Monster Manual III (for Dungeons & Dragons)
Published by Wizards of the Coast
224-page four-color hardcover; $34.95
It would be easy to be skeptical about the Monster Manual III. After all, this is yet another creature collection from the same group that have already produced a Monster Manual, Monster Manual II, Fiend Folio, Monsters of Faerun, and a few hundred thousand additional creature collections. How much different or better could this one be? Wouldn't it simply contain the rejects not included in previous efforts? Are they dipping into the same well too many times?
Well, yes and no. The Monster Manual III suffers from exactly the same problems that any added-on creature collection always suffer from. Many of the monsters are derivative or simply variations on pre-existing creatures. Additionally, there is the problem of springing these monsters into campaigns that have existed for months or years without them. Many creatures have a back story already added for them, allowing for as seamless of an addition to an ongoing campaign as possible, and virtually every creature lists where it frequently occurs in the Wizard's campaign settings of Faerun and Eberron, nice additions for players in those worlds. As is normal with Wizards of the Coast books, the art is routinely excellent, and the pages are well laid out and easy to follow.
There is a larger, deeper problem here, though. Many of the creatures listed in the Monster Manual III seem to suffer from having been . . .
This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.
Article publication date: January 21, 2005
Copyright © 2005 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.