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Monster Compendium

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A typical Monster Compendium entry.

Also called a "monster encyclopedia" or "bestiary", this is a feature of various RPGs that allows you to review the types of enemies, monsters, and beasts (if not more) that you've encountered, battled, and slain throughout your quest. Related to the Enemy Scan, except that while the Scan is a tool you use during actual combat, the Monster Compendium is a reference guide for you to peruse later at your discretion.

The amount of actual information shown on a given Monster Compendium page varies from game to game; it can range from mere Flavor Text to a full blueprint of the enemy's statistics (including elemental affinities, money and item drops), possibly even tips for battling them more easily. Occasionally, you may gain the ability to summon the said enemies or utilize their powers by filling in a Monster Compendium page.


As a rule of thumb, Monster Compendiums always start as an empty book, with information on each monster appearing only after you've encountered a monster "in the wild" (this avoids spoiling the player about future monsters or, especially, Boss Battles to come). Sometimes you must actually slay the beast before it will appear on the Compendium's pages, or you need to register it by using the Enemy Scan; on the other hand, sometimes merely spotting the beast on the field is enough to unlock its corresponding Compendium entry. In some games, the Monster Compendium will unlock only a partial entry at first, and you'll need to repeat the unlock (possibly multiple times) to reveal the full entry. There may also be different unlock requirements for different pieces of information. For example, loot that Randomly Drops may be listed only after successfully receiving it.


Achieving 100% Completion on a Monster Compendium (i.e. registering every enemy type in the entire game) is tough work — some monsters, like the Metal Slime, are naturally elusive and thus difficult to register an entry for (especially when you have to successfully defeat them); different variations of the same monster archetype might have different Compendium entries; and some monsters only appear in specific places (or times) requiring the player to really search to find them. Most annoyingly some Compendium entries are permanently missable if they aren't scanned or slain (or otherwise registered) at the first opportunity you get to do so. Fortunately, completing the Compendium is always optional, although some games may actually reward the player (in some manner) for full completion.

Often part of a much broader Encyclopedia Exposita. The Monster Compendium is a commonly added feature of a Video Game Remake if the original version didn't have one to begin with; it's also one element that generally carries over to a New Game+.


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  • The Digimon Analyzer exist for this purpose.
  • The Pokédex appears in the Pokémon anime, and, at times, was of use to the protagonists beyond merely identifying species of Pokémon. In three instances, it served to ruin Meowth's disguise, as it identified him as a Meowth (rather than the Sunflora, Nuzleaf, and Kirlia, respectively, that he was dressed up as). It has more functions in the game as it is used as an I.D for the owner and it can identify moves that an individual Pokémon can use in battle. In the Sun and Moon saga, the Pokédex is a full-fledged character in itself as it incorporates a Rotom into it, becoming the Rotom Pokédex.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Keys Stand Alone, George becomes a number of exotic creatures that he hadn't done in With Strings Attached but won't explain where he learned about them. The others wonder about this but respect his privacy and don't press. Later, near the end of the book, after they've learned that they're actually in a giant MMORPG, George immediately cries out, “That's what I've been trying to tell you!” Not that he knew all along that they were in a game, but that he'd learned about his new monsters by poring over gaming books and magazines that he'd had his assistants dig up for him. Durothé apologetically explains that she cast a spell on him (all four, actually, which is why they didn't press him) to make him not think about games and gaming, because it would have been disastrous if the four figured out what was going on before she could get to them.


