Friday, March 23, 2012

Review - Bestiary 2 (Pathfinder)

Bestiary 2
Produced by Paizo Publications, LLC

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 2 (OGL)
Go beyond goblins with an army of fantasy’s most fearsome foes! Bestiary 2 presents hundreds of different creatures for use in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Within this collection of creatures you’ll find undead dragons and mischievous gremlins, shrieking banshees and unstoppable titans, the infamous jabberwock, and so much more! Yet not all these monsters need to be foes, as new breeds of otherworldly guardians, living shadows, and vampires all might take up adventure’s call. In addition, new rules for customizing and advancing monsters and an expanded glossary of creature abilities ensure that you’ll be prepared to challenge your heroes wherever adventure takes them!

The Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 is the second indispensable volume of monsters for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and serves as a companion to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook and Pathfinder RPG Bestiary. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium.
    The 320-page Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 includes:
  • More than 300 different monsters
  • Creatures both new and familiar, drawing upon the best-known beasts of legend, literature, and Pathfinder RPG adventures
  • Challenges for any adventure and every level of play
  • Hosts of new templates and variants, including simple templates for on-the-fly creature customization
  • Numerous lists of monsters to aid in navigation, including lists by Challenge Rating, monster type, and habitat
  • New rules for creating and running high-level menaces
  • Expanded universal monster rules to simplify special attacks, defenses, and qualities
  • New familiars, animal companions, and other allies
        ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-268-5

What you get: This is from the main product line for the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. It is a 320 page hard-bound full color monster book. Within it are more than 300 monsters, each entry has full color artwork. On the cover is one of Wayne Reynolds great pieces of artwork, featuring the Jabberwock, a protean and some of the gremlins.

Main Review: Having already reviewed Bestiary 3, this one actually drops back a little bit, my second copy actually arrived with a glue bubble on the inside back cover. (My first copy the box apparently got hurled across a warehouse in a game of hedonistic malevolence at the USPS, which Paizo graciously replaced for free). This book offers lots of fun stuff for Game Masters to throw at their players and especially brings the first Adventure path monsters into PFRPG rules, so that sinspawn, rune giants etc, have updated monster entries. 

It appears one of the main things this particular bestiary does is bring in the various new outsiders that Paizo has defined into their cosmology. Lots of unique entries, from the Aeons, Agathions, and Azata, to Nightshades, protean and qlippoth; lots of outer planar challenges for anywhere in the Great Beyond.  

One of the coolest things that Paizo has done with the various 'fiends' is given each of them an individual path, most notably, the Daemons (which first appeared in Fiend Folio, actually I think the D-series of modules was first), become the destroyers, the harbingers of ruin. This feels right for the neutral evil fiends. The four horseman of the apocalypse are daemons in the Pathfinder cosmology. This makes it easier for game masters to role-play their role more effectively. 

One of the most challenging this in this book is of course, the Jabberwock at Challenge Rating 23, with DR15/vorpal. This makes it flow with the original poem very nicely.

Value: Another great bestiary from paizo. For a 300 page full color hard bound, $39.99 is perfectly reasonable. The PDF at $9.99 is a phenomenal value.

Cost: $39.99 print and $9.99 PDF

Overall Rating: A strong showing, with lots of great entries, but not quite Epic, as most of the entries have very specific uses.