By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Super Genius Gamesis 16 pages long, 1 page front cover (gorgeous, by the way), 1 page SRD/editorial, leaving 14 pages of content, so let’ check out the neat demonic femme fatales!
After a foreword, we are introduced to the first creature, but prior to getting into the crunch, I feel the need to address something – this review is based on the original version, prior to the minor redesign. If the title “Demonic Harlots” and the succubus in the throes of ecstasy on the cover were no indicator enough, I’ll spell it out: This pdf is not necessarily safe for work. Although in my work climate there would be no problem with this imagery (some of my colleagues sporting more suggestive desktop backgrounds), I gather that in America people tend to be more sensitive with regards to even vaguely sexual content. This pdf, while featuring mature topics, does so in a mature manner and at least to me, felt not explicit in any way. Point being: I can’t really imagine anyone being offended by this pdf, but I have been proven wrong before. Discretion is advised.
That out of the way, let’s check out the sultry seductresses who will drag your PC’s drooling souls to the deepest pit of the Abyss!
In contrast to the other installments of the Mythic Menagerie-line, we start off with a primer mentioning a succubus-demon lord and the topic of incubi, the male counterparts of succubae. Special mention deserve e.g. the short discussion of preferred demonic genders and how e.g. a matriarchal society would be haunted by more incubi to better subvert the power-structure. It’s just one page, but it felt like a nice read nevertheless.
The first variant creature, the CR 10 Agitator has one of the coolest signature abilities I’ve seen in quite a while – emotional flare enables them to escalate latent emotions into potentially lethal proportions and make any crowd beholden to their chaotic whims.
The CR 14 Cursed of Epithumia is a deadly Succubus cursed by aforementioned Queen of Succubae. Punished for their ambitions, these disfigured creatures can split old scars and ooze molten lead from their ever-festering wounds to make armours for themselves, cover their foes in it etc. A plethora of cool signature abilities is provided, but for the Cursed, these blessings taste like ash – after all, they can only temporarily maintain a facade of beauty and most of the time have to spend their existences as disfigured, tortured creatures.
The next creature is a well-known entity on the Paizo-boards, our favourite reviewer-succubus Dark Mistress, or to be more precise, a race of beings named after her. These fiendish creatures are a blending of shadow demon and succubus, resulting in a new kind of critter with deadly shadow-based attacks – again, sporting not one, but several unique abilities. I bet the original Dark Mistress approves of this fine take. 🙂
Some creatures are the quintessential shadow entity behind guilds and plans, hiding behind legions of associates. The CR 8 Pupeteer Succubus is perhaps one of the coolest creatures I’ve seen in quite a while, drawing strength from her enchanted slaves and being able to use their senses. The PCs will have to act smart to catch these wily schemers off guard.
The CR 6 savage Thyiades, a kind of primal succubus focused on consorting with (and twisting) fey with her infernal taint. To make matters worse, they can unhallow whole stretches of land… Neat!
For rather kinky sinners, the tormentors (CR 11) are essentially BDSM-succubae that can have a neat signature curse which makes their victims yearn for damage. Add spiky body piercings and some hex-related abilities and you get a cool foe indeed. Although the tendency to portray BDSM as an evil or destructive act (which it is not – Safe, sane and consensual) in media in general tends to annoy me, this take on the trope of sadistic temptress is mechanically interesting enough for me to enjoy it.
That’s not where the pdf stops, though: 5 new feats for Succubae are introduced that range from improved shapechanging to glyph-studded, arcane wings and even an additional stinger attack, which might act as an elixir of love – neat and offers a lot of story-telling potential.
We also get 5 new magic items, which contain a flail made from vargouilles, a retriever-crown and ENCHANTED lingerie! Yes! (I know the thought of chainmail bikinis is not popular with some folks. For succubae, though? Come on – of course you tend to miss her when the shifting links of chains draw your eyes to semi-concealed places!)
The final section of the pdf provides us with 5 new spells, containing the sheer genius aspect transformation, which lets the succubus bypass some wards and a spell which is storytelling GOLD. Sculpt the Dead lets a caster make a dead being look like specific beings. I can spontaneously come up with about 6 complex investigation plots featuring this spell. Gold!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, this time I noticed no editing or formatting errors – if the increased price comes with an increase in quality, I’m all for it. Especially when the price is still a fair $4.99. That being said, the b/w-artworks are nice and the layout adheres to the 2-column standard. Author Sam Hing has done it – this is the very best installment of Mythic Menageries to date – plenty of content and signature abilities, cool supplemental material, neat prose, no gripes. This is how mini monster manuals should be. My final verdict will be 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval – well done!
Mythic Menagerie: Demonic Harlots is available from: