Horrors of the GOW
By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Purple Duck Games is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page credits, 5 pages SRD, leaving 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look at what we get, shall we?
I’m a sucker for horror-themed adventures, critters etc., as most of you will know and thus I was more than happy about the first section of this pdf: The CR 12 Black-suited Man along his Flying Spheroid (Cr 4) and Lurker (CR 3) henchmen bring to life the devious creatures from the cult-classic Phantasm-movies, probably one of the few b-horror-movie-franchises I really considered to be creepy. All the signature moves are there: Spheres drilling into foes? Check! Limbs of the tall man turning into monsters? Check! Only the laser-spheroid from the second movie is missing. However, on the layout-side an unfortunate decision has been made: While the sections of the statblocks have been separated into offense, defence, etc., printing the headers bold would make them much easier to read.
Next up is a magical Ouji-board possessed by a shadow demon, who will eventually consume the users. Ok, but nothing too special after the great phantasm-stat-ups.
Then, we get a take on Halloween/Samhain containing PFRPG-updates of several 3.X monsters, to be precise: The pitchfork-wielding Blood Scarecrow (CR 4), the CR 7 undead, foe-slowing Webbed Sentinel, the bottles-inhabiting, tiny undead Necroling (CR 4) and the tendril-sporting CR 7 ragged wraith all have some neat abilities and suffer from the same unfortunate formatting decision that plagued earlier statblocks. Also, while all the creatures did have some kind of ability to set them apart, none really gripped my attention.
We also get a legacy-scythe in the format of the legendary-series, evidently inspired by Masque of the Red Death – if only the abilities of said weapon would be a bit more out of the ordinary – fatigue, death etc. might be fitting, but also are more or less what one would expect.
An adventure-location centring on a black piece of rock that gases people into murdering other and subsequently becoming morlocks has left me singularly unimpressed, both as location, plot-device and in its presentation.
Fans of incantations like yours truly also get their due in this pdf – “The Vengeance” enables you to summon a spirit to exact vengeance upon your foes. Generic, yet supremely useful and a cool plot-device.
Fans of the APG can rejoice, to be precise, the ones of the alchemist: If you ever wanted to blend alchemy and necromancy, the 10 level Master of Life-PrC for the alchemist is just what you’ve been looking for: d8, 2+Int skills per level, medium ref and will saves, 3/4 BAB-progression and the ability to create more deadly zombie variants via discoveries and a capstone undead transformation – neat! A ready-made NPC is also stated out.
Witches also get some love in the form of 8 new hexes and a new patron, namely vengeance. The hexes felt sufficiently unique and unsettling and the sample witch provided for the new patron is also a nice touch.
As a final, nice critter, we get Ick-Chomp, the vampiric Oytugh (CR 6), whose in-character-written prose is hilarious – a nice finish for the pdf!
As a kind of enhancement, we also get the 2-page City of Graves-pdf, 1 page of which is flavortext for the lands of GOW and 1 page being the SRD.
Editing and formatting could be better – I noticed several glitches, from the non-bold lines separating the statblock sections to minor punctuation errors. The bookmarks, while there, seem to be glitchy as well and not all sections of the pdf (e.g. the Witch patrons) get their own bookmark. The pdf also feels a bit unorganized with monsters e.g. not in their own chapter. Artwork is mostly realistic photo-art, which one has to like.
The respective sections were varying in quality – the support for the APG-classes was great, the incantation neat and the vampiric Otyugh is awesome and the Phantasm-monsters elicited a minor fanboy-gasm on my side, but the legacy scythe, the monsters and the black stone in particular felt rather bland and uninspired to me. I also realize that the Phantasm-beasties might primarily be for people with fond memories of said critters. In the end, this is hard to rate, as it did contain several pieces of content I really enjoyed while others left me dead cold or even bored. While the pdf is very cheap, it also does not provide some genuinely brilliant new piece of content. Add to that the editing and formatting problems and my final verdict would be 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2.
Which the content of the pdf definitely not deserves, as there are some good pieces to be found herein. For fans of Phantasm and if you’re looking for the APG-support, you might want to add a star to the final verdict – at this price, you probably won’t regret a purchase. As I belong to the latter category of Phantasm-fanboys and am always hungering for more APG support, my verdict will reflect this and be 3 stars -just be aware of my personal preferences here.
Horrors of the GOW is available from: