Monster Manual 2; Changes Please

36 posts / 0 new
Last post
I have requests for the Monster Manual 2 and beyond (it will come out eventually). These suggestions are cased as a contrast to the Monster Manual 1 which is already released.

Please, include read-aloud text in future books.
If one of the goals of 4th edition was to make being a DM "easier" and more accessible, then I think this is a very simple matter. Can I make up a description based on the picture? Yes. However, I don't want to think about how much information I am giving out, whether it is too much or too little, whether I have used words which are misleading, etc. -- especially if I am tired in the brain from running a game for 4 hours.

Please be a bit more forthcoming with "fluff."
I don't need the entire history of a creature, every location in the world it lives in, etc. It would be nice to have some basic information though, about perhaps tribal structures, their main deity, some behavioral traits, where they prefer to live, etc. I understand not wanting to "straitjacket" DMs, but that isn't really an issue as long as you use language which leaves open possibilities. "They usually do this." "Most tribes do that."

A lack of information about the creatures is in no way "freeing" for me, because I don't want to do extra legwork on thinking about

1) Where a creature comes from and
2) Why it behaves a certain way and
3) What its culture is like

When I just wanted a Random Encounter and a player decides to ask a question about them. I understand there is some more info in the "Lore" section, but frequently there is only information given for a DC 15 check which amounts to 2 sentences, and that is the entirety of the entry. Even if that's all a knowledge check DC 15 would get, you guys are allowed to provide extra information.

Please not so much "blank space" in the future.
A prime example is the Kruthik entry (page 170-171). This goes along with my previous requests for more information (especially when there is so much obvious space being wasted), however even a couple more pictures or example monsters of different levels would be good.

Include more pages about specific monsters and monster types.
Dragons and Giants get a good-sized spread, but almost everything else is limited to a single page or 2 pages (often with a lot of blank space). This is personal preference I'm sure, but I would like to see more varieties of intelligent monsters. For example, the Kobolds. There is a good selection of Kobolds for a short adventure -- but that selection will get boring if it is continuously recycled in a Kobold-heavy dungeon of more than 8 rooms (including any outside random encounters as "rooms"). The level spread is a bit strange too. Same issue with Orcs.

Monsters don't need full-page art.
Honestly, art books can be bought if one wants, but I would prefer more information about monsters and less pictures of them posing. That entire art page of the 2 Beholders could have been shrunk down to make room for a bunch more varieties of Beholders to be statted out. The art in the book is nice and all (though the heavy recycling is a bit disappointing and reduces the MM value as an "art book"), but it is not easily shared with players because to do so would require allowing them to see the monster info. This is another reason why read-aloud text is more valuable than a picture. "Worth a thousand words" yes; but I don't want to spend time to compose them all.

Someone mentioned once that a good picture can "get juices flowing" and inspire a DM to think of adventures. I personally get much more inspiration from reading information and thinking how that might interact with a game world a bit more than the style of weapon used by a single gnome. If so-and-so is how they usually act, then what would abnormal ones be like? What if they lived somewhere else or were forced from their home or worshiped a different deity? etc.

That's all I have to say for now, thanks.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19670890/Keep_on_the_Shadowfell_Character_Errata
Pictures > Descriptions and Homebrew Fluff > Storebought Fluff.

I prefer the MM the way it is, all those little things you mention locks peoples imagination into set blocks, even if the way they're worded doesn't actually do so. I rather enjoy having players run into an elder Red Wyrm in the middle of an arctic blizzard, why? Because nobody is going to see that coming.
well I just have this to say then I will ramble on after words, I find it fun to decide where a creature should be for my world, maybe the mindflayers like living on coastal property and the warforged like to live in giant mountains, it is all up to the dm and it is about time they gave us the blatant freedom so I can take my rules lawyers slap them in the face with the book and say I don't need no stinking rule zero to do this.
I like the no nonsense appraoch they took with the Monster Manual. Leave Fluff to the specific campaign worlds. Fluff does not belong in a generic ruleset.
one thing I've noticed is that most of the medium humanoids are fairly interchangeable (if a creature has a 'signature' power that all the monsters of that creature entry have, just swap that in as appropriate) so if you need say, a level 4 orc soldier like guy; you can grab the human one, and just handwave the description.

not perfect obviously but it would be fast and helps with the weird levels in some of the smaller entries
The AD&D Second Edition Monster Manual was ideal in my opinion.
The AD&D Second Edition Monster Manual was ideal in my opinion.

