Storm Bunny Presents – The Zhamaja
This little pdf clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page of which is devoted to the SRD, with the other 3 sporting content of some sorts, with the first page sporting the amazing artwork of the monster, as well as the description – the zhamaja is a worm from beyond space and time, prowling the darkness beneath, with horrid, ringed mouths and poisonous stingers – on page two, we actually do get visual close-up representations of the moth and poison-sac-laden stingers, including annotations, making that part look a bit like a field manual, which is a pretty damn cool angle, as far as presentation is concerned.
The zhamaja comes with 2 statblocks – one for CR 6 and one for a CR 13 iteration. Both have in common, that they can either opt for tentacle slams or for bite attacks as far as their attack routines are concerned, and with at-will telepathy, they are not mere brutes, but actually sentient adversaries. Another plus would be that we do get descriptions of the respective features of their behavior patterns, with the pdfs explaining e.g. the functionality of the acidic maws and behavioral patterns. These diverge between the two variants and add some serious value to the critter, contextualizing them in the context of the game and kicking the creative juices in high gear.
The introduction of the Outerdark as a new terrain type also made me smile, as it reminded me of the much-beloved Ocean Game-based settings by Pelgrane Press, so that’d be another flavor-plus, as far as I’m concerned. So, as far as flavor and artwork is concerned, this is a definite 5 star + seal candidate; alas, the critters themselves are mechanically less interesting, offering not much in the way of truly distinctive tricks, and sort some glitches in the statblocks, like missing the application of special size modifiers to CMB/CMD, for example. The glitches are not bad, mind you, and these remain usable, but if you’re particular about mechanical precision, this may irk you.
Editing and formatting re very good on a formal level, and slightly less refined on a rules-language level. Layout is pretty gorgeous and adheres to a two-column full-color standard reminiscent of a field manual, with the phenomenal artwork by Terry Maranda being one of the highlights of the supplement. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
I really liked Jaye Sonia’s zhamaja, mainly because they are a great example of what I’ve been preaching – good flavor can really elevate a critter. A cynic could call them another worm-like thing without much going for it, but it’s the contextualization of the monster that adds to it, that helps it come into its own. However, at the same time, I can’t well ignore the fact that the critters per se don’t really have anything unique going for them on a mechanical level; their feat load-out is clever, but combined with the minor hiccups in the mechanics, I can’t rate this higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down. If you don’t mind these components, this is still worth getting!
You can get this critter here on OBS!