Feedback on the Bestiary

Overall I like how monsters are shaping up.  The stat blocks are easy to read and fairly intuitive regarding location of things.  I really like the customization options included in sidebars.  This is a great way to add optional complexity to monsters, and some of it makes for great plot lines on its own (such as the death knight's soul stealing sword).

I also like the fact that monsters are all-inclusive so that you don't have to look things up.  For example, rather than simply saying, "Spider Climb" (and thus forcing you to look it up), the text tells you exactly what it does.

Traits: I think when we have full monster entries complete with flavor, this will be better, but it is important for traits to make sense.  The one thing that really stood out to me was the fact that nearly all demons and devils have telepathy that also works as a universal translator.  Why is this a near univeral trait for fiends?  I can see some having it (like a succubus), but it seems strange for all of them to have it.

Rage: This should be written as, "If the monster doesn't already have disadvantage, it can take disadvantage on its melee attack roll to gain a +5 bonus to that attack's damage roll."  This would prevent silly situations, such as a prone monster automatically using rage because it already has disadvantage.

Fun Monsters: I really like when monsters have traits or powers that make a fight more interesting.  Two examples of this are the ankheg's soft underbelly trait, and the hydra being vulnerable to decapitation.  Both of these make specific tactics important.  I also really like the new petrifying gaze attack (as seen on the basilisk, for example).  The "slowly turning to stone" mechanic is a great way to add tension to the fight and still have a good chance of actually turning to stone.

Now, the big issue:

Immunities, Resistances, & Vulnerabilities: I have a lot to say here, so I am sorry if it is a bit of a ramble.
I will start with something that has bothered me for a long time: magic resistant creatures being vulnerable to magic weapons.  The majority of creatures in the bestiary that are immune or resistant to nonmagical weapons (and thus take full damage from even a simple +1 sword) are also resistant to magic.  These things don't seem to fit together.  It would be like having a monster that is resistant to fire and weapons, but takes full damage from flaming arrows.
It would make more sense for such creatures to simply be resistant to slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage, unless it was from a weapon made of a certain material (see below).

Speaking of Magic Resistance, I think it needs to include a bit more than just resistance on saving throws.  It should also involve taking half damage from spells, to cover spells like shocking grasp (that use an attack roll) and magic missile (that deal automatic damage).  Also, I think such creatures should still get a save (but without advantage) for spells that offer a save to some creatures but not all.  For example, when you cast Command on an Imp, the creature doesn't get a save; I think it should, but not with advantage.  Essentially, the Magic Resistant trait is giving you an extra D20 for saves.

Resistances should make sense.  For example, why are demons resistant to fire, cold, and lightning?  Why are devils resistant to cold?  Again, this is something that might make sense when we have the flavor text, but right now it seems odd.  And saying, "Because they had it in the past" isn't a good answer if it didn't make sense then too.  Monster traits should make sense outside of tradition.

There don't seem to be nearly enough vulnerabilities.  Resistances and even immunities are handed out to many monsters, but I think I can count the vulnerabilities on my fingers.  Here are some notable examples:
1) Undead.  The vampire is the only undead that takes extra damage from radiant attacks (the wraith takes normal damage because radiant bypasses its incorporeal nature).  I was disappointed to see Holy damage removed from the game, because I thought it was cool to have a damage type that could deal extra damage against undead and fiends.  However, radiant damage could serve that need.  Give undead (and perhaps fiends as well) vulnerability to radiant damage!
2) Fire and Cold creatures.  Fire giants should be vulnerable to cold, frost giants to fire.
3) Demons and Devils.  I think they should be actually vulnerable to cold-forged iron and silver, respectively, rather than just taking normal damage.

Which brings me to materials.  I love the idea of monsters being vulnerable to weapons made from a certain material, but this only works if the materials are rare.  If you can just buy a handful of them at any store, you simply end up with characters walking around with a golf bag of weapons.  So things like cold-forged iron are great.  It sounds mystical and fantasical, clearly not something that you can find easily.  Adamantine is the same, but silver needs work.  I would love to see silver weapons replaced with something more fantastical, like eldritch silver, or moon-forged silver (I like that one because it fits with the whole lycanthrope thing).

