Monday, December 5, 2011

Review - Book of Beasts – Monsters of the River Nations



This is a review I did last year before the Blog took off, so here's a re-print of it for the blog:

Book of Beasts-Monsters of the River Nations


Disclaimer: This is a review of material provided to me free of charge for the purpose of review. 


Produced by Jon Brazer Enterprises, available from Paizo as a PDF for $5.00

First Glance:
From a quick perusal, it looks very promising. Nice artwork, bold trade dress, and 20 unique monsters and 7 additional pages of material.

In Depth:
Many low CR monsters, from the stumble fish to the Night Caller and Mature Piranha. Though my favorite of the new monsters is the Giant Fly Trap, I’ve always had a soft spot for nature fighting back. The Dire Fly Trap is even more vicious. Those are my favorites, there are a few of the monsters I’m not as convinced with. The Addanc has a strange name, which is an odd crocodile/beaver aberration. I’m not a fan of the Hatethrall Demon since it’s a disembodied head is strange for a demon, and the Hydrus has a new Combat maneuver, which doesn’t have an explanation, in addition it’s a bit of an undercon at ½ CR. The other monsters are all well-crafted creatures.

Extras:
In addition to being a monster book, it is a resource book for the River Nations campaign setting (not to be confused with the River Kingdoms of Golarion.)
To this end, the first appendix is Konrad the Bandit King and his Cursed Brethren, the second is Grammy Beshic, an ancient gnome with a dark secret. The Grammy Beshic entry includes three adventure hooks.
New gambling games and a new drug, Kobold Krack, though it’s primarily something particularly vicious GM might use with some kobold barbarians.
The best part of any Monster book is the templates. The Book of Beasts introduces 5 new templates; drunk, enraged, fey-touched, hungry and river-born. Though I would probably not use the drunk template, since it only emulates the sickness of being drunk, not the rage side.
8 new diseases grace the final appendix of the book, not only bringing such common maladies such as Influenza, Bird Flu, and the Common cold into Pathfinder; but also Faire Fever (fantasy version of Con Crud); Dryad Pox (my fave), Mountain Air Plague, Owlbear Filth, and River Sickness. The only problem is they’re only stat blocks, with no fluff.

In Conclusion:
A strong book, with something useful for almost any campaign, it’s not perfect, but I do recommend it.