Here here! I agree that we got far too little fluff, especially considering that the new edition of D&D is actually more campaign specific than any previous one, what with the often arbitrary shadow/fey/elemental/immortal descriptions. Sure, I like to make up my own stuff, but I like a jumping off point.
I like the no nonsense appraoch they took with the Monster Manual. Leave Fluff to the specific campaign worlds. Fluff does not belong in a generic ruleset.

Sure, I like to make up my own stuff, but I like a jumping off point.

here i agree while they could put some more into it for a start could be useful. i like having the versatility of not having much of fluff to restrict the use and placement of the monsters in the campaigns i run.
here i agree while they could put some more into it for a start could be useful. i like having the versatility of not having much of fluff to restrict the use and placement of the monsters in the campaigns i run.

And here's another vote for orthis style. Give me the space to create my own world, without having to explain everything to rules lawyers.
I don't think we need 'tribes usually do this..' type info but a text block of 'descriptive' text would be nice. Especially in regards to humanoids. Okay so an orc is medium... but medium covers everything from dwarfs to things almost the size of ogres. A small block of descriptive text wouldn't take up much room and can provide information that the pictures can't like height or features that may not be shown in the art.

One example is the worg. If I described that art to a party they'd think they were fighting a giant mutant rat, not some big nasty wolf-like creature. Also the D&D mini dire animals lack the spikes and plates shown in the art. Do they exist or was that just done in the art to give a visual cue that they're dire animals since the art doesn't effectively show size differences.
Monsters don't need full-page art.
Honestly, art books can be bought if one wants, but I would prefer more information about monsters and less pictures of them posing. That entire art page of the 2 Beholders could have been shrunk down to make room for a bunch more varieties of Beholders to be statted out. The art in the book is nice and all (though the heavy recycling is a bit disappointing and reduces the MM value as an "art book"), but it is not easily shared with players because to do so would require allowing them to see the monster info. This is another reason why read-aloud text is more valuable than a picture. "Worth a thousand words" yes; but I don't want to spend time to compose them all.

^ This. And if my PHB2 uses two whole pages to introduce every chapter and has every other page cut in half by some more cartoony artwork i will SCREAM! Stop leaving big reams of empty white space all over to, that is annoying. If you don't want to use a page, don't use it cut the page count and charge me less please.
Cutting page count by changing font, art, or white space won't change the price. The price is set per book with an UPPER limit on pages, art, and print. It's more about the number of pages than what's on them when it comes to printing costs though more ink per page means more cost (and a full page art piece is about the same as a small font full page of text). Note that the MM, DMG, and PHB all have different page counts but hte same cost, and the MM has the most art since every monster heading gets at least one picture.

The point of the art and white space is to make the books more readable and appealing to people. Little to no art and small margins and little white space would drive a lot of people away from the books.

Also when you look at the discounts you can get on new books online as opposed to in the store (B&N is a good example of this) you'll notice a good chunk of the MSRP (cover price) for the books doesn't even go to WotC but to the retailer and distribution points. You want the books cheaper order them online. I got my full set + sleeve (gift set) for 66$ after shipping and sales tax.
kouk, as a former DM, I should make note of a few things. (I do mean former, since I have not DM'd ever since AD&D 2.5e became the only choice and also the fact I did not like 3e/3.5e) I can sum this up to two things. But I will just make it short (for a change). That, and will not discuss the concept of quantity over quality, new gamers versus veterans, etc. Just what I say from this point on (as in stuff that will explain why the first (of many) book was set up this way). :P

1) With the way you want things to be done, you sound like you want them to do your job as a DM. Because being the DM means you need to choose the locations, choose the monsters, and choose if there is anything specific about the monsters. (See below for another response, which does have an example to how you can make a monster your own.)

2) With the artwork, there are only four (4) pages that have full artwork. Plus, the rest of the artwork are summed up as sample pictures for monsters and major villains. This also sums up why there was the editorial decision to allow those gaps. (And speaking from experience, it is a decision that has to be made in exchange of keeping a natural flow for topics, monsters, etc.)

3) And with variety, the Monster Manual will have future volumes that will contain more variety. The ones chosen for the first book are just the basic (read: obvious) selections. The second MM and beyond will give more sub-types and even new monsters that are introduced in 4e. So what you asked in that will definitely be seen in future volumes.
As for generic information is always needed for generic settings. Mostly because a GOOD always use what they are given and make it their own. So be it fluff or not, the DM has the final say if the Displacer Beast is missing a tail, if the Red Dragon is blind in one eye, or even if the Kobolds wear green and are migrating because a black dragon decided to take over... even if it is not swamp land.

