This past week another edition of the Monster Manual released, this one with a shiny new stat block for the monsters, new math under the hood for some of the monsters, and a new way to present the “fluff” or story for the monsters. Is it a must have? I think it may be, unless you really don’t value having the lore and descriptions that accompany the monsters. If only a stat block fills your need, then sure, wait for the Compendium update on DDI, but I think that’s a bad move.
The new stat block is fantastic, and I really wish it would have been the standard stat block for 4e monsters from the start.
You see how the stat block has divided the monster actions into different sections? That seems like a no-brainer that should have been the way from the start. Kudos to the developers for continuing to find innovative ways to make the DM’s job easier, the greatest 4e strength of all. My question now is, will all the compendium monsters get this revision? It’ll be interesting to see.
Now here is the Mimic’s presentation:
The legend seems little more than a joke when told across a tavern table: A chest of treasure in the
deepest recesses of a dungeon suddenly transforms into a monstrosity, attacking those who had been
set to loot it a moment earlier. The adventurers who know the true origin of the mimic do not laugh at its
Arcana DC 19: For countless ages, these creatures of the Far Realm have assumed apparently
harmless forms, infiltrated settled lands, and hunted sentient humanoids. Impersonator mimics absorb the language and memories of the creatures they devour, sometimes carrying on the victim’s life as normal while scouting for new prey. As an impersonator kills, it eventually splits into new object mimics and mimic spawn, which mature to become impersonator mimics and continue the cycle.
Mimics ally with few creatures other than their own kind and more powerful aberrant monsters. How·
ever, mimics in the world and in the Underdark can form a kind of symbiotic relationship with other
creatures. Mimics sometimes inhabit the lairs of constructs or incorporeal undead, lurking within the
shadows to devour the remains of victims that those monsters cannot consume. Dragons and other powerful creatures sometimes keep object mimics to guard their treasure in return for a steady diet of intruders and explorers.
The encounters paragraph replaces the MM1 and MM2 style of pairing up the monsters with other monsters, and handing you a ready to run encounter. Here, the mix in some fluff and descriptions, giving you the basic idea of who the Mimic would align with, without doing the work for you. I like this a lot better.
And what about that new math I mentioned? Here’s what author Greg Bilsland had to say to Critical-Hits in a recently published interview:
Critical Hits: With the Monster Manual 2 we saw changes to the design of Solos and Minions. What sort of design changes were behind the MM3?
Greg Bilsland: Monster Manual 3 has some significant changes to monster accuracy and damage. We decided during the development process to look at whether monsters were threatening PCs. We concluded that PCs were, in many cases, killing monsters so fast that the monsters were not challenging the characters. To that effect, we increased monster damage output by about 30-40%.
I think the MM3 may be the best one yet. One thing I love about it is that at the early heroic levels, the book doesn’t just fill itself out with the typical goblins, orcs and kobolds, but instead fills the games with other bunches of creatures. Oh, and we finally have “true” elementals in 4e, a welcome addition. Also, keep your out out for the Gremlin, a heroic and mid-Paragon critter. Once you see him tell me if he wasn’t inspired by the movie, at least as far as the artwork is concerned! It says nothing about wetting them or feeding them after midnight.
So in closing, yes, the MM3 is a must have. But why take my word for it? Here’s a fantastic review from Neuroglyph Games.
EDIT: It is worth noting, and upon a further, closer inspection, that the book suffers from the dreaded “See Pg. XX” issue. Not a big deal, but it does come up a few times. I thought I should mention that.