Friday, 20 June 2014

[Review] Bestiary of fantastic creatures volume 1: Bizarre monsters

The whole title on the main page goes like this: A Rust Dagger Supplement, Beastiary of Fantastic Creatures Playable with Paper and Pencil and Miniature Figures. Bizarre Monsters Volume 1 by Casey Sorrow.
Published by Bull Cock Press.

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This is an oldschool monster manual from the times when monsters still were imaginative (I might have romanticized here a bit) and the art was personal and cool. Here are 34 pages (40 in total if you count the covers) including 15 different monsters.

It is not only the art and good and entertaining writing what makes this product great. It's also the monsters which are actually really well done. Some are fun, clever, dangerous, spontaneously dangerous, profitable, disgusting, weird... Every monster has a purpose when you use it. Some might be just dangerous, but all except one entry has one or more suggestions for a campaign integration.

There is enough information for every monster to use them effectively, many in different situations and purposes too. Most are spread to two pages, some monster entries cover even three pages. It is not simply just a list, you get a nice and entertaining and useful description.

The art is great. Really evocative and fun. If cleaner and more professional I think this is what old monster manuals' style should be. Well also new ones too!

The stat blocks are wide enough to use in your favourite OSR simulacrum game. AC is descending, but that is easily fixed in many cases. You don't even have to use your brain as the foreword tells you to modify the stats and monsters as needed!

My favorites, you ask. This is lame but I liked every monster entry in this booklet. Every single one. I liked these so much I want to create a mini campaign around this booklet. So every monster is used and player character has opportunity to study, harvest, save villagers from them. My top three (and reasons) are:

Bohx. Funny, dangerous, tragic. Made me sad but with an evil Referee grim!

Plunderpuff. I am not a Pokémon fan but I think this is as close as you can get a Pokémon it still being a fantasy roleplaying game character of old-school style.

Uzhu. New intelligent giant race with a twist... of horns. And herd of fire farting cattle.

I lied, here's fourth:
Rat King. Horrible and disgusting for an animal lover.

And fifth, and... As I said, I liked them all!

You should try to get this if you:
- Like monster manuals.
- Like monsters what are not necessarily always traditional fantasy dungeon monsters.
- You like cool indie products what make you cool.
- Art is inspirational and modern take on old-school (I think, I don't know arts).

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Honorably I want to mention Jonas Mustonen who was kind and provided me with this product to review. Now you be kind and go check his Old-school roleplaying blog in Finnish. (Use Google translator or something). There are not many OSR blogs in Finland and this is one of my favourites (yes, even before I got the booklet reviewed here).

The address to that blog is:
Vankityrmiä ja Louhikäärmeitä