1. Mattwandcow
    January 29, 2018 @ 2:06 pm

    Man, I need to take some art classes so I can be part of such a project. I think that would be really cool.

    I do like what 5e has done with monster manuals, but I want to emphasize one book in particular: Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Sure, 5e monsters have a dollop of lore, but VGM has like 13 pages each dedicated to the lore of a handful of specific iconic monsters. Every page of it makes me want to run a story, from a beholder having night terrors, to a complicated dealings with kobold intrigue.

    I think, out of all the additional MMs for the various editions, Volo’s is the only one with a big enough difference in presentation to mention it


    • Chris
      January 29, 2018 @ 2:21 pm

      I was going to cover Volo’s, but in the end I decided that these two posts were getting too long and that it doesn’t really do anything notably different in the actual presentation of the monsters to the MM. Having a ton more lore is fantastic – I’ve mentioned before how much I used to love the “Ecology of…” articles in Dragon, so having what is essentially a whole book of that was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to see!

      Presentation-wise, though, it’s still organised alphabetically with no real tools to aid discovery of new monsters that you aren’t already familiar with beyond looking for unfamiliar names in the Index and going to their entry. It’s a fantastic book to sit and read – especially the first section that deals almost exclusively with fluff rather than crunch – but I still think there are improvements to be made with regard to functionality.

      And yeah, I wish I had the art chops to pull off a project like the one I mentioned. That would make life much easier (and cheaper) for me!


  2. Luke
    February 4, 2018 @ 11:38 am

    Loving the ideas in here Chris.

    I love the idea of a premium coffee table monster manual. I do actually own several coffee table books of fantasy art with a lot of monster illustrations in. You are right it would be a niche market but I definitely think there IS a market for that kind of product.

    Your idea of icons to quickly and obviously identify environment and CR are brilliant. Simple ideas, but so brilliantly helpful I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it like that.

    Some really good innovative ideas here for genuinely improving the quality of RPG products.

    BTW your new plan of less frequent but more in depth articles really seems to be working for you. Loving the content so far this year.


    • Chris
      February 5, 2018 @ 11:38 am

      Thanks Luke, I really appreciate that! Glad to know you think this is a good idea, too. I’m currently putting plans together to get this thing to Kickstarter later in the year (or to figure out how to do it without having to rely on crowdfunding), so we’ll see what happens! Glad to hear that the new schedule is working for you, too!


  3. Dennis Payne
    March 14, 2018 @ 8:17 pm

    Very interesting. As a programmer, my thought is that the best format is a database I can search. 4E has the D&D Insider compendium which you could search easily. However, they didn’t have environment information. I started building one for 4E but didn’t get around to implmenting enough:



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