Monster Manual v.3.5 (for Dungeons & Dragons)
Published by Wizards of the Coast
Written by Skip Williams
Revised by Rich Baker & Skip Williams
320-page color hardcover; $29.95
This is the book that the third edition Monster Manual should have been.
First and foremost, it has more monsters in its 96 more pages, which increases the play value over the original right there, even if all are drawn from previous Dungeons & Dragons material. Some, like the gauth, are radically changed from their old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons appearances, but the vast majority of the creatures included are from the Monster Manual Third Edition or other third edition works like the Psionics Handbook and the Manual of the Planes.
This new edition takes the stat block format of the Monster Manual II (itself improved over the original version in Monster Manual) and refines it further. The improvements include separate lines for standard and full attack action, the clear marking of which feats are bonus feats, and the inclusion of the Level Adjustment for PC monsters. The only minor nuisance is that Monster Manual v.3.5 uses the simplified 3.5 space statistic (which is only an issue if you preferred the third edition facing rules).
Where the new Monster Manual really shines is the tools it gives for customization. The system behind monster abilities was not made explicit in the third edition; you could do customization, but the book omitted details. That's changed. Now extensive guidance is given . . .
This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.
Article publication date: August 22, 2003
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