    May 26, 2009

    Are the Genasi and Barghest really iconic?

    I can’t wait for my copy of MM2 to arrive…

  2. Wyatt permalink
    May 26, 2009

    The “nerf” bat may have struck certain things, but others have gotten comparably crazier. I’d rather just have the character die than being dazed the whole fight.

    Well, no, I wouldn’t, but seriously, the at-will daze propagation is pretty nuts.

  3. Dante permalink
    May 27, 2009

    Asmor: You can read my statements with as little or as much sarcasm as required to make you happy. 🙂

    I remember some pretty entertaining encounters with both, so I’ve got a soft spot for those two critters.

    Wyatt: True enough, at-will daze is pretty insane… can’t wait to give that a shot and see how it plays.

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