EZG reviews Monster Focus: Ghouls
This pdf is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, ~3/4 of a page SRD/editorial, leaving us with ~4 1/4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The pdf kicks off with a short list of sample DCs to unearth information on ghouls before introducing us to 5 new feats:
-Grave Claws: Stagger foes with your paralyzing attacks even if they succeed at their saves. Okay, I guess – but not impressed.
-Mind over Muscle: Allows you to save again against paralysis each turn. Not a fan of this.
-Nauseating Stench: 1 round nauseated when subject to stench quality, even be sickened for 1 round on a successful save. Still not impressed.
-Resist Undead: Immunity to stench and +2 to saves versus e.g. energy drain etc. I dislike flat-out immunities granted by feats.
-Unholy Feast: Consume pieces of a corpse to get +2 to Str and 1d6 temporary hit points for 1 minute per HD of the consumed creature. I don’t particularly like HD-metagaming effects like this.
We also get 5 alchemical items, though: From a satchel of herbs to help versus stench, a nail to enhance the ghoul touch spell, a tooth to enhance undead creation to make ghasts, flesh to enhance undead and a type of oil that punishes those seeking to bite those coated in it, these items universally are nice and thankfully come with relevant craft-DCs and gp-value. Nice ones!
Next up are 4 new spells, one to resist paralysis, animate undead as ghouls, hide behind a semblance of living or incite terrible, ravenous hunger. Nice spells, though I personally preferred the ghoulish spells provided by Legendary Games’ Sepulchral Swaths of Tanoth-Gha.
The pdf also features 4 new magical items, one of which would be a blade to inflict painful wounds and sicken those hit with pain, a mask that nets you a bite attack that may paralyze foes, a mask that duplicates aforementioned spell to disguise undead nature as well as a scarab that allows the wielder to negate paralysis and the staggered condition by expending its limited charges.
We also get a new hazard – the ghoul’s deadly feast that emits a terrible stench. Among the new creatures, we get a CR 5 Ghast Lord and two new templates, the gluttonous ghoul at CR +1 and a massive, charging ghouls called Leaping Ghouls that are particularly agile (also at CR +1).
The pdf closes with 3 nice adventure ideas.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column standard and the pdf features hand-drawn b/a-artworks, which, while not superb, are really nice to get at this low price point. The pdf has no bookmarks, but at this length, that’s still okay.
Honestly, the pdf was off to a bad start – the feats honestly didn’t wow me and feel unfocused – not bad, but not exciting either and the undead-hunter feats feels strangely displaced in this pdf that is otherwise devoted to the ghoulish creatures. The spells, while not bad, also falls into this category, though to a lesser extent. The alchemical items and magical items, hazards and monsters as well as the templates, though, are actually really great, especially for the low price-point. While hence imho not perfect, this still remains a worthy addition to your gaming table. My final verdict will thus clock in at a solid 4 stars.