Saturday, April 4, 2009

Creature Collection (Fiery Dragon Productions)

The newest monster book available, Creature Collections brings us the horrors that infest the Scarred Lands setting. The art varies from awesome (the breasts on that dryad are just perfection) to dreadful (some of the golems look like something out of a 80'ies Marvel Comic), but definitely more hits than misses, unless you hate old school black and white stuff. Then you will hate them all. Except the Dryad. Innovations are few and far in between, but there are some (disclaimer, while I have read everything published for 4e, I might have forgotten stuff, after all, there are already a lot of monsters and powers out there), although not all are for the better (just IMO). Endurance checks to resist auras, no thank you, the immediate save mechanics is there and works just fine already. Auras that give a bonus against attacks with a certain keyword; no thank you even more. Just give some resistance instead, and be done with it. I also do not need to see ritual magic in a stat-block. I can decide just fine when my monsters need to have access to ritual magic, without it cluttering up my stat-blocks. However, the Bloodmist Naga is a nice take on how to have elites do more damage without just upping the damage or giving it double attacks. Luckily, it is not a big part of the monsters who "suffer" from the things mentioned. A lot of monsters are actually cool enough, although a bit low on the power curve (especially their elites), much like those from the original MM. This is one place where I would not mind a little power creep. The lore/fluff seems more ample (sorry, can't get that Dryad out of my head) than what is in the MM, and there are quite a lot of flavor about the setting everywhere. Of course, not all monsters are equal, and some have awesome fluff, while others have some very sparse fluff. Some of my favorites include the Asaatthi (lizard-race), the Overghast (okay, sounds like WotC does not have a monopoly on bad names), the Legion of One (sheds of swarms during the encounter), Doom-mite Swarm (go home locusts), hags, rat-men (they are the new kobolds, just ... you know, more hip!) and lets not forget the Blood Moth Swarm - I mean, cute butterflies that drink your blood? That's like a cake of coolness with awesome-sauce on top (just a pity they didn't make a higher level version). Overall it's not the second coming of monster books, but it's a good book. I know I will be using quite a few monsters and some of the lore from it.
Rating:* * * *

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