Angela and I showed up at the Armored Gopher at midnight to pick up my books. Yeah, our FLGS has gamer-friendly, if odd, hours.
I immediately handed Angela the Monster Manual while I cracked open the PHB. First impressions:
- The Player’s Handbook layout is odd. Not necessarily bad, but odd. I’m used to the races/classes/spells organizational structure. Now spells (and all class powers) are listed with the class.
- Multiclassing seems unnecessarily anemic. If you are swapping powers out, you are really just adding variety, not power. Why the strangely high cost of doing so little of it?
- No Craft, Profession, or Performance is upsetting. These didn’t need to be separate skills, but they shouldn’t have been completely excluded.
- Tieflings look kind of dumb.
- At least they aren’t yet another kind of elf.
At first glance, the Monster Manual was disappointing:
- There is very little flavor text on monsters.
- The normal animals I saw on a quick read-through: Horse and wolf. I’d have listed crocodile, but they went and called it a visejaw crocodile or something stupid like that. Other than that, they have a couple of dire animals and pointlessly-mutated things (seriously… the guuvorg is supposed to be a type of Worg, but it doesn’t even look vaguely wolf-like… and no explanation is given). Honestly, I’d have been happier with a normal bear or tiger.
- Pseudodragons are no longer telepathic and seem to fit poorly into the drake category where they were placed. The drake art is awful.
- A bunch of classic creatures were missing: frost giants, winter wolves, metallic dragons. I don’t remember seeing the rust monster in there. At least they kept the Destrachan. I don’t know what we’d do without that one! Seriously. They kept a few loser monsters from 3.x and added some new things that seem pointless.
- They did, however, have the Grell and Galeb Duhr in there. Props for those.
I only very, very briefly glanced into the DMG. It looked low on crunch. I did look at the new system for diseases, and I approve of it.
Note that these are first impressions. I haven’t really looked at the rules in detail yet.