Posted by : David Guyll March 19, 2014

When it comes to 5th Edition, the flavor content is one of many things I have been very critical of: the stories pitched often ranged from merely confusing to hilariously bad, and sometimes only arbitrarily adhere to the mythology (such as, for starters, the gorgon being a metal bull and the hydra apparently having at least four varieties).

I did not have much to say about last week's Wandering Monsters column, except that while it was nice to see that they threw out having dragonborn being hatched from unblessed dragon eggs, it looks like people largely agreed with most of the polls, which means I am probably going to like very little of the flavor.

On a somewhat positive note, they are retaining 4th Edition's model of packaging and delivering flavor content, which makes it easier to pick out the general idea of a paragraph amid a wall of text (it is a shame that they did not apply this concept to spells and attacks). I do not think that monsters necessarily need a bunch of flavor text, but at least with a kind of tagline it will be easier to move from idea to idea, and find what I am looking for if I want to refer to it later.

I am not sure why Mearls says that they have not done this "much in the recent past", as Monster Vault and Monster Vault: Threats of the Nentir Vale were released in 2010 and 2011 respectively; maybe he is talking about the 5th Edition playtest? It would not be the first time it took them a few years to arrive at a previous conclusion, which also goes hand in hand with their "goal" of maintaining selective mechanical consistency with (select) prior editions.

I mean, jackalweres gotta have a sleep-inducing gaze in case you want to convert a previous adventure, but dragons do not have buckets of nonsense magic? How am I going to recapture the feel of mid- to high-level adventures if I am not constantly having to reference other books to figure out what spells and feats do? On a semi-related note, I am not sure why monsters have both Hit Dice and levels. Near as I can figure, nothing about them consistently informs the pointless amount of XP they are worth.

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