In the end, the 4e rules allow you to create those monsters as PCs or NPCs. The whole thing will be up to you or your DM. Thus, if you need that variety, create it yourself and not demand that others do it for you.
I can take or leave the fluff, but please, PLEASE, provide descriptive text! The only other thing really lacking, in my opinion, is a distinction between, say, and Aboleth Lasher and and Aboleth Overseer.
I can take or leave the fluff, but please, PLEASE, provide descriptive text! The only other thing really lacking, in my opinion, is a distinction between, say, and Aboleth Lasher and and Aboleth Overseer.

The distinction is there. They are pretty much saying the difference are not physical, but what kind of role they have.

Same with the Drow, and other species that are the same kind but have different roles.
I miss wizards´ familiars and animal companions of druid and rangers.

I would like exotic mounts like giants vernim. (Have you played golden axe videogame?).

"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 

perhaps with every monster manual, they could also publish a "monster manual companion." this would include all the fluff you guys are taking about. that way, the people who don't want that info don't have to get it. everybody wins.

-chris
perhaps with every monster manual, they could also publish a "monster manual companion." this would include all the fluff you guys are taking about. that way, the people who don't want that info don't have to get it. everybody wins.

-chris

Please no. I don't want to buy another book. The stuff we want isn't much. Just a good description of the monster that can be read off to the players, and a few notes on the monster's culture (if any), how it generally reacts to outsiders, and typical habitats. And this stuff can replace all those unnecessary pictures. If you show me a bear, I can figure out that the dire bear isn't too much different. And really, I don't need to see every profession for the various humanoids. If I've seen an orc warrior, do I really need to see the orc bloodrager, raider, eye of gruumsh, etc?
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I prefer images to descriptive text. But I am in for more fluff. I would also love to have SOMETHING that is not there to be fought (the old dryad was seeing play in my games. The new one won't see much).
Reading aloud text is something I never do. First, it's boring. Second, there are millions of players out there (including mine) who don't play in english (and don't use feet and other weird measures that you cannot multiply and convert easily, but anyway).
An image is worth 1000 words. And if I want the monster to be different than the image, I can describe.

I have a demand for MMII: don't take out everything recognisable and distinguishing from monsters. What's the point of the new atropal? It's not an embryon, it's not a dead god, it's just a big undead. How iiinteresting.

(the previous atropal had a player of mine having nightmares. Yes, THAT's the kind of monsters that is memorable).
I have to say I completely agree with Kouk. I mean. yeah, if I'm the DM, it's my world and kobolds act how I want them to act, but there should be some agreed upon baseline. The second edition books gave you all the information you could ask for, and I got really tired as a DM refering back to those books while playing third edition. Okay, so the planescape accessories gave you more information than you could ask for, and yeah, I may play githyanki a bit differently than presented, but here's the point I think kouk was trying to make:

As a DM, I want to quickly and easily present a world that is both enjoyable and believable (consistent with itself). I want to be able to tweek things in printed products so that they can fit my story, but asking me to build everything from the ground up is a disservice to the players, because when they see an orc there is a certain level of expectation based on their relative experiences as players, and my inability to deliver a clear and inveterate backstory for orcish behavior is more likely to cause incongruities that are harmful to keeping players thinking in game as their characters.

The current monster manual, as presented, very much reminds me of a video game, where an inexperienced DM will just throw monsters at the players with no real mind to how this group of monsters fits in to its own larger society or environment. An experienced DM will have ideas and concepts that will allow him to answer unexpected questions by the players, but that's only because that experienced DM is drawing his knowledge from 3rd and 2nd edition suppliments.

The response that, "it's your world, you can do what you want" isn't an answer because players like consistency. Yeah, if I want, I could make illithads a noble race of warrior-philosophers who don't suck out people's brains to feed... but since so many books have previously developed illithads in a lush and vibrant manner, with scores of suppliments going into great detail on their behavior and culture in a consistant manner that, while at times overlapping, doesn't contradict itself, if I'm going to depart from that so greatly, why can't I leave illithads as is and just create a new race of my own (use the same stats if that's what i really liked, but have a different physical description and all that).