The Flesh Golem is the poster boy for these issues.  Why are flesh golems, which are nothing more than corpses stitched together and animated through a magical ritual, so indestructible?  Why are they completely immune to fire, cold, and lightning?  I can grasp the idea of lightning healing them (because of the whole "animated from electricity" thing from Frankenstein), but if this is the case I would like to see golems being created through other means than magic.  Dr. Frankenstein was not a spellcaster; he used science to create his monster.
Even stranger, why is the flesh golem immune to fire (but is slowed)?  This makes no sense at all; if anything, it should be vulnerable to fire damage.
I like that cold damage slows it, but I think it should also do some damage.  Perhaps resistance to cold, rather than immunity.  Or perhaps give it harsher effects based on the amount of damage.  So it takes no damage from cold, but is slowed.  If the damage was at least 20, the golem is instead restrained.  Both effects last until the end of your next turn.
Why is a creature that is pretty much immune to all magic vulnerable to the most basic +1 sword (vulnerable in the sense that they deal normal damage to the creature)?  Spells have no effect on them, and normal weapons don't do anything.  But a level 7 fighter with a +1 dagger can cleave through the golem in 3 average hits (2 hits if it is a greatsword), and given the golem's AC of 9 that won't be hard.
All these combine to make a monster that is just a bit silly.  It either can't be killed or the weapon-users take it down quickly.

On a related note, will adamantine weapons have a special property?  If they can damage creatures like Flesh and Stone Golems that are competely immune to normal weapons, they should deal double damage against things like ogres and orcs.

Finally, the Imp seems to have some typos when it comes to resistances and immunities.  It is currently immune to cold, lightning, fire, and nonmagical weapons.  Other devils are only immune to fire, and not even resistant to lightning.  Also, unlike other devils, the imp is vulnerable to silver weapons (but they would have to be magic, given the imp's immunity to weapons).
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I am with you on almost every point, and I would like to add one more. The monsters make no distinction between magic weapons that are enchanted to cleave through stone and slice the wind, and any old random junk the fighter finds lying around. For example, the Flame Brand is a sword that is not extra sharp or extra balanced. Its only property is that it lights on fire. Fire elementals still take double damage from a flaming sword because it is a magic weapon.

The extreme example is the Tome of the Stilled Tongue. Bashing a monster with a book counts as an attack with an improvised weapon, and the Tome of the Stilled Tongue is a magic book, so it's a magic improvised weapon. Therefore a level 7 fighter can destroy a stone golem in around 4 hits by bashing it with a spellbook.

So basically, my complaint is that monsters seem to be allergic to magic in general, rather than allergic to the effects of magic.

I'm not with you on the silver thing, though. Instead of silver weapons, heroes would carry moon-silver weapons; the golf bag is still there. Traditionally, werewolves and the like are often defeated by all manner of random silver the hero finds lying about, and that's the sort of improvisational play D&D should keep.

(Incidentally, in most stories outside of D&D, all iron is cold iron, and "warm" iron is the exotic material. I've always found D&D's cold iron to be a little odd because of that.)
The monsters make no distinction between magic weapons that are enchanted to cleave through stone and slice the wind, and any old random junk the fighter finds lying around. For example, the Flame Brand is a sword that is not extra sharp or extra balanced. Its only property is that it lights on fire. Fire elementals still take double damage from a flaming sword because it is a magic weapon.

The extreme example is the Tome of the Stilled Tongue. Bashing a monster with a book counts as an attack with an improvised weapon, and the Tome of the Stilled Tongue is a magic book, so it's a magic improvised weapon. Therefore a level 7 fighter can destroy a stone golem in around 4 hits by bashing it with a spellbook.

Yup, this is another reason why I don't like the idea of "resistant to non-magical weapons".

But regarding the book, I don't think there is actually a printed rule that says attacking with a magic item counts as a "magical improvised weapon".  Thus it would be the DMs call, and I would rule that the tome doesn't count in that way.
I'm not with you on the silver thing, though. Instead of silver weapons, heroes would carry moon-silver weapons; the golf bag is still there. Traditionally, werewolves and the like are often defeated by all manner of random silver the hero finds lying about, and that's the sort of improvisational play D&D should keep.

Well, my point was that by replacing normal silver with something special, it becomes rare.  If the heroes can't just go into a town to buy them, they won't end up with a bag full of them.  Finding a single moon-silver sword would be considered extremely lucky, akin to finding a rare magical item.
(Incidentally, in most stories outside of D&D, all iron is cold iron, and "warm" iron is the exotic material. I've always found D&D's cold iron to be a little odd because of that.)

Well, it is cold-forged iron.  I always thought of it as some sort of crazy metal that couldn't be melted at all, so it had to be forged with extreme magical cold.  Starmetal, perhaps, which is why it is so rare.