    Live Action TV 
  • Airwolf has a database on board that does this thing.
  • On Teen Wolf, Allison's family, who have been hunters of supernatural creatures for centuries, keep record of everything they've ever hunted. Stiles knows that it's called a bestiary and thinks that it's probably an old book. Allison remembers that she's seen her grandfather with a book like that, and she, Stiles and Scott decide that they need to read it. Later, it turns out that the real bestiary is on a flash drive, and the book that they went to such great lengths to get hold of is actually a cookbook.
  • In the earlier seasons of Supernatural John Winchester's journal served as the main reference for the creatures Sam and Dean hunted, but they then started consulting Bobby's library and ended up finding the Men of Letters library. Eventually, Charlie wrote an iPad app for this.
  • The Book of Shadows from Charmed served as this, containing entries on the various types of hostile monsters and demons that the sisters encountered (or, at least, everything that their ancestors had encountered before them; sometimes, they would face a threat that would not have been documented previously). It also contained spells and potion recipes, and the sisters themselves would add to it as they mastered their craft.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Almost any Pen and Paper RPG ever conceived has additional material in the form of "Monster Manuals". However, they mostly aren't available in-character; they are reference material primarily for the Game Master's world-building. Much more common in fantasy, space fantasy, or sci-fi RPGs than in modern horror or historical, where the antagonists are usually the same things as the NPCs. The Trope Namer is the old Dungeons & Dragons Monstrous Compendiums, which in the game's earlier editions were batches of monsters specific to different themed settings that were sold in a packet. Making lore checks allows players to make an Enemy Scan of sorts .

    Video Games 
  • The Suffering has detailed entries of all freakish enemies in both games.
  • Starting with Freedom 2 (the fifth installment), the Monster Hunter series has one within the Hunter's Notes. Instead of flling in naturally (by hunting the monsters), you have to buy them yourself, and it only shows your kill count of said monster and some lore facts about it. So if you want to know what's the monster's weakness, you have to figure it out yourself... or use a guide. Thankfully, Monster Hunter: World introduced a more useful version of the Hunter's Notes that unlocks info on monster weaknesses and part drop rates as you research the monsters via following tracks and traces, breaking vulnerable parts, and slaying or capturing them.
  • Final Fantasy didn't always have these, but the remakes of I through VI have them, as do some of the newer games.
    • Final Fantasy XII in particular, is known for its heavy use of Purple Prose and Antiquated Linguistics in its monster descriptions. Killing a certain number of a given monster unlocks further monster lore, usually about whatever Loot item the creature drops. The lore gives implications that several monster species (like the early-game werewolves, and Malboro Kings) used to be humans, and there are many ways that a slain person will later rise up as a zombie of some variety.
    • Monsters in Final Fantasy XIII-2 have a hidden "Libra" statistic, usually less than 100. Completing that monster's Bestiary entry requires you to accumulate 1000 points. There is an accessory which speeds things up a little.
  • Chrono Trigger is another Square Enix game that got bestiary for the remake.
  • Bravely Default has one. As as part of the larger D's Journal. Which also has character profiles and tells what abilities you can learn from them. As the game is a Genre Throwback to the earliest Final Fantasy tiles (which as mentioned above have this feature in their remakes, this makes sense.
  • Kingdom Hearts preceded Bravely Default as a Square Enix game with this as part of a journal though. Like the above it also has Character profiles. In Kingdom Hearts II you can also use it to view their reaction commands (and how many times they have been used), while Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and its remake also shows the cards you collected so far... Square Enix really likes this feature.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has one, though scanning in the first game (as well as the second) also provided a permanent benefit in that you could see the health bars of all further enemies of that type you'd encounter. Thousand-Year Door also avoided one or two time entries being lost if you checked Professor Frankly's trash can.
    • Super Paper Mario turned this feature into a card collection sidequest. Monster cards didn't only detail its stats but also gave you an attack boost against it. Cards drop from enemies but can also be bought at stores... in true TCG-style booster packs.
    • In Luigi's Mansion, the Game Boy Horror has a profile section for the Portrait Ghosts Luigi has captured; the information includes their age, their hobbies (whether before or after death), and on rare occasions how they died.
    • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon has E. Gadd's Vault, where the ghosts Luigi has captured in his quest (both in the story mode and in the Scarescrapper) are recorded. Each ghost type (be it mook, mini-boss or boss) has its own log entry.
    • Yoshi's Island DS has a museum of enemies (obtained by hitting them with an egg).
    • Wario: Master of Disguise has a subsection on the treasure guide that lists every enemy Wario has defeated, along with a description of them. If you haven't defeated the enemy yet, there will be a silhouette of them. The bosses, however, do not have a silhouette and have their own pages that appear after completing the level.
  • The Pokémon games, like the anime, have the Pokédex.
    • The 'Dex lists every Pokémon you've seen, and gives more details on the ones you've actually owned at some point (even if you've evolved, released, or traded them since). Since the series' third generation, all games begin with a regional Pokedex listing only the Mons native to an individual region, and upgrade it to the National Dex later (usually after beating the game, with the exception of Pokémon Sun and Moon which left it out), which lists every Mon in the series up to that point.
    • Pokémon Colosseum and its sequel do not give the player a Pokedex, but a "P*DA" instead which performs similar functions: The "Snag List" / "Shadow Monitor" options display information relating to Shadow Pokemon only, while the "Strategy Memo" displays information about any Mon the player has seen in battle. Like the Pokémon Stadium games before them, the player can also view and rotate the Mons' 3D models from any angle.
    • The Pokémon Ranger series does not use a Pokedex either, instead giving the player a "Ranger Browser" which logs every Mon the player has captured in battle and can search through them according to a Mon's field move or elemental Assist type.
    • In fact, the makers have released the "Pokedex 3D Pro", a 3DS app that is primarily a Monster Compendium, with a few other bonus features besides.
  • The log function in the Metroid Prime Trilogy records not just enemy information, but almost anything you can scan, including item pickups, puzzle mechanisms, local/ancient lore, and so on.
  • Dragon Age and Mass Effect both have a giant encyclopedia called a Codex that tells you tons about the setting. For the latter, it's written from the perspective that it's an in-universe encyclopedia with certain facts known by players and Shepards being incorrect such as Sovereign being called Saren Arterius's flagship and not as a Reaper while still being educating on things never shown such as the summary of the Krogan Rebellion or information on other species such as the Elcor.
