Few things get the hearts racing more for us gamers than an exciting, new splatbook, full of options and possibilities. While some of them are not all that good and may even contain elements that have the potential to make your game worse, a lot will contain some brilliant ideas that you can adapt partially or even entirely. And sometimes you hit on that must-have, amazing supplement that completely turns your game around. Splat! aims to look at some of the good, bad and ugly of gaming supplements throughout the years. If you have a supplement you would like us to look at, by all means let us know in the comments and we’ll see what we can do.
Green Ronin is a well established company with firm footing in the RPG world. They have been anything but shy with trying things out in their time, having made amongst other things D&D and Pathfinder products along several of their own systems, such as Mutants & Masterminds, Song of Ice and Fire, Dragon Age and a lot more.
However, my favourite thing they’ve done is the spectacular Advanced Bestiary. There are two versions, the original for 3.5 rules and an update for Pathfinder rules. Both are absolutely filled to the brim with monster templates and limitless potential for creating unique and interesting encounters, creatures and monsters.
All those possibilities…
There are hundreds of templates in each book. While they are more or less the same from one edition to another, there are several changes and some are dropped or added in the update. They range from just slight changes, like an arctic version of a creature, to giant changes, like how to create a purple worm swarm.
I like tinkering. I like the work that comes with taking a creature and starting it from scratch with all the bells and whistles that may come from a more complicated template. Most of the templates are fairly simple and won’t require dedicated work but a lot of them are very complicated. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then this is not the book for you. At all.
How about that 5e fella?
It’s pretty damn well established at this point that 5e is a major success and dominates all other systems. Sales figures are never released, but by using sources and available data it becomes clear that 5e has not only increased the player base by an impressive margin, but pushed older editions and Pathfinder down. While these books are meant for 3.5 and Pathfinder, they are still useful for 5e and it shouldn’t be too hard to convert. There are also tools out there to help.
As already mentioned, there are limitless possibilities when using the Advanced Bestiary. While I mostly use it to create or modify monsters to fit a role or theme, I’ve sometimes used just for some of my crazy ideas. Some favourites include:
Taking the humble goblin rogue and applying the Creature swarm template, thus creating a swarm of housefly sized goblins that are kept in a box, thrown at an opponent and then swarming all over, stinging with their tiny daggers and screaming profanities.
Taking the Hungry Flesh, a creepy ooze made from body parts (Pathfinder Bestiary 4) and then applying the Id Ooze template, giving it limited intelligence. And then I added barbarian levels to the thing. Now I had a nice, truly disturbing security guard for the necromancer that made the creature from discarded organs and body parts.
Once the party had defeated a despised villain, I felt their hatred for the character was such that he needed a comeback. However, the ol’ undead route seemed inappropriate. So I had his body removed by agents of his overlord, which replaced his ruined arms with golem-like arms made of adamantine. This was easily done with the Limbjack template and now I had a nice surprise waiting for them when the time was right.
We’ve already discussed how dangerous it can be for a game when the players know everything. While that is the worst kind of meta-gaming, it often can’t be helped. If you want to really shock those players that are convinced they know it all, this one will be invaluable.