Monster Manual is amazing and Trapdoor beta starts next week


4th Edition

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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

To be frank though, that doesn't sound like a bad idea, just bad implementation.

Irrespective, without any specific insight into WotC development processes, it doesn't seem to me to be the kind of thing they'd do now.


Legendarius wrote:
If the new tools allow me to basically assemble the stat blocks I need for an adventure I am running into a text file/Word doc/PDF/etc. that will be all I need to create an encounter book to print out at the table or use electronically on my tablet. I fully expect this time with 5E we'll get there with tools in a way we never have in the previous editions. I also guarantee it won't be done fast enough to make a lot of people happy. My guess at the moment is we'll have our 75% solution by summer 2015.

I hope you're right. I'll settle for a searchable e-book of the PHB and a printable character creator at the moment. Based on Trapdoor's steady removal of content from the launch product and delaying more and more components, I get the impression that Trapdoor has bitten off more than it can chew.

I also suspect that WotC has some...let's say 'unrealistic' expectations on pricing. Trapdoor has still not released any pricing information, and has said as recently as a week ago that they're still working on pricing with WotC. If Dungeonscape does everything it promises on the player side of things, I think $20 per rulebook is a fair price. The PHB portion is basically an e-book plus character creator and rules lookup. $20 is about what you pay for the same content in Pathfinder: $10 for a pdf of your typical Pathfinder HC rulebook and $10 for the herolab data of the same book. It wouldn't surprise me if WotC wants to charge us $50 twice for each book, though.

[Unrelated correction to an earlier post: I referred to the origins of Yugoloths being related to Modrons, but I realize now that I was thinking of the origin of Slaads. I hereby surrender my nerd card]

Shadow Lodge

No No NO! to binders. I vastly prefer actual books. Preferably hardcover.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I don't think you need to worry - I'm pretty confident that the chance of WotC's development team coming to this thread to gauge the market is statistically equivalent to zero.

Scarab Sages

The old binders were inefficient, because you'd run into situations where you'd have a monster on either side of the page. It would throw sorting by name off. If they went a smaller page size and committed to one monster per sheet, maybe it would be feasible....though you'd run into issues of binder size for people who have only one set versus those who get all of them.

I'm hoping Dungeonscape will just seamlessly add monsters to your own personal collection as you buy them and then auto-sort everything. Supporting tags for creatures would be enormously useful as well, such as built-in tags based on creature type, terrain, and even campaign world. Of course, custom tags would be useful too.


BAM had a big ole' stack of monster manuals on my visit today, and I had a chance to briefly peruse the book

Anyway, I love the organization of the new book, which feels improved over 4E and 3E. The Layout is great, the art is pretty decent, and there is some fairly nice detail in most of the ecologies. I haven't done much with 5E rules yet, so didn't focuse on the stat blocks, but it seems like the lair stuff is quite nice.

I disagree with someone else on another thread that the art is less cartoony than Pathfinder, which is why I said it's pretty decent, not great. There is a cartoon quality to some monsters, and I noticed a tendency for the torso and feet to sometimes be strangely proportioned. Still, most of the art is fine.

From what I glanced through, the design and flavor of monsters wasn't radically changed. There were a few points here and there. For instance, the Aboleth look a bit more "wormy", while the Sahuagin have...humanoid noses. Which really weirds me out.

There is a lot of flavor here, more so I think that 3E, 4E, and maybe even Pathfinder. For instance, demons get a big intro section. There also continue to be nods to 2E and before: for instance there is a table of demons by type (e.g. type 1, type 2, etc)

anyway my opinions continue to improve for 5E, and I will be interested in seeing their 2015 release schedule.


My thoughts on the MM are posted here, for those interested: Monsters! RAR!. Short version: I like it. ;)

-The Gneech


John Robey wrote:

My thoughts on the MM are posted here, for those interested: Monsters! RAR!. Short version: I like it. ;)

-The Gneech

I got mine the other night and my feelings match yours fairly closely. In particular I liked this comment you made:

"It’s not without its quirks, of course. Many of the creatures I find the most interesting have been shunted off into “Appendix A: Miscellaneous Creatures,” by which they basically mean “beasts.” But since the category includes such staples as blink dogs, giant spiders, worgs, and all of the swarms, you’d think they’d merit a little more respect."

