EZG reviews Book of Beasts: Monsters of the River Nation
This pdf is 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 blank page inside of the front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC/Monsters by CR, 1 page back cover, 1 blank page inside the back cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisements.
That leaves 28 pages of monsters.
-Addanc (CR7): A cross between a crocodile and a beaver, this could be goofy, but actually works. Death Roll (Ex) is a cool ability.
-Autumn Death (CR 8): A deadly undead creature with autumnal abilities. Has two cool signature abilities.
-Avowed Reaver (CR 5):Touched by elemental powers, this is a set of 4 CR+2 templates in one.
-Bog Scum (CR13): Aquatic, climbing deadly ooze.
-Fly Trap, Giant + Dire (CR 2 and CR 6): Cool plants, but lack a way to enthrall their victims.
-Forest Giant (CR 12): A Giant with some spell-like abilities to escape and polymorph others.
-Frost Mite Swarm (CR 10): Terrible insects of icy cold, these critters are quite creepy.
-Garmunchi (CR 6): Ugly, strong, slug-eating Ogre-like Humanoids.
-Hatethrall Demon (CR 6): Flame-clad skull-demons that shoot fiery rays.
-Hydrus (CR ½): A poisonous aquatic lizard that invades others to eat them from the inside. Great critter!
-Lemkin (CR 9): Creepy blow-gun using fey.
-Nightcaller (CR 1): Deadly Raven-like birds that can mimic voices.
-Piranha, mature and Piranha Swarm (CR 1 + CR 2): Iconic fish. Lacking in lethality, though.
-River Dragon (2 pages, two sample dragons provided, CR 7 + CR16): Aquatic dragon with boiling-abilities – want your adventurers medium?
-Riverswell Spirit (CR 7): Drowned spirit with drowning touch.
-Shrine Stone, Animated (CR 7): Guardian golem of Druids and Fey.
-Silver Bell (CR 3): Supremely creepy and cool plant creature.
-Skate Spider, Giant (CR 5) and Skate Spider Swarm (CR 6): Spiders that can walk on water.
-Snapping Turtle (CR 2) + Snapping Turtle,Dire (CR 8): Cool, but I would have expected an expanded threat range.
-Stumble Fish (CR 1): Jumping fish.
The first Appendix features Humanoid Encounters:
-Cursed Brethren (CR 3)and their Bandit King (CR 6) (2 pages): Cursed bandits that share their pain and thus are deadly when acting in concert. Cool ideas!
-Grammy Beshic (CR 9) (2 pages): A Gnome Sorceress including her new “Rings of Rebellion” magic item.
Appendix 2 features 2 new gambling games and a new drug. (1 page)
Appendix 3 presents 6 new haunts (1 page):
Blinding Bushes (CR 6), Chamber of Screams (CR 3), Ensnaring Weeds (CR3), Ice Forge (CR 2), Pool of Betrayal (CR 9) and River Fog (CR 4). They are all cool and feature at least one interesting component to make them stand apart.
The final page contains the last two appendices, containing 5 new mini-templates and 8 new diseases.
The b/w-artwork is mostly ok and has a nice old-school kind of flair, the editing and formatting are top-notch and wording as well as prose are concise and well-written. The monsters themselves presented herein are great additions to any campaign – most have a signature ability or two, an interesting hook or are just iconic animals and plants. While I personally didn’t care too much for e.g. the Garmunchi, that’s a personal preference. E.g. the Silver Bell is an idea dripping awesomeness and win and there are several of this caliber herein. The new gambling games, drug, haunts, NPCs etc. are great additions (the haunts e.g. singlehandedly surpass any haunts from a haunt-pdf I recently reviewed)to this great book and I can honestly say that this is a no-filler-book and worth every cent. If all monster-books were like that, I’d buy more. My final verdict is 5 stars.