[Let's Read] D&D 4e Monster Manual 2?

Inyssius

thermonuclear catsplosion
Validated User
I got the book, and it's pretty neat, and I like doing this sort of thing. But before I actually go through the book entry by entry and all that, I'd be interested in seeing if there's any actual interest in a Let's Read for the MM2.

So... is there?
 

Fallen Seraph

Registered User
Validated User
Sure! I am low on cash right now, so gonna wait for DDI to catch up. So this be a great thing to read in the mean time.
 

Inyssius

thermonuclear catsplosion
Validated User
All right, then!

The book gets under way pretty quick. On page 4, we see an absolutely wonderful page-and-a-half depiction of the Remorhaz, always one of my favorite wilderness monsters (due solely to a history of fantastic pictures in this style, but more on that later). A slice of this picture also appears on the back cover, which makes this post at the WotC forums…
The remorhaz picture is soooo cool, to bad it didn't made it INTO the monster manual 2... they instead recycled the old monster manual 3rd edition picture of the remorhaz... why????
… utterly mystifying. I can only assume the poster is legally blind. Anyway, moving on: after two pages of the How Monsters Work description we got in the MM1 (except far tighter and better edited), we get to the first monster:

ANGEL

I love 4e angels. I swear to god, the designers at WotC ripped them out of my head before publishing the first Monster Manual. Seriously. The art continues to be fantastic, but I should probably stop saying that lest I run out of synonyms for “damn good” before I even reach Centaur.

The angels on display here? Authority, Retrieval, Light, and Supremacy.

The Angel of Authority is a Level 22 Controller (Leader), and—at least, in theory—continues the grand angelic tradition of having been ripped directly from my brain, I swear to God it’s almost creepy how they did that. The Authority is this edition’s Metatron, the angelic mouthpiece of a deity. It governs and directs the other angels and servants in a god’s employ, putting in the occasional appearance as a god’s top-ranking herald on the really important “inform the blasphemers that, having botched it on a truly cosmic scale, they’re all going to die” jobs. This guy seems perfectly suited as a scribe (again, like the Metatron), a very high-ranking bureaucrat in the Celestial Bureaucracy. In the picture I linked, he’s the one on the right.

Mechanically, he’s… not too bad. I expected him to be more like some sort of Angel of the Word, a truenamer or deific Speaker; but that’s not his ordained duty, so I should hardly be disappointed. For the role he actually has? Pretty cool. Three attack powers, two basic and one bitchin’ – that one being Majestic Rally, a close burst 5 that deals 2d10+5 damage, half on a miss, weakens (save ends), and grants any angels in the burst a +2 to attack rolls for the next turn. And it recharges on a 5 or 6.

Overall, exactly what I would expect from a Proxy cast in the mold of Security Chief Parahexavoctal. Raging fanboi sez: thumbs up.

----

Thoughts? Should I keep going?
 
Last edited:

Nokura

May the 4th be with you!
All right, then!
The Angel of Authority...In the picture I linked, he’s the one on the right.
Actually, he's the one on the left, the one on the right is the Angel of Superiority.
Thoughts? Should I keep going?
I still think you should keep going though :D. I have the MM2 already but I like these kinds of threads and as I have the material (as opposed to old issues of Dragon and/or D&D) I might be able to contribute.

EDIT: Oh yeah: SUBSCRIBED!
 
Last edited:

Peter LaCara

Outsmarts bullets
Validated User
Also, you might point out cool stuff that I invariably miss with my cursory scanning of the book. So I'm all for you keeping going.
 

Inyssius

thermonuclear catsplosion
Validated User
Woo! I can't wait to hear how they updated the phase spider.
Heh. You might be a while waiting, since one hundred and eighty-one pages (and gods know how many monsters) lie between me and your quarry.



----



Anyway. Next up, the Angel of Retrieval, a level 22 Artillery piece who isn’t shown in the picture I linked. The Retrieval is an extraplanar bounty hunter, which I believe makes it triply redundant in this book alone. So… not much else to say about it, fluff-wise. I suppose it could carve out a tiny niche in being slightly interested in retrieving artifacts, or retrieving live targets without maiming or perforating them first. But that’s not really supported by the mechanics, or even the rest of the fluff text—and it just so happens that there are other angels that seem more skilled at this exact task. Angel of Vengeance, I’m looking at you!

Mechanically, the Angel of Vengeance seems… interesting. It took a minute to get what he’s aiming for, but I think I like it. In melee, he has an at-will power called Isolating Displacement, which does exactly what you would expect (5 squares, to be precise; there's also a lame basic attack and a divine-themed Hunter’s Quarry, but you could just assume either of those). At range, he has a longbow-range bow that deals good damage and really good splash damage, as well as an area burst 3 power that deals a whole bunch of damage and slides everyone in the zone 3 squares. There’s some neat synergy there.

