More Monsters

Freshly arrived from Lulu is this new OSRIC/AD&D monster book by Rafael Chandler.

I've not done more with it yet than flip through it and write my name on the inside cover, so I can't really comment much yet on its contents. On the outside though, it fits in almost perfectly with my other AD&D manuals — it's clearly been closely modelled on the style of the MM2. The binding is glossier, and I suspect not as hard-wearing as those ancient volumes, but the graphic design is very similar (in spite of the 3e/Pathfinder-style cover critter).

Internally, the layout is basically the same as the MM1 and MM2, though the text is in a larger font (not a bad thing, in my view). It's liberally illustrated in black & white or greyscale throughout, and generally speaking the illustrations are pretty good.

The paper is a smooth, matte, bright-white stock designed for digital printing. It's not as heavy as the rag-paper used in the first AD&D manuals, but it's not as flimsy or shoddy as that used in some of the AD&D2 books. It feels like it should take pen and/or pencil annotations just fine.

On brief acquaintance, I'm pretty happy with it. Now to actually read the thing and see what I can do with it to help in the noble quest to make my players' lives a living hell.

A couple of days later.....

Well OK, so now that I've given it the once-through I'd have to say that I'm not completely over the moon about it, but it's not a complete load of old cobblers either.

There are some good, interesting monsters in there, but many of them are clearly designed to suit a very specific campaign style — and that's not really my style at all. I'd much prefer it if they had their campaign-specific fluff stripped out, and to have them presented in a much more general-purpose style.

I'd also have to say that I'm not that fond of being beaten over the head with an author's own politics/ethics/morality, even when I happen to agree with some of it. I get the strong feeling from this collection of monsters that I'd find Chandler's own campaign intolerably preachy.

I wouldn't say that I wasted my money, but I can't see it being as useful as I had hoped.

Yet Another Hill

 I got a cheap 30-watt foam-cutting hot wand from China a few days ago, and tried it out by carving up a foam off-cut into another hill. ...