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Friday, October 7, 2016

Dungeons & Dragons - Monsters and Heroes of the Realms Coloring Book

Today I'm going to take a look at Monsters and Heroes of the Realms: A Dungeons & Dragons Colouring Book. It says that this is for ages 10 and up. You can get it right now on Amazon for very cheap and there are a few sample pages right here. One of them is a blank map and it is definitely worth downloading.

I figured that this thing was going to be like a big pamphlet, maybe 32 pages. That's how I remember coloring books being from when I was a kid. But this book is gigantic. There's 70 pages to color! And then there's more stuff on top of that! Check out the binding:

 
I am pretty big into D&D art, so I really got a kick out of this thing. All of these images are from published 5e products. I don't understand how they converted the painted art to line art. Do they have access to the underlying linework?

I am amused and mortified at the idea that someone had to trace each image in a separate layer in photoshop. Some of the pictures are of a single creature, others are of big scenes. Here's the beholder:

I took some of my patented low quality photos of other pages so I could run them side by side with the originals. They chose a lot of my favorite images from the 5e books. I don't really like a lot of the 5e art, but some of these actually look better in line art form than they do painted, which is pretty weird.

Here's one of my favorites, the modron march:

I love this one. I don't quite understand the story behind it. The heroes are in Mechanus hiding from a horde of modrons. This image is actually called "Great Modron March" (we learn that in this book - I'll talk about it in a minute). The modron march is this scheduled event where the modrons march through the planes. Nobody knows why they do it.

I can't think of a reason why these heroes would need to hide from them. Are they bringing chaos into Mechanus somehow? Did they do something to the orrery in the Modron Cathedral?

Here's another of my favorites:

The Tarrasque is the most powerful monster that is not a god, demon lord, archdevil, etc. He's sort of like the D&D Godzilla. I think every group should have a story about the time they encountered the Tarrasque. I cut off his toe once. I also tried to climb his back, stick my sword in it and then slide down, cutting him wide open. It didn't work out.


I like the fire giant. His proportions are funky and amusing. I love his giant sword. Frost giants have a very set look that works for them. It seems to me that fire giants have a little more room for variation.

One of the things I like most about this book is that it comes with maps. The maps are mostly blank. The artist set up borders and placed a scroll for you to put the title in. These are really handy.

They should definitely put these out in .pdf form as I think people could do a lot of cool things with them. Here's the map you can get off of the product page:
There are also a few pages of patterns. I think some crafty people could do fun stuff with these. Here's one that I think is pretty cool:

Once we get through the 70 pages of art to be colored, then we get an entire section which tells us the name of each piece and the artist that made them! This is awesome for me, because now I can go look up my favorite people and see what other work they have done.

It is hard to find out who drew what in the core books. Some artists you can pick out right away like Michael Komarck and Ralph Horsley, as they have very distinctive styles. But in most cases, you're stuck.

After that stuff, there is another surprising section. All of the color art is presented in their original forms! I think it is meant to be a reference for when you color each image. This is especially handy because most of the art in the core books are covered up by the "page rips" so in some cases we are seeing the full art for the first time. There are two pieces in particular that really struck me:

I do not remember this from any of the core books. I am guessing we only got to see a fraction of it. I really wish they had presented each piece in full in the core books. I know there's only so much space, but you can't chop something like this up. You need to see the whole thing. I found it.. page 37 of the Player's Handbook. They completely altered it.

This one really gets me:

How awesome is that?! I bet you don't remember it. Let me show you how it looks in the Dungeon Master's Guide:

They did get the central part of the image, but to me that one deserves an entire page. It looks much more awesome in full. Cut up like this, it loses something.

Overall

You can get this thing for very little money. If you have any interest at all, it is worth buying. The maps alone are really cool starting points for you.

If you have a kid who colors, this is a no-brainer. It should keep most people busy for an extremely long time.

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of this book.

2 comments:

Ivan said...

FYI -- the amazon link seems to be broken (I can google, obviously, but I assume you get some little fee for sales from your link)

Sean said...

Ivan: Thank you! I fixed it.