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A Menagerie of Monsters
Mike Mearls

T hings have been very hectic here at D&D central, what with tomorrow's official release of the Starter Set and last week's posting of the basic rules for D&D. But that's only the beginning of the huge effort underlying the launch of the new edition of the Dungeons & Dragons game and the Tyranny of Dragons story line. Hard as it is for me to believe sometimes, I'm also spending a fair amount of time putting the final touches on the storyline that will begin after Tyranny of Dragons—and the storyline after that one is already entering first draft. It's hard sometimes to juggle the past, present, and future of D&D all at once.

Speaking of the future, let's talk a bit about the Monster Manual. As our dauntless graphic designers and our fearless editorial team continue to polish the book, we've run into a very serious issue. Like I expect many players do, we all imagine the Monster Manual as a crate full of angry, nasty creatures. That crate is already very large and very full. A mind flayer's tentacles are bulging out along the seams, and everything inside is demanding that the troglodyte be forced to wear cologne.

Unfortunately, there are still monsters we need to squeeze into that crate. But no matter how much we jump on top of it, creatures just keep spilling out.

We've talked at length about what to do. Could we cut down on the story material for each creature? That would be a mistake, especially since feedback has made it clear that people want a book that's fun to read. Do we cull some stat blocks? We're not crazy about cutting back on the options available for creatures like orcs and dragons. Maybe we could cut a few entries? But reducing the variety of creatures seems like a bad idea.

So in looking at our options, we decided the only sensible response to too many monsters is to get a bigger crate. The Monster Manual is now 32 pages longer than it was originally, to accommodate all the awesome creatures we want to fit into it. As a consequence of that increase in page count, the price of the book will be increased . . . by nothing. It's staying put. That's 10 percent more content for a 0 percent premium.

That's our news for the week. The modrons in particular want to thank their fans for helping save them from the chopping block.

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Mike Mearls
Mike Mearls is the senior manager for the D&D research and design team. He led the design for 5th Edition D&D. His other credits include the Castle Ravenloft board game, Monster Manual 3 for 4th Edition, and Player’s Handbook 2 for 3rd Edition.
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Hats off to you guys! My entire family plays D D next and we couldn't be more excited. Thanks for making a great product even better.
Posted By: TheBurt (7/18/2014 12:05:44 AM)


You guys are awesome! Thanks a lot guys. Here's to the awesomest Monster Manual ever!
Posted By: Grimcleaver (7/16/2014 4:34:18 PM)


Who is this troll who marks everyone's comments 1 star? Who and why? I don't get it. Like, you're already in a VERY small community of people, no one seems to really even care, it doesn't accomplish anything but it's just strikes me as farcically petty and pointless. I can't even begin to imagine where this person is coming from.
Posted By: OskarOisinson (7/16/2014 2:47:46 PM)


Excellent! Glad to see you following in the footsteps of DnD lead design alumni who grew the 13th Age instead of putting good material aside. I thought it was a good choice then, and a good choice now.
Posted By: Blue23 (7/15/2014 7:45:28 PM)


Thank you! Got my Starter Kit in the mail from Amazon today!

Looking forward to reading through. Just want you to know that I am officially switching from Pathfinder to DnD. I played ADD looooong ago. Started playing RP again when my kids were old enough to join in about 7 years ago.

At that point, DnD 3.5 and 4.0 seemed too complicated, so I went with SW and then Pathfinder. Now Pathfinder is just, wow, out of control.

I am happy to see the back to the roots presentation of DnD Next. Liked reading the Starter rules. Nice unified voice and tone to the book. I enjoy the Youtube sessions. Nice vicarious fix if I don't have enough time myself to play.

