Sunday, January 4, 2009

Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead (Wizards of the Coast)

Open Grave is not just a book about undead, no, it’s the undead equivalent of the Draconomicon. It’s a DM’s book. From start to finish of its 223 pages, this book is stuffed with ideas and hooks for your campaigns involving the almost-but-not-quite-dead. It contains 3 different campaign arcs, each broken up for the various tiers (I love the Vampire Kingdom idea - it doesn’t get much darker than that), 9 different lairs each with several encounters (The mausoleum of Ssra-Tauroch looks like an awesome encounter to build an adventure over, with a nasty level 17 solo yuan-ti mummy at the end), 11 templates , 7 famous undead (OMG, Vecna has an aura that deals 50 necrotic damage – this will really suck if you aren’t properly prepared), 8 artifacts, 7 rituals (quite a few must haves for when you explore ancient crypts) and monsters. In fact, there are more than 160 monsters in there (the Death Tyrant looks nasty, but it’s really only one of many that I can’t wait to use), most of which look fairly balanced, although there are definitely some (the Rotvine Defiler) where you wonder if it was just meant to be extremely nasty (minor close burst 5, grabbed, ongoing 15 necrotic and lose 1 healing surge per round until you escape grab) or if you are missing something. Either way, while I love dragons much more than I love undeads, I must admit that undeads do tend to show up a lot more often than dragons. With this in mind, it’s definitely a must-have for me.
Rating:* * * * * *

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