Tome of Beasts II (ToB3) is a 2022 Kickstarter which raised USD$767.501 to bring more than 400 new monsters created by both game designers and backer contributors to the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons game. This is the fourth monster book published by Kobold Press with the others being the Tome of Beasts, Tome of Beasts 2, and the Creature Codex 1 & 2.
Kobold Press is among the best presented of all the 3rd party publishers, with Kobold-In-Chief and business owner Wolfgang Bauer a former Wizards of the Coast and Dragon Magazine Editor and regular guest on the Official Dungeons and Dragons podcast Dragontalk. The books are always well polished in design and publication and this book is no exception. Monsters are of the highest quality art possessing an art style of art which conforms closely to the 5th edition feel established by Wizards of the Coast.
Quickly apparent in this book is that the creatures within are stepped up from the Monsters and creatures in prior products and those in the official books. The majority of monsters and creatures are provided with reactions and bonus actions, many are given area of effect abilities, and as always legendary actions are present for many. This change most likely reflects experience with the 5e system and recognition that rewarding battles come from monsters that have that little bit more. For the Dungeon Masters this is a good thing as its often easier to manage that little bit more than more monsters to track. For players it means that low creature encounter are going to be much more than my turn, your turn scenarios and for experienced players they are going to see and experience something new.
In terms of content mix there is a very good showing of monsters across popular categories including Beasts, Devils, Dragons, Drakes, Fey, Fiends, Giants, Golems, Hags, Kobolds, Plants, Oozes, Undead and NPCs. Dungeons Masters looking for creatures suited to particular terrain will be satisfied with good coverage including many creatures suited for Spelljammer, Planar, Fey, and Underwater adventures covered. A very good spread of challenge ratings awaits.
In keeping with prior monster books the Tome of Beasts 3 contains monsters which are aligned to Kobold Press’ Midgard campaign setting. Fey, Devils, blood-magic, and void-touched creatures are all present along with a new addition to the Ahu-Nixta which is a monster type I would describe as a cross between a Dalek and the three legged tripod from The War of the Worlds.
Overall the Tome of Beasts 3 is an excellent monster book.
So where does this book sit among the others produced by Kobold Press. If a new starter I would suggest the original Tome of Beasts as it contains a good amount of Kobold Press monster law which will help you appreciate the creatures in this book a little more. I would then suggest any of the others with Tome of Beasts 3 being the book that has monsters with that little bit more mechanically (bonus actions and reactions).
Again Kobold Press has delivered a masterful publication full of creatures that you will consider using and once again cursing yourself that most of us will probably never have time to run them all to scare and delight your players.