By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Super Genius Games is 8 pages long 2/3 of a page front cover and 1 page editorial & SRD, leaving 6 1/3 pages of content for the new fodder for the summoner and his pet.
After a short introduction to the summoner and his tropes in literature and mythology, we get two very cool and useful basic forms for the eidolon, the hut and the ooze.
The meat of the product, though, is the 38 new pieces of evolutions. 15 first-level evolutions make the start, 3 of which unfortunately only duplicate the elemental mastery traits known from elementals. While not bad per se, I don’t consider that to be ingenious design. The evolutions among themselves range from centipede-like movement (and resistance to trip) over ignoring slippery surfaces to metal skin (granting minor DR) to luminescence and even scintillating luminescence.
The 14 new 2-point evolutions are befitting of their more powerful nature and follow the sprinting cheetah one-page evolution, often find their originators in the animal kingdom: From a chameleon’s camouflage, to a horn toad’s ability to spray acidic blood from the eyes to deafening roars, crocodile death rolls to the ability to puff up like a certain delicious, albeit potentially deadly fish, we get a lot of cool, mechanically sound abilities, many of which will probably ring a bell here and there. The pdf does not stop with our mundane animals, though, and offers us aboleth-mucus, rust monster corrosion and intimidating hisses as well. The two winners of this category, though, are metamorphosis (which lets you change base form) and howdah, which enables the summoner to ride his pet -how cool is that?
6 new 3-point evolutions are provided as well, from adhesive lashes, suffocating slime and darts to some truly cool abilities: First of which would be self-destruct, which makes the eidolon a walking bomb and offensive digestion, which lets your eidolon maul foes with its STOMACH and even GRAB them with it (if you have the grab evolution) – now if that is not cool, disturbing and screams to be used, I don’t know what is!
Finally, 3 4-point evolutions are presented, among which we’ll find a strength-draining gaze attack, the creation of lava puddles and even hallucinogenic spores.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column standard and once again, the pdf has no bookmarks. Cover and interior artist Lin Bo should garner a special mention, as I LOVED the disturbing piece and the additional pieces of art (in association with Kimagu) are beauties to behold. Continuing the lack of fluff in SGG-books, I’ll comment on the mechanics and let me tell you: They are nice, balanced and feel flawless. HOWEVER: With all the evolutions straight from animals/magic beasts, I also felt that they were in parts a bit lazy – especially when howdah and similar abilities push the envelope as they do. While their assignment to the respective evolution nevertheless needs some experience and due to nothing being wrong with using them as presented, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars. However, in a sequel I’d love to see more far-out abilities.
Arcane Archetypes is available from: