Monsters are boring

All the monsters feel almost the same. They're just bags of HP with one (or sometimes two!) very minor abilities.

After all the progress 4e made in making monsters fun and unique, this is very disappointing.

Also, it pisses me off that when I run enemy casters, I have to look up the spells they cast in a separate location. I thought you figured out in 4e that everything should be contained in the stat block for convenience?
I have to agree 100%.  4E Monsters while sometimes a trial to run, were dynamic and fun.  Currently all they have presented is such a step in the wrong direction.  I am not pleased with them.
I disagree completely. I think there's some room for adding more to the monsters, but I really don't think there should be anything like 4e where each monster required 1-2 pages of powers that had to be looked up all the time. I think there needs to be variety (just like fighters need to be able to do more), but give a DM a break with the powers everywhere.
This is a first bare-bones playtest, so I think we will see a lot of changes in monster blocks as we go.  I for one agree that spells need to be in the monster block.

As to them not having a lot of abilities, I'm a little torn.  I am DMing a campaign for the first time, and on one hand I love pouring through the monster lists and seeing all the cool and unique stuff out there.   On the other hand, in the combat I feel like I forget to do a lot of the cool, unique, situational stuff because I had enough on my plate to balance with just my player's cool, unique, situational stuff.  So on initial read I said "Woot those aren't hard to use!" but then it became "Are they cool enough to hold my player's attention..."
This is a first bare-bones playtest, so I think we will see a lot of changes in monster blocks as we go.  I for one agree that spells need to be in the monster block.

As to them not having a lot of abilities, I'm a little torn.  I am DMing a campaign for the first time, and on one hand I love pouring through the monster lists and seeing all the cool and unique stuff out there.   On the other hand, in the combat I feel like I forget to do a lot of the cool, unique, situational stuff because I had enough on my plate to balance with just my player's cool, unique, situational stuff.  So on initial read I said "Woot those aren't hard to use!" but then it became "Are they cool enough to hold my player's attention..."



Exactly. There should be uniqueness to the monsters, but I don't think powers upon powers was the best way to do it. It was just more than was needed for a lot of the DMs I know and it was more than I enjoyed.
I'm sure finished monsters will have more interesting options and abilities.

I do agree with the idea that spellcasters need to have spells/effects at hand...easy to use.  That made running 4e much easier than prior editions.  If they can even pick the top 4 spells that the monster would probably use and give a very short reminder of the attack/effect that would be great.

 

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Some 4e monsters (usually high level ones) had too many abilities, but in general most of them had just the right amount to make them unique. Just look at basic enemies like orcs in the 4e MM. They were flavourful and still easy to run.

What we have in the 5e bestiary right now, is utter garbage. It's just lazy and uninspired copy-paste with a bit of number tweaking.
Some 4e monsters (usually high level ones) had too many abilities, but in general most of them had just the right amount to make them unique. Just look at basic enemies like orcs in the 4e MM. They were flavourful and still easy to run.

What we have in the 5e bestiary right now, is utter garbage. It's just lazy and uninspired copy-paste with a bit of number tweaking.



Yeah looking at orcs is great. What wasn't great was when encounter 1 had 2-3 different types of orc and a displacer beast while encounter 2 had a combination of different zombies and skeletons and encounter 3 had a red dragon. It's not that each monster was too much, but I personally found trying to run an adventure with any variety in monsters to be a difficult task and would like it toned down a little.
Some 4e monsters (usually high level ones) had too many abilities, but in general most of them had just the right amount to make them unique. Just look at basic enemies like orcs in the 4e MM. They were flavourful and still easy to run.

What we have in the 5e bestiary right now, is utter garbage. It's just lazy and uninspired copy-paste with a bit of number tweaking.

Whoa now, I wouldn't be that harsh on it quite yet.  The copy-paste format doesn't tell us that they were lazy, it says they plan on changing so much they want it in a readily changeable format.
The monsters are ok, for now, but the hit points on some of them are WAY too high for my liking. Goblin King = 60 hps. Sorry, no. It may be a king, but it's still a goblin (only has 5, which is fine). Ogres = 88hps. Minotaurs = 132 hps. Those seem a bit excessive too.
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Some 4e monsters (usually high level ones) had too many abilities, but in general most of them had just the right amount to make them unique. Just look at basic enemies like orcs in the 4e MM. They were flavourful and still easy to run.

What we have in the 5e bestiary right now, is utter garbage. It's just lazy and uninspired copy-paste with a bit of number tweaking.



I agree, to an extent. This is a very bare-bones playtest. I expect we will see more detailed monsters in time. I would just hate to turn it all the way back to 1E/2E "bag o' hit points, AC, attack" blocks along with half a dozen spell-like abilities to look up. Put all the relevant data (powers, "spells," special attacks) right there in the stat-block.4E had that right. 
Sure a monster with a full page of diffrent powers and abilites could be a nightmare to run especially if you have like 2 to 4 monster types.  However there is no reason that they can't keep good solid design elements that they founded in 4E for monsters.  Sure tone em down a bit, but when you back step to 3e/3.5/Pathfinder style where I have to make an enemy spell caster and chose his 25 spells and constantly flip back in fourth in the book looking up what each spell actaully does. No Thank You. 

An easy stat block that has a short sweet list of powers and abilites.  That give monsters a job to do. I liked the concept of Lurker, Solider, Brute, Artillery, Solo.  You can construct dynamic, fun, encounters with that.  They don't need to be overtly complex but have actual purpose.

All I am saying is that in there current very bare bones version they are too boring for my liking. I mean sure I can "kit bash" effects in like grabs and things like that with what rules they have presented sure.  I an think on the fly with the best of them, I just don't like the current itteration of monsters.  It is two steps backward.

The way 4e designed monsters is one of its strongest points in my opinion. I don't think it's too crazy to want monsters to, in general, have something memorable about their capabilities. I don't actually think the Next bestiary is as bad as even 3.5; there's a fair number of bland HP sacks, but there's at least a token effort here and there to give monsters something, even if that something is usually just "sneak attack". Stuff like Death Strike aren't the most inspired things, but they're something, and they're simple. On the whole, I'm actually optimistic about monsters, given the current bestiary. That kind of sounds like damning with faint praise ("you're not bad, although you're humiliating miles behind your own current system"), but given what the rest of the system looks like, I'm counting it as a plus. Is it totally weaksauce that a zombie is just a slow hobgoblin with some extra immunities? Of course it is. But it's a start.

Also, maybe it's just me, but I found the 4e statblock to make for dramatically easier monster running, especially for spellcaster monsters. I also liked its stance that since monsters are mostly used as PC opponents, the bulk of monsters should be designed to be interesting PC opponents, rather than the blandest possible mechanical expression of a goblin.
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   It's not that each monster was too much, but I personally found trying to run an adventure with any variety in monsters to be a difficult task and would like it toned down a little.



This is it exactly.  DM'ing 4e was exhausting.  As someone who usually DM's rather than plays I would prefer spicing up the monsters myself rather than juggling complex combat routines.  I almost always reskin monsters anyway.  My players have almost every MM ever printed, so they rarely encounter the same monsters twice (excpet for the cannon fodder-kobolds, gobs etc.). 

Love the new monsters and stat blocks. But as some have said, some have too many HP for my tastes. All I need is the damage expressions that a monster is capable of and then I'll decide how he outputs that damage to make each encounter special. You don't need 40 different versions of orcs. You just need to know how they fight and what weapons they use. Stat blocks in 4E took up WAY too much page count in each adventure and in the MM. Although, if they can cast spells, a couple of lines of text for what the spell does would be useful.
Yeah monsters definintely need some work.  Some have to much HP.  There are also a lot of massive variations in attack and damage rolls that I don't like, kobolds are kinda a joke right now.  They are going to have to work on that.

I am also a huge fan of the 4e monster design.  I think there is a place for those sack of HP monsters but I also refuse to see the death of the complex monster, so far Next is failing on that complex monster front.  Not only is there a lack of good complex monsters but the way that they are representing monster stats right now is simply not going to be able to represent a complex monster in a useable way.
I disagree completely. Already on reading it I'm imagining a low level scenario around miners and Fire Beetles (a little reminiscent of Cauldron Station for Alternity) and throwing in some Giant Centipedes with a Gelatinous Cube or Grey Ooze.

Also I'm thinking of a town that's near a Gnoll stronghold that occasionally faces some raids, but every 25 years has to deal with a massive attack from all the Gnolls based on the Legends & Lore description.

I find the interesting bits the habitat and society and legends & lore sections that give me adventure seeds. The stats... meh. I'm glad they're simple and straightforward. Better to have them integrate well into the story. That was ostensibly a strength of Monster Vault as well, but the way adventures were designed as a series of disconnected combat encounters it really didn't matter.
I disagree completely. Already on reading it I'm imagining a low level scenario around miners and Fire Beetles (a little reminiscent of Cauldron Station for Alternity) and throwing in some Giant Centipedes with a Gelatinous Cube or Grey Ooze.

Also I'm thinking of a town that's near a Gnoll stronghold that occasionally faces some raids, but every 25 years has to deal with a massive attack from all the Gnolls based on the Legends & Lore description.

I find the interesting bits the habitat and society and legends & lore sections that give me adventure seeds. The stats... meh. I'm glad they're simple and straightforward. Better to have them integrate well into the story. That was ostensibly a strength of Monster Vault as well, but the way adventures were designed as a series of disconnected combat encounters it really didn't matter.



I have never really had any trouble getting adventure seeds out of just a line or two of flavor and my own imagination. I guess if you feel like you need that sort of thing then it is good but I'm just gonna skip it.

Also I have never designed any adventure as a series of disconnected combat encounters, that is a fault of WoTCs adventure design not a system with complex monsters.
OK, monsters aren´t only stats numbers and background (it can be made by gamers theirself), but as well as some exclusive special ability or power (only it can be designed, tested and well-balanced by the true professionals).

What do you think if monster abilites could be "modular",  be changed like the PC feats or adding templates? I would like use it to surprise better PCs.  

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These monsters look like they just fused 2nd and 3rd Editions and not in a particualrly interesting way.  Also, why the percentages on monster equipment?  A lot of DMs know how to equip monsters on their own and a lot of space could be saved in each entry by just having a few paragraphs in the front or back of one of the manuals explaning to new DMs how to change up weapons and armor on monsters.

I say it again, the monster special abilities should be modular/optional, can be changed. Why? Because if some gamers wants monsters to be used by tactical miniatures games or for the theatre of mind it would better if monsters are designed to can be changed since beginning.


Some monster abilities should be like separate blocks, to be used by "houserules" templates by DM (for example to create a weaker or stronger version of a certain creature).


 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I agree with the OP. Monsters in the playtest material are seriously underwhelming. I love 4e monsters, I love building monsters in 4e, this is just inferior design.