the illithid situation is just a hypothetical, and can easily picked apart, but you get my point. extrapolate it to other races. i mean, the aboleth. one look at that thing and a new player/DM is gonna ask, "what the hell do i do with that?" is it just swimming in the water, waiting for the PCs so it can attack them, with treasure from previously killed adventurers laying at the bottom of its nest? a true "monster", with no desires or needs other than attacking that group of PCs at the water's edge? if they don't show up it continues to wait in that one spot? why call it an aboleth at that point, and not just psionic fish, if that's all it's going to be in your game. i mean, what are you going to do if your PCs spy it from afar and it doesnt detect them for whatever reason and they ask, "what does it do?" you look in the book, it only has combat tactics, leaving you with no answer. i mean, are you just gonna have it swim around in circles for a few hours, maybe nibble on a worm or two?

we call it fluff, but if we really wanted to play a game where monsters are just a collection of statistics, we'd play world of warcraft instead of D&D.
I have to say I completely agree with Kouk. I mean. yeah, if I'm the DM, it's my world and kobolds act how I want them to act, but there should be some agreed upon baseline. The second edition books gave you all the information you could ask for, and I got really tired as a DM refering back to those books while playing third edition. Okay, so the planescape accessories gave you more information than you could ask for, and yeah, I may play githyanki a bit differently than presented, but here's the point I think kouk was trying to make:

As a DM, I want to quickly and easily present a world that is both enjoyable and believable (consistent with itself). I want to be able to tweek things in printed products so that they can fit my story, but asking me to build everything from the ground up is a disservice to the players, because when they see an orc there is a certain level of expectation based on their relative experiences as players, and my inability to deliver a clear and inveterate backstory for orcish behavior is more likely to cause incongruities that are harmful to keeping players thinking in game as their characters.

The current monster manual, as presented, very much reminds me of a video game, where an inexperienced DM will just throw monsters at the players with no real mind to how this group of monsters fits in to its own larger society or environment. An experienced DM will have ideas and concepts that will allow him to answer unexpected questions by the players, but that's only because that experienced DM is drawing his knowledge from 3rd and 2nd edition suppliments.

The response that, "it's your world, you can do what you want" isn't an answer because players like consistency. Yeah, if I want, I could make illithads a noble race of warrior-philosophers who don't suck out people's brains to feed... but since so many books have previously developed illithads in a lush and vibrant manner, with scores of suppliments going into great detail on their behavior and culture in a consistant manner that, while at times overlapping, doesn't contradict itself, if I'm going to depart from that so greatly, why can't I leave illithads as is and just create a new race of my own (use the same stats if that's what i really liked, but have a different physical description and all that).

the illithid situation is just a hypothetical, and can easily picked apart, but you get my point. extrapolate it to other races. i mean, the aboleth. one look at that thing and a new player/DM is gonna ask, "what the hell do i do with that?" is it just swimming in the water, waiting for the PCs so it can attack them, with treasure from previously killed adventurers laying at the bottom of its nest? a true "monster", with no desires or needs other than attacking that group of PCs at the water's edge? if they don't show up it continues to wait in that one spot? why call it an aboleth at that point, and not just psionic fish, if that's all it's going to be in your game. i mean, what are you going to do if your PCs spy it from afar and it doesnt detect them for whatever reason and they ask, "what does it do?" you look in the book, it only has combat tactics, leaving you with no answer. i mean, are you just gonna have it swim around in circles for a few hours, maybe nibble on a worm or two?

we call it fluff, but if we really wanted to play a game where monsters are just a collection of statistics, we'd play world of warcraft instead of D&D.

Agreed; and also with the original poster.
Some commented about familiars, companions, and crazy mounts. They're coming but Wizards really didn't like how they played out in 3rd Edition. So, they're working on them so they don't just appear when you need them to do something special and then vanish from knowledge.

As for the Monster Manual it's all a part of the new artistic approach they are taking to 4th Edition. They don't want to repeat the mistakes they've made in the past where they paint the entire world. Then realize that having done so they've made all the monsters completely restricted in their behavior and in fact left no room in a "civilized" world for said monsters to inhabit.

I also hate to say it but the DnD Insider seems to be geared to providing the background fluff. Already they've got an article up about the behaviors and habitats of Kobolds. It details where they live, how they like to set their communities up, and gives us several new monster types.

While we might feel cheated that they are wanting us to buy more stuff it's their business plan. They're hear to make money. So, either dish it out or make things up.
Just a few suggestions for the Monster Manual II:

Generally speaking, I like how the book was organized, but you need to include a good index. You guys are notorious for having terrible indexs and organization to your books. I like that you have grouped like creatures together, but when you are trying to look for a creature, and you can't remember what kind of undead creature it is (ghoul, zombie, wight, whichever???), or if it falls into the wolf, or hound category, it becomes quite bothersome trying to find that monster when you don't have a strait forward index in the back of the book. There is a Monster by level, and a glossary, but no index. Please fix this.

