Item description for Monsternomicon V3.5 (Iron Kingdoms d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying) by Privateer Press...
More than a monster book!
Follow the famous Cygnaran scholar, Professor Pendrake, as he takes you into the darkest recess of the Iron Kingdoms seeking unimaginable terrors.
This updated version of the award-winning Monsternomicon holds over 80 fully detailed creatures as well as new prestige classes, new game rules, wilderness encounter tables, and information for using unusual races like the Satyxis as characters.
Challenge players of all levels with the wide array of fearsome creatures. The Monsternomicon is the ultimate bestiary for any d20 or Iron Kingdoms campaign.
Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at promiseangels.com!
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 11.1" Width: 8.5" Height: 0.8" Weight: 1.9 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2005
Publisher Privateer Press
ISBN 1933362006 ISBN13 9781933362007
Reviews - What do customers think about Monsternomicon V3.5 (Iron Kingdoms d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying)?
Reminding Gamers Why They Love to Game Sep 1, 2005
The positive things one can say about this work are both numerous and obvious, just leaf through the sturdy hardbound tome and I guarantee you'll stumble across at least three things you'll enjoy.Starting again from the outside cover, the first thing those who pick up the book are sure to notice is the fantastic cover art, a partially mechanized undead (possibly an iron lich, which would also happen to be my favorite creature inside) clawing through the depicted metal cover. From this you see just what you're getting into if you start reading, a savage assortment of creatures that, even if they seem familiar for a moment, have been augmented with the sadistic genius of Privateer Press's talented designers and made part of their award winning setting. The worst I can honestly say about the cover art is that the artist isn't directly noted in the credits so I can't compliment them directly. Moving from the actual art, Privateer Press doesn't make the mistake of company egotism that has cluttered so many otherwise fine book covers. Their symbol is tucked neatly into an upper corner, noticeable yet still stylishly out of the way, drawing the attention to the title and art, not to some kind of out of place advertising. The same can be said about the Iron Kingdom's logo, though appropriately larger, it too is eclipsed by the artwork and only adds to the cover's attractiveness. Also, an observant reader will note the most inspiring and exciting element right on the cover and spine, Monsternomicon being followed by the words "Volume I," and where there's a volume one, there's sure to be a volume two (to five-hundred).
This final note about the cover deserves to be focused on and should be noted by all other designers. Anyone who buys this book or any other gaming supplement is not going to read it in a void or force their players to wear gloves while using it. Quite the opposite in fact. Game books (noting the stress test I've put my Monsternomicon through in the past week) will be put in satchels, on chairs (and thusly sat on), near water and near fire; they will be exposed to grease, weather, wildlife (damn dogs), orange snack dust, and a variety of other dangers. Though the owner may want to keep their books in mint condition, no one else cares, and thus, wear and tear, throwing, bending, scratching and smudging will occur. To anyone who has been playing third edition for the last few years, pick up a core rule book and I guarantee it will not look like it did two-years ago, or even like it did before your last gaming session. The Monsternomicon however, does. I don't know what this cover is made out of, but I've had it by my side since Gen Con last month and I'm not even seeing a finger-grease smudge on it. It's really quite amazing. This may mean nothing to anyone else, but I personally like to think I'm going to make my books holdup forever and at the moment, it looks like my Monsternomicon will.
Moving to the inside, pages are not wasted with a long-winded and needless preface, introduction, or discussion of how to use the text. Instead, above the table of contents is a brief note by Viktor Pendrake adjacent to an impressive picture of the good professor. After this, the descriptions simply begin. Each new creature is presented in a manner unique to this work, which adds several new and exceedingly useful elements to the traditional monster write-up as well as more of the unnecessary coolness that seems to be Privateer Press' trademark. Every monster has at least two pages and two pieces of art adding to its description (not counting the awesome gargolyed dividers like those seen throughout the Witchfire Trilogy). They are also each discussed in a first person narrative by the "author" Professor Pendrake, whose witty, informed, and realistic monologue runs throughout the text. This makes each entry more like a short story then mere game stats and makes the entire book a true pleasure to read. But longer entries and a pity narrator are not the most revolutionary aspects of the Monsternomicon.
First off, the designers have made the most simple, helpful, and just overall bloody awesome addition to the standard monster format by adding comparative size silhouettes to each creature, showing how big they are compared to... well... you. For those gamers (like myself) who have absolutely no perception of space or measurement descriptions like "Large" or "Colossal" mean little, but seeing that speck next to the dragon silhouette on page 44 really drives the point home (They're friggin Huuuge!).
Another fantastic addition has been a whole area dedicated to what type of treasure a monster might have. While I know that most of us (*cough* BS! *cough*) know innately that a CR 1/6 kobold has Standard treasure which equates into an even 3.50 gp, many are not so gifted (If anyone e-mails me with the correct treasure for a kobold I will be forced to see you burned on a pyre of DMGs). Fortunately for them, this section goes into detail about what treasure there might be, what parts of the monster maybe useful, other interesting facts about the creature's habits, and even allows the writers to drop in new items. Overall, another great idea!
The last two additions standard to each entry are their "Legends & Lore" and "Hooks" segments. The first section, (divided into "Common, Uncommon, Rare," and "Obscure") allows both PCs and DMs to scale what their characters might know about a particular beastie and gives the reader an idea of how common the creature might be. Often, this area also hints at ways to defeat creature, other ecology points, or just other unnecessary coolnesses that weren't mentioned in the larger text. Right after this follows the "Hooks" section, which adds one or two ways the creature could be used in or as a basis for an adventure. Though a relatively standard idea, the sheer number and variety of hooks is enough to fill dozens of campaigns with exciting and unique scenarios.
