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Monster Manual (1e) $9.99
Average Rating:4.8 / 5
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Monster Manual (1e)
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by RICHARD [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/14/2023 22:19:54

Been 10 days - hasn’t even been printed yet - not super happy



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Al F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/31/2023 08:59:47

Great print, love it. This is an essential for any fantasy gaming table running old school dnd or a clone.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Joshy K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2023 10:06:59

The Monster Manual is great. It has lots of cool monsters and many wonderful images of them to look at. The quality of the reprint is stellar, too. Mine arrived in just under a month and I am happy with my purchase. I ordered standard color and everything is easy to see. I don't figure how premium would have improved the book, but then again I have never seen one in premium. For me, standard color works more than fine (:



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Brandon b. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2022 18:25:09

just like my phb reproduction, the quality and value are beyond phenomenal. I opened it up to look at it with my wife and her first words where "you can definitely tell this wasn't printed last century." at first I laughed but then realized my original was made last century and truly how for our ability to produce such quality material on the demand of a single person has really changed the market forthe better.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Karyn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/01/2021 15:30:59

Monster Manual (1st Edition)

Credits

Written by Gary Gygax

Illustrations by David C. Sutherland III, D.A. Trampier, Tom Wham, Jean Wells

Cover by David C. Sutherland III

Version

This PDF is of the premium reprint released in July, 2012. The credits page indicates that this is the 4th edition (of the book, not the game), published in August, 1979. The PDF has bookmarks, though they may be confusing at first glance since they are simply the letters of the alphabet (expanding into the monsters featured in that heading).

History and Trivia

The Monster Manual was the first book released for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, a massively updated and expanded version of D&D. Released in December, 1977, about six months before the Players Handbook, one might wonder what D&D fans did with the book back then while waiting for the PHB. It was likely used as a monster supplement for OD&D and the first Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, released in July, 1977. Sadly, that basic set is not available in PDF and so won’t be getting a review any time soon.

Is it Pretty?

The cover of the premium reprint is done in a soft brown “old book” style reminiscent of the covers of 3rd edition books. The red dragon art from the original cover is framed in the middle of the cover. Many of the creatures get illustrations which range in quality from cartoony to stunning. Of particular note are the succubus (I imagine a fair number of parents of young gamers were taken aback by that picture at the time), the frost giant (looking rather Nordic), the groaning spirit (nice spectral take on a banshee), the leprechaun (an early example of fourth wall breaking as one leprechaun rides the giant leech and another is taking down the page header for leucrotta at the top of the page), the lizard man (a particularly well done and realistic looking depiction of a humanoid lizard), and the night hag (a rather frightening depiction showing the hag’s face emerging from darkness).

½ star for prettiness mainly due to the inconsistent tone and quality of the interior art.

Is it Professional?

Monster entries follow a consistent format throughout and an alphabetized index of all entries and sub-entries in the back makes finding a particular critter fairly easy, particularly with the bookmarks of the PDF.

One star for professionalism.

Is it Useful?

The first few pages offer explanations of the various terms appearing in the stat blocks of the monster entries.

Most of the monster entries are fairly short, with only a paragraph or two of description accompanying the stat block. Some entries provide stat blocks for multiple different types, such as the six varieties of beetles. Most entries for humanoid type monsters include information on leaders and spell-casters and note the arms and armor typically used.

Some of the more notable critters include…

Demons and devils. I really enjoy this take on lower planar beings. They are restricted from entering the material plane and the heavy hitters have amulets or talismans to which their spirit is bound that serve as a major adventure hook should the DM wish to include them in their campaigns.

Dragons. Being in the name of the game means they get a decent amount of page space. Dragons as presented here are fairly different than those of later editions, having only 8 age categories and having an additional categorization by size. All of the classic chromatic and metallic dragons are here, though, along with Tiamat and Bahamut. There’s a section on subduing and essentially enslaving dragons which, honestly, I’m glad didn’t appear in later editions.

Giants. Drawing from Norse mythology primarily, the giants presented here are the classics that would show up throughout D&D’s history going forward. Cloud giants appear to draw their inspiration from the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Golems. The clay golem is clearly inspired by the golem created by Rabbi Loew in Jewish folklore. The flesh golem, on the other hand, finds its origins in the novel, Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley.