Maybe its just me but did you guys go crazy with the fire humanoid type creatures?? You have:
Archons
Azer
Efreet
Fire Giant
Salamander
..and that is only the humanoidy flame creatures; not including any demon types, or sub-types like blazing skeletons. I'm just saying.. it seems like you should have included +1 Asbestos Armor in the Players Handbook.

I would have much rather seen some print space dedicated to some of my favorites, like:
Blink dog
Crypt Thing
Curst
Darkmantle
Desmodu Bat (or some other large-huge mount bat)
Rust Monster
Terror Bird (or Axebeak)

On a positive note, I really like how you organized teh monsters, traps, powers, and such with a similar structure, i.e. the colored/blocked organized cells. I hope you make this available with the online content so that when DM's are making their own dungeons, we are able to copy and past a creature or trap into the description of our dungeon, to make organizing content a breeze.

Thanks for the new stuff.
Monsters don't need full-page art.
Honestly, art books can be bought if one wants, but I would prefer more information about monsters and less pictures of them posing. That entire art page of the 2 Beholders could have been shrunk down to make room for a bunch more varieties of Beholders to be statted out. The art in the book is nice and all (though the heavy recycling is a bit disappointing and reduces the MM value as an "art book"), but it is not easily shared with players because to do so would require allowing them to see the monster info. This is another reason why read-aloud text is more valuable than a picture. "Worth a thousand words" yes; but I don't want to spend time to compose them all.

Someone mentioned once that a good picture can "get juices flowing" and inspire a DM to think of adventures. I personally get much more inspiration from reading information and thinking how that might interact with a game world a bit more than the style of weapon used by a single gnome. If so-and-so is how they usually act, then what would abnormal ones be like? What if they lived somewhere else or were forced from their home or worshiped a different deity? etc.

That's all I have to say for now, thanks.

I disagree with this. Your statement seems to imply that art is put in as a replacement for information, and I don't think that's the case. I think the art is necessary, and if it takes up a whole page, thats fine with me. It's not like they have a set amount of pages or space, and took out a bunch of info to fit in the art; they just sprinkled art throughout the book, and I appreciate it.

This isn't meant to say that we should sacrifice information for art, but if the question is whether to put art in, or how much art to put in, and it's not at the expense of anything, then I want as much art as possible.
I also think pictures are needed, and you should create your own world. The things that I would like to see in the MM2 are good dragons, I mean i have no good dragons to use to kill my players in evil campaigns..... I would also like to see more evil gods like jubilex and asmodeus. Some good gods would be nice too.
I like the no nonsense appraoch they took with the Monster Manual.

Yep, the 4th Ed MM is right up there with the 1st Ed MM for my all time favourite D&D book.
The only thing I thought they should have done with the MM was in the block part for Size after the size category they should have put general height and/or length (for things longer more than tall). Even if not a range just something to give us a bit more info on relative size of the creature since with fewer size categories they cover a wider range of height/length.

No other physical description is needed really since they've all got a picture but it's hard to get a feel for their actual size from those pictures.
The AD&D Second Edition Monster Manual was ideal in my opinion.

Oh, Ga, No! MM2E was the second worse monster manual in existence (3,5 MM4 takes first place, for the same reasons)! No monster should take two to three pages just for flavor text! I don't need to know the Ecology. I don't need to know that (for example) Death Knights must recite in Ballads about their fall every Full Moon. I don't need to know the percentages of how many non-combatants there are to combatants. I don't desire or want this information! If I wanted something like that, I'd buy a book about the race!

You don't need this information. If you want this information, go subscribe to dragon and get the Ecology of articles. Please for the love of all that is good, don't use it as a model for what a MM is suppose to be!
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
While in general, I don't agree with most of the OP points, I will touch on the Full Page Art.

