Deadly Gardens – Ophidian Vine (revised edition)
This installment of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 a page SRD, leaving us with 5.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin this installment of the Deadly Gardens-series with 4 new feats, the first of which mitigates the penalty of Handle Animal to deal with plant creatures and allows you to use it in conjunction with plant creatures bereft of Intelligence. The second feat, Toxin Wrangler, lets you harvest poison from living creatures with an indifferent attitude towards you. Third, Venom Doctor, is intriguing – it lets you use poisons to treat diseases – the patient suffers the effect of the poison once, but is not further poisoned, with the next save DC versus the disease the patient has to make being decreased by an amount equal to the poison’s DC, up to a minimum of 5. Additionally, you have no risk of poisoning yourself when making poison, harvesting poisons or treating diseases or afflictions. I like the idea, though, depending on the importance of diseases in your game, I’d suggest, depending on campaign, 1/2 DC for grittier games – just an observation, mind you! Finally, Poison Resistant nets you +2 to saves versus poison and a 1/day reroll.
Now the next section of this book may, on its own, be worth getting this pdf. Why? Because it collects a metric ton of poisons from creatures in the bestiaries in a MASSIVE table that exceeds one page in scope, providing an easily referenced collection, with yield of harvested doses, market prices, etc. all included. And yes, there are some new ones (variants of magical, poisonous animals) here as well. Kudos for this section!
Now the eponymous ophidian vine comes in three iterations here – one at CR 1/2, one at CR 4 and one at CR 7 – and yes, the b/w-artwork used for the critter is, as we’ve come to expect, gorgeous! Obviously, to maintain thematic consistency, the creature has a poisonous sap and the greater variant can be pictured as basically a stronger, tougher iteration of the snake-shaped vine. The ophidian vine can freeze to camouflage itself and may execute AoOs versus those that strike it in melee…which is a cool new ability! Also cool: The new CR 7 version added to the pdf actually gets 1.5 Str-mod to bite attacks. Oh, and it is available as a plant companion, with proper stats!!
The pdf also sports a natural item, the ophidian vine sap, which now collates the respective saps in one entry – kudos!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity – kudos! As mentioned before, the b/w-artwork by Becca Bean is simply stunning.
Russ Brown has listened. I absolutely LOVE it when publishers care and fix their books, not content with “only” delivering something good, striving for excellence instead. This is pretty much what happened here. While the original critter was nice, it was comparably unremarkable. The upgraded version is unique and we actually get more material: Plant companion stats, a new feat, a complete new build. See, that’s what I’m talking about! From nice to excellence, the pdf now goes the extra mile and is well worth getting – compiling the poison table alone would probably take a day or two and the upgraded critter is amazing. 5 stars + seal of approval for the revised version.
You can get this cool, inexpensive critter here on OBS!