Let’s have a blast from the past: Dungeons & Dragons 3.5’s Monster Manual III (MM3) from 2004 has been sitting on my shelf for years. Let’s see if it has aged well.
MM3 is a good look at game system supplements; especially how they bring out the inner B-team in everyone, even talented designers. There’s Power Creep galore, mainly from incredibly cheap monsters like Drowned and Night Twists. For the record, I’m defining cheap as having attacks that A) require rare spells and abilities to counter, B) are deadly and difficult to avoid, and C) the monster can “spam” AKA use repeatedly. Moving on, a devil’s advocate could say this is correcting previous weaknesses and increased player power. I am not that advocate. There are other issues.
The main issue is the underwhelming monsters. Keep in mind that since a high percentage of the creatures are from the Eberron campaign setting there’s overlap with that setting’s sourcebook. There are also updated versions of monsters from earlier editions; I recognize the kenku. Then there are variations of established monsters such as lizardmen, giants, and golems. Golems that I just can’t take seriously. The art has a decent vibe, but among the seven golems are ones made of webs and mud. Most of the monster just don’t do much for me and aren’t useful. Admittedly, that’s always going to be subjective.
Speaking of being subjective, there are monsters I like. Simple combo monsters such as Nycters (bat humanoids) and Goat-folk (aka Ibixian) work. The Goat-folk appreciation might also be due to Diablo games. New templates are always welcome. Some creatures such as Warforged and Shifters have really caught on. The book, especially the table of contents and the final index, is well organized. Art is at minimum fine and has some nice illustrations. The overall is aiming for darker,
Is this out of print 224-page book worth the $34.95? No. If you want to run a 3.5 game and can find it, take a look. See if enough monsters catch your eye to make it worth it. If so, go ahead. But first try to find a used copy cheap. Alternatively, wait for an option that I’ll discuss next week. See you then.