Top critical review
The art-too far in the horror direction. Very disappointed. Not healthy for kids or adults really.
Reviewed in the United States on April 17, 2019
I really like 5e. It tries to be balanced and make things challenging. Good. The art, though, especially in the Monster Manual, is way to far in the horror direction. The game suggests it is for 12 and over. This is not something I would want any young teenager looking at. Seriously. It is easy in our day and age to just accept or become desensitized to the fact that so many images we are surrounded by are either violent in nature, or disturbing in the direction of horror. These images then are accepted on posters for movies, on book covers, and kids are exposed from a young age. I see this as a big blind spot in our culture. I am all for tolerance and acceptance, but I am also for people developing themselves towards high ideals. This world is full of difficulties, and it is actually as sad thing when a person takes the injuries they receive and responds to life to then pour themselves into the dark side of life. There is a place in human life to delve the dark depths, but not it is actually tragic to get lost in them or to choose to make our world even more dark by making our own selves in these images, even if just in our inner life.
I think it is important sometimes to say things like this. I know many people may really like the art. I still stand and say that this kind of art works on our inner life in ways that actually wear down our inner resources. It is true of movies, books, comics and RPG, if we fill ourselves with dark and stressful things, they wear on us, they have real effects, and they are not positive.
I have worked hard to find such discernment. And the art on this book and many like it go too far, such that I really do not want my young child to see it even around the house. There is no need for a child to see such images, not in books or movies. How many movies we call entertaining include radical violence and murder? Our culture lacks serious discernment about this. I'm a lifelong fan of comics, growing up with Marvel especially, and DC somewhat, and I was enthralled by many images I grew up with (70s and 80s). Today, the images and stories are ever amping up and going too far. Wolverine is a good example of this. A great character, but it is very important to leave certain things to the imagination, or to not take them out to their materialistic conclusion. Today, many people feel that fairy stories, like Grimm's, are too violent. My understanding of this is that the pictures in fairy tales are spiritual pictures, they speak to inner processes in a child. But in our materialistic culture, Grimm's stories are brought to full 3D life and they are naturally horror. This comes from a lack of developing a spiritual understanding of evolution, and viewing life purely in materialistic terms. I know the majority of people prefer a completely materialistic view of the world. Again, I call it unfortunate, because we really need to overcome this materialism if we are to have a future that isn't horror filled, and I don't mean in stories, but in fact. I expect many who gravitate to D&D do love the fantasy, magic and imaginative aspects of the game. Perhaps many people will appreciate what I am saying. I hope so.
So I just want to say clearly, I really believe it is not healthy to be filled with such imagery as fills this book. The images in the older books, especially Deities and Demigods, were so much better for our imagination. (Not perfect in every case, but the vast majority I still appreciate today.) I wish people realized this more, and helped give the discernment that especially their kids deserve, because mainstream culture is not demonstrating the kind of discernment needed.
I would hope that TSR/Wizards and other companies would take a leading roll in working out of such discernment. I can't really back the current trends, and I am not sure that I could wholeheartedly introduce my own child to D&D as it is at the moment. Too bad.