We all love monsters, right? So many gamers cite books like the Monster Manual as their entry into the tabletop roleplaying game hobby. Evocative art, fantastical creatures and the rich lore accompanying them led many nerds to discover Dungeons & Dragons. All of those elements leap out in the work of Cawood Publishing, an RPG publisher with more than 25 bestsellers of Fifth Edition content. Perhaps the most recognizable of these books is the Monsters series that began with Monsters of Feyland, followed up with Monsters of the Underworld. Both of those books are terrific, and show really wonderful growth. Monsters of Feyland is remarkable, and Monsters of the Underworld builds on the solid foundation presenting even richer material in what is essentially a monster book. And now the third book in the series is live on Kickstarter! I cannot wait to see what Monsters of the City adds to my 5E D&D games.
Cawood Publishing builds on past for Monsters of the City for 5E D&D
What I love the most about Monsters of Feyland is how the Cawood Publishing team wove story elements into the monster entries of the book. More than tidbits to inspire your imagination and help create adventure ideas, there is an internal story going on among the stat blocks I really enjoyed. It gives context to the creatures and a Game Master can very easily develop their own iteration of a fey realm with just those stat blocks and brief blurbs about the various creatures and entities. Monsters of the Underworld built on this idea, offering a fictional guide to the subterranean realms.
Monsters of the City amps up this element of the series by orders of magnitude, presenting a more detailed setting for the 100 new creatures to interact with. There is a narrative woven into the monster entries — a classic confrontation of good against evil — along with another helpful guide through the material. This time, a truth teller named Greta Goldheart from the Alliance of the Griffon is a GM’s connection to the content.
With the more intricate structure in Monsters of the City, backers will find a fantasy city divided up into seven districts to go along with the seven sins and virtues in conflict. Each of the districts are detailed with encounter tables, adventure ideas, tips and advice, unique locations and of course exciting new creatures — including two legendary monsters representing the sins and virtues.
I really enjoy the Monsters series, which hooked me early on through Feyland. Give me some cool new creatures and a couple of narrative ideas and I’m off to the races. The follow up Underworld accomplished the same for me, getting me excited to explore my own ideas about Underworld adventures. This is what I appreciate the most about this series. But it’s great to see this quality expanded upon with each new title.
Terrific artwork from Eisner-nominated illustrator Travis Hanson doesn’t hurt either. Each new book in the series strengthens the consistency between them through Travis’ art. It’s evocative and frankly just plain fun to look at and imagine exploring with your gaming group.Series writer and designer Andrew Cawood also adds a tongue-in-cheek quality to the work in the Monsters books, which I appreciate. For example, there’s a sort of crime boss called the Codfather, a fish-like humanoid who controls the Docks district. In fact, you can check out the Codfather in a 22 page full color illustrated PDF the creators made as a free preview of what the book will look like. Check out the link to Monsters of the City — Docks District on the Kickstarter page here.
Another expansion I see in Monsters of the City is added value for players. I see one of the stretch goals is new subclasses for player character classes, so I’m definitely curious about these. Custom dice is another goal, and who doesn’t want more unique dice in their collection?
The pledge levels offer a nice variety too. Previous projects from Cawood Publishing come as PDFs, soft cover and hard cover books and this looks to be no exception. So backers can find the pledge level that works best for their needs. The top end pledge level sounds pretty amazing too. It includes a bunch of other Cawood Publishing titles and some cool goodies. I don’t know about you but I can never have enough GM resources on my bookshelf, digital or otherwise.
If you already have Monsters of Feyland and Monsters of the Underworld, you know you can expect great content from this series in terms of writing, design and art. Monsters of the City builds on those earlier titles with even more great material. I am very excited to discover how this book turns out and start exploring these districts myself. Head over to Kickstarter and check out Monsters of the City yourself right here.