The third and final tome will soon be in my possession and at last I shall wield the power of Gods. Actually it was a bit of a debate as whether or not to invest in a Monster Manual as basically, like a lot of things in life, its just possible to make stuff up, but the book has a lineage and of course is considered a core reference. Besides, they can still be found for circa £25 on Wordery which is not so bad before Brexit hits rpg import prices and I dont expect to be buying one every few weeks.
Whilst some of the entities in it are, to be frank, a bit cheesy, once can appreciate it as a nod to the original Monster Manual, but more to the point it provides a very good reference for getting a precise grip on entity stats even when making up your own monsters. Its also nice to see a cross section of NPCs at the back of the book which is something they didn't actually have to include but it does make you feel like you are getting quality. I also like the affliction rules that you can add to a PC should they get bitten for example by something more furry - the inclusion of a lycanthropy section does get a GMs mind wandering...can you have a gelatinous werecube I wonder.. ?
Also in considering 5e encounters as a newcomer I have worried about where to place NPCs so as to challenge a party but not overwhelm them but there is the new challenge rating for monsters to give you an indication - here is a graph of challenge rating vs the number of monsters as calculated by the escapist magazine....might get through a few PCs first though before I get this right. The challenge number is based on a presumption of 4 players so a CR3 NPC should be fine for a group of four level 3 players without having to dig out your resurrection mushrooms. All in all I appreciate its precision and simplicity.
On another spam I note that a new Pathfinder is completing its kickstarter within 14 hours, tho as I have jumped from Ad&D 2nd ed to 5e I skipped all of that drama.