I don't mind them having a simple, low/no art appendix that covers all of the real world animals and vermin, their giant sized cousins or swarms of the same kind of creatures. I didn't like that blink dogs and worgs to use your example ended up here since those are more intelligent/magical creatures and deserved a full writeup. Also, I found it odd that Appendix A chose to not group like creatures. The main body of the book put all demons in one section for example. But in the appendix rat is under R but giant rat is under G. This was also done for creatures in the free basic PDF. Not a show stopper of course, but what was the reasoning for this?

Overall I really like the artwork and layout and the same nice construction quality as the PHB. I haven't had time to really dig into the stat blocks much myself but will soon.


What the hell is Trapdoor? Or Dungeonscape?


Trapdoor is the company that is creating Dungeonscape. As far as what Dungeonscape is, my only guess is something similar to D&D Insider, the subscription service they had up for their 4th edition run. I could be completely wrong on that part, though.

Sovereign Court

Speaking of Dungeonscape is it going to be an all or nothing subscription service?


Pan wrote:
Speaking of Dungeonscape is it going to be an all or nothing subscription service?

Not exactly - it's a la carte pricing, and once you buy the content, it never expires, but it will still be DRMed up the wazoo and use cloud verification, so If trapdoor goes under and the cloud verification goes away, there's a good chance that the content will become unusable without it.


Southeast Jerome wrote:
Pan wrote:
Speaking of Dungeonscape is it going to be an all or nothing subscription service?
Not exactly - it's a la carte pricing, and once you buy the content, it never expires, but it will still be DRMed up the wazoo and use cloud verification, so If trapdoor goes under and the cloud verification goes away, there's a good chance that the content will become unusable without it.

And that is my biggest problem with digital distribution, and why I prefer physical products. Now, if this was Wizards of the Coast in house creation, I would have a bit more faith. It is why I don't buy things off Steam (except 1 game) or even Amazon (unless it is a physical product). Of course, I am a bit paranoid with stuff like that.


got my hard copy, love it

Liberty's Edge

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
What the hell is Trapdoor? Or Dungeonscape?

DungeonScape is the D&D 5E eletronic tools currently in beta testing.

Dark Archive

1. Love the new MM. Top notch, as was the PHB. The MM could be better indexed by CR, and the art slips every once in a while (Owlbear esp., which is strange, I would think that would be a gimme for a fantasy illustrator).

2. Please, in the name of all that is holy (or at least hallowed), no binders. Seriously.

3. Looking forward to the DMG big time.


I'm about halfway through reading the MM cover to cover, and so far it's pretty fantastic. I do have one gripe, and that's in the dinosaur section. Whichever one of the developers came up with the stats for Allosaurus critically failed their Intelligence (Nature) check. Allosaurus was a huge critter, almost as powerful as T-rex. The Allosaurus stats in the book look like they were intended for something more like an Deinonychus. For Allosaurus I'd just drop 1 HD and 1 STR from T-rex and call it done.

Apart from that and some of the art, I'm very happy with this book.

<edit> Also, put me down as a "No Binders" vote.


Adjule wrote:
And that is my biggest problem with digital distribution, and why I prefer physical products. Now, if this was Wizards of the Coast in house creation, I would have a bit more faith. It is why I don't buy things off Steam (except 1 game) or even Amazon (unless it is a physical product). Of course, I am a bit paranoid with stuff like that.

You are not alone. One of the reasons I love my HeroLab tool is that once I pay for the content, it is downloaded to my computer and works regardless of my connected status. Even if Lone Wolf folded, I would at least still be able to use what I already paid for.


danielc wrote:
Adjule wrote:
And that is my biggest problem with digital distribution, and why I prefer physical products. Now, if this was Wizards of the Coast in house creation, I would have a bit more faith. It is why I don't buy things off Steam (except 1 game) or even Amazon (unless it is a physical product). Of course, I am a bit paranoid with stuff like that.
You are not alone. One of the reasons I love my HeroLab tool is that once I pay for the content, it is downloaded to my computer and works regardless of my connected status. Even if Lone Wolf folded, I would at least still be able to use what I already paid for.

Unless after they folded, you somehow lost the program when switching to a brand new computer and forgot to transfer it over. I have done that before, and it sucks. Yes, this is an event that isn't likely to happen, but there is always the chance. In the "Do you think you will switch" thread, something similar happened to people. Some bought pdfs of WotC products. They were taken down, and now those people do not have access to what they paid for, except on the devices they were already downloaded upon, until the day when those devices are no longer used or they crap out. In which case, those people wasted that money.

