I am of the opinion that Wizards Of The Coast is doing something amazing these days. Access to Dungeons & Dragons was so restricted when I was growing up due to the stigma it held at the time. But now that everyone has (finally) realized that playing is not going to damn their souls, Wizards has opened the floodgates of marketing and has begun creating some amazing books for younger potential gamers. You may even have seen my review of the The A*B*Cs Of D&D and The 1*2*3s Of D&D that I wrote earlier this year. The newest releases are focusing on the intermediate age bracket with the Young Adventurer’s Guides, one of which is Monsters & Creatures. So let us discuss it, shall we?
This small hardcover spans a bit over 100 pages and covers a decent selection of the more common creatures an adventurer might encounter. From Bugbears to Vampire Lords, Centaurs to Storm Giants, and a plethora of Dragons, this book covers not just a description, but also includes a bit of advice for each. Advice any adventurer would be glad to have when they come face to face with them in combat. Using a point system to rate the dangers of these beings, the guide gives young readers an idea of the strengths, size, and habitats of each of the 33 listings. The points range from 0 (harmless) to 5 (incredibly dangerous) and even a rating of 1 can be a decent threat to a new adventurer, so be careful! Outside of this range exists a few larger than life creatures and because of their power and abilities, they receive an Epic rating to show that only the bravest heroes with the mightiest weapons would be able to successful vanquish them. Chances are, if you see one of those, you should run!
Monsters & Creatures is broken into five sections as dictated by the areas one might run into the specific monsters. “Caverns & Dark Places” deals with underground enemies, while “Forests, Mountains, & Other Terrain” covers a lot of ground (pun intended), too! “Moors, Bogs, & Boneyards” deals with the spookier sections, “Oceans, Lakes, & Waterways” is pretty self explanatory, as is “Mountain Peaks & Open Skies.” Within each of these sections is also a short written Encounter to help illustrate how one might introduce the creature in a game. In these you’ll get a wonderful description of unicorns, Green Dragons, and more!
Adding to all of this, there are several Legendary personas like Demogorgan, Count Strahd, Tiamat, and Duke Zalto! These are just a few of the big bads that might be encountered further in an adventuring party’s career. This is where you might be inclined to run; in fact, many of these unique creatures inspire fear to such an extent that you might not be able to help yourself. But, if you are prepared and well enough equipped, imagine the legends that would be told about your character should you defeat one of them. Of course, many have tried and failed, but heroes will do what needs to be done, right?
Monsters & Creatures is a fun introduction for early readers and gamers, simplifying the information so it can be understood. This in no way replaces the core rule books for actual tabletop game play, but imagine the fun that could be had as you create some scenarios for them to get their feet wet, so to speak. Oh, and no dice are needed for this introductory level, folks. It is fun for fun’s sake. I hope you take the time to look one of these over. Who knows, you might inspire someone to take up gaming in their spare time!
This introductory guide to Dungeons & Dragons provides a fun and immersive primer to its beasts and monsters.
In this illustrated guide, you’re transported to the legendary and magical worlds of Dungeons & Dragons and presented with one-of-a-kind entries for some of its most sinister, foul, and memorable monsters. Featuring amazing illustrations and expert insights on some of D&D’s most dangerous monsters, the guide shines a spotlight on the beasts that scare, excite, and cause trouble for adventurers, from creatures that live underground, to those that dwell in the wilderness and boneyards or soar in the sky. In these profiles you will find information on the size of each monster, its danger level, and tips for how to survive an encounter. The perfect entry point for young fans of fantasy eager to become D&D adventurers, this book also features introductory “Encounter” stories so readers can practice the problem-solving skills they’ll need to fight these monsters when they play a D&D adventure of their own.
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