• The Monsters Know What They’re Doing: Combat Tactics for Dungeon Masters

  • The Monsters Know What They’re Doing, Book 1
  • By: Keith Ammann
  • Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins
  • Length: 25 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

From the creator of the popular blog The Monsters Know What They're Doing comes a compilation of villainous battle plans for Dungeon Masters.

In the course of a Dungeons & Dragons game, a Dungeon Master has to make one decision after another in response to player behavior - and the better the players, the more unpredictable their behavior! It's easy for even an experienced DM to get bogged down in on-the-spot decision-making or to let combat devolve into a boring slugfest, with enemies running directly at the player characters and biting, bashing, and slashing away.

In The Monsters Know What They're Doing, Keith Ammann lightens the DM's burden by helping you understand your monsters' abilities and develop battle plans before your fifth edition D&D game session begins. Just as soldiers don't whip out their field manuals for the first time when they're already under fire, a DM shouldn't wait until the PCs have just encountered a dozen bullywugs to figure out how they advance, fight, and retreat.

©2019 Keith Ammann (P)2020 Tantor

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What listeners say about The Monsters Know What They’re Doing: Combat Tactics for Dungeon Masters

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  • Overall
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Audible Got this RIGHT - Chapters have names!

First and foremost -> to use a book in audio form like this, which is really a topical reference book, you need a table of contents. And the case of an Audible book, that ToC is the; Chapters list that you can click on in the App. In this book - which is a real rarity for Audible (I've listened since 2009, 542 books so far), this book has names for the "chapters" that match the print book. SO you can go to a topic by section, like "NPC's" and then "Bandits and Assassins". I truly wish that every book which didn't have numbered chapters was set up this way.

Second - the content of the book, for the DM, is stellar, Love it - great advice, solid insight, solid understanding of DnD 5e. If you played 3.5 much of this book would work as well, but not all I'm sure. For example, Orcs, Goblins, and YuanTi haven't substantively changed since 1E. Vampires and Ghosts have had some updates.

Third - the Narrator is excellent, solid pacing, accurate pronunciations. Note, though, that sometimes it appears that the recording studio changed a bit as the book was recorded -> The audio level is a bit higher than others, for example.

32 people found this helpful

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Not a story! Guide to help game Masters fight

And it's fantastic
This works perfect for the Busy DM who doesn't have time to bget abhook shipped, flip through pages and all that stuff.
Each chapter in audible is split to a different npc which is perfect !

8 people found this helpful

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For New or Inexperienced GM's

I guess this would be good if you were new or very inexperienced. Not helpful in the least to anyone who has any Tactical Wargaming Experience. I even find it lacking in what it does try to explain. Very vanilla!!!

2 people found this helpful

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A great book for any DM!

The book's content is smart, witty and well thought out. Also the narrator's clean pronunciation allows for a better understanding of the ideas.

2 people found this helpful

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great info for new DMs!

great to listen to and take notes. detailed examples for NPC character play and combat interactions. highly recommend for all new DMs to DnD.

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No matter your level of DM-ing, this is a must

First off I will note, the voice actor does well, he is plain, but gets the information to you clearly and precisely. I would highly recommend speeding him up. I listen to it at 1.3x and it sounds good, because he does talk a bit too slow.

If you are a lifer, like me (lifetime Dungeon Master) this is an absolute must. Unless you have read the Monster Manual, inside and out and dissected every flavor text and stat; this is going to be a great tool for you. To say this is not worth it, means you are much more a slide by the seat of your pants DM, make it up as I go along and hope for the best (I am in many ways this way too).

But the details he brings to light is almost essential. Even if you don't use everything, just knowing the Goblins rarely melee attack if ever. Orcs have more power than you realize and a band of Drow's are an extremely formidable foe can make your battles better.

I ended up also buying the book for quick reference, in battle I like to have the page bookmarked to refer to when things get hot. Do they run? Do they disengage? Do they Dash? Rush? What? This book will tell you, or help you to CORRECTLY figure out what the monsters do. Up to you if you want to stick with it or not.

Wish I knew about this sooner, but I have to tell you, it has really improved my battles. Even my PC's have told me that they didn't expect the Kobolds to lay out traps and take off when it got tough, they were used to fight to the death or something.

As a DM you should have Players Manuel, Monster Manual, Dungeon Masters Guide and this book. You will be unstoppable!

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Good for DMs, Better in Physical Format

I really like the concept, but the nature of it really lends better to a physical book. The narrator sounds like he really doesn't want to be recording this title, and has little to no previous knowledge of DnD. That's just an assumption, but it's based on his completely unenthused tone. Overall, I'd say get the physical version.

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A great read/listen for DMs and monster hunter

As a Dungeon master this was very informative gave me some new insights and battle tactics and new ways I could interact with my players and the world and make it seem more alive. you can use the knowledge in this book fir any PC that has a favorite monster to hunt or studies them. highly recommend for dungeons and dragons fans along with other dungeon masters definitely 5/5 stars

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very good resource

This book is a very good resource for DMs, and will save a good amount of prep time.

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The companion every DM needs!

Crafting interesting conflicts is a fun and challenging part of game mastering. yet, so many times I have come to the table all excited to run a combat that then turns out to be a cakewalk for the players and me realizing how many mistakes I made with the monster's choices.

Never again.

With this book I am sure only the good graces of the RNG will save the party from a TPK.