Out of all the MM's I've seen, this time it felt vey out of place to see a full page splash art for monsters (Femorians get a full splash page? REALLY??). If you need to add another monster and commision or recycle art from somewhere, do so, but really, No more Full Page illustrations. They serve only half a purpose, and they really don't add anything to the book. I would perfer a page or two of ads, or an added section at the end for maps of lairs that add functionality to the MM, then to see you fill page count with full page illustrations for whatever reason.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
I have to say I completely agree with Kouk. I mean. yeah, if I'm the DM, it's my world and kobolds act how I want them to act, but there should be some agreed upon baseline. The second edition books gave you all the information you could ask for, and I got really tired as a DM refering back to those books while playing third edition. Okay, so the planescape accessories gave you more information than you could ask for, and yeah, I may play githyanki a bit differently than presented, but here's the point I think kouk was trying to make:

As a DM, I want to quickly and easily present a world that is both enjoyable and believable (consistent with itself). I want to be able to tweek things in printed products so that they can fit my story, but asking me to build everything from the ground up is a disservice to the players, because when they see an orc there is a certain level of expectation based on their relative experiences as players, and my inability to deliver a clear and inveterate backstory for orcish behavior is more likely to cause incongruities that are harmful to keeping players thinking in game as their characters.

The current monster manual, as presented, very much reminds me of a video game, where an inexperienced DM will just throw monsters at the players with no real mind to how this group of monsters fits in to its own larger society or environment. An experienced DM will have ideas and concepts that will allow him to answer unexpected questions by the players, but that's only because that experienced DM is drawing his knowledge from 3rd and 2nd edition suppliments.

The response that, "it's your world, you can do what you want" isn't an answer because players like consistency. Yeah, if I want, I could make illithads a noble race of warrior-philosophers who don't suck out people's brains to feed... but since so many books have previously developed illithads in a lush and vibrant manner, with scores of suppliments going into great detail on their behavior and culture in a consistant manner that, while at times overlapping, doesn't contradict itself, if I'm going to depart from that so greatly, why can't I leave illithads as is and just create a new race of my own (use the same stats if that's what i really liked, but have a different physical description and all that).

the illithid situation is just a hypothetical, and can easily picked apart, but you get my point. extrapolate it to other races. i mean, the aboleth. one look at that thing and a new player/DM is gonna ask, "what the hell do i do with that?" is it just swimming in the water, waiting for the PCs so it can attack them, with treasure from previously killed adventurers laying at the bottom of its nest? a true "monster", with no desires or needs other than attacking that group of PCs at the water's edge? if they don't show up it continues to wait in that one spot? why call it an aboleth at that point, and not just psionic fish, if that's all it's going to be in your game. i mean, what are you going to do if your PCs spy it from afar and it doesnt detect them for whatever reason and they ask, "what does it do?" you look in the book, it only has combat tactics, leaving you with no answer. i mean, are you just gonna have it swim around in circles for a few hours, maybe nibble on a worm or two?

we call it fluff, but if we really wanted to play a game where monsters are just a collection of statistics, we'd play world of warcraft instead of D&D.

That's why you should hold on to your 3.X books. The fluff from Lords of Madness, Races of..., the Fiendish Codex X, the Draconomicon, and the Libris Mortis still work for 4e. ;)

Frankly, I just view the 4e MM as a collection of stat blocks...all my fluff (all of it) about monsters is coming from 3.X. (Unless the monster did not exist in 3.X, in which case it probably won't see much action.)

I do agree, though that a bit (lot) more fluff would be desirable for DMs who are just now picking up D&D and only have the Core 4e books.
Once again I see concerns about the MM's lack of depth devolve into the same old "I am HAPPY there's no fluff and you should just make up your own".

What about descriptive text though? Why are the monsters no longer described? What purpose did cutting out all the descriptions serve and how does this improve the book?

Fluff aside, what do the creatures LOOK LIKE? The pictures are not enough. There needs to be some descriptive text.

Quexor
I really dont care about the fluff, but the lack of description is pretty annoying.
I would like to see more options for playable monsters (someone may have said this but since I haven't read the other posts). I feel some of the monsters were missing from the MM. 3.5 gave every playable monster adjustments as well as level modifier, which added to game play. Also, let's see more dragons...and some fairies or a nymph or more creatures that can pose a threat other than physical.
There are pictures for a reason, guys. There's your description right there.
Correct me if I'm remembering incorrectly, but aren't there only 2 monsters with full page art? Fomorians and Beholders. Correct? That doens't seem so bad to me. I like the new approach to the MM, its easy to navigate and decipher, easy to build encounters from, easy to cobble together new monsters (oh I need a human clericy type guy, oh hey orc leader guess what? You're a human cleric now) and best of all leaves plenty of room for creativity and interpritation on the DM's part. Monsters aren't pigeonholed now, I don't have to put my players in a desert to use a bullette, I don't have to worry about how many noncombatants are in a tribe of orcs when my PCs go raid an orc camp, and so on.