Well done roll out.
Posted By: basilbur (7/15/2014 6:28:54 PM)


Not going to gripe about extra pages, but wouldn't it have been easier to cut the extra and likely duplicate monsters and put them in a free web enhancement. I never mind those during 3e.
Posted By: SirUrza (7/15/2014 3:48:47 PM)


Yay. Thank you for proving that it's not always about cutting down on page counts and bottom lines. I look forward to this book's release.
Posted By: JoeyLast (7/15/2014 2:20:52 PM)


Nize one, can't wait to see the table of contents and whether or not there are rules for playing Monstrous PC's. Even without it, I'm actually more excited about this book than the PHB and DMG (if only slightly).
Posted By: OskarOisinson (7/15/2014 12:13:34 PM)


Finally, something to whinge about. Modrons?? I want the expurgated version of the Monster Manual! It doesn't have Rust Monster (they wet their nests), the Modrons (they smell of elderberries), or the Gelatinous Cube (is it jelly or snot?). If the illustrations are several hundred degrees better than those in the 1st-ed ADnD Monster Manual II maybe I'll find a use for them. (Cues Ultron Primordius, the renegade Modron who tries to impose Order on the entire multiverse!)

OK, I'm joking but it's surprising that the Modrons will be in the Monster Manual.
Posted By: Maerlius (7/15/2014 12:12:33 AM)


More free stuff! This edition just keeps getting better. Great work Mike and company!
Posted By: mbeacom (7/14/2014 9:55:39 PM)


That's awesome news... but you should still consider cutting Modrons... I mean seriously. :)
Posted By: VB_Baysider (7/14/2014 4:47:39 PM)


Would it save room to put the stat blocks in an appendix, leaving the meat and picture in the meat of the volume? I am not saying to cut the extra 32 pages. For heavens sake, add them! But maybe separating stat blocks would save a little room from each monster entry...
Posted By: Demoncaller (7/14/2014 3:27:12 PM)


I approve of this message. I'd sooner pay more for a book with more monsters and fluff than pay the same for a book with less of either. Paying the same for a book with more of both? That's just gravy. I'm especially pleased you opted not to skimp on background fluff. The monster manual is an important source of inspiration for me as a DM. I'd sooner run an entire campaign off of a handful of well-fleshed monster entries than flit about between a new but flavorless stat block every encounter.
Posted By: powerroleplayer (7/14/2014 2:54:13 PM)


Posted By: Dragonuspaus1 (7/14/2014 12:21:05 PM)


Great to hear. The 2nd edition Monstrous Manual is what got me into DnD in the first place; it was the book I started with and moved on from there. I liked all the background information on the monsters and don't think I would have gotten into DnD at that time if it had been presented with little to no fluff like 4E's monster books.
Posted By: Fuzzypaws (7/14/2014 12:08:35 PM)


Thank you for your generosity! I wait excitedly for the release of these new tombs. Already got the Starter Set and think it's great. The adventure Lost Mines of Phandelver was an awesome read, can't wait to play it! One question: No Tokens, No Poster Map, how come?
Posted By: Duke01 (7/14/2014 11:32:03 AM)


First, not every one uses minis or maps. Second was to keep the cost down. If the price was higher people who might have been on the fence might not have bought it.
Posted By: h347h50 (7/14/2014 1:33:44 PM)


Thanks, Mike!
Posted By: quindia (7/14/2014 11:27:23 AM)


That's awesome, thanks for not compromising the value! Can't wait to get my hands on it in September!
Posted By: moes1980 (7/14/2014 11:05:58 AM)


Cool. Releasing tons of free content online is always favorably welcomed by fans. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (7/14/2014 10:42:59 AM)


Modrons? Modrons! Planescape is back, YES!
Posted By: Scottbert (7/14/2014 10:13:45 AM)


If you need more space for monsters, just make more monster manuals, I like moar books :)
Posted By: Nub-Shiggurath (7/14/2014 9:34:05 AM)


If Amazon is correct on page count that means the new Monster Manual will be 384 pages which is the same as the 2nd Ed Monstrous Manual, what I considered one of the best books in that line in regards to artwork, quality of binding and writing. Well done!
Posted By: MisterB (7/14/2014 7:20:49 AM)