The monsters make no distinction between magic weapons that are enchanted to cleave through stone and slice the wind, and any old random junk the fighter finds lying around. For example, the Flame Brand is a sword that is not extra sharp or extra balanced. Its only property is that it lights on fire. Fire elementals still take double damage from a flaming sword because it is a magic weapon.

The extreme example is the Tome of the Stilled Tongue. Bashing a monster with a book counts as an attack with an improvised weapon, and the Tome of the Stilled Tongue is a magic book, so it's a magic improvised weapon. Therefore a level 7 fighter can destroy a stone golem in around 4 hits by bashing it with a spellbook.



Lol.  =)  I just had a picture in my head of a fighter running around, wielding a Murlynd's Spoon exclaiming, "I shall gouge out your eyes and feast upon bland stew from your skull!"

But in seriousness, I'm pretty much agreeing with most of the thread.  Seems some things need to be more explicitly worded.  Though, I would never expect a magical book or spoon to be counted as an actual magical weapon.  I would have to rule that only those items explicitly created to cause harm would be considered a magical weapon (sword, bow/arrows, etc.).  I think the only exception to this rule would be magical shields when shield bashing...but that is a bit of a gray area.

All the same, as much as people say "the truth hurts," I don't think I would allow an enchanted volume of The Encyclopedia Britannica to get through resistance =).
The Flesh Golem is the poster boy for these issues.  Why are flesh golems, which are nothing more than corpses stitched together and animated through a magical ritual, so indestructible?  Why are they completely immune to fire, cold, and lightning?  I can grasp the idea of lightning healing them (because of the whole "animated from electricity" thing from Frankenstein), but if this is the case I would like to see golems being created through other means than magic.  Dr. Frankenstein was not a spellcaster; he used science to create his monster.
Even stranger, why is the flesh golem immune to fire (but is slowed)?  This makes no sense at all; if anything, it should be vulnerable to fire damage.
I like that cold damage slows it, but I think it should also do some damage.  Perhaps resistance to cold, rather than immunity.  Or perhaps give it harsher effects based on the amount of damage.  So it takes no damage from cold, but is slowed.  If the damage was at least 20, the golem is instead restrained.  Both effects last until the end of your next turn.
Why is a creature that is pretty much immune to all magic vulnerable to the most basic +1 sword (vulnerable in the sense that they deal normal damage to the creature)?  Spells have no effect on them, and normal weapons don't do anything.  But a level 7 fighter with a +1 dagger can cleave through the golem in 3 average hits (2 hits if it is a greatsword), and given the golem's AC of 9 that won't be hard.
All these combine to make a monster that is just a bit silly.  It either can't be killed or the weapon-users take it down quickly.




I agree generally but one of the problems of making all undead vulnerable to radiant in 4e was that it made undead themed adventures really easy for certain groups and in 5e where the simplified version is double damage the problem is magnified. 

As far the abilities of flesh golems go, you have to go back to their literary and movie roots.  Boris Karloff's monster waded through fire without harm albeit hesitantly hence immune to fire but slowed and doesn't the story end in a snowy showdown?  I'm guessing the description of the monster was that the cold made him sluggish but did not harm him.  If you want to complain about illogic, blame Mary Shelley and Hollywood.  In fact I quite like it when they include a paragraph explaining the inspiration for the monster be it Greek legend, religious text or Frankenstein.  Personally, I get a buzz over seeing mythical abilities statted out (and I felt that 4e, while being practical, helped to reduce that buzz by simplifying monsters to fit specific purposes. 

5e is restricted because it has simplified damage resistance to Y or N and gone are the varying levels that we had in earlier systems.  This is partly to keep resistances relevant at all levels.  What they could do is have a list of optional traits for DMs to include (which they are currently doing in a few cases particularly with spell abilities).
I still think monsters' attack bonuses are too high in this packet.  They were too low in the last packet, though.  I'd like to see them reduced by about one or two points across the board.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

The monsters make no distinction between magic weapons that are enchanted to cleave through stone and slice the wind, and any old random junk the fighter finds lying around. For example, the Flame Brand is a sword that is not extra sharp or extra balanced. Its only property is that it lights on fire. Fire elementals still take double damage from a flaming sword because it is a magic weapon.

The extreme example is the Tome of the Stilled Tongue. Bashing a monster with a book counts as an attack with an improvised weapon, and the Tome of the Stilled Tongue is a magic book, so it's a magic improvised weapon. Therefore a level 7 fighter can destroy a stone golem in around 4 hits by bashing it with a spellbook.

Yup, this is another reason why I don't like the idea of "resistant to non-magical weapons".

