This article is part of a series! Click here to see the other entries.
Before I close the curtain on this Let’s Read, there’s one more thing to discuss. I had forgotten it was there at all! Back when the Monster Manual had just been published, though, I remember thinking it was a big deal.
We’ve been talking about the animal appendix on the Monster Vault, but the Monster Manual also has an appendix. This one is filled with stats for using several of the book’s entries as playable characters!
Some of them are for characters from that were traditionally considered “monster races”, others are for races that had been popular in previous editions but didn’t fit into the Player’s Handbook. The full list is:
- Shifter (Longtooth and Razorclaw)
Each one has more or less the same information as a basic racial stat block from the PHB: Average height and weight, ability score bonuses, size speed, vision modes, starting languages, skill bonuses and a racial power.
The reason I forgot this appendix even existed is because it slowly became less relevant as more 4e material was published.
Even at the start the appendix races were already a little bit behind mechanically, since the ones from the PHB had a handful of extra racial feats each and these didn’t. The gap widened as further player option books came out with yet more feats and stuff like racial paragon paths. And finally, several of the appendix races would have more complete versions published in future books, rendering the appendix version obsolete.
Doppelgangers, Shifters and Warforged would appear in the Eberron Player’s Guide.
Gnomes would appear in the PHB2. Half-Orcs too, which you could just reskin into full orcs.
Githzerai and Minotaurs would appear in the PHB 3.
Drow would appear in the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide and then in Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms.
That’s almost all of them, isn’t it? Gnolls and Shadar-kai would get articles in Dragon or Dungeon, but they still ended up with less support overall. At some point in the edition the ability score bonuses also went from “+2 to these two fixed scores” to “+2 to one fixed score and +2 to one of these other two scores”, and some of the races here never did get that third option. Still, this appendix was pretty useful before all of this extra material came out.
And this slightly maudlin post finally finishes our Let’s Read of the first Monster Manual! I hope you enjoyed it. I plan on doing the other two and the other Vault, and hopefully I’ll take less time to post those in their entirety.