By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Louis Porter Design is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page creature counters, 2 pages monster sheets, 1 page combat & initiative tracker, leaving 12 pages of content for the Scythians.
The pdf kicks off with two pages history of the Scythians, a servitor race of the first ones. While they look humanoid, the bone-spur-growing creatures are engines of destruction and feature their own warrior-culture and reproduce via “hatching” bone-spurs. Disturbing. 4 infamous Scythians are mentioned. Although no stats are given, each can serve as a nice adversary.
A new material, a new alchemical item and a new magic item, focusing on lessening the costs of material spell components are provided.
After that, we get 6 adventure/campaign ideas, all but one (that was the standard “go below, encounter enemies”) of which had something going for them.
While they are not intended as playable characters, their racial traits are given and, should you be so inclined, you could play one. A variety is also given, the dark Scythian, bred with a natural invisibility that he can use a limited number of rounds per day. The central idea of the race is that they can grow bone weapons from their bodies at will and thus, many of the feats presented herein expand upon this idea. We get 16 new feats:
- Bone Blade: Grow a long sword-like bone-spur instead of the standard short-sword-like one.
- Bone Blade, Greater: Grow a bastard sword-like bone-spur instead of the standard short-sword-like one.
- Bone Caltrops: Litter the floor with bony caltrops. COOL idea!
- Bone Knuckles: Unarmed Strike as if one size larger, monks increase their damage dice by one category.
- Bone Razor: Self-grown bone weapons are considered masterwork.
- Bone Spikes: Shoot spikes like a hand-crossbow.
- Bone Tools: Create thieves tools from your bones.
- Bone Tools, Greater: Create masterwork thieves tools from your bones.
- Disjointed Skeleton: Squeeze through small spaces.
- Facial Contortions: Alter face 1/day as if by disguise self.
- Intimidating Mask: Use Con instead of Cha for Intimidate, but get the same penalty to Diplomacy.
- Natural Invisibility, Extra: 2 extra uses of natural invisibility.
- Natural Invisibility, Greater: Char-level rounds, your natural invisibility works as Greater Invisibility.
- Natural Invisibility, Improved: Your natural invisibility lasts for minutes instead of rounds.
- Reinforced Bones: Gain DR 1/piercing and become immune to nonlethal whip damage.
- Reinforced Bones, Improved: DR increases to 3/piercing.
After that, we get 5 sample Scythian stat-blocks:
- Scythian Bone Flower Initiate (Monk 5, CR 4): I noticed that there are probably some miscalculations here, e.g. in the initiative and AC (Wis 10 should not grant a +1 bonus to AC) of this one.
- Scythian Soldier (CR 1/2): Rank & file Scythian
- Scythian Sergeant ( Fighter 4, CR 3)
- Scythian Captain (Fighter 10, CR 9)
- Scythian Commander (Fighter 10, CR 10)
We also get two Scythian mini-templates, Barbed Scythian (Half-barbed devils, CR +1) and Half-Scythians (CR +1). Both get a sample statblock.
- Barbed Scythian Monk (Monk 5, CR 5)
- Half-Scythian Hill Giant (CR 8)
We also get three new monsters:
- Scythian Bone Golem (CR 6): Cool bone Golem that explodes when killed and can shoot bone shards, comes with means of construction
- Scythian Bone Swarm (CR 8?): A swarm from unborn Scythian bone shards. The editing has improved in this revision of the file: While the stat-block contradicts still itself, being CR 8 and only 600 XP, its HP-count has been fixed.
- Scythian Cemetery (CR 12): This is supposed to be an undead conglomerate of Scythians, but I’m not entirely sure whether this is supposed to be a swarm or not. While it’s type is undead and it has no swarm-traits, it also mentions “Immune: weapon damage”. An additional clarification would have been nice here
Scythian skeletons are also mentioned as a variant of the burning skeleton.
Artwork and Layout are beautiful and you get quite a lot of content for the low prize of 2 bucks. The writing could use some improvements, though, as the fluff didn’t impress me that much and the Scythians, although cool, seem rather one-dimensional to me, which is a pity, really, as I think they could have made an even cooler critter. The central feature of the race, growing bone blades, has been revised and its mechanics are now clear and concise. Unfortunately, the pdf still suffers from some editing glitches. Thus, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.
Monsters of NeoExodus–Scythians is available from: