By Thilo Graf
This book by Rite Publishing is 111 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 106 pages of content.
The book kicks off with a introduction (1 page) to the monster templates with advice on how to apply templates quick as well as mentioning some interesting facts about the format in which the templates are presented: An explanation of the unique sample creatures provided, quick tactics, the monster’s point of view of itself, Lore DCs, monstrous feats (each section has some of them) as well as (thank the 7 heavens!) ecology-sections. I hate it when monsters are presented as creatures in a vacuum and thus welcome the addition of these sections.
The templates range from -50% CR to CR +3. I listed their CR-modifications, the name of the sample creature, the CR of the sample creature and the respective bonus material.
- Accursed Creature Template (CR -50%, Broken Beast, CR 12, Monstrous feat: Stomp)
- Aware Arcana Creature Template (CR=double highest effective caster level, Aware Arcana Fireball, CR 6, Aware Arcana Merged Cup of Dust and Feast of Ashes, CR 10, 3 new feats to create the living spells, 1 new associated item)
- Betrayer Creature Template (CR+1, Iudas, CR 6, Monstrous Feats: Improved Feign Death and Improved Hidden Healing)
- Bloody Maw Creature Template (CR+1, Jaws of Winter, CR 6, Monstrous Feats: Greater Belly of the Beast, Vorpal Bite)
- Body Jumper Creature Template (CR+3, Bisiir “Discord’s Essence”, CR 21, Monstrous Feat: Hidden Possession)
- Boundfury Creature Template (CR+2, Guilded Guard of Gone, CR 7, Monstrous Feats: Greater Pain, Greater Penalize)
- Civilized Creature Template (CR+1, Genteel Spines, CR 14, Monstrous Feats: Telekinetic Flight, Telekinetic Shield)
- Darkseed Creature Templates (CR+2, Bloody Blades, CR 7, Monstrous Feats: Dark Endurance, Dark Strength, Faster Healing)
- Distortion Creature Template (CR+3, Mutilating Beast, CR 4, Monstrous Feats: Improved Scare, Greater Scare)
- Drachenchor Creature Template (CR+3, Gellid Dirge Lich, CR 12, Monstrous Feat: Spell Leech Storehouse)
- Dreaded Creature Template (CR+2, Kah the dark Captain, CR 14, Monstrous Feats: Painful Scars, Inflict Terror)
- Earthbound Creature Template (CR+2, Fettered Giant, CR 10, Monstrous Feats: Towering Assailant, Quick Fling)
- Eldritch Spawn Template (CR+3, Eldritch Glutton, CR 7, Monstrous Feats: Dream Sleeper, Insane Insight)
- Entropy Infused Creature Template (CR+1, Wasteling, CR 9, Monstrous Feats: Sinkhole, Cave-In; actually several templates in one, negative-energy quasi-elemental nod towards Planescape)
- Eternal Creature Template (CR+1, Eonian the Incessant, CR 3, Monstrous Feats: Improved Breaching, Greater Breaching)
- Exemplar Creature Template (CR+3, Atelier’s Vengeance, CR 19, Monstrous Feats: Improved Perfect Health, Improved Magic Reduction)
- Hatemonger Creature Template (CR+2, Hatelarren, CR 4, Monstrous Feat: Compelling Oratory; additional disease, variant template Strifemonger parasite)
- Havenfury Creature Template (CR+1-3 depending on base creatures CR, Black Ghont, CR 18, Ritual: Asylum of Wrath, Mosntrous Feat: Improved Corrupt Language)
- Irresistible Creature Template (CR+1, Sir Horace of the White Bull, CR 12, Monstrous Feat: Quicken Devastating Blast)
- Jagannath Creature Template (CR+3, Restless One, CR 13, Monstrous Feats: Spit Victim, Improved Spit Victim)
- Jaunting Creature Template (CR+2, Abhorrent Wink, CR 5, Monstrous Spells: Dimension Hop[Brd 2,Sor/Wiz 2], Teleport Attack [Sor/Wiz 7])
- Mythic Creature Template (CR+2, The Undying Storm, CR 7, Monstrous Feats: Dying Curse, Improved Self Resurrection)
- Phalanx Creature Template (CR+1 or +2, Apellon & Aptemis, CR 12, Monstrous Feats: Power Throw, Crushing Volley)
- Phlogiston Construct Creature Template (CR+0, 4 different Phlogiston batteries, Dynamo, CR 7)
- Positive Energy Creature Template (CR+2, Lifetrap, CR 8, Monstrous Feats: Improved Animate Objects, Improved Energy Instill)
- Protector Creature Template (CR+1, Heaven’s Guard, CR 14, Monstrous Feats: Improved Shield of Destiny, Improved Protective Aura)
- Ritefury Creature Template (CR+2, Wrath-wake, CR 7, Monstrous Feat: Improved Animate Object)
- Rune-Carved Creature Template (CR+2, Carcera of the Ruins Perilous, CR 9, Monstrous Feat: Masked Shapechanger)
- Tax Collector Creature Template (CR+2, Fishwife of Fees, CR 6, Monstrous Feats: Tax Hike, Expanded Domain)
- Trickster Creature Template (CR+1, Eshu the Deceiver, CR 5, Monstrous Feat: Greater Shapechange)
- Unsighted Creature Template (CR+2, Bloody Beggar, CR 15, Monstrous Feat: Greater Gaze of Unlight)
- Weapon Construct Creature Template (CR=+1 for every two enhancement bonuses of the weapon, Bloodhex, CR 8)
The book closes with tables for templates by challenge rating as well as sample creatures by challenge rating as well as a short glossary. ( 1 page)
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any major flaws. Layout is clear and concise, the b/w artworks range from “meh” to “awesome”.
I loved the classic Advanced Bestiary by Green Ronin and that’s why I preordered this book as soon as it was announced. Just let me say: I didn’t regret it for even a second. This is perhaps the best monster book out there for Pathfinder right now – each and every template is either mechanically extremely cool, does something that hasn’t yet been done, features captivating prose and some very interesting sample creatures, often all of them. The sheer amount of “bonus” feats provided also helps variability in encounters. I’m going so far as to say that even if you as a DM are too lazy to use templates yourself, the sample creatures themselves are worth the price. Most of them are written in a way that makes the average DM come with at least one adventure. Just take a look at the sample creatures in the above list as well as the list of monstrous feats – you get an awesome amount of content for your bucks and most feature the unique, imaginative style I’ve come to appreciate in the best of Rite Publishing books. Should you have passed on this book until now, go get it. My final rating is 5 out of 5 possible stars – possibly one of the best monster resources out there.
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