Monsters Unleashed V.1
By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Purple Duck Games is 7 pages long, 1 page front cover and comes with an extra pdf for SRD and a 1-page extra containing tokens.
The first in a series of monster update products, this pdf offers us 5 monsters that have been updated to PFRPG. The write-ups of the respective monsters come with lore-sections as well as b/w-artworks.
The first monster is the CR 4 Barrow Wight, an undead creature with a keen treasure sense. The statblock mentions a resurrection vulnerability, but not exactly what that entails – while a quick check of the PF-SRD offers results of this quality, a short reprint would have enhanced usability. The insanity gaze special attack does not specify what failing the save entails – while “Insanity” is written there, it’s not in italics, which could be seen as a problematic formatting glitch.
The CR 5 Crystalline Horror (a shard-spewing, light-bending humanoid crystalline creature)comes with not one, but two cool signature abilities – neat!
The CR 3 Devil Dog was one of my favourite creatures from the 2nd edition days of old and unfortunately I don’t think that the canine’s once deadly throat rip ability has been well translated to PFRPG as a bland “can’t resurrect coup-de-graced foe” – a special combat manoeuvre would have been nice.
The poor flyers of old, Dragonnels also make a comeback at CR 6 and retain their cool (albeit somewhat goofy) qualities from the original critters, especially due to nice touches like “Trained Dragonnels rarely eat their riders”. While “bad flyer, sometimes crashes” might be funny, the creature lacks a distinct signature ability, something I’ve come to expect from new creatures. However, they do come with an alternate set of stats for Dinosaur Dragonnels and a mini-block to use them as companions – laudable.
The final new critter would be the CR 3 Kech, primitive ape-like humanoids that pass without a trace and come with a full set of racial abilities, should you wish to create Kesh characters of your own. While once again ok critters, I don’t consider the Kech something to write home about.
Editing and formatting are ok, but at this length unnecessary omissions like the vulnerability of the wight and the italics-glitch could and should have been avoided. The b/w-artworks are ok for the price, though nothing to get overly excited about. And that’s unfortunately my main gripe – while the pdf is extremely cheap and at this price point, you can’t do much wrong, the monsters herein somewhat range in quality – while the Crystalline Horror is exactly the kind of cool creature I’m looking for in a pdf and the Dragonnel made me nostalgic for a hilarious session of my first campaign, the other 3 creatures felt rather bland to me – they just lack the signature quality I’ve come to expect from new PFRPG-critters. In the end, this may be a very affordable little set of creatures, but not one I could necessarily recommend to everybody – I’d usually rate this lower, but due to the very fair price, my final verdict will be 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.
Monsters Unleashed V.1 is available from: