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on 18 February 2009
As far as I am concerned, this is the epitome of 4th edition. This book contains loads of game information, and is intended to actually be used at the gaming table, where a lot of extraneous information would just be confusing and time consuming. It does not give a lot of information about ecology or sociology. What it does give is easy-to-use, quickly readable game pieces. If this is what you want, the book rocks.
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on 25 December 2010
I recently bought this of ebay in the 4th Edition Core Rulebook Gift Set (Dungeons & Dragons Core Rulebooks) for £20 and I think this is a wonderful book that compliments the Dungeon Master's Guide: A 4th Edition Core Rulebook (D&d Core Rulebook) (Dungeons & Dragons) and the Player's Handbook: A 4th Edition Core Rulebook: 1 (D&d Core Rulebook) (Dungeons & Dragons).

maybe to your suprise after giving this book a 5-star rating, I wouldn't recommend it as sooner or later you will need to buy the other 2.If you already have the other 2 good for you, buy this now, but if you don't I would recomend getting the 4th Edition Core Rulebook Gift Set (Dungeons & Dragons Core Rulebooks), this is a truly remarkable set and stands out among the various versions and editions.

my personal favourite oponent is the kobold minion because it only has 1 hit point and that means you don't have to keep record.

one note i feel i must point out is that depending on the size of your group the scenarios can be murderous so you might want to relive your players of some difficulty by changing enemies or removing them.

this book is brilliant with good detail on all monsters and it's well indexed making it a brilliant buy and a deffinate 5-star product for and DM of player but I still recommend the 4th Edition Core Rulebook Gift Set (Dungeons & Dragons Core Rulebooks).
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on 20 June 2008
The new Monster Manual for D&D 4e, continues the effort of making life for the DM simpler. It provides the game information for a variety of monsters, focusing on their role within encounters allowing the DM to concentrate on plot and DM'ing. The big change between this and the two previous editions is the distinct lack of fluff in descriptions of the monsters. This may be disconcerting to some buyers, but personally I prefer it this way. It puts less restrictions on the DM's creativity as the DM can then place the monsters in a variety of ecological niches and within more interesting social structures.
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on 22 September 2014
Physically, this is high production quality; I've had it for something like 2 years and gone through it a lot and it's still in like-new condition. The art is all great too; everything really gives the monsters a real character. There's a lot of focus on Orcus (being the main antagonist of 4th edition's primary set of published adventures) and I really like the way each monster gets a bunch of variants so that you can make an encounter full of, say, kobolds, while still having a lot of diversity in the enemies (minions, spellcasters, warriors, etc). On that note, the concept of a "minion" (a monster that dies with one hit but has normal stats otherwise) is pretty neat-o and allows for some cool encounters where you can throw wave after wave of enemies at the party while not having it be too overwhelming. The wizard in your party will get a rare moment of badassery when he or she wipes out a bunch of enemies in one attack. I also like how each monster gets a set of points of lore that a PC can recall if they roll high enough on a given knowledge skill - a decent roll allows their character to be passingly familiar with certain points of interest, and higher rolls get rewarded with more obscure (and pretty useful) knowledge. It doesn't look like minions or lore points will make it into the 5th edition Monster Manual (it's not out yet for a few more days so I could be wrong), so that's something that 4th edition has over 5th. Nevertheless, so far, 5th edition looks to be a better ruleset overall and so you might be better off investing in that instead, assuming you haven't already committed to sticking with 4th edition. If you have, then this is by far the best of the 4th ed monster manuals, covering pretty much all the most important enemies your players are likely to face - dragons, beholders, kobolds, gith, yuan-ti, zombies, vampires, angels, demons... good stuff.

Loses a star for being part of the otherwise-disappointing 4th edition, but still great as monster manuals go.
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on 23 August 2008
A very useful monster manual that has the data displayed in a concise and easy to use manner. Monsters listed from A to Z makes for finding monsters fast and easy and the statistics block lists their relevant stats from their role in combat to their actual characteristic statistics (want to know what a kobolds' dexterity and wisdom is?). What the monsters powers are and what are the effects are listed in it's stat block and what players would know upon passing a lore check is presented in bite sized chunks of information. This shifts the emphasis from giving the DM a wonderful back story that they may or not enjoy to actually helping defining and letting a player in on the fun by having a mechanic to show just what their character would know in game about the monsters. Also given is it's level and role to help DMs better understand their function in a fight and encounter group helps a DM determine what a party should face.