  • The free MMO Atlantica Online has an interesting variation in that each enemy of a type you kill has a chance to give you its Monster Info, split into three parts: General, Location, and Items. Getting the complete Info also increases the number of items dropped. The Info can be shared between players and is sometimes required for a certain quest, probably the most concrete use of this trope in gaming history. The game additional also offers tons of information about NPCs, items and other points of interest without the need to unlock it (though information about which monster drops items is obviously tied to the Monster Info).
  • Mother 3 has the Battle Memory, which not only gives you info on all the enemies but lets you practice fighting them in safety. Collecting all of them (including the front and back sprites) unlocks some extra features. Said compendium is ridiculously hard to complete thanks to Unique Enemy, Permanently Missable Content, and the fact that the game moves on in chapters. If you're not following a guide all the time, it's impossible in practice. And if you can only fight an enemy one time, you'd better remember to turn it around to get the back sprite.
  • The X-COM games have the UFOpedia, which contained information on the enemies you had researched after capturing or killing them, as well as their ships, their weapons, their useless but interesting technology, and their society. It also contains all the relevant information on your ships, weapons, items, and base facilities, making it the one-stop-shop for any info you're looking for. Spiritual Successors like the UFO After Blank trilogy, UFO Extraterrestrials and Xenonauts feature a similar mechanic.
  • The Tome of Knowledge in Warhammer Online keeps track of the types and numbers of monsters you've killed. Killing certain numbers of them will sometimes reward the player with things like titles.
  • Shin Megami Tensei II had the demons you ally stored in the Compendium. This trend continued throughout the entire franchise, and has gameplay purposes beyond being a mere bestiary: as you fuse together your demon allies, the original ones are lost. However, if you recorded your customized demons in the Compendium, you can summon them again and again as long as you have the funds, and use them once more as allies or fusion fodder. Additionally, more recent versions of the Compendium explain the mythology behind each demon.
  • The original Devil May Cry contained elaborate monster descriptions which grew more detailed as you fought them, recording every attack they used against you. The sequels also have monster compendiums, but they only have short descriptions.
  • Enemy bestiaries are a staple of Tales Series.
    • Tales of Symphonia gave Raine a title if you filled in 100% of all enemies. Fortunately, an enemy is logged in the book without scanning, so you don't need to scan any of them to get the prize. It's still a good idea to scan them, though, as it will give you information that simply seeing them won't (Health, Weaknesses, etc). However, to truly complete the book, you need to use Raine to scan them. Otherwise, you'll lack their location info.
    • In Tales of Vesperia, building a compendium is one of the game's major sidequests for one of your characters who is a monster hunter.
  • Planescape: Torment had a detailed and illustrated encyclopedia of just about anything you encountered in the game, enemy or not.
  • The Atelier series.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando has the Monsterpedia. Most enemies you fight are added to the list, along with a picture of them, a brief description, and their stats (health, defense, toughness, and damage). At any point, the list can be accessed from the Help section of the pause menu.
  • Shadow Hearts has the Library, which adds entries for every monster you encounter. Covenant and From The New World add their stats and other pertinent information if you take the enemy's picture. There's a reward for getting every enemy; since the game is counting the Final Boss you have to get it on a New Game+.
  • Eternal Darkness has the highly memorable autopsy reports conducted on anatomically impossible creatures by a man losing his mind from dealing with them.
  • The World Ends with You keeps a database of all the Noise you've defeated. It also lists the pins that they drop, combined with the difficulty required, and drop rate. Of course, you actually have to have defeated them at whatever level for it to list. Cue a lot of players getting frustrated at Sho Minamimoto, and the various Elephant Noise.
  • All modern Castlevania games have this, except Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, which doesn't count anyway.
  • Several games in the Wild ARMs series have this.
  • R-Type Final has a compendium that slowly fills as you rack up kills against those enemies.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • The DS remakes of IV, V and VI have the Big Book of Beasts, which shows you every type of enemy you've fought, as well as how many you've beaten, how easy they are to recruit in V (though you shouldn't trust those chances too much), what items you've gotten from them, and their in-battle sprite. You can even press A to see their attack animations.
    • VIII has a similar monster list, which also shows their character models and allows you to see their attack animations. Completing the monster list by defeating one of every monster (including bosses) netted you a secret item that would eliminate random encounters.
    • IX had the defeated monster list, which showed the models, animations, and obtained drops of all the defeated monsters. The Thief ability "Eye For Trouble" added a second page of flavor text and revealed all the items the monster can drop.
  • The VGA remake of Quest for Glory II adds a monster compendium to the game, which offers a lot of hints that are very useful due to the upgraded combat system. A new side-quest is also added to the game, and the compendium is the reward for completing that quest.
  • Ōkami has an encyclopedia of monsters you encounter, all gorgeously illustrated. It also provides hints on any weaknesses the monster might have.
