Necropunk Bestiary for Little Red Goblin Games’ SUPERB, intelligent dark-scifi-setting necropunk clocks in at 44 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 40.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
This pdf kicks off with the new alien type and all required information to create more aliens – and these creatures are more colorful than you’d imagine – weird, yes, but also pretty organic. Resonating the themes of Necropunk, the aliens provided herein often hearken back towards strange insectoid beings or creatures that look like they may have spawned in an alternate evolution, so kudos. Attack Bug Swarms, gigantic clusters of nanomachines that can scourge and disintegrate foes, dissipating seamlessly upon facing too pronounced a danger -the adversaries herein are distinct and awesome and fit well not only within the context of Necropunk, but also within the frame of another setting.
Strange, squishy gas drifters with three tentacles, off aliens that look like a cross between a tapir and a kangaroo that can drain confidence with a mere gaze (including an improved, higher CR variant), deadly orbital crustaceans (that can leap hundreds of feet, generating deadly shockwaves upon impact), behemoth-like all consuming scoop mouths…or what about crosses between multi-eyed felines and hammerhead sharks? Yes, these creatures are alien and odd, but they are believable and have unique abilities and fitting full-color artworks. They also make good use of bulletproof defenses, evasive maneuvers and similar unique tricks, though, admittedly, I would have loved for them to make more use of Necropunk’s unique rules-assets like social combat, phase combat and the psychic system. A further downside for those of you who want rock-solid stats – I did notice some (minor) glitches in the statblocks themselves.
Now I feel obliged to mention that the statblocks herein adhere to an unnecessary diversion from presentation standards – special abilities are presented not below the ecology section of the statblock, instead showing up right below the offense-section, before the statistics – this pulls the whole statblock unnecessarily apart and, while not impeding functionality, it does require some getting used to.
Beyond creatures, though, this pdf also provides us with Necropunk iconics, all with their own artworks and sample builds for level 1, 5, 10 and 15. A Total of 5 such iconics are provided and mooks, from mass-produced ghouls to security agents also help the DM.
Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect – the non-standard formatting of statblocks, while consistent, is unnecessary and makes them slightly harder to read and the minor glitches beyond that remain a blemish on the file. The pdf adheres to Necropunk’s printer-friendly two-column standard in full color, with most monsters receiving their own, unique artworks with a thoroughly distinct style. Kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.
Scott Gladstein, Jeremiah Zerby, Caleb Aylesworth, Maverick Bishop and Dayton Johnson have created a bestiary perhaps my favorite scifi-setting right now – I find myself craving a TV series, novels, more supplements for Necropunk on a rather regular basis and the innovative rules inherent to the system have found their way in one form or another in many facets of my home game. The aliens provided herein could have easily wrecked the distinct style, the hard to grasp cohesion of the setting’s superb atmosphere. They didn’t, so that’s a massive plus for me. Instead, like many good scifi creatures, whether those encountered in George R.R. Martin’s lesser known scifi stories (Necropunk meets Meathouse Man would be pretty interesting…) or those provided by classic scifi/pulp authors, they feel alive and believable. They also sport a diverse selection of unique abilities and tricks and the sample NPC-builds spare both players and DMs a lot of time. That being said, as much as I’d like to, I can’t remain mute on the minor glitches in the statblocks, the unnecessary formatting decision that makes them harder to read. These constitute detrimental factors.
On the plus-side, though, this bestiary is cheap and makes sense in non-Necropunk-settings as well. Still, try as I might, I can’t rate this bestiary higher than an enthusiastic 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 since the pdf is too good for a mediocre rating.
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