By Thilo Graf
The fifth installment of the Creature Codex-series by Demiurge Press is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 3 pages SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content for new fey, so let’s check these out!
The first creature herein is the Boggart at CR 2. While your first reaction in the PFRPG-context probably will be thinking off degenerate frog-humanoids, these critter are closer to the historical inspiration of the name: Wicked house-fairies that spoil food, use their poltergeist-like abilities and are anything but nice, they wield combat shears as well with deadly efficiency and the option to cripple opponent’s movement. Wicked, bribable, disturbing – cool.
Brollachans, humanoid wisps of images of pure terror are weird CR 9 fey that could be mistaken for undead by the uninitiated. Mechanically, they are VERY interesting to say the least – as quasi-real embodiments of fear, they can literally scare you to death and leave yu dying and their attacks are no less lethal. Much like many frights, though, they lose some of their potency when confronted and analyzed: Their attacks lose quite a bit of their potency when disbelieved and a vulnerability to remove fear is also something you don’t get to see often – again, two thumbs up!
Buggane resemble humanoids with mole-like features, tusks and razor-sharp claws – as befitting of fey that are guardians of unholy lands. Remember those tales of fey like Rumpelstiltzchen (Rumpelstiltzkin for English readers) and their temper tantrums? Well, Buggane give new meaning to spiteful anger: When bested, these beings rather rip their own head off (!!!) and throw it up to 100 feet to explode! Better dead than defeated! If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will…
Chapalu, CR 4 feline panther-like creatures, can alter their weight as they like (another staple in fey mythology all too rarely seen in games) and blend into shadows as well as serving as a deadly mount for a plethora of different fey. Also nice, at least partially, the right spell may counteract their shadow blending ability. While it may not seem like much, it is weaknesses like this that make fey feel magical, feel esoteric and adds to their horror/uniqueness. (Also, it gives sadistic DMs like yours truly a good reason to sue them on groups that have level-wise a hard time to vanquish them and force them to use their brain…)
Duende are the pdf’s CR ½ lowest CR-creature: Tiny, wild and mischievous, these little naked men can dim any light-sources and are very hard to track. I didn’t expect much at this CR, but author Nick Herold has managed to create a critter that is set apart from similar lowest-level-threats, also by their interesting selection of spell-like abilities.
Where there’s a low-CR creature, there’s also bound to be one for high CRs, this time the Gaborchend at CR 15: Armed with deadly eye-rays, strikes that may sunder even adamantine with their glaives and spell-like abilities suited for battlefield control as well as a fearsome battlecry that deafens and staggers mortals, these warrior-philosophers should strike fear into the hearts of foolhardy locals.
Editing and formatting re top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a neat 2-column full-colour standard and, as always with Nick Herold’s work, I noticed no glitches regarding the statblocks. The pdf comes in both a full-colour version and a more printer-friendly one and the pdf is bookmarked, which is nice to have, even in small bestiaries like this. The full-colour artworks are nice and belong to the better ones in the series – also, they are all original, which is also something that should be mentioned.
What furthermore should be mentioned is that this book GETS fey. Gets their nature, what makes them iconic, what makes them cool and scary. While the Boggart’s name is unfortunate in the context of PFRPG, I get why it was kept – and renaming the frog-humanoids feels like the more natural response for me. So no gripes there. Which could be the motto for this pdf, were that not an understatement: When even a Cr ½-creature is iconic and has something going for it that distinctly sets it apart, when you read a pdf and universally enjoy all critters after having read so many bestiaries as I have, then you’ll know excellence – and this pdf has it. At the very fair price, I can universally recommend this nice collection of fey to strike some fear into your players – whether in Golarion or Midgard, First World or as additions to the Scáthesidhe’s (shadow fey) court – these creatures will cut a fine figure – perhaps out of your PCs with their battle shears. My final verdict will be 5 stars + seal of approval.
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