By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Clockwork Gnome Publishing is 22 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving 18 pages of content – for the low price a nice deal!
After one page of aptly-written IC-introduction to the realms of fairy we are introduced to a general 5-page overview of Faerie and what its lords and dominions are about: Basically, the realm of the fey is a demi-plane-like conglomeration of parallel mini-planes that exist and partially overlap the prime material plane, resulting in paths that might teleport you to Faerie.
The next section of the book contains the fey and they are presented in an interesting format: We get one page IC-text, 1 page stat-block and rules and 1 page artwork.
The first fey you’ll get is the Faerie Seer, a rather uncommon choice for a fey creature: At least I personally associate seers more with divine/oracleish/Norn-like figures. Befitting of its role, a faerie seer has a plethora of divination spell-like abilities and a cool aura: Being able to see the strands of time, any attack against the seers has to be rolled twice, the worse result counting. Thus, the creature has the unique ability I expect from a given monster book. Nice.
Next up is the Harvest Haunt, a tiny fey that can blight via an negative-energy instilled touch (sans being evil, mind you!) and surround themselves via a complacency aura that might prove disastrous for farmers. This tiny critter really intrigued me, as its potential for creating/threatening some truly disturbing famine winters and potential adventure twists.
The third offering we get is the Spindler, a fey clothing merchants that is obsessed with his enchanted fabrics (coming with several sample clothings), who might well try to force his clothes upon his unwitting customers. While a cool comic relief creature or ok low-level adversary, this one felt rather goofy and does not offer much resistance or combat capabilities. If it had more, it might have made for a cool final low-level foe of an adventure circling around strange behaviors.
The final creature we get is the thin man, a fey that has lost one of his dimensions to the “nowhere” (detailed in the first section of the pdf) and subsequently can make for a very deadly assassin: After all, turning to the side, it practically becomes unperceivable and its blades can hit you and easily cut you to ribbons. Deadly, cool and vicious, the thin men mechanically do what one of my recurring villains in my homebrew does and offer for compelling killers, reaching the quality of the now legendary “Van RIchten’s Guide to the Shadow Fey”.
Formatting is top-notch and layout adheres to the two-column standard. However, you should know that, while the book and the artwork is b/w, the layout contains blue elements and one of the artworks is full colour, to be precise, the one that visualizes the relationship between material and fey realm. Editing is also top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. The critters per se are high quality and can be defined as weird with a capital “w” – which is fine and just what I like and expect from fey. However, I didn’t care too much for the first section detailing the fey realms, as ZSP’s “Along the twisted Path: Prelude” is simply the superior file with regards to being an introduction to the fey realms. I have one bone to pick with this book, though: The artworks. While the regular artworks are nice, the fey artworks all take up a whole page. This would be great if the artworks rocked. To be blunt, they don’t. I know that art is expensive, but some of the pictures (especially the thin man and the harvest haunt) made me CRINGE. I honestly think the pdf would have been better off without them and the other two critter-artworks felt uninspired and not particularly fey. Less would have, at least in my opinion, been more here and would have made it easier to print out the book. The pdf is bookmarked, which is nice. What’s my final verdict, then? The production values are high and the creatures original, but 4 fey are not too much and there is some fierce and excellent competition out there regarding fey. However, all of the fey get some individual abilities and the thin men are supremely creepy. My final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 due to the cringeworthy artwork.
Finwicket’s Bestiary – Along the Faerie Path is available from: