Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review: Penumbra Fantasy Bestiary

by various authors

Publisher: Atlas Games
ISBN 1-58978-030-2
Hardcover Pages: 368

The "Penumbra Fantasy Bestiary" by various authors, and brought to you by Atlas Games, is one of the rare alternative bestiaries that is really worth what you pay for it.  With over 200 new monsters, and over 20 new templates, as well as listing creatures by type and sub-type, terrain, challenge rating (from 1/4 to 22!), supplemental summoning tables, and a list of material that's new to d20.  There are five icons that help GM's separate all these monsters by stats - including The Wolf, The Cat, The Hand, The Mask, and The Eclipse (only the very highest characters should attempt a violent encounter with a Eclipse creature).  Almost all of the pages in this tome are filled with monsters, and they come in all varieties.  All include at least one adventure seed for GM's to use to introduce new creatures to their campaign.  There's an informational block sidebar for further detailing your creatures so they won't all feel like monsters from the box.  The forward includes a lot of info about awarding XP to encounters.  The 20+ templates give you dozens of ways to further customize the critters herein.  My only fault with this book, are the generally poor illustrations - some of them almost look like clipart.  Altogether, though, I'd say this one is well worth picking up.  Highly recommended.

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