A to Z: M is for Monster Manual

Back in 1978 or so, I first acquired the ‘Monster Manual.’ It soon became (and remains) one of my favorite books. By the standards of today, it might be considered a pretty primitive effort. No color illustrations, no online updates or errata or discussion groups, etc. The interior illustrations are black and white. Some of the drawings look pretty amateurish. Many of the monsters are downright silly. Plus the book leaves all sorts of questions unanswered. For example, it says that the touch of the tendrils of the violet fungi will rot your flesh, but fails to say what having ‘rotted flesh’ means for your character. Despite the flaws, this remains my favorite monster book. Maybe I love it because it was the first book like this that I owned (although The Glass Harmonica Lexicon is somewhat similar and I had that book as well around the same time). Maybe I love it because we had so much fun with it. Maybe I love it because I spent so much time turning the pages and reading the descriptions and wondering at these fantastic creatures. I don’t know, but I think it remains one of my favorite books.


5 Comments on “A to Z: M is for Monster Manual”

  1. Felt says:

    This book, along with Deities and Demigods, was a campfire favorite when brought to summer camp in the early 80's. As Scouts, my troop learned more about monster encounters and character alignment than woodworking and knot-tying!

  2. limpey says:

    Felt: It's not all bad. Had the scouts encountered rot grubs or green slime, there would have been no fatalities!

  3. Trey says:

    I'm with you guys. This book at Deities and Demigods really fired the imagination. You did't even have to actually use 'em in play to get enjoyment out of them.

  4. kelvingreen says:

    I loved the Monster Manual — albeit the second edition version — the moment I first saw it. I didn't play D&D until a good ten or twelve years after that, but the monster books have always been favourites, just because they were books full of pictures of monsters. You can't get much better than that.

    Except the fourth edition one, which is just nasty.

  5. Furman says:

    Those simple B+W images seared into my brain as a youth and had more impact on my life path and creativity then any color saturated, cartoony image I see today. I am glad I grew up when I did!


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