Feb 142012
 

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The fourth installment of the Mythic Menagerie-line from Super Genius Games is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, leaving 9 pages of content for more goblinoid threats, so let’s check them out!

The basic premise, as explained by the introduction of this pdf, is that it seeks to provide mid-to-high-level goblinoids for rangers etc. to combat the relative lack of high-level goblinoid threats. While I’d reply that adding class-levels to the green menace is a very simple operation, I get the approach and desire to add monsters to the category – let’s hope we don’t get “Environment X+ name of the base-race”-variants. I hate those.

The first critter does not fall into this category, as the CR 16 Áthasaia is a huge, giant-like oni-hobgoblin monstrosity with shapechanging abilities. A nice idea, though not one I consider particularly interesting. In the end this creature is a giant-style heavy-hitter with shapechanging and lacks any truly unique abilities.

The next goblin variant, though, remedies that: “Wer reitet so spät durch Nachrt und Wind?” are the first line of the famous poem that features the next creature: The CR 10 Erlking is a bog-inhabiting goblinoid subrace that has characteristics of plants, including the ability to regenerate and re-sprout from total annihilation. While I consider the name unfortunate (The Erlking being a more fey creature in my opinion), this is a truly awesome addition to the goblinoid roster.

Next is the CR 12 Majnun, a hobgoblin variant that has adapted to a mockery of the efreeti culture of their erstwhile overlords, awaiting the impending conquest of masters who have long since abandoned them. Neat!

The CR 12 Ophidiyarr who enjoy eldritch secrets and forbidden lore look rather like serpentine, poison-using Yuan-ti or similar snake-like beings and didn’t feel goblinoid to me. While I like the creature per se, I don’t consider it to be a fitting addition to the goblinoid roster.

The tribal CR 6 seafaring Ponaturi have dreaded war-dances and feel somewhat Polynesian in their cultural style – which is neat, as I consider these lesser-utilized mythologies cool. However, their signature weapon, the Terbutje deals a rather mysterious d9 damage – I gather that’s supposed to be d8.

The CR 2 Puck is pure filler, at least to me – the goblinoids clock in at the CR-range that is already abundantly covered and offers no cool ability – essentially they are xenophobic, often enslaved goblins with human eyes and a knack for crafting and resisting manipulation. A prime example of a critter no one needs.

The arboreal Tree Grims (CR 4) use slings and are wholly adapted to their native environment. Once again, though, they lack truly imaginative abilities and clock in an already covered CR-range and fit the cliché of “slap environmental adaption” on race X to get racial variant Y.

The final creature is the CR 8 Vinayaka, a winged goblinoid with twin tails and demonic countenance – and a cool signature ability: The mischievous Vinayaka can dip its twin-tails into any kind of energy to charge its attacks with said energy-type – cool idea and the write-up adds to the appeal of the creature.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are ok – there are some glitches like aforementioned d9 and relics. Layout adheres to the 2-column standard and the b/w-artworks are neat. The pdf has no bookmarks.

The creatures have no lore-sections and no information on favoured classes and the like is given.

The quality of the new monsters, unfortunately, is rather inconsistent: While Erlkings, Majnuns and Vinayaka are absolutely gorgeous, I maintain that Ophidiyarr are not especially goblinoid. Furthermore, Puck and Tree Grims feel like filler, which is a pity, as author Sam Hing demonstrated with his Ponaturi that he can do better – while they are environmental sub-races, they have a cultural angle, a signature ability and a unique weapon – all absent from Tree Grims and Pucks. The Áthasaia falls a bit short of its excellent potential.

While the price is fair and the 3 creatures that are original, are cool indeed, the editing mistakes and the filler creatures prevent me from giving this pdf a higher rating. My final verdict will be 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

 

Mythic Menagerie: Rise of the Goblinoids is available from:

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