The first of my D&D5 manuals' reviews.
Since I got the D&D5 trilogy it was all too clear to me they all deserved that.
I am a sworn AD&D2 fan, I started my adventure with it and thought I'd finish with it.
But just out of sheer curiosity I decided to take a look at the new PHB. And I was captivated.
What's so good about it?
I will not go to great lengths to describe the publication's quality. It is wonderful to look at, wonderful to hold in your hand. It's simply top-notch.
But the meat is the contents. You get dozens of classic and not-so-classic monsters. But, we've seen all that before right?
All wonderfully illustrated in a cut-the-bullshit fantasy style that's serious enough to inspire and not to remind you of manga or anime series for kids. It's climatic, dark yet brilliantly heroic-fantasy-like. Just check out the cover.
But there's more to it than just pretty illustrations (there better be).
Stat blocks go without saying. The true gem is written information you get. The flavour texts.
Finally instead of some dry ecology information which is all fun for a world-building DM perhaps you get... context.
Yeah, I remember leafing through MMs and subsequent creatures just wondering - whoah, that one looks weird, how can I use it in my game to make any sense? Of course, it worked sometimes, it did not at others.
But now each monster is supplied with a few text blocks that are just loaded with inspiring information for your campaigns or one-shot adventures.
Finally all those atrocities make sense, even the most weird ones.
And I also failed to mention that it's an impressive selection of creatures. There is probably none that would make you think 'how did that come to be here'? 'What sorry mind came up with this wretched creature?'
The new Monster Manual is beautiful, precise, useful and inspiring. What else would you need?
Do you need to have it?
I toyed with an idea of not purchasing this book. Sure you can invent your own creatures. Sure you can create your own stat blocks (I often modify those anyway to suit the game's needs).
You don't desperately need another bestiary full of wodnerful illustrations on your bookshelf.
But if you're willing to take this manual for what it is then you will not be disappointed.
And above all that, this is the best bestiary I have ever held in my hands.