But regarding the book, I don't think there is actually a printed rule that says attacking with a magic item counts as a "magical improvised weapon".  Thus it would be the DMs call, and I would rule that the tome doesn't count in that way.

Yeah, I wouldn't allow it either, it's an exploitation of a badly-written rule to create nonsensical results. Instead, monsters should say what it is about magic that they're weak to. The stone golem, for example, is supposed to be weak to anything that can slice through stone. It's not supposed to be allergic to magic, it's supposed to be allergic to the amazing sharpness produced by magic. In a campaign without magic weapons, adamantine weapons will substitute, and when deprived of both, mundane pickaxes and hammers should work as well.

I'm not with you on the silver thing, though. Instead of silver weapons, heroes would carry moon-silver weapons; the golf bag is still there. Traditionally, werewolves and the like are often defeated by all manner of random silver the hero finds lying about, and that's the sort of improvisational play D&D should keep.

Well, my point was that by replacing normal silver with something special, it becomes rare.  If the heroes can't just go into a town to buy them, they won't end up with a bag full of them.  Finding a single moon-silver sword would be considered extremely lucky, akin to finding a rare magical item.

That's not really in keeping with the usual werewolf weakness of common everyday silver, but it sounds like a good magic item.

(Incidentally, in most stories outside of D&D, all iron is cold iron, and "warm" iron is the exotic material. I've always found D&D's cold iron to be a little odd because of that.)

Well, it is cold-forged iron.  I always thought of it as some sort of crazy metal that couldn't be melted at all, so it had to be forged with extreme magical cold.  Starmetal, perhaps, which is why it is so rare.

Yeah, I get how that's what's usually done, I just prefer the folkloric style where iron beats fey. Different campaign setting, and I'd need to power up a couple of monsters to compensate for their weakness being ubiquitous.

Amusingly, it seems meteoric iron really would have been cold-worked. That has nothing to do with D&D, but I thought I'd share. (tvtropes on starmetal, Wikipedia on starmetal, and Wikipedia on cold-working as an blacksmithing technique.)
Resistances should make sense.  For example, why are demons resistant to fire, cold, and lightning?  Why are devils resistant to cold?  Again, this is something that might make sense when we have the flavor text, but right now it seems odd.  And saying, "Because they had it in the past" isn't a good answer if it didn't make sense then too.  Monster traits should make sense outside of tradition.


Demons and Devils have their reasons to be resistant.

The best example that would support demons having those resistances is 4e's origin story. They were borne of a shard of evil, burried at the bottom of the elemental chaos. They are litterally evil elementals by the definition of 4e. Being borne of the elemental chaos probably would give you resistances :P But, I will admit, the connection is less well made here.

Devils on the other hand have every reason to be resistant to cold. Hell, one layer of hell (I want to say it's the 8th) is completely frozen. Not to mention there's many mentions in popular works (Dante's Inferno and Paradise Lost come to mind) where hell has portions of it completely frozen and cold. Hell, in Dante's Inferno the Devil is eternally trapped in a frozen lake as a punishment for betraying god. Also, judas is stuffed in his mouth...I just thought that was funny.
My two copper.
Resistances should make sense.  For example, why are demons resistant to fire, cold, and lightning?  Why are devils resistant to cold?  Again, this is something that might make sense when we have the flavor text, but right now it seems odd.  And saying, "Because they had it in the past" isn't a good answer if it didn't make sense then too.  Monster traits should make sense outside of tradition.


Demons and Devils have their reasons to be resistant.

The best example that would support demons having those resistances is 4e's origin story. They were borne of a shard of evil, burried at the bottom of the elemental chaos. They are litterally evil elementals by the definition of 4e. Being borne of the elemental chaos probably would give you resistances :P But, I will admit, the connection is less well made here.

Devils on the other hand have every reason to be resistant to cold. Hell, one layer of hell (I want to say it's the 8th) is completely frozen. Not to mention there's many mentions in popular works (Dante's Inferno and Paradise Lost come to mind) where hell has portions of it completely frozen and cold. Hell, in Dante's Inferno the Devil is eternally trapped in a frozen lake as a punishment for betraying god. Also, judas is stuffed in his mouth...I just thought that was funny.



I definitely understand these points. Though what I don't understand is the number of resistances and immunities something things have (with a complete lack of vulnerabilities). Why do some demons have resistance to fire, cold and lightning? Fire and lightning would make sense. But fire and cold are opposites. Would a demon of a fire origin not be vulnerable to cold?