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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Monster Vault by Rodney Thompson. Matthew Sernett. Logan Bonner. The monsters described herein are designed to be easy for Dungeon Masters to use and fun for players to fight. In addition to combat statistics, each monster entry comes with story information to help DMs incorporate the monsters into their adventures and campaigns. Dungeon Masters can easily incorporate the adventure into their ongoing campaigns. Get A Copy.

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Monster Vault: An Essential Dungeons & Dragons Kit

Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 30, James Bowman rated it really liked it Shelves: owned , dnd , rpg. The book: Starts off with an overview of the general rules for running monsters in 4E, then goes into the monsters proper.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition D&D D+D 4e Essentials Monster Vault Box Set

The selection of monsters is solid, covering both general fantasy creatures dragons, orcs, vampires, etc. Each monster entry also includes a number of variants, allowing for more diverse enemy groups or for different types of challenges or both. As for the monster statblocks themselves, they do an efficient job of laying out all of their options, often with evocative power names - though occasionally they can be dry reads for anyone not interested in tactical minutiae.

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I also found certain power descriptions especially area attacks lacking. Natural language sometimes beats efficiency. Notes on specific monsters mostly on how they differ from other editions : view spoiler [ - In other editions, angels are beings of cosmic good. In 4E, they were created by the gods to fight for them, but they otherwise don't have any particular morality. This makes them more flexible, even mercenary In 4E, they are elemental counterparts of angels, but also wholly chaotic evil - though like angels, they're basically mercenaries. They unfortunately also had some of the least interesting powers, if you want more than tactical stuff.

Devils have a different motive than other editions, however, as they corrupt creation to gain revenge on the gods that cursed them. Neither entry mentions the Blood War between demons and devils, from other editions. I wonder if this might have been an attempt to make them more of a counterpoint to drow, who have demonic ties. Hydras and ropers were also spawned from primordials in 4E. I gather the same thing happened early in 4E. I gather these were lifted from the Eberron setting. Why they felt the need to emphasize that, not sure.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 4th Edition D&D D+D 4e Essentials Monster Vault Box Set - $ | PicClick

I particularly liked the blazing skeleton and tomb guardian though you have to look carefully at the statblock to realize it's the four-armed skeleton in the illustration. They're created not from the body or soul of a slain creature, but its animating will, or "animus". This seems to be true of many 4E undead. If you resurrect the person the wraith rose from, the wraith continues to exist, as the now-living person gets a new animus.

Naturally, the wraith really hates its former host That is the stuff that makes the Nentir Vale work on a day to day basis, and I am interested in it. Would it be like reading a history book? This is the stuff that I want to read and that inspires me to new and different stories in my games. The groups and creatures described in this product are all either villainous or, at best, neutral. When I look for inspiration I often look not just for villainous traits and unsavory enemies, I look also for groups that could become helpful allies to the PCs. I look for organizations that could form interesting ties with other groups, providing opportunities for the PCs to do more than hunt down evil and destroy it.

To its credit, there are several neutral type groups in here that could be, with just a small bit of fiddling, useful to the PCs rather than all-out enemies.

ISBN 9780786956319

There are also a couple of interesting historical bits that could be exploited. Example: The Treant civil war described on page Imagine the party having to decide which side to take in that war. On the other hand, perhaps the party is hired or is the only group strong enough to broker a peace treaty before the next Treant war breaks out. This creates much work for the DM, but could be very rewarding.

Having more neutral and good organizations and groups described would help with this type of planning. Perhaps there is a group of wise wood elves that has maintained a relationship with two groups of Treants through the years and is respected by them — outlining that group might allow for a point of contact between the PCs and the Treants. The DM would have to do all the work in this case, since no group like that is described in the book. This is a good product that stays true to its name. It is more than a catalogue of threats, though, as it does go a long way to flesh out the Nentir Vale.

If you like monster manual type products and also like to hear the backstory and legends surrounding groups, then this book is for you. This product offers no clue to the direction the game is heading. So is this an essentials product or a classic 4e product?

"dungeon and dragons essentials"

Two quotes from the product:. It also makes reference to the Rules Compendium game supplement, which gathers and codifies the complete 4th edition game rules. You do not need any of the abovementioned resources to use Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale. The updated format, explained on the following four pages, is designed to make it easier for Dungeon Masters to run monsters in combat. So… it is in-between? Like I said, no clue to the direction of the system. Perhaps they are right, which is why I put this at the end and not in the review proper.

I still think it is worth mentioning, though, as thing of interest to anyone who plays the game. I like it when the releases for a system support and mesh well with other releases for a system. This is a great product, but one that gives me no idea where they are going next, with the system as a whole or with the Nentir Vale as a setting. He plays all manner of role-playing games and boardgames and continues to learn new games all the time and new things about old games, too. He lives in Upstate New York with his wife and their game collection.

Nice Review. You may have made up my mind about getting this product. Why is there any confusion about the direction of 4E?

Dungeons and Dragons "Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale" unboxing

Essentials are now the perpetual product, so everything that comes after Essentials is going to say it is for use with those products. I do not agree with that. I do think that Essentials is something separate — the design philosophy has changed and that has changed the way new developments are implemented and added to the system.

This means that the more products released under the Essentials design philosophy, the further away we get from the classic 4e system.


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  • It feels different to me in the same way that 2e felt different from 1e. Perhaps it is just the old player in me, but it is different. Look, I am one of those people that knows I have enough role-playing books to last me for the rest of my life. Everything from here on out will be Essentials style. So, why do I make comments and ask questions about the direction of the game? Ugh — all Essentials did was add a marketing label to the continual design and development that has been happening in 4E since before the first PHB hit the shelves.

    I for one am glad that the Design and Development teams have been expanding on character construction options — as opposed to being strictly bound to the Character Advancement table on page 29 of the PHB. I really wish that players, DMs, bloggers, tweeters… etc would worry a lot less about marketing, branding, and labeling, and more about smashing monsters and telling stories.

    I do agree that we should play the game we want and have fun! Thanks for the review Sam. Ive picked up just about new release this year even though it just sits on my shelf not being used because of my limited time to dedicate to gaming anymore. So the in depth review is very helpful as Ive just skimmed the books and what not of what Ive bought. I think that by breaking away from that structure gives the developers a chance to make the classes play and feel much different from one another. While I really enjoyed the highly complex combat of 4E in the beginning, as the years have gone by, all the interrupts and book-keeping of some of the original classes and monsters start to grate on me, to the point where I have a harder and harder time understanding why anyone would hold onto them to the exclusion of anything new.