It may seem hard to believe, but Monster Manual V really
is the fifth book of monsters released by Wizards of the Coast. Filled with new
monsters and new takes on some old favorites, Monster Manual V offers something
for every Game Master. Couple that with a smattering of new feats, eleven new templates
and a new spell, and updating existing monsters with a new twist is an easy task as well.
For the players, Monster Manual V offers a new race, the Jaebrin, new mounts and
companion creatures, creatable creatures (either with create undead or new constructs)
and a few new items.
Each creature entry contains a brief description of the creatures appearance, a stat
block of a basic version of the creature, strategies and tactics the creature uses
in combat, a sample encounter, ecology and society, sample lairs (if applicable),
typical treasure, information for playing the creature as a character (if applicable)
examples of how the creature advances with class levels and advanced versions of the
creature (if the applicable), any applicable information
for player characters (if applicable) and conversion notes for Eberron and Forgotten
Realms campaign settings. Each section also contains a Lore sidebar that can be used
by the Game Master to provide the information about the creature to the players with
the appropriate knowledge skill checks.
For Game Masters, the information provided in the stat block, strategy and tactics,
and sample encounters facilitate dropping a new creature into an adventure with minimal
effort. The ecology, society, and lore sections make a handy reference if the creature
is slated to make multiple appearances in the campaign. The typical treasure section
makes customizing the treasure carried by the creature a simple task as well, and makes
the creature stand out in the minds of the players. Finally, the conversion notes
for Eberron and Forgotten Realms will be extremely helpful for Game Masters running
adventures in those settings.
For the players, the information provided in the Creatures As Characters and For Player
Characters are of the most use. If a player is looking for something new and unusual to
play, the Jaebrin, Xorvintaal Exarch template, or Hobgoblin variants might serve as a
good choice. The For Player Characters section contains information on using the
creature as a mount, companion, summonable or creatable creatures and other
miscellaneous entries such as what the players can do with the liquid remains of a
Perhaps the single most interesting entry in Monster Manual V is the Xorvintaal
entries. Xorvintaal, a draconic word meaning "great game", describes a manner with
which a Game Master can create unique dragons that can in turn recruit the player
characters to help out in the great game, but bestow upon the character the Xorvintaal
template. Besides describing Xorvintaal, the newest manual also describes new options
for the dragons participating in the great game that may foreshadow some of the changes
coming with the 4th Edition rules.
With creatures ranging from a Challenge Rating of 1/2 to 26, and at least one creature
for every environment, Monster Manual V makes a handy addition to any Game
Masters library of monsters. Couple that with the extensive information for players and
even those who sit in the players' chairs will find the book a helpful resource to
increase their enjoyment in Dungeons and Dragons.