Thursday, December 4, 2008

Critter Cache – Animals and Beasts (BlackDirge Publishing & Goodman Games)

I have got to admit one thing. It’s probably the first 4e product that made me laugh out loud. In one of the encounter suggestions, the following line is found: "1 orc eye of the orcish god (level 5 controller)" – We all know why it says that, but that line just sounds so silly and made me laugh. Anyway, there is little doubt that a lot of people think that the MM could have used some more regular animals. Let me say up front that I am not one of those. Animals and Beasts should definitely fill out the hole left by the MM. As far as I can tell, most if not all animals that were weren’t included have now been covered. We even get a new poison and a nasty disease as a bonus. There are however some issues here and there with the crunch, such as the Dire Ape that can stunlock you to death (Only the ape missing can prevent this, there is nothing you can do), the Tyrant Ape (hello mr. Kong) who seems very weak for a solo (if the crunch followed the fluff, it would be passable, but definitely still on the weak side) and a stomp attack that makes very little sense (I can buy the elephant having 3 reach, but how does it keep a character pinned at 3 squares range. I just don’t see it). Last but not least, BlackDirge continues to explore 3e’isms in 4e. Most notably resist damage with weapon keyword and fighting below zero. I must admit that especially the fighting below zero is not my cup of tea, and I wish it had been done more smoothly, more 4e-like, instead of (sort of) copying the 3e way. Overall, it’s not a bad product, but definitely the weakest of the Critter Cache line, and the one I will use the least.
Rating:* * *

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