I was going to suggest smaller type and bundle the book with a magnifying glass... but I guess your solution is ok. :)
Posted By: Kazadvorn (7/14/2014 6:29:39 AM)


If the text ends up like that on the back of a DVD cover, please may I have TWO magnifying glasses??
Posted By: Maerlius (7/15/2014 12:55:51 AM)


While your designers are polishing, please ask them to pay better attention to their typesetting and line breaks. While the initial DnD Next materials are better than their horrible 4e predecessors, they still need far more care.
Posted By: VividAntivirus (7/14/2014 6:14:11 AM)


I thought the typography and layout were generally excellent in the Basic Rules and the Starter Set.
Posted By: trystero11 (7/14/2014 9:56:00 PM)


Alright! Some fantastic news this week! As always, you guys are keen on making the best product out there for us. We appreciate it!
Posted By: Ramzour (7/14/2014 4:07:00 AM)


PS: You do realize that now you have to give us 32 more pages of optional PC races in the DMG, now. ;)

Thri-kreen, Genasi, Shifter, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Aasimar, Satyr, LARGE sized-half-giants...
Posted By: seti (7/14/2014 3:13:59 AM)


Good to hear. Monster books are the best. I even buy and read monster books for games I don't even play, lol.

Obviously, you can save some things for the inevitable MM 2, though.

I hope there's all new art as well. Illustrators NEED and deserve work. I loved that ogre picture from the Starter Set. Best Ogre Ever.

I also hope the stat blocks for caster creatures don't just list all their spells by name and level. I don't want to have to look up everything they can cast in the PHB when I'm DMing. That's a royal pain in the ***, and something I thought ended for good when 4e came out.
Posted By: seti (7/14/2014 3:04:09 AM)


Woot! Best way to start off a monday! :) Good job to all at Wizards. +1
Posted By: awogaman (7/14/2014 2:58:32 AM)


Great news, always happy for more monsters!

But if you find you still need room, you can cut the Modrons, you have my permission.
Posted By: Jedira (7/14/2014 2:29:41 AM)


I definitely started to panic half way through this article that I hadn't pre-ordered my MM on Amazon and that the price would go up.

Posted By: MacEochaid (7/14/2014 2:26:32 AM)


I really like hearing about these good decisions. Much nicer to know that they expanded to fit in content than it would have been had content been cut. :-)
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (7/14/2014 2:26:09 AM)



I'm probably the only person who would enthusiastically buy modron minis. You should still make 'em, though. ;)
Posted By: Poljack (7/14/2014 2:22:07 AM)


I'd buy modron minis too. Although, you could make them with bits of wire, extra dice, and paint :)
Posted By: seti (7/14/2014 3:05:42 AM)


Flumph minis!
Posted By: TheGimper (7/14/2014 3:28:12 PM)


You guys are genuinely determined to generate ludicrous amounts of goodwill with this near perfect rollout, aren't you?
Posted By: BadMike (7/14/2014 1:56:24 AM)


I now want to hump Mearl's leg.
Posted By: akaddk (7/14/2014 1:49:27 AM)


Modrons? Modrons?? Yah!! Thank you :)
Posted By: aaronil (7/14/2014 12:52:24 AM)


Posted By: DramoxTheIronLord (7/14/2014 12:27:30 AM)


freaking awsome. good on you guys
Posted By: pseudocide759 (7/14/2014 12:21:24 AM)


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Getting more for that same price is awesome news. Plus I'm sure your staff that worked so hard on the art, text, layout...every bit is happy not to see their efforts be put aside.
Posted By: E-Tallitnics (7/14/2014 12:13:36 AM)


WHAT!?! Only 32 pages longer!!! That's not enough...I demand MOAR! :)

Posted By: MalHavok (7/14/2014 12:08:40 AM)


I won't complain about more stuff for no money. I am sure SOMEONE will though.
Posted By: Silver_Blaze (7/14/2014 12:02:33 AM)



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