By Thilo Graf
This pdf from 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming is 72 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 blank page on the inside of the back cover and 1 page back cover, leaving 65 pages of content, so let’s check out these critters, shall we?
This book is rather interesting and seeks to close a niche in PFRPG that has as of yet been mostly uncovered – we are provided a rather big array of statblocks for the different breeds of animals – while minor modifications of the animal-qualities would have been an easy way out, Phantasia Zoologica thankfully goes a different route by providing special qualities for many of the animals contained herein, ranging from enhanced learning capabilities to increased ambush damage. From lucky and unlucky cats (black cats for example) to feline guardians of the underworld, we are presented quite a nice array of cats, many of which practically beg to be used and/or create adventure hooks. Grimm’s Gestiefelter Kater, more widely known as Puss in the Boots, is also featured in these pages.
Authentic animal breeds and magical breeds go hand in hand herein and the same goes for dogs and horses – while I would have loved to see some more magical horses along the way of Sliepnir (Odin’s Horse), the animals herein are guaranteed to enrich a detailed campaign world. In fact, for anyone who wants some variety in their campaigns, this book represents not only a great resource, but any class with the option to take animal companions and familiars will benefit even more from this pdf – extensive information to use the new animals that way is provided along comprehensive lists to acquire these animals (when not unique/purchasable at all) and their prices.
Have I already mentioned the chapter on new gear for animals like harnesses, saddles, dog whistles and means of transportation?
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to 4WFG’s elegant, printer-friendly 2-column standard and the pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. All the animals get their own b/w-artworks that range in quality from excellent to ok and I was quite surprised that this pdf was not boring and actually useful. However, not all is rosy – while I get why all breeds of animals have something they excel at, I also felt some of the descriptive texts to be slightly redundant, often commenting on the intelligence of the creatures – I read said phrase often herein. On the ability side, while I LOVED the unique abilities of several creatures, I think that both horses and dogs could have used some more unique abilities, as several of the animals have similar abilities.
I would have also loved to see more of the magical creatures. On the other hand, having the mundane critters is awesome and I’d love to see more mundane animals and a sequel to this pdf, e.g. with rodents like (space-)hamsters. Rupert shall rise again!
In the end, this supplement is an excellent addition to a given campaign that falls slightly short of being stellar, resulting in a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4.
Phantasia Zoologica: Cats, Dogs & Horses is available from: