I started in on the next phase of my Cornerstones project. I have a spreadsheet and I’m getting used to entering lots of monster data continuously.

For practice, I’m using the 4e Monster Manual. If you go by stat block rather than entry, this is actually one of the larger MMs, I think.

I had forgotten about its quirks of organization, as well, which may have contributed to its underwhelming effect: beasts like bears, bats, horses, and dogs are mixed in alphabetically.

Even with magical versions mixed in, it feels like a waste of space. The versions of the Monster Manual that put comparatively “normal” beasts in a separate section did better, I think.

So far, I’m through the Hs, just starting into the Ks, I think. The information I’m recording, rather than ability scores or hit dice — are the name, level, role (4e gives monsters a combat role), origin, and form.

One of the things this process had revealed is how limited the utility of the ‘form’ stat is — it’s nice to know that a thing is human-shaped, but there are so very many human-shaped monsters in D&D (this edition especially) that knowing a creature has two arms, two legs, and a head really isn’t that useful.

ESPECIALLY considering how little that number of limbs tells you about the creature’s combat capability.

Still, I’d love to adapt the form stat for use in abilities like polymorph and wild shape. Maybe not this time, though.

Certain other stats aren’t especially useful either. As much as 3e might have made knowing the taxonomy of a creature important (reptiles, mostly), 4e wiped the slate clean for a lot of monsters and powers, so THAT detail lacks purpose as well. Without the Ranger’s favored enemy ability, it doesn’t matter who the monster’s daddy was.

Still, I’m gathering data. I’ll figure out what to do with it later. I’ve already improved my spreadsheet since I started, so I’ll call it a win.

The wiki is coming along too, I have pages for most all the major Powers That Be AND the Outer Planes.

After an incident Tuesday night with a rule we had to go searching for across two books (spell area of effect, come on!), I’m tempted to put some rules on the wiki as well.

We’ll have to see though, it was rather my intent to avoid rules altogether.