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Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual $19.98 $13.39
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual
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Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/09/2012 16:16:11
A fantastic collection of monsters from the original Fiend Folio, Monster Manual 2 and various publications. All revised to be used in in Castles & Crusades. Not a "must have" book, but certainly a "you will really, really want it and kick yourself if you don't get it" book.
It is a fantastic edition to my C&C collection and I Am very glad I bought it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Nicholas B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/25/2012 14:37:33
Another fine book from the trolls. If you, like me, felt that the pinnacle of monster manuals from the 80's was the Fiend Folio, this is a book for you. Includes about 200 classic monsters from the era, as well as an extensive 1st edition DMG-style index of monsters from all three C&C monster books at the end. Great black & white illustrations, faithful recreations of many old classics of D&D that have been missing from C&C, and does a lot to bulk up the monsters of M&T.

Pros: 200 new monsters, well illustrated, very few typos/errata issues that I have found so far (i.e. cloaker seems to be missing from the index listing). Adds a lot of goodies for the CK to play with. A great tome if you loved the Fiend Folio. At $14.49 I felt I got my money's worth.

Cons: if you want new, this may not be the place to look; if you are fine with converting from other monster manuals of D&D to C&C, then this book may seem redundant to you. If you thought the Field Folio monsters were stupid, this book is not for you.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/02/2012 06:15:08
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/04/02/tabletop-review-classic-
-monsters-the-manual-castles-crusades/

I love the Castles & Crusades system, but I tend to have to problems with it. The first is that their releases tend to be overpriced compared to competitive products, especially in the PDF realm. The second is that their published adventures tend to be…lacking. In the past few months I’ve reviewed Dwarven Glory and The Forsaken Mountain and found myself unimpressed with either. However the system an core campaign books are what I love and so I was quite pleased that Troll Lord Games added a Classis Monsters book to supplement the original Tome of Horrors and then converted from the OGL rules to the ones that Castles and Crusades uses. It may sound or feel a biz lazy when you realize that much of the book is lifted, but then, most of Tome of Horrors was lifted from the original; Monster Manual and Fiend Folio, so longtime ardent old school D&D fans won’t care; they’ll just be happy to have these monsters.

Speaking of the monsters, the phrase “Classic Monsters” might have you thinking of things like vampires, werewolves, zombies and the like. Well, you won’t actually find too much of that here actually. Again, Classic Monsters is about classic Dungeons & Dragons monsters – so that’s what you’ll see here. Oddly enough, you’ll notice the monster on the gorgeous cover, a chimera, is not actually in the book. That’s a bit odd isn’t it? You would think the cover would highlight monsters actually contained within.

I’m pretty happy with the collection on creatures in Classic Monsters. I loved seeing old favorites like the tarrasque, death knights, skeleton warriors, demiliches hook fiends and even flumphs make their Castle and Crusades debut. There were also some creatures I didn’t expect to see, like Yellow Musk based monsters or the Vargouille. In truth, all of these monsters are ones you’ll recognize if you’ve played a lot of Gygaxian inspired games over the years, but otherwise these things will be weird, obscure or nonsensical to you. This is especially true of newcomers to tabletop gaming but then, how many people choose Castles & Crusades as their first RPG?

It’s especially interesting to note that three types of monsters were really given focus here: lycanthropes (were-creatures), elementals and Mephits. The book contains ELEVEN “lesser elementals” and then four evil elemental princes. It has five lycanthropes (fox, shark, snake, spider, and hound) and then four particular mephit spec ies in addition to generic ones. That seems odd to me, especially with the lycanthropes. I would have pictures werebats or wereravens needing stat blocks before snakes, spiders or hounds. Some odd choices here, but at least they are interesting ones you can pull out to freak out your PCs. “Whoever heard of a weresnake???”

All, in all I’m pretty happy with the book. Sure, it’s only going to reach its maximum potential in the hands of a long time old school Dungeons & Dragons fans, but at least with everyone else they’ll now have over 200 new monsters to throw at their players. Classic Monsters really does give the gave more threats to face down and it sorely needed that. I am a bit bothered by the price. Compare Classic Monsters‘s price tag with that of Tome of Horrors. Classic Monsters is $14.99 for the e-version while Tome of Horrors is only $11.98 and twice the monsters and thus twice the page length. So a fraction of the monsters from the source material for roughly twenty-five percent more in cost? That’s not cool at all. Again we see that Castles & Crusades likes to overprice itself to its own peril. I guess they justify the cost increase as the “conversion process?”

