The Red Box Blog

Ramblings about D&D.

Hey Wizards, Since You’re Going Retro… (Part 1)

Since Wizards of the Coast has been releasing a whole bunch of retro themed products I thought I would throw my ideas out there for retro products that definitely could get my money.

A long time ago I remember reading in Dragon Magazine a certain article that mentioned how much time was wasted flipping through Monster Manuals. Between Monster Manual, Monster Manual II, Fiend Folio, plus modules and Dragon Magazines that might have monsters a DM could spend an hour looking for a monster if he didn’t know where to start. Luckily the article came with a solution, because the article was about the changes coming in 2nd Edition.

The solution was, of course, the Monstrous Compendium. The Monstrous Compendium was an incredible idea; it gave the power of organization in the hands of the DM. If you wanted to put every monster ever in one huge 4″ binder you could do it. If you wanted to put all the monsters you like in one binder and the ones you don’t in another you could do it. If you wanted to organize using a system other than alphabetical you could do it. The idea was a huge break through.

Unfortunately, there were some problems in the execution of the Monstrous Compendium. For example:

  • Some times there were different monsters printed on opposite side of a page; this destroyed the very point of the MC and made alphabetizing a nightmare.
  • The binder it came in didn’t hold up well to the rings being opened and closed a lot.
  • The pages sometimes ripped when being turned.

However, these reasons shouldn’t have killed the idea, they should have just demanded fixes.

  • Every double sided page should have had just a single monster on it; if this means more fluff per monster, even better.
  • Instead of binders, which undoubtedly cost a lot to ship (compared to books), they should have sold decal packs so you could turn any binder into a official looking MC.
  • Instead of the paper they did use they should have prnted on slightly heavily paper.

Put all these changes together, and enforce them in every instance new monsters are being published (so the new monster in the back of a module could easily be added to your MC) and the product would be a winner. So how about it Wizards?

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October 25, 2010 - Posted by | 2nd Edition, Dungeons and Dragons, RPGs | , ,

7 Comments »

  1. they have sort of implemented this concept with their digital tools. with your DDI subscription you get the character builder and the monster builder. the monster builder is essentially a data base of every monster put out from the books, modules, and magazines. so you can pull up the stat block for any of the monsters and you can then edit them as you see fit, whether that be leveling them up or down or adding powers to them. you can also make your own monsters. it is pretty cool and has made creating encounters and adventures much easier.

    Comment by middleagedm | October 26, 2010 | Reply

  2. I know what you’re getting at, but I don’t think an online resource is quite the same as a hard copy.

    Comment by The Red DM | October 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. agreed, I still prefer reading actual books, I am still upset that dragon and dungeon magazine are only digital now

    Comment by middleagedm | October 26, 2010 | Reply

  4. I think I actually would have been less upset about Dragon and Dungeon stopping publishing if they had just disappeared instead of going digital; something about calling those online magazine the same names (and number scheme) as the paper ones seems wrong to me.

    Comment by The Red DM | October 26, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] Since Wizards of the Coast has been releasing a whole bunch of retro themed products I thought I would throw my ideas out there for retro products that definitely could get my money. (if you missed part 1 see it here) […]

    Pingback by Hey Wizards, Since You’re Going Retro… (Part 2) « The Red Box Blog | October 27, 2010 | Reply

  6. […] my ideas out there for retro products that definitely could get my money. (if you missed parts 1 and […]

    Pingback by Hey Wizards, Since You’re Going Retro… (Part 3) « The Red Box Blog | October 27, 2010 | Reply

  7. […] out there for retro products that definitely could get my money. (click here if you missed parts 1, 2 or […]

    Pingback by Hey Wizards, Since You’re Going Retro… (Part 4) « The Red Box Blog | October 29, 2010 | Reply


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