Also listed are the tactics that monsters would use are mentioned as well alongside a full colour illustration. At the back a glossary and a listing of monsters by level and a useful racial traits used for npc or possible pc races if the DM permits it. My dislikes for this book are the use of symbols for attack powers, they seem a bit small to see and not distinct enough for my liking. Monster descriptions some are brief but all have a full colour illustration. This stops the problem of some things being overwritten and when you look at the page the stat block which a DM needs in a game quickly is there but some entries like the Beholder seem a bit too short. It does have a wonderful full page illustration but more information on it would be nice for new referees to have. The art in this book is very relevant in describing what a monster looks like and seems to be a way of saving on text space with descriptions.
Having used this manual to run a game it is very good at providing when the relevant information is needed fast.
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on 22 December 2008
Pretty good book, decent condition and will provide hours if not weeks of interesting reading.
Prompt delivery makes it higher by my standards as we are talking the christmas rush here so all in all not bad at all and I was more or less in the pathfinder camp for much of the time since 4e was announced.
A necessary addition if you want to run the game although if you want a taster take a look at the starter set but not if you to run the whole thing.
Take care and all the best!
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on 19 June 2008
After being impressed by Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition and the following 3.5 update I'm very dissapointed by 4th edition.

The art is very good as usual, since Wizard of the Coast has a lot of talented artists, so you won't have any problem with that. Lots of nice eye-candy indeed!

I agree with all the points in the previous review by Simon Allen. This book is definitely missing something. It's basically a text book with mainly statistics and maybe a couple of sentences about the creature itself. Take the beholder for example. Here's a short summary:

Stat block {} Eye of flame. Covers ~60% of the page
Tactics: Three sentences each for two different kinds of beholder.
Lore: 9 small sentences about beholder lore.
Stat block {} Eye Tyrant (Solo creature). Covers ~80% of the page
Encounter group: 6 sentences

This all there is about the beholder. All the info on this creature is on one page, the next page has a full-page picture of two beholders. Almost all creatures have their pictures on the same page as their stat block(s). As you can easily see this doesn't give a good picture of a beholder at all, except as a large piece of numbers and letters. This goes on for all the other creatures. In my opinion I don't really have to say anything more to prove my point. The reliance on stat blocks to show all the info makes this book look like an index for monsters in a trading card game or something.

This review is based on a thorough read-through at a gamestore, and I'm glad I read through it, because I won't be buying this one.
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on 15 June 2008
I think we all expected Wizards to milk their new edition of the rules with a whole new suite of supplemental books, but I felt really let down with this. People are going to have to start throwing big cash at this game to get what they had in their hands from the three core books of previous editions.

Whilst the artwork and presentation can't really be faulted, the descriptions are sometimes very brief and oriented primarily towards combat. No ecology, no behaviourial or social traits, seem to take away some of the roleplaying possibilities. The tone of the text, like the other two books, suggests very much a younger target group. The 3.5 edition had a certain balanced maturity to its writing style that would not phase a mature gamer, but I expect this will be cause for complaint.

However, this is not my main gripe. There are huge gaps in monsters presented here that have been integral in the game since the beginning. No metallic dragons (only chromatic) and many of the the giant species (scorpions, ants, centipedes) that traditionally formed many of the challenges at lower level are just not there.

There is a section at the back which presents a selection of statistics for use in character generation, but those used to the level adjustment in 3.5 will probably not find these easy to get on with. Is a 1st level 7'5" 350lb minotaur really balanced with other 1st level characters? Why do none of the races in the whole game have negative adjustments to their statistics? Everyone is pimped up! Was not Warforged promised as a core race in D&D 4 Characters & Classes, but has now been demoted to a short paragraph here?

It also seems that for most of the stats presented in the Monster Manual, unless you are around 10th level, you are going to get kicked around. Although with the new self healing phenomenon you don't need to worry about dying ;) The variety here is limited - you will be fighting zombies and goblins for quite a while. How about a giant scorpion huh?

The idea of updating the game is well appreciated, but pages are wasted here with rather abstract 'gibbering horror mound' type villains that will have no real part in many roleplayng campaigns.

I will stick to Pathfinder for the moment. Hopefully I will be persuaded by the new web tools to take more interest. Do we have to pay for those by the way?

Maybe I'll leave this in the dentist's waiting room, as it's not a bad at a glance.
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on 7 May 2014
Seller dispatched promptly with no fuss. The book itself has huge amounts of stat details for various in game monsters, as well as page references in tables at the back based on level and class (which allows for a much easier construction of random encounters). If you're playing 4th edition dungeons and dragons this is a much needed book on the part of the GM
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on 26 November 2008
Provides all the details needed to throw hundreds of monsters against your players. This book embraces its purpose as a list of encounters, it throws out all pretence of creating a magical ecosystem and focuses on what is important. What the monster is called, weather or not it is trying to eat the party members and how it goes about doing so.
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