For fans of Castles & Crusades, Classic Monsters: The Manual is almost a no-brainer. You get a ton of new enemies for a decent price and it saves you from having to do any conversion work to the system. Most of the monsters are pretty niche and you probably won’t use them more than once or twice, but the rest of them will see regular use, either as cannon fodder or a recurring big bad. I’m glad I picked this up and I’ll make use of it, but your mileage really will vary with this book. It all depends on how badly you need more monsters in your campaign and/or it Monsters & Treasure just isn’t cutting it for you anymore.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by 2 G. 1 M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/27/2012 18:03:11
In the beginning of the book is a very short article on running monsters with their own motivations and it succeeds rather well in a fairly short amount of space. In fact, I’d say that this primer is very much the heart and soul of the work. The monsters are meant to be a little different, and most certainly meant to be generally intelligent opposition. There’s a repeat of the “how to read the monster stat blocks” section in the Monsters and Treasure book, and then the monsters!

The Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters Manual has over 200 monsters, all of them with C&C statistics. About half of the monsters come from the Tome of Horrors by Necromancer Games, which in turn contains a bunch of monsters that had only shown up previously in modules (Vegepygmies, for example). I happen to own Tome of Horrors, and so I can tell you that this book is not a reprint of it. Not every monster in Tome of Horrors is in Classic Monsters, and many (at least half) of the monsters are original creations, or at least original to this book. Of course, the utility of this book is pretty much restricted to people who use Castles and Crusades.

However, if you are like me and enjoy seeing all sorts of monsters, and mining ideas of them for yourself, you’re in for a treat. Assuming you are not interested in the creatures that have appeared previously let me illuminate some of the cooler original monsters for you. The Bendith y Mamau is a fae type creature that resides in a house to protect it from evil. They are easily insulted and wreak havoc on people and places which do insult them, often require greater offerings to appease them. That is one hell of an adventure seed right there.

Another example is the Chawl Witch, a creature that is really entertaining to a polyglot like me. They are basically language masters, able to understand and comprehend languages after only a few hours with them. They are always female, but reproduce with a male of any humanoid species. They lay eggs, and the eggs and young are coveted by wizards who want a servant/slave. Once again, an adventure seed that is not to be sneered at.

There are some really cool werecreatures in the book: werefoxes, werespiders, and werehounds. Each is given a description which includes a solid adventure seed like in the previous examples. Having devoured this book, I can say with authority that every single creature listed has an adventure seed in the description in which an entire night’s play can be thought up by a competent GM. There are some really fantastic ideas in here for using unusual creatures in unusual adventuring circumstances, as well as just some cool stuff to fight.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/27/2012 10:45:56
Classic Monsters is a compilation of some of the classic monsters of old school gaming, taken from the open content of the first Tome of Horrors and converted to the C&C system. This book greatly expands the amount of monster available from the Monsters & Treasure book, and would be a boon to anyone running a game of Castles & Crusades. The art is up to the usual high standards of a Castles and Crusades book, and the layout follows the crisp and clean standards of the other C&C books.

Unfortunately, among the weird and wacky monsters from the early days of the first edition of the Advanced Game, the one glaring absence would be the demons and devils. Yes, it would be easy enough to convert these...but they just seems to be much too noticeable in their absence, particularly in comparison to other much more thorough old school monster manuals that are on the market. Does this render Classic Monsters useless, or make it a less attractive purchase? Well, no to either of those questions. Classic Monsters is definitely much more affordable (and likely easier to find) than those other monster manuals, and there are still plenty of other monsters that are available in this book. With a couple of hundred new monsters, there is still a lot of meat for a Castle Keeper in this volume.

One of the strong points of the write-ups for these monsters is the combat section. For those less experienced Castle Keepers, or those who were not around in the hobby when many of these creatures were first published, having that brief outline of how each monster acts in combat can be very useful. There is also enough ecology information to be able to place these monsters into an adventure in a way that makes some logical sense.

Yes, this is a volume that adapts material that is already available, but sometimes not having to do the conversion work is worth the price of admission, and not everyone still has copies of the original MM2 or the Fiend Folio around to use for their Castles & Crusades games. Because of that, this book is useful and a good addition to anyone's Castles & Crusades library.

[A more fleshed out version of this review can be found at my blog at http://dorkland.blogspot.com/2012/03/castles-and-crusades-cl-
assic-monsters.html]

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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