This pdf is 22 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
It’s been some time since author Mike Welham’s “So what’s the Mount like, anyways?” redefined the whole series, making for one of the best, most useful table-book I’ve ever seen – to the point where it scored a place among my Top ten list. Yes. That good. If you don’t have it yet, get it now!
All right, back to the topic at hand – this is the sequel for all those less common mounts paladins, cavaliers and similar characters may acquire – but can it live up to its predecessor’s quality?
Well, we kick off this pdf with a massive table of mount’s appearances, providing a whopping 100 entries – and oh boy are they inspirational: Whether it’s a pegasus with gold-tipped wings, a horse with draconic scales, an elk with reins, but no saddle, a giant bat with a rider’s harness hanging from a building – these entries ooze flavor and tell stories in their very own right, inspiring DMs to experiment with templates and craft stories, hooks and sidetreks. Oh, have I mentioned the stallion touched by weird non-euclidian transdimensional beings, subtle shifting around due to being not fully anchored in our world?
The next table comes with mount traits – 98 plus roll twice/thrice – and they actually ALL HAVE RULES-REPERCUSSIONS. This table alone is worth the asking price. Yes. That good. But don’t take my word – take entry 95, anti theft: When away from the rider for more than 8 hours and touched by a creature other than the rider, the mount detonates in a fiery explosion! Don’t tell HETA (Humanoids for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), but damn, how cool is that? Of course being docile, having a temper and similar more down-to-earth qualities are also featured herein. What if your mount e.g. has spikes? Check the table, entry 10. Aspiring creature/mount-designers: Buy this, read this absorb and cherish it – so much wonder, so much awesomeness here. I am absolutely in LOVE with this table – the sheer amount for modifications of magical breeds this provides is staggering and makes questing for certain mounts a much more rewarding experience.
Still dumbfounded or simply hard-pressed for time? 20 adventure hooks are here for your perusal to weave mount-centric yarns and a total of 8 sample mounts are provided with statblocks – from the boring, but obligatory giant eagle to axiomatic heavy horsed to trained skunks and war corgis, these make for cool base-creatures that can easily be spiced up. Better yet, we get d20 tables listing burrowing, swimming, cold- and fire-themed mounts, all with information in which bestiary they’re found as well as some advice on how to handle awarding/gaining a specialized mount.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant 2-column b/w-standard. The pdf comes with nice b/w-artworks, two of which span a whole page and in two versions – one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
I got ready to be disappointed, I admit it. After the superb first offering, I expected this to fall short of my astronomically high expectations and the two full-page artworks made me fear Mike Welham had lost his steam before filling the page count. Oh. Boy. Was. I. Wrong.
This could have gone wrong in so many ways, trying to cover too many creatures in their own tables while leaving others out, going too specific or too general, too mundane or too magical – for all intents and purposes, this pdf should have failed. It walks this almost insane tightrope, balances above the abyss and crowns its performance with no strings attached somersaults, coming up on top and with sure footing. If anyone still doubted Mike Welham’s imaginative mind, this pdf should provide an end to all doubts and naysayers.
Insanely useful, this is essentially the “magical mount generator” that so many have been waiting for – full of iconic ideas, equally strong in both crunch and fluff departments, this pdf managed to fulfill the insane expectations I had and even surpass them in parts – this is a candidate for my top-ten list of 2013, a superb offering for all DMs wishing to add a touch of the special to their mounts and a resounding, triumphant 5 stars +seal of approval – in spite of the fact that this pdf had perhaps the most difficult possible legacy to live up to. So…when do we get more exotic mounts? 😉