Of the eighty plus new monsters included in the Monsternomicon, I wanted to mention a select few that struck me as being exceedingly clever or having a cool twist. The "cask imp" embodies the concept of unnecessary coolness perfectly, what sane mind would think of a creature with powers like "Inebriating burp" or "Drunken domination!?" The "boatman" is an awesome Charon like creature who lends himself to a short but memorable encounter nearly anywhere. Dragons, gobbers, and iron liches are old ideas made new and a thousand times better, I'm both excited to use them... and a little scared. And lastly the totem hunter, it's cool, it's obviously the Predator, and no one's done it before for just that reason. A daring take on an available idea. These are just a few I really liked and I could mention several dozen more, but all of them are awesome and are defiantly going in my games.
But it's more then just text that brings a book like this to life and makes it a real success. A description of a monster, no matter how detailed, can never invoke the same feelings of fear and revulsion that actually seeing it does. Throughout the work black and white art is used in the way a truly skilled photographer uses it over color, to depict new creatures, characters (pages 2, 133, 229), items (pages 32, 65, 116, 182), architecture (pages 81, 131, 184), and whole dynamic scenes (pages 27, 85, 157, 196). These pieces get away from the standard, "Here's a monster, now look at it" depictions seen in most bestiaries, going much farther, not just showing the creatures but also illuminating the world they live in. One also sees the book's defining piece of artwork on page 223, Professor Pendrake smiling over a thoroughly dead creature, with his two slightly apprehensive aids looking on. Creative work is also presented in the form of runes (page 113), measurements (pages 58, 116) stylized text, and whole pages of "handwriting." Though some have said that these elements detract from the book, I personally think that they add to the text, forcing you to pour over the writing like it truly was a journal or ancient tome, adding an element of the game even to the work's reading. Also, no hand written text holds rules or game information, thus anyone who doesn't want to spend the time reading them isn't missing anything integral.
But monsters aren't the only things one will find in the Monsternomicon. New items (pages 96,116), diseases (page 13), poisons (page 111), weapons (page 218), templates (pages 17, 55, 115, 201), anything and everything both players and DMs love is in this book. The text concludes with 9 new "Quickplates," monster templates that can be added to anything in mere seconds and without major calculations or changes to the base creature (Just for that street-smart urban gorax you always wanted). There are also 3 new prestige classes, the adventuring scholar (finally a non-magic user educated character you'd want to play), the bone grinder (a very hands on alchemist/magic item creator), and the monster hunter (with lots of traps and a Big gun). There is also the full stats for Victor Pendrake, his assistants, allies, and enemies, a teaser of the Iron Kingdom's cosmology and infernal society, and terrific stats for dwarves, elves, gobbers, tollkin, ogurn, and nyss as playable races in the Iron Kingdoms (who would want to play a gnome, halfling, or half-orc with choices like these anyway!).
With a book of this amazing caliber, credit needs to be given where credit is due. Rob Baxter, Colin Chapman, Andrew Flynn, Brett Huffman, J. Michael Kilmartin, Joseph Miller, Doug Seacat, Matt Staroscik, Jon Thompson, and Matt Wilson have done a great job creating an unbelievable variety of new creatures and rules, writing with a clear, informative, and captivating style that has made the Monsternomicon a true pleasure to read. Doug, Joe, Brett, Colin, Jon, Joseph, Andrew, and Rob are all freelancers so keep your eyes open, I'm sure you'll be able to catch more of their writing from other designers looking for those with real talent. Brett, Michael, and Jon also did double duty as editors to an impressive level, throughout I didn't see a single typo or misplaced punctuation mark. The book's fantastic artwork was produced by Brian Snoddy, Matt Wilson (both of the Witchfire Trilogy fame), Brian Despain, (the illustrious) Tony Di'Terlizzi (though I couldn't precisely pick out which pieces were his), Chippy Dugan, Scott Fisher, Gerald Lee, and Ron Spencer. A great deal of design, layout, and miles of text wrapping (I hope this is what a "Visual Design Architekt" does) was performed skillfully by Mike South. And finally, Matt and Etien Staroscik get credit for seeing this masterpiece through to its completion and for assembling such a great crew (also, condolences to them on the loss of Professor Staroscik (p 133), I hope he wasn't a close relative).
Despite all the praise I've given both Privateer Press and the Monsternomicon some may still be hesitant. I've heard far too many people say things like "I put it down because it doesn't fit my game" or "Its all constructs" or "I don't like Steampunk." These are invalid excuses, mainly because they're wrong or don't apply to this book. This book has an amazing variety, if one creature or item doesn't fit your game I assure you a dozen others will. Also, the book has so much more then just new golems. Though there are a few mainly aimed towards the Iron Kingdoms (hence it being an IK's book) in actually there are only 8 creatures noted as constructs in the whole work. And lastly, this book is not just "steampunk," Privateer Press has been far too creative to allow the Iron Kingdoms to be described that simply. Yes, their world does have steampunk elements, but overall, it's a fantasy setting just beginning to clash with technology, a concept completely new yet accessible to both fantasy and steampunk fans. Overall, your only valid argument for not owning this book is, "I didn't want to rob a convenience store to get the money for it."
If you don't already know, the Monsternomicon is a work of art, impressive on dozens of levels, inspiring to players on both sides of the screen, and enjoyable to both view and read. This is everything we've come to expect from Privateer Press and, like the Witchfire Trilogy, it has succeeded in raising the bar for all future works like it. Clever, accessible, and dynamic, this book embodies the core virtues of the D20 system and, quite frankly, it's for books and experiences like this that we started, continue, and love to game.