Men. Although they’d be listed as humans these days, later editions often skimped when it came to stats for human adversaries. So, in that regard, the 1st edition Monster Manual reigns supreme, offering a variety of different “men” for players to encounter.

Portuguese Man-O-War. I only note this one because it always struck me as odd to have a creature in a fantasy setting have a name that references the real world. You’d think they would be called Nyrond Man-O-War or something similar. Likewise, the rakshasa’s description indicates they were “known first in India” which seems like an odd thing to put in a fantasy game book.

One thing notably lacking in the monster stat blocks are experience point values. These must be derived from formulas presented in the Dungeon Master’s Guide which is a rather annoying bit of hassle for the DM.

Because of the missing XP, I’m going to give the MM ½ star for usefulness, with the caveat that the monster entries are otherwise perfectly usable at the game table for the most part.

Is it Affordable?

The PDF of the Monster Manual is only $9.99. POD hardcover options are available for standard color and premium color at reasonable prices and both are available bundled with the PDF for an even better deal. Used original printings go for $50 or more on the secondary market and the premium reprint from which this PDF is derived goes for anywhere between $90 and $200 or more. So, $9.99 is definitely worth the investment.

One star for affordability.

Is it Fun?

The creatures in the Monster Manual are drawn from a variety of real world mythologies and folklore, works of fiction (the Lord of the Rings most notably), as well as some original creations and some relatively normal animals and humans.

The variety of critters means the DM will be able to provide players with varied and challenging encounters at every level.

One star for fun.

Where to find it

The PDF, along with standard color and premium color print on demand hardcovers can be found on drivethrurpg listed as Monster Manual (1e). Original printings (with the original, orange spine, or premium covers) can be found on ebay and various other secondary market sites on the internet. Finding an older printing in good condition may be a bit difficult, however.

Conclusion

The Monster Manual in every edition is part of the “holy trinity” of core rulebooks for D&D along with the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Player’s Handbook. In short, the Monster Manual is an essential part of the AD&D 1st Edition experience.

Prettiness: ½ star

Professionalism: 1 star

Usefulness: ½ star

Affordability: 1 star

Fun: 1 star

Total: 4 out of 5 stars.

Please consider supporting my patreon for more reviews and other content - https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8208616



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Edward C. O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/20/2021 19:27:28

the POD book is pretty good! the derpy dragon makes me laugh so i love looking at it.

the gloss does make it apparent that it is a scanned reprint, other than that, this is a good reprint.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Chris H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2021 10:46:26

Ordering: I purchased the Standard Color 1E Monster Manual POD on 02/02/2021 for $21.50 and received it on 03/10/2021. Alright. I know it's COVID-19 times, but from what I understand, go ahead and count on it taking a month to get your order to you with near zero updates even during non COVID-19 times. Last update I got was on 02/03/2021 when the printer received it and then another on 03/06/2021 when it was shipped via USPS. This wasn't an issue for me, but might be for you.

Condition: No damage and the box was well packaged. The binding is solid. The printing is solid. Everything reads great. If you want a playable or reference copy of 1E, I highly recommend this POD product. I went with standard color as opposed to premium color since the book is B/W and I figured it wouldn't matter. It doesn't seem to matter. I'm happy with the standard color but would likely opt into premium color if I had the gold laying around.

Content: This is the same revised "premium" edition 2012 WoTC re-print with the same cringey WoTC revised cover. Since this is a POD book, the books are about 1/3 inch taller than standard D&D books. It looks and reads good, but it also looks and reads like a POD product.

Intended Audience: If you have never played 1E and are looking to get into 1E for cheap, this is for you. If you already have the original and want to have another copy that you don't mind spilling beer or lending to a friend, etc., this is for you. If you are a collector or a nostalgia hound looking for a facsimile copy for your bookshelf, this is a POD of a re-print with a god-awful cover (my opinion!) and I doubt you would be satisfied with this POD simulacrum, but your mileage may vary!

Conclusion: I paid less than $65 bucks for POD reprints of all three core 1E rulebooks and feel very satisfied with my purchase. I think the reprint covers are kinda gaudy and cringey, but that’s my personal preference. They’re uniform and look pretty decent on a bookshelf and the price can’t be beat. That said, I would gladly pay for another POD set with the original covers if it is ever offered. I doubt I am the only one.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Nicolas L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/01/2020 12:53:09

Quality of the book was great (minus a minor dent in the bottom corner due to how it was shipped. Although I am very pleased with the product itself-- the packaging in which it came had something to be desired, but overall the product is great; really brings back memories of youth.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/10/2019 22:16:14

This is the book. This is the book that got me into D&D and RPGs.

