Product– Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
Producer– Wizards of the Coast
TL; DR-It’s not plagiarism if it’s from you! 83%%
Basics-It’s not Monster Manual II, IT’S MONSTER MANUAL II! Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes builds out the world of Dungeons and Dragons, focusing less on any one particular world and more on the higher and lower planes. It provides players with some new options, race options, and even story to build out the characters they want to be. DMs get new monsters, focusing on higher power, extra planar monsters as well as building the universe around the normal material plane players are used to.
Theme or Fluff-This book is by the same people who made the planes in the first place, so its top notch. The story is amazing, not just for a monster manual, but for any book honestly. You get a ton of options to really make well rounded characters from backstory to new hooks to get the characters really involved in the world. There are multiple versions of tieflings depending on your devil parents. Those little touches really draw you in. DMs get monsters that have story as well as world-building that will really make higher level play much more interesting. This is a great resource for any DnD 5e player that wants some planar spice in their game or character. .5/5
Mechanics or Crunch-Again, this book was written by the people who made the system, so they know their math. The monsters feel right. There are new monsters as well as old favorites. Get ready for heavy hitters though. This book has low level monsters, but it brings a ton of big boys to the fray. If you need high level monsters, then this is the book for you. 5/5
Execution– Is there a PDF since this book came out in 2018? Nope, well we’re down to at most ⅘. Then, this is where I get personally angry. This book copy/pastes the high level monsters from Out of the Abyss. I’m not just talking monsters, but art and even whole written backgrounds for monsters. We’re talking about ⅕ of the monsters from the book, and almost all the high level monsters. And that is where I draw the line. Need big monsters to make the fight happen? Great! Use some but not all. The highest level monsters are all the demon princes/princesses of the abyss. NO DEVIL LORDS ARE IN THIS BOOK. That means the DnD team decided to phone in ⅕ of this book by just copying another book they put out a few years ago. So even though the book’s layout is good, art is good, and event tables of contents and appendices are great, you get a crap rating because you want me to pay full price for phoning in effort. 2.5/5
Summary– I want to like this book. It’s got a ton of great qualities. Players and DMs both get excellent resources to use to build up their stories with new characters options and monsters. And honestly, the book is put together well. I like what they did here with all the different end tables and even the layout of the monsters. However, this book breaks two important rules for me. First, I can’t get a digital version without have to buy it separately through an app. I already have a number of apps, and when that company folds, I will lose my purchase. So the lack of PDFs really hurts this book. Second, large parts of this book are just copies of an earlier book. So, why should I reward any company for just selling the same thing to me twice? This is a great book, IF you can get past the fact that if you already own Out of the Abyss, you are buying the monsters again. If that doesn’t bother you, or you don’t own that book, then this is going to be a great book for your DnD collection, both as a player and as a DM. 83%