  • Sabrewulf provides two compendiums, one for "good creatures" and one for "bad creatures." Since the game emphasizes avoidance over combat, you get information on the latter as soon as they appear rather than having to defeat them first.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker features one composed of statues of all the enemies (and the NPCs, too) with short descriptions of each. So how do you fill this out? Three pictograph pictures at a time, one statue a day/night cycle (done faster in the Wii U remake with twelve pictures, three statues a cycle). There's a similar figurine collection in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, though the method of completing it is much easier as no pictography is needed (there isn't any in the game anyway).
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has the Hyrule Compendium feature, which actually covers weapons, flora, and fauna in addition to monsters. Each entry is filled in by photographing the subject with the Sheikah Slate's Camera rune, with the photos you took becoming the icons in the Compendium. They can be replaced by later pictures as long as the subject registers on camera. If you want guaranteed clear photos or have missed a chance to take a picture of something, photos can also be purchased from Symin in the tech lab where you got the Camera feature.
  • Operation Salvage, the video game based on the Walking with Beasts series, includes a database which the player helps to fill by scanning animals and enemy equipment. It also includes information on your equipment, the plantlife in particular time periods, and a lot of other related information.
  • Built up over multiple plays in Angband. Your characters are assumed to pass down a log of their experiences. The first time one of your characters runs into a monster, you get minimal information. As you encounter more of them, do damage, and take damage, the log automatically fills with lower and upper bounds of damage, AC, and hit points. In most variants it will also record damage resistances and immunities, attack types, known spells and spell-like abilities, apparent intelligence, and so forth as these things become visible to the character.
  • ADOM and NetHack also have their own varieties. ADOM comes complete with some easter eggs thrown in - try entering the Creator's name, the names of several playtesters, or the name of your own character.
  • Endless Ocean has a non-violent version of this, as the player's whole role (before you start receiving threatening e-mails that Vagueness Is Coming) is to catalog the various creatures found around a fictional south Pacific coral reef. You do this by interacting with them.
  • MARDEK has an included Bestiary from its Encyclopedia section, which also includes other information obtained throughout the game.
  • Bubble Tanks 2 has this. One of the enemies (Sapper Fighter) was unobtainable, however, as a bug in the game made it such that it never appeared at all.
  • MS Saga: A New Dawn had one for all of the bad guys and it was possible to get all but one due to being out of the way and only available during one part early in the game.
  • The console-based Super Robot Wars has one for all characters and mecha, both good and evil. Even more, the pilots tend to have soundbites you can play where they say popular phrases. The same goes for its Gundam-only counterpart SD Gundam G Generation.
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards had a series of cards which could be collected at the end of a level. They depicted the monsters of the game, including the bosses. Thanks to their random nature, it was possible to get cards for enemies far earlier than you would encounter them, True Final Boss included.
  • Opoona has the Rogue Book. Completing it is actually a sidequest you can get rewards for, and it's more difficult than it appears—some enemies are vanishingly rare.
  • Pikmin 2 allows you to not only view and read information about the creatures you encounter, but also throw bait at them to see how they would react to your Pikmin. Parallel to this, Louie keeps an alternate log relating to how best to prepare the creature in question as a delicacy (if it's possible to do so).
  • In the BIONICLE video game Maze of Shadows, there is one of these in the game that fills up with entries after you defeat the monsters.
  • The Witcher has an extensive bestiary. Note that you have to acquire that information first through various means. The entries give tips to the monsters' weaknesses and many body parts/alchemy ingredients you can only collect if you have the appropriate entry.
  • The Touhou Universe Compendium Perfect Memento in Strict Sense is also one of these, the only official source for information on the various youkai that inhabit Gensoukyou.
  • Serious Sam's NETRICSA provides this for each new enemy Sam kills, except the bosses, whose description pops out as soon as they do.
  • The Starfy series has these. In the first 4 games, you get entries by talking to friendly characters and defeating enemies (And getting damaged by the invincible ones). In The Legendary Starfy, they are unlocked via a random-chance toy machine, which makes getting the last few entries a pain.
  • MapleStory has a codex that stores information on enemies the player has killed after the player obtains the larger cards with a colored background they have a chance to drop, after which they can see that enemy's health, mana, and item drops. The game tries its best to prevent monsters from becoming permanently lost, such as the Prime Minister boss in the Mushroom Kingdom level who can only be fought once but has his card obtainable from a friendly NPC in case the player misses it.
  • The "Monster Notes" in Dark Chronicle. Alternatively, Sheriff Blinkhorn can fill this role.
  • Plants vs. Zombies has the Suburban Almanac, which not only contains info on the zombies, it also gives info about your own plants.
