Monsters of NeoExodus: Cerebral Assassin
By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Louis Porter Design is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page counters, 1 page SRD, 1 page mini-sheets and 1 page combat & initiative tracker, leaving 5 pages for the monster, so let’s check it out!
The cerebral assassin is an aberration with mental abilities that may daze enemies (mind static) and subsequently kill them (mind blast) with another ability, while also offering some abilities to cloak themselves. We get 2 incarnations of the creatures, the regular cerebral assassins (CR 8) and the cerebral assassin paragons (CR 12). The latter actually get some additional abilities beyond simple HD progression, which is nice.
The avid reader can probably guess, which critter these guys are somewhat reminiscent of – hint: They are beloved by many, WotC IP and somehow look like miniature Cthulhu sans wings. I do consider that to be a plus, however, I’ve also got some points of criticism: Mind blast usually was an ability that stuns enemies, not kills them. I think another name would help to give these creatures a more unique identity. On a mechanical note, while I do think that having to daze an enemy first to kill him via mind blast is a nice idea, I do think that the DCs are high: Mind static being a 30 ft. burst with a DC 19 or 23, mind blast also has these DCs. The paragon has the ability focus feat for mind blast , but the DC is just as high as for mind static, for which the stat block does not mention the feat. Plus, the saves in question are will saves. I’m not sure, but I think I’d prefer variable DCs or them being fort saves. That is only a personal preference, though. What is certain, though, is that regular Assassin’s Death attack, with 3 rounds observation and the requirements for available targets is still weaker, making the cerebral assassins potentially very deadly. Another weird choice is that the cerebral assassins get a grab attack, which I could imagine with their inspiration, but from the artwork, I can’t imagine them biting PCs.
Layout, as always with NeoExodus-books, is beautiful. The artwork, while nice, is somewhat ridiculous. while the text for the cerebral assassin is nice, the artwork would elicit laughs from my group. That might just be due to our twisted minds, though. 😉
Once again formatting and editing glitches are there: Additional blank spaces, numbers for skills that have slipped to the next line sans their plus, minor typos (e.g. 3rd person singular and comma errors, etc.) are there etc. More importantly, though, there seems to be a math-error or an omitted feat in the paragon stat-block. I’d do the math for the whole creature, but I’m quite frankly, too lazy. In combination with the rather strange choice of e.g. the grab ability for the creature and my balance concerns for their insta-kill attack, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 2 stars.
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