by allen varney, jeff easley, & tony diterlizzi; rich baker, karen s. boomgarden, & tony diterlizzi; monte cook et al.
hey, you might as well just call this all tony diterlizzi eye candy. seriously, tony, come back to your roots! i know spiderwick is doing good for you, but i'd sure like you to give that sepia & watercolour crazy to some current products. apart from that, these are not just serviceable, but interesting products. part of the downside to making your dnd books as usable as possible is that you strip down story, rendering them generic. now, i don't know that i advocate a return to specifics, but as a reader i get a kick out of it. hey, i mentioned diterlizzi's art, yeah? his marut & his ultraloth in appendix i are still kicking around in my head. it was nice to see that a lot of the monsters in some of the various third edition monster manuals are revamps with a pedigree- i'd say that if you wanted to pair the stories in here with the stats in the newer ones, you'd be pretty happy. thing is, some of these guys have such weird powers that you'd be hard pressed to come up with firm rules for them: in other words, yay. i like effects with less tangible consequences. by the time the third book rolls around, it pretty much just goes bonkers- appendix iii focuses on the inner planes, & monte cook's take on that is that the inner planes are just crazy as hell. it doesn't have the diterlizzi touch, though, & unlike with (i think it was) the great modron march, it doesn't have an artist that replaces him by bringing their own thing to the table.