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Monster Manual II: Dungeons & Dragons Accessory Hardcover – Sep 1 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; 2 edition (Sept. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786928735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786928736
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 1.9 x 28.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #360,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

JEFF GRUBB is an award-winning game designer whose recent credits include the D&D accessory Manual of the Planes and the three Ice Age Cycle novels, set in the Magic: The Gathering® world. He lives in Washington State.

RICH REDMAN has written the Dark¥MatterTM Arms & Equipment Guide and the D&D guidebook Defenders of the Faith. He lives in Washington State.

STEVE WINTER has worked on numerous products as editor, designer, developer, and manager. He lives in Washington State.

ED BONNY has had many articles published in Dragon® magazine, including his well-received AD&D® Planescape® and Skills & Powers articles. He lives in New Jersey.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
This book contains entries for more than 250 creatures, both hostile and benign, for use in DUNGEONS & DRAGONS adventures. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 18 2004
Format: Hardcover
*Monster Manual 2* has 224 pages, 262 creatures, and 9 templates.
Its CR values: mean ~8.5, mode 5, median 8, low 1/4, high 28.
CR values of *MM1 3E* for comparison: mean ~5.4, mode 3, median 5, low 1/10, high 26.
It retials for $29.95, which is an average of $0.13 per page.
Overall, this text rounds out the D&D ecosystem fairly well, and its CR values are closer to the *Fiend Folio* than to *MM1*. The introduction features advancement rules and ability explanations that are superior to those found in *MM1 3E*. Unlike the *Fiend Folio*, there is no obvious focus in this collection; however, it is definitely not a book for games that attempt to develop humanoid cultures and conflicts--indeed, there are no "humanoid" types in the text at all, besides one template (there are, of course, a dozen "monstrous humanoid" types, and several outsiders that are essentially extraplanar monstrous humanoids).
Other developments include a good smattering of terrain-based creatures--more desert and swamp inhabitants (fans of the old Dark Sun setting will be pleased to see the return of the "braxat," the "dune stalker," the "sun giant," the "nightmare beast," the "thri-kreen," and the "rampager.") Also, a higher percentage of Colossal creatures and of Aquatic ones than in *MM1*.
The templates are generally good--standouts include the "Death Knight," the "Half-Golem," and the "Tauric" creature (a centaur-thing made of various humanoid and animal bits--very nice). The "Spellstitched" template is decent, though it conjures images of fireball-tossing skeletors from *Diablo*.
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By A Customer on Oct. 23 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was pleasantly surprised by this book.
- Nice cover, good presentation.
- They really tried to include a picture of every monster, and (for the most part) the pictures actually matched up with the monster's description, remedying a big failure of MM1. The art is mostly good, with some really nice pieces (Chain Golem and Gem Dragons spring to mind) and only a few stinkers (breathstealer)
- The ability descriptions are much improved over the first MM. In my mind, that's a reason to have it around alone. Example: the description of Swallow Whole makes it clear exactly when a monster can swallow a hapless PC, something multiple readings of the MM1 ability description failed to do for me.
- Descriptions are more complete. Every PC-able monster has ECL listed; all monsters with Grapple-related abilites have Grapple bonuses precalculated, etc.
- I like constructs, and there's lots of them in here.
- There are some NASTY critters in here - if you GM a high-level campaign, I'd say this book would be a must-have. Don't worry, there's plenty of low-CR critters too.
- Every second monster seemed to have Improved Grab and grapple-related abilites. I mean sure, it's a nice mechanic, but did they really need to give it to so many creatures?
- I guess I'm OK with the reprints of the Legendary Animals from Masters of the Wild, but did they have to reprint the Bogun?
- I would have liked some more inventive templates. The book has Big Critter (Gargantuan), Level Boss Critter (Monster of Legend), Centaur Critter (Tauric), and Multiheaded Critter (Chimeric) - all straightforward stuff most GMs could do for themselves. The Death Knight is about the only one I'd use.
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Format: Hardcover
The promise of new and interesting monsters to confound my players with had me anticipating this book for many months. Sadly it doesn't look as though it was worth the wait.
Now any serious D&D player knows that Rules are what make the game, not colourful books or pictures, Rules plain and simple. The MMII starts off on a good foot there, containing even more information than the original about abilities and feats and special qualities. However there are several changes with how monsters are assigned feats (not 1 + 1/4 HD, usually 1 + Int + 1/4 EHD), which doesn't mesh well with ANY monster stats from any of the other WotC books. 1 Strike Against.
The book contains a large number of monsters (both New and Old) as well as several Templates (such as the Death Knight or Titanic ). The monsters also cover a wide range of CRs from 1/4 to 28. Now that brings me to the 2nd Strike Against the book... CRs.
A CR is a great tool for a DM to judge when to use the monster versus his/her players. Unfortunately most of them seem to have been drawn out of a hat, being either VASTLY underrated or SERIOUSLY overrated. Also the CRs above 20 aren't suitable against Epic PCs, at most they are CR 21-23 when compared to the beasties in the Epic Level Handbook. With the CR system beyond repair, it is up to individual DMs to decide what is suitable to pit against their players.
There are a few saving graces such as the Gem Dragons (although I prefer the ones in the Psionic Web Enhancement), the Effigy (balanced at CR 17), and some of the new Demons, Devils, Celestials and Yugoloths.
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By A Customer on Sept. 24 2002
Format: Hardcover
The MMII contains alot of new monsters for 3E. With their emphasis on "tougher encounters," alot of the creatures have higher CR's. Unfortunately, it seems that the good folk at WotC don't realize that you can make an encounter tougher without using a tougher monster. One of my favorite methods of accomplishing this is by adding character classes to monsters. Kytons are dangerous- but a 4th-level kyton fighter who has his Weapon Specialization in chains and just slugged down a potion of haste is a beat-down waiting to happen, even for experienced parties.
Nonetheless, the MMII contains many monsters that simply should have been in the MM, such as the phoenix, death knight, and crimson death. They had to put some sort of limit on the original MM, so it's good to see that "missed monsters" from the older versions of the game will find a happy home in 3E. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Marrash back, one of the cooler monsters devised for 2E, and the malebranche, essential for any infernal excursion.
MMII also contains monsters collected from published adventures (i.e. mooncalf, twig blight, bladeling) and some of the neater creatures from the now-defunct Chainmail game (stone spike, felldrakes, the Naresh demons).
What I was most pleased with in the MMII is the handy tables at the front of the book, combining all the needed information that you have to flip around for when designing your own monsters. This alone will make it easier and faster for me to design my own critters.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to folks who want clarified monster design and to incorporate the Chainmail creatures. I myself would like to see the Chainmail setting published for 3E.
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