I am paranoid when it comes to things I spend my money on. Especially with the amount some things cost. Sure, physical copies take up a lot more room and weigh even more, But their existance isn't dependant upon a company's continued existance. I do hate when things go out of print, though. Again, I am probably just more paranoid about such things than other people.

Shadow Lodge

Adjule wrote:

Unless after they folded, you somehow lost the program when switching to a brand new computer and forgot to transfer it over. I have done that before, and it sucks. Yes, this is an event that isn't likely to happen, but there is always the chance. In the "Do you think you will switch" thread, something similar happened to people. Some bought pdfs of WotC products. They were taken down, and now those people do not have access to what they paid for, except on the devices they were already downloaded upon, until the day when those devices are no longer used or they crap out. In which case, those people wasted that money.

I am paranoid when it comes to things I spend my money on. Especially with the amount some things cost. Sure, physical copies take up a lot more room and weigh even more, But their existance isn't dependant upon a company's continued existance. I do hate when things go out of print, though. Again, I am probably just more paranoid about such things than other people.

Ever heard of making a backup?


Kthulhu wrote:
Adjule wrote:

Unless after they folded, you somehow lost the program when switching to a brand new computer and forgot to transfer it over. I have done that before, and it sucks. Yes, this is an event that isn't likely to happen, but there is always the chance. In the "Do you think you will switch" thread, something similar happened to people. Some bought pdfs of WotC products. They were taken down, and now those people do not have access to what they paid for, except on the devices they were already downloaded upon, until the day when those devices are no longer used or they crap out. In which case, those people wasted that money.

I am paranoid when it comes to things I spend my money on. Especially with the amount some things cost. Sure, physical copies take up a lot more room and weigh even more, But their existance isn't dependant upon a company's continued existance. I do hate when things go out of print, though. Again, I am probably just more paranoid about such things than other people.

Ever heard of making a backup?

No, I have never heard of such a thing. What exactly is this "making a backup" of which you speak?

Yes, I have made backups, but I have had too many bad experiences with crappy electronics that have completely died to ever trust digital items again. And no, it was from no fault of my own, but s!@@ty manufacturing of the devices. I am not saying anyone who does like the digital stuff is "doing it wrong and should feel bad", I am just saying that I feel it is not the greatest thing for me. You like pdfs? Great for you. I prefer physical books or movies or games. I don't care either way about music, as I haven't paid for any music since Weird Al came out with Straight Outta Lynwood back in 2006. I listen to Spotify for free, and that's how I get my music.

Scarab Sages

Kthulhu wrote:
Ever heard of making a backup?

For some people (not me), downloading the file again from DTRPG cloud was their backup. There would have been far less complaining if more than a week's time was given, because it was near impossible to process much during that week.

Dark Archive

Seems Wizards luck with digital is continuing in this edition

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?740929-DungeonScape-s-Current-Form-is-D ead

Liberty's Edge

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Digital is dead. But the Monster Manual for 5E is still great. I can continue to use pencils, paper, and dice. 5E isn't so complex that it really cries out for digital tools anyway.


Kevin Mack wrote:

Seems Wizards luck with digital is continuing in this edition

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?740929-DungeonScape-s-Current-Form-is-D ead

It isn't bad luck. It is simple incompetence.


Charlie D. wrote:
Digital is dead. But the Monster Manual for 5E is still great. I can continue to use pencils, paper, and dice. 5E isn't so complex that it really cries out for digital tools anyway.

I do like the Monster Manual a lot, but I'm really feeling the loss of a digital option for the different books despite preferring to have the book on hand. I often run games at places other than my house and sometimes I'm a big idiot and just forget random books I need. If there is a rules reference online though, I don't need to drive back home to grab my Monster Manual. It is less convenient, but I can just pull the monsters up on my phone and let the game move on.

This is especially true when I am running games that use monsters from later Bestiaries. I don't carry all my books with me to try to handle or predict when my group will be engaging them. I can pull them up on my phone which, for me, makes more sense than dragging around three or five different enemy books. This isn't relevant to 5th edition right now, but it will be more so when they get to releasing Monster Manual 2, 3 and similar books.

It is a game and a fun game, but 5th edition is harder to run because of it's lack of easily accessible digital releases.

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