This collection of Ranging Swan Press’ superb Tribes Most Foul-series is 65 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page info about the designers, 1 page advice on reading statblocks, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 57 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We kick off this book with a table of statblocks by CR (Including the page numbers) and then, get a tribal name generator: 100 descriptors, which are then supplemented by one of 4 characteristics: These may either be a body part, geographical, weapon/armor or animal/monster. Each of these sample characteristics gets a 50-entry-table and for DMs really hard-pressed for time, a final table offers 50 ready-made sample names.
As you may know if you’ve followed my reviews, I’ve reviewed all component-pdfs in detail, so if you’ve got questions regarding e.g. were-troll dire echidnas and the like, I’ll hereby refer you to these. If you’re new to the series – essentially, we get thoroughly unique tribes containing a sample tribal roster, advice on how to use them in a campaign, lore-sections, notable personalities and sample statblocks for the respective NPCs as well as heraldic crests.
And yes, ogre-cooks, deadly kobold trapsmiths, primitive orcs led by awakened dire apes…there are a lot of cool tribes herein that just kill it – concept-wise, style-wise, all awesomeness. These are now supplemented by the new Scions of the Grinning Skull, a tribe of ghousl/ghasts/wights awaiting the prophesized return of their fallen lich-master, lairing in the abandoned cliff-village of Awan Ral for the shattered phylactery to once again give rise to their foul master. Statblock-wise, we get a ghoul-cleric and an advanced wight weapon master here.
The second new tribe would be the Black Wing Lizardfolk — degenerate beings on teh rise, these survivors struggle in the demesne and bones of their erstwhile master, while sicking half-draconic crocodiles on intruders and slowly increasing in number… Statblock-wise, these come with a lizardfolk ranger and an advanced half-dragon crocodile.
The bleached white fur-sporting bugbears of teh Ghostbear clan may be a small tribe, but vicious indeed and in dire need of new blood as well. Coming with a sample warrior as well as a ranger2/rogue 2 bugbear, the ghostbears make for a good take on the mountainfolk-trope, including potential inner-tribal squabbles that may tear the small tribe apart.
The final new tribe would be the Kukulkan – a clan of lizardfolk broken into 3 castes, protecting the partially sunken stone pyramid their swamp hides. Hands, Feet and Heart make for interesting castes, as the scaled humanoids worship their living goddess, the fully statted medusa sorceress Illyria.
Editing and formatting, as we’ve come to expect from Raging Swan Press, are top-notch. Layout adheres to RSP’s printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the artworks are thematically fitting. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience with nested bookmarks and even sports a second version, allowing you to choose between one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.
The conglomerate designers Creighton Broadhurst, Alex Connell, Ben Kent, David Posener and Mike Welham have crafted a collection of tribes that should bring fear to players out there – in case you don’t want to dig up all my reviews: More often than not, the respective tribes herein are thoroughly unique, add superb spins on the humanoids/creatures in question and offer both great cultural flair and ideas. The Tribes Most Foul-series quite literally has not a single bad entry in its run and this collection of pdfs, with its bonus content, makes sure that there is no valid reason left not to get these if you haven’t by now. With literally each tribe offering a conservative easy-to-fit or just a plain awesome angle, just about any DM looking for some unique panache for his/her humanoids will get their buck’s worth out of this. Had I any complaints here, then that would be that I would have enjoyed the full 3-tribe roster for those tribes included as a bonus and that I would have loved seeing unit-statblocks for the tribes. This is me complaining at a very high level, though. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval…unless you also have all component pdfs. If you do, this offers slightly less bang for buck and should be considered a nice, if not required compilation at -1 star, primarily due to not all of the new tribes completely blowing me away.