  • Likewise, the similar Mini Robot Wars also has a similar concept with the good Minirobots and evil Machines.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the donation item Monster Manuel, which records monster stats and gives out amusing factoids as you defeat them, as well as letting you obtain items from certain monsters that change your avatar's appearance to said monster.
  • The Tome of Knowledge in Bookworm Adventures, which allows you to replay the enemies' attack, hit & defeat animations, as well as read their flavor text. In Volume 2, it also lists the Easter eggs you've found, as well as mention which work (if any) each enemy is inspired by.
  • Bayonetta has the Hierarchy of Laguna, which provides you with a summary of what the enemy in question's role is and where they rank amongst the other angels (First Sphere, Second Sphere etc).
  • In the Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban video game, Professor Lupin gives you such a compendium, for some reason only containing a Dementor when first obtained.
  • Hollow Knight has the Hunter's Journal you get from the Hunter in Greenpath, which provides a name and brief description of all the creatures you can fight in the game. Killing enough of each opponent provides an additional blurb from the Hunter himself.
  • Mousehunt has one for all the mice that can be caught in the game. It also features Flavor Text and shows the number you have caught.
  • While it's not the main focus of it, the trophy collection in the Super Smash Bros. series doubles as this, especially in Brawl, as it features a trophy and profile for every non playable enemy in the games.
  • Vagrant Story has one which lists the monsters, a written description of the creature and a listing of its elemental resistances.
  • In the Super Mario Bros. fan game Abducted Toad, there are a different number of Info Discs scattered in each level that showed information on each enemy and boss in the game and how some of them came to be.
  • Rakenzarn Tales grants you one in Chapter 6 after Nodoka joins the party. However, since it's impossible to fight every enemy in the game, since some bosses require you to face one form in exchange for the other, you can never get every entry in a single playthrough.
  • Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls works a little differently, since you don't complete the bestiary by defeating the various enemies, but by finding all of the notebooks scattered everywhere in the game world.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has the Enemy Index, which lists most species of enemy in the game (a few non-unique mission enemies are not recorded), along with their stats and material drops. More information is added as members of each sub-species is defeated (except for bosses and Tyrants). It also displays some notes about the species' biology or culture, and certain special Tyrants may have additional details about them.
  • Strider (2014) features "Character Intel" collectables, which provide some backstory and a model viewer of most enemies and bosses in the game.
  • The Binding of Isaac has one featured in Afterbirth+, which chronicles the amount of times you've encountered, killed, were hurt by, and were killed by individual enemies and bosses, though it's a bit buggy, particularly when it comes to multi-segmented bosses like Larry Jr. and adding an "encounter" to Delirium's encounters every time it transforms. Completing it unlocks the "Feels Like I'm Walking On Sunshine!" pill.
  • The Etrian Odyssey games have the Monstrous Index, which provides a brief description of each enemy, FOE, boss and Mini-Boss encountered so far, as well as their drops, resistances and weaknesses.
  • Starcraft II has the stats for every unit (yours and the enemy's) available in the menu. It even tells you which units are best used to counter each other.
  • The Alliance Alive has one that can only be accessed from a Library Guild Tower. It contains information such as HP, dropped items, a description, the enemy's 3D model, and a list of its attacks, which you can see being performed. Some enemies such as Beastfolk soldiers aren't listed.
  • The Nursery in Germination.
  • Appears in Epic Battle Fantasy 3 and 4. You fill them by using the scan ability note . Filling the Bestiary also gives you medals, which is required to access secret areas in 3.
  • RuneScape has the Slayer Codex, a book of almost every monster in the game that you can assigned to kill by a Slayer Master. In order to complete the Slayer Codex, you must capture a soul from each monster using an item called an Ushabti, which has a chance of capturing a monster's soul every time you kill one, and then turn it in at the sunken pyramid.
  • Spelunky's HD remake features a journal which fills out with information about enemies, locales, items and traps as you encounter them.
  • Scanning enemies in Warframe adds entries to your codex detailing info about them, including their stats, their weaknesses, their locations and what they drop. Most entries require scanning multiple enemies to complete an entry. Entries about Index combatants and Rathuum executioneers fill out automatically as you meet them (since you can't use scanners there).
  • Terraria has one included in "Journey's End" update, which adds entries about NPCs, critters, enemies, and bosses. The bestiary describes the lore of the entities, their stats, and their drops. The entries need to be filled out depending on how much experience the player had with the entity in question. For critters, it's how many the player came in close proximity with. For NPCs, it's how much they chatted with them. For enemies, it's how much were killed, with more additional info being revealed depending on the kill count, with 50 kills completely filling out the entry. For bosses, the player only has to kill one.

  • Astral Aves has one from the "monsters'" point of view, describing various human characters.

    Web Original 


Alternative Title(s): Bestiary


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