Vincent N. Darlage Reviews Blackdirge’s Dungeon Denizens

Vincent N. Darlage Reviews Blackdirge’s Dungeon Denizens

blackdirge1I’ve had the privilege of reviewing several excellent supplements from Goodman Games over the years, but this particular one somehow slipped by me. Fortunately, Vincent N. Darlage provided a wonderful review of it in Black Gate #14, making the case that this supplement is superior to the official D&D 4th edition Monster Manual:

Blackdirge’s Dungeon Denizens

Aeryn Rudel
Goodman Games (144 pages, hardcover, $24.99)
Reviewed by Vincent N. Darlage

Laid out in easy to read black and white, this book was reminiscent of old school 1st edition AD&D. The artwork was evocative and not overblown like so much modern role-playing art. Dungeon Denizens is well- organized and easier to use than the 4th edition core monster book. The fonts are easier to read, the artwork more interesting, and the monsters are easier to find and understand. In the front, a list of different ways to look up the monsters is offered, giving lists of monsters by origin, type, and by keyword.

The book’s full of good stuff. The monsters are interesting and come with more background and information than the core monster book offers. One of my biggest complaints about the core book is the lack of information – this book has information in spades and is a real top notch effort. I could see these monsters in games I might run.

Aside from not knowing (or really caring) who or what Blackdirge is, I found this a superior monster volume. If I were to stick with 4th Edition, I would probably use this book more often than the core book. It has my unqualified recommendation.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Dungeon Denizens is a very good book, but for my money the “Monster Vault” and the Monster Manual 3 are the premier Monster Manuals for 4e.

The monster selections in each are very good and the math has been updated to make the solo battles more exciting.


I have to say — having read Vincent’s reviews in BG #15 — it shocks me how anti-4e some of the review staff have been. Vincent’s perception of 4e as more boardgamish than 3.x is laughable on its face. Using page 42 of the DMG and the Skill Challenge rules with the updated difficulties from Essentials, I could easily run the game without a board.

I would still eventually run into the same old, “but I am behind him…no you’re not…yes I am” problems from 1e – present, but it would flow naturally and easily.

I am currently working on a Cinerati blogpost discussing how to bring trip, disarm, and sunder into 4e. The rules are already in the game, but they were never made explicit.

Both Pathfinder and 4e are wonderful games. I was once — before the economic downturn — a Charter Superscriber to Paizo’s products. Twins and the downturn, as well as a desire to be able to afford the random “super boardgame,” required me to narrow my subscriptions.

You can read my old Open Letter to Gamers to get a sense of what I think of the edition wars, but that is another conversation entirely.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x