Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monster Vault

About a month ago I wrote that I received the Essentials Rules Cyclopedia Compendium and Monster Vault. Well, Friday night I finally opened up the Monster Vault. I have to say, I'm very impressed. The monster tokens are nice quality, and on thicker stock than I expected.

It also comes with an adventure, which I haven't read yet, but I did notice from the map on the back that it uses dungeon tiles (not included) and a double sided poster map (included). I really can't fault WotC for cross marketing their products. There is a reason they made this the essential line.

The monster book itself is a digest sized 360 page book with a good variety of creatures across what seems like all levels, though there is a lot of focus on Heroic to Paragon level with only 17 monsters from level 20-27. Again, this makes sense since most players will be playing in the lower level range in most campaigns.

I haven't had a chance to compare the stats for repeated monsters from MM1, but I have already noticed some minor differences. I like that they have assigned minions to the various roles. There is one thing that MM1 did that I really liked that the MV doesn't do - suggested encounters. MM1 listed creatures not only in the same category (i.e. not just goblins) but a variety of creatures that work well together, and make (mostly) sense that they would be encountered together.

I do find myself worrying about the integrity of the book at the table. The entire Essentials line is digest size, but thick. I bet when they're broken in that they lay on the table really well, but will they hold up to extensive use?


  1. I thought the price of the box set was worth the token alone. Having little to no room to store miniatures its nice to have a ton of tokens in such a small area. The book itself is cumbersome and difficult to keep open. I see what your saying about it breaking, but I only will be referring to it rarely. Tokens are great quality and storage space is at a premium they are a great substitute for miniatures.

  2. The Monster Vault is probably the best of the Essentials offerings. Lots of fluff to go along with all the crunchy bits. I'm not a big fan of the Essentials PC builds but will definitely be using the Monster Vault extensively. My review of it is here: http://packofgnolls.blogspot.com/2011/01/review-essentials-monster-vault.html

  3. Since I don't have any miniatures that are not Space Marine-related, the Monster Vault was a really good deal for me in the same way.