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     " No more will we confuse the Ogre for the Ooze or the Nightwalker for the Nymph (although that could just be Dungapult's weird fetish…)! "

      Title: Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual 3.5 by Wizards of the Coast

      Format: A revised core book for Dungeons and Dragons

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: All right, sure D&D is all about the heroic exploits of a band of hapless ragamuffins. I ask you though, how heroic would they be without villains and critters to face, hmm? The grand adventures of Billy the Talkative? Come on, we all know that stuff doesn't fly. That's why we've got the Monster Manual, and with the new edition of D&D, so comes the core rulebook revised: Monster Manual 3.5. Read on, my monkeys, since you only get experience points after you slay the review beast…

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Story and Drama: Deep in the recesses of the Cave of Crapius Monstercus, lived a poor sad creature with no friends. All he had was a little round bit that had fallen in his lap one day. He decided to name the round bit "Precious." The critter and Precious had many adventures, most of which involved weasels, ice cream, small reptiles, algebraic equations, or all of the above. This is the tale of their heroic adventures, until it all ended with the death of Precious due to a freak accident with an electric ice cream scoop… Okay, so it's actually just a list of monsters. They do however give you lots of neat information on the society and ways of the various more personable critters in the worlds. Don't worry; none of it is specific enough to limit you in any way. These critters will work in whatever D&D world your little heart can dream up. 2.5 out of 5 (bonus points given because my story was cool…)

      Layout and Presentation: There are a big pack of monsters. These monsters have names. These names are arranged in the order of an archaic character driven language… The sages refer to it as "Alphabetical" order. I like to call it "Pardimical" order, but nobody listens to me (and with good reason…). Anyway, the monsters are all there, each with some convenient artwork to illustrate what exactly these beasts of fancy and whimsy look like. Added into this book is a nice little subtitle to the pictures to tell you exactly what you're looking at. No more will we confuse the Ogre for the Ooze or the Nightwalker for the Nymph (although that could just be Dungapult's weird fetish…)! It actually is nice in some of the group listings where it can be hard to tell. Otherwise the layout and presentation is just the same as the last Monsters Manual. 4 out of 5

      Playability: Well, as mentioned above, these critters aren't world specific, so you can stick them pretty much anywhere. More over this book helps out some of those of you who have been playing for a long damn time. Now the book has a lot more high-level versions of the monsters, thus allowing the book to remain useful past level 10-15 (where the previous book had a bit of a failing). They've changed some rules on us. Most significant is that they've gotten rid of the "beast" type of monster, as well as retooling some of the other monster types. Nothing that makes the game unplayable, as a matter of fact, it further streamlines what was already a fairly streamlined system. In the end, it's equally as playable as its predecessor was. 4.5 out of 5

      Desired Content: They did quite a bit for this book and it received the second most help besides the Players HB. The biggest thing, to my mind, are the more in depth rules for making monster characters. Now within the monster descriptions you will find all the information you need to change a monster from a random grunt running around in the wilderness into a full fledged hero. That's right, bee-otches, phear my level 20 Minotaur bard! He plays the banjo! One thing that Wizards did drop the ball on was monster tactics. We were promised an in-depth look into the inner workings of monster's minds…but beyond the Pit Fiend, which was their demo, we got nothing. Disappointing, but forgivable. There are also more monsters in here than in the last version, collected from the few places that haven't already been ravaged for monsters to convert to D20 (and the sources are getting pretty damned low, let me tell you). They've retooled monster feats and skills to make it easier to create your own brand of monster, and to modify monsters that exist for your own insidious reasons. It's well done all around. 4.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Everyone wants to know, with this 3.5 edition: Is it worth it to buy the same book over again? Well speaking for the Monster Manual, I will say definitely. Not only will it spice up your characters with monstrous flair, it will make it easier for you to turn those monsters that are listed into something unique. And besides, there are more of them. And really, all we gamers are looking for is new and exciting places to stick our swords…

      The Good: More monsters, better customization options.

      The Bad: No monster strategies.

      The Overall Ugly: You got that, right? New and exciting places to stick our swords? Right… I'll go now…

      What it's Worth: To create a book of Monster Manual will cost a fair market price and 250 XP.

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