Also, he doesn’t have Angelic Presence for some reason. Weird.

Overall? I don't know. I think my initial impression, that of overwhelming redundancy fluff-wise, has clouded my judgement in spite of a real host of interesting mechanical possibilities (hell, possibly even fluff ones). Raging fanboi hems and haws, but eventually produces a pair of surprisingly enthusiastic thumbs up.



----



Third, we have the Angel of Light, pictured in the center of the image I linked earlier. This monster gives me a headache: it's such a goddamn fantastic set of plot hooks that no single monster could possibly begin to cover the range of things you could do with it, and this monster—being a level 23 Minion Skirmisher—doesn't even begin to try. Angels of Light are “the bound form of a deity's subconscious thoughts”, appearing unformed in the astral sea before being molded into angelic form by more powerful angels and Powers. The idea, or urge, or thought, or temptation—see what I mean? Damnit, a dozen half-formed plots are spinning in my head as I write this—that forms the core of their being can give them almost unprecedented autonomy among angelic servants (for the exception behind that "almost", see Asmodeus), some even possessing the power to act in direct contravention of their deity's will if it serves their purpose. This? Effing dynamite.

Mechanically, how does it attempt to actualize the vast array of possible places you could go from there?

...it's a freaking minion! A pretty neat minion, mind you. Armed with a glaive (I have a special fondness for glaives), and possessing a Death Burst special ability that invigorates allied angels, attacks enemies in a close burst 2, and... doesn't actually do anything to an enemy it hits. Looks like we have our first typo. You could call that an inauspicious omen at page 9, or you could point out that the very first 4e angel printed anywhere—the Angel of Battle, on page 14 of the MM1—was accidentally printed with double HP. This might be an improvement.

Two other things worth noting. First, the angel's Angelic Glaive deals way more damage than anything a roughly equivalent Grimlock (MM1, p. 148) can do. This might be an overall math adjustment, or just the designers thinking that angels should be naturally awesome; since this is the first MM2 minion I've encountered, I don't yet know the answer. Second, all minions now have secondary roles. This is a good thing, though I believe the innovation actually originated about a month and a half ago in Dragon Magazine.
 
Last edited:

Inyssius

thermonuclear catsplosion
Validated User
Last, but probably not least, we have the Angel of Supremacy. This Level 24 Soldier is "the strongest of the angelic fighters", and that appears to be Supremacy's sole notable trait. I am not certain why exactly, but I cannot restrain myself from dubbing this individual "Viktor" in a heavy Russian accent. In a related matter, he will break you. I would say "but enough of that, let's move on"... but that's every scrap of fluff this angel has, so I'm left imagining a scenario where he challenges the party fighter to a no-holds-barred unarmed sparring match. Judging from his picture (he really is the one on the right), I suppose he's the heavy fighter of the angelic dominion—the one you call when Rakar the Reaver goes on a binge and starts punching holes in the firmament, or the one who takes on the entire squad singlehandedly near the end of his own night out. He does appear to be holding a thick riot shield; perhaps I should be imagining them kicking in the doors of suspected dissidents or quelling the riots sparked by each gathering of the Hebdomad.

Mechanically, he's a Soldier through and through. With Threatening Reach 3, that spear looks a lot more appetizing than the raw damage output would suggest. He has an encounter power that blasts an enemy with radiance, then marks them; and a minor action (at-will, 1/round) that pulls the marked enemy a single square closer, though I shouldn't think that one would ever be particularly handy. I mean, you already marked them, so what's one square really worth? His last encounter power, Astral Brilliance, seems like it could be a lot of fun to use: it creates an all-encounter-long seven-by-seven zone of radiance that empowers his spear attacks. I love lasting terrain effects, so this Angel of Supremacy just got kicked up a notch or two.

Raging fanboi moves hands as if preparing a thumbs-up, but realizes quickly that this would necessitate putting down sandvich. So, Viktor, though you deserve two, you get zero thumbs today.



----



Okay, so there might be five angels in this entry. Last, and definitely least: the Archangel template. Striking a blow for the pointless categorical exclusion of really interesting things, not to mention the oppressed “fluff should not match the mechanics in any way” faction, this template says... well, I'll just quote it. “The highest of all angels are the Archangels, powerful beings from the Astral Sea. An archangel is the ultimate authority in an astral dominion with the exception of the actual deity.”

Bullshit!

It's not even worth anything mechanically. Avenging Strike lets it shift and attack when an ally falls in battle, and Overwhelming Presence stuns a whole bunch of PCs. Dull, dull, dull.

Raging fanboi is unamused.
 
Top Bottom