Mythic Menagerie: Ravagers of Time
This mini-monster-manual-pdf from Super Genius Gamesis 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving 16 pages of content, so let’s check out this latest installment!
Due to the special nature of the critters herein, we are first introduced to some basic concepts: The time-stream, the new temporal subtype and the aevum and motes of time. The latter two concepts were introduced in the stellar Genius Guides to Time Thief and Time Warden and while the beasts herein utilize these rules, everything necessary to run the monsters is contained in this pdf. Additionally, time-travelling creatures tend to have weird perceptions and problems communicating with beings that have a simple 3-dimensional perspectives and thus a small table is included for the DM to devise strange ramblings and concerns: “Trapped by 13 o’clock, indeed!”
After this neat setting of the stage, we draw the curtains and jump into the first creature entry: The Chronal Dragon, a new type of primal dragon. While reading this entry, I was first sceptical and then started grinning – wide. Remove oneself from the time-stream, becoming temporarily invulnerable? Check. Cannibalize foe’s motes of time and personal temporal energies? Check! Secure areas by making a temporal moebius loop? Check! Breath attack that sends foes into the future? Check! We also get 3 sample statblocks and all necessary pieces of information to make chronal dragons of all age categories. This is one of the scarce additions to dragonkind that actually makes sense and I thoroughly enjoyed the new breed. (Hint: If you want to convert “War of the Burning Sky” to PFRPG, a great wyrm chronal dragon makes for a vastly cooler fight when used to substitute “time” in “The Beating of the Aquiline Heart”.)
The next beats is another high-level adversary is the Horological Golem (CR 15). The golem comes with UTTERLY awesome signature abilities: When damaged, it backlashes with a slow-effect. A blast that can change the age and even the position in the time-stream of the victims and the ability to inflict wounds over and over on his foes. Perhaps the coolest, most unique golem I’ve read in quite some time – plus: Comes with a kick-ass artwork!
On the low-end of the gamut is the leaping insect (CR 1): These poisonous, tick/spider-hybrids can not only jump in time, but also (unintentionally, on a crit), call reinforcements by transporting future or past hive mates. Disturbing, alien and a rather nasty critter. Again: Well done!
Speaking of alien: The Nasr (CR 17) is alien indeed: A gargantuan eagle’s body with 3 lamprey-like heads, they fly through time, infest foes with rot and then suck the rotting flesh from their victims. EWWWW! Now if that doesn’t creep your players out…
….then perhaps a rather traditionally gothic horror might do the trick, one like the CR 7 Temporal Wraith. These spectres may not only age you by touch, they can also wrench creatures from alternate timelines to fight along their sides. Worse, their very presence makes time unstable and it possible for you to e.g. spent a minute in battle with one and have a year go by. Great idea for DM! Now here’s another one, by yours truly: Remember the excellent Castle Forlorn boxed set for Ravenloft? Multiple versions of one dungeon, time travel etc., all to finally figure out a way to slay its master and escape? Just add the time warden’s time travel-spell to the wraith’s roster of powers and have fun with a neat basic creature to recreate similar experiences!
The beetle-eyed reptilian Timestream Assasssins (CR 10) are intelligent, deadly being living in the timestream and following unfathomable goals – oh, and their strikes can take away your actions! And that’s, again, just one of multiple extremely cool signature abilities. (Motes of time being one of them…)
And then, there’s the 3-eyed Wampus Cat (CR 5): These cats can create safe lairs in the time-stream, from which they can surface as either allies or ambush predators. Oh, their gaze might slow you and they also have access to motes of time…
Then there’s the supplemental material: The Time Screen is a way to enter and exit the timestream via a frame and the temporal anchor and lock-spells are nice to keep those nasty temporal bastards from jumping.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Laoyut adheres to SGG’s 2-column standard and each monster comes with a b/w-artwork, most of which range at the upper level of quality, though the piece for the chronal dragon didn’t put awe in me, I e.g. loved the golem. The pdf unfortunately has no bookmarks, which is a pity. Yeah. Ähem. I’ll come out and say it: Sam Hing has surpassed himself. This installment of Mythic Menagerie is literally all killer of the highest calibre. This is by far the best pdf in the whole line, surpassing even the excellent, more recent installments. Multiple signature abilities per creature, iconic adversaries and multiple adventure hooks practically ingrained in the creatures, these beings do what scarcely a monster manages these days – evoke a sense of jamais-vu, a nouveau frissant that immediately gets the creative juices flowing. If you own the Genius Guides to Time Thief/Warden, this is a no-brainer. If you’re even remotely considering temporal peculiarities – check this out. And if you’re tired of PCs bashing foes to pieces without using their brains, check this out. A stellar offering, an unbeatable price, a new standard for small monster-books. This Mythic Menagerie puts the bar higher for what to expect from monster-pdfs. If you don’t give this a try, it will be your loss. My final verdict will be a very easily-given 5 stars + Endzeitgeist seal of approval – scarcely have I had so few doubts about which final verdict to pick. An all-out stellar job!
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