But how does one review such a genre-defining classic?

My son had made himself a triple cheeseburger covered in bacon, onions, and mushrooms. I asked him how he was going to fit that into his mouth. He said, "with determination".

How does one review such a genre-defining classic? With determination.

My History

The Monster Manual was the book for me. The one that got me hooked. The one, sitting in "silent reading" back in 1979 at Washington Elementary School in Jacksonville, IL that I became the über-geek you all know today. How über? I used the freaking umlauts, that's my street cred right there.

Back in '79 I was reading a lot of Greek Myths, I loved reading about all the gods, goddesses and monsters. So I saw my friend's Monster Manual and saw all those cool monsters and I knew I had to have a copy. Though getting one in my tiny near-bible-belt town was not easy. Not hard mind you, by the early 1980s the local book store stocked them, but I was not there yet. So I borrowed his and read. And read. And read. I think I had the damn thing memorized long before I ever got my own game going.

Since that time I judge a gamebook on the "Monster Manual" scale. How close of a feeling do I get from a book or game compared to the scale limit of holding the Monster Manual for the first time? Some games have come close and others have hit the mark as well. C.J. Carella's WitchCraft gave me the same feeling.

Also, I like to go to the monster section of any book or get their monster books. Sure I guess sometimes there are diminishing returns, Monster Manual V for 3.5 anyone? But even then sometimes you get a Fiend Folio (which I liked thankyouverymuch).

This book captured my imagination like no other gamebook. Even the 1st DMG, which is a work of art, had to wait till I was older to appreciate it. The Monster Manual grabbed me and took me for a ride.

The Book (and PDF)

The PDF of the Monster Manual has been available since July of 2015. The book itself has seen three different covers.

Regardless of what cover you have the insides are all the same. The book is 112 pages, black and white art from some of the biggest names that ever graced the pages of an RPG book.

This book was the first of so many things we now take for granted in this industry. The first hardcover, the first dedicated monster tome, the first AD&D book.

The book contains 350 plus monsters of various difficulties for all character levels. Some of the most iconic monsters in D&D began right here. Mostly culled from the pages of OD&D, even some of the art is similar, and the pages of The Dragon, this was and is the definitive book on monsters.

Eldritch Wizardry gave us the demons, but the Monster Manual gave us those and all the new devils. The Monster Manual introduced us to the devils and the Nine Hells. Additionally, we got the new metallic dragons, more powerful and more diverse undead and many more monsters. We also got many sub-races of the "big 3". Elves get wood, aquatic, half and drow. Dwarves get hill and mountain varieties. Halflings get the Tallfellows and Stouts. So not just more monsters, but more details on the monsters we already knew.

While designed for AD&D I used it with the Holmes Basic book. The two products had a similar style and to me seemed to work great together. It was 1979 and honestly, we did all sorts of things with our games back then. The games worked very well together.

Flipping through one of my physical copies, or paging through the PDF, now I get the same sense of wonder I did 40 years ago.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/29/2017 21:55:14

Excellent digital reproduction of a classic AD&D book. All of the complex goodness of the old school days.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Andrew K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2017 19:21:42

The document looks very good. I was very impressed with the small document size. Unfortunately, I can only use this on my computer - it crashes whe I try to load it on my Kindle, and takes 3-4 minutes to open on my Tablet. Both of these devices handle other products, such as the Rules Cyclopedia, perfectly.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Rob L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2017 14:44:56

Received the POD hardback today, and I must say that I am very pleased with it. It is a delight to see the book back in print (so my 1977/1978 Games Workshop softback version can now take a rest...). The quality of the scans (if that is what they are) is top notch. Very happy customer. Thank you WotC (and DriveThru).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Dan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/15/2015 13:15:10

Very well put together. PDF copies show up great on my mobile device, allowing me to DM my 1e group with just a tablet.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Ryan H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/23/2015 20:47:24

Third book for AD&D, great quality and tons of classic monsters!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Monster Manual (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Daniel S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/22/2008 09:25:25

It's asking me to review before I've had a chance to download, so I haven't had a chance to review the book. If it's as good as my memories fo this book, I'm sure it will be great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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