Mythic Menagerie: Engines of Destruction (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Rogue Genius Games
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Welcome to Engines of Destruction, the third in our line of Mythic Menagerie monster books. Each volume in this line presents a small set of monsters tied to a single theme, but spread over a range of CRs. For Engines of Destruction, that theme is unusual constructs. Rather than presenting a gaggle of yet more golems made out of stone or metal materials, author Sam Hing has put together an awesome set of unthinking enemies that go beyond just walking statues. We have desert destroyers, simple constructs for beginning artificers, an animate slice of the void, and even self-motivated brewing equipment.
This collection can be helpful to GMs in many different ways. Since the foes within this book range from CR 1 to CR 18, they can augment the ranks of any squad of dungeon guards, wizard-lead armies, or mad alchemist’s lab with something the players (and their characters) haven’t seen before. However, they can also form the frame for a whole new threat if the GM decides to base an adventure around engines of destruction. Whether you introduce the characters to a small country ruled by a tyrant that maintains order with the literally iron grip of golem enforcers, or start a campaign where magic storms can create random constructs with bolts of arcane lightning, the engines of destruction can provide an ongoing problem for a group of player characters. Augmented with golems of wood, ice, and iron, the monsters provided here can form the backbone of an entire campaign arc—if a GM chooses to employ them in such a manner.
However you choose to terrorize your players, we’re hopeful you’ll find something useful in our third Mythic Menagerie. Now, ready yourself for the first course of the animate army; the stomping, clanking, and grinding is a sign that the construct killers are approaching.
This installment of SGG's mini-monster-manuals is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 12 pages of content for the new monsters, so what do we get?
The introduction tells us that we get unusual golems and it should prove to be right:
The very first creature is a CR 7 cactus golem, complete with needles and desiccating attacks. It should be noted that the creature is called both cactus golem and cactus crawler - a minor inconsistency.
On the upper hand, we get construction requirements for all golems in this pdf. All golems are resistant to magic and can be influenced by spells in unusual ways and these are no different - knowledge and fight smarting will help your PCs prevail when they lose in the brute-force department - an approach I really enjoy, as it encourages smart fighting and research. It#s unfortunate that no lore-sections are provided for the respective golems.
The iconic, mass-produced CR 1 Ceramic Soldiers make for nice low-level construct threats, complete with speed bursts and shatter-vulnerability - well done.
The CR 10 Gearwork Golem makes for a grinding clockwork nightmare, sundering weapons and disarming foes while rending anything it comes into contact with - the terrible golem makes for a foe the PCs will truly hate for its signature abilities - fighting these will be a baneful experience for any group.
The next creature is again, a rather low CR (5) golem, and a disturbing one at that, the enveloping hide golem - while not the most ingenious of creatures, it makes for a cool critter.
Two golem-variants are next on the list and both are pure narrative gold - the steed (CR +1) and vault guardian (CR +3) golem variant mini-templates that can be applied to any created creature make for some nice modifications - what about the insane alchemist with a flesh-golem-horse-creature, for example? Very cool!
The CR 12-Prism Golem has some rainbow-associated abilities and anyone who has played any incarnation of D&D knows that this prismatic attacks generally are bad news for those on the receiving end. While I usually like the illustrations of Marc Radle, this particular one is rather ridiculous and not one of his best.
The next golem is just what I want to see - imaginative in design and prose, cool mechanics and somewhat disturbing - the CR 8 Reefstalker is a primitive golem made from the jaws of sharks and its serrated defense and bleeding abilities will ensure a messy, bloody encounter your PCs will remember.
The CR 5 Rustmote Swarm on the other hand is the bane of items and metal golems and making it a swarm is mechanically interesting.
Even cooler golems are up next, though: The CR 6 Still Golem who can intoxicate foes via his scalding, alcoholic steam - that's exactly what I'm looking for in a creature: An original concept married to nice mechanics. Come on, how can you say no to an animated Still?
Finally, the last golem, the Void Golem is another prime example of a cool creature: The CR 18 intelligent being is a sentient rift in space, conjured as a proxy and servitor of its dark masters from the void to assist the apocalyptic cults serving their unknowable ends. Slightly cthulhoid, armed with a deadly array of abilities and malevolent sentience, this golem is another winner.
Editing and formatting could have been better, I noticed inconsistencies and minor typos and glitches, which, while not impeding my ability to use the golems, could have been avoided. Layout adheres to the 2-column standard and the b/w-artworks are ok, but didn't make me yell with excitement. The pdf has no bookmarks. Author Sam Hing provides us with a truly excellent array of golems and while some of the golems are not as awesome as others (Cactus and Prsimatic felt a bit bland to me), my only true gripe with this pdf remain the formal glitches I mentioned - for the very low price, we get a stellar offering of cool, imaginative and unique golems that are only marred by the minor glitches and lack of lore sections. My final verdict due to these minor issues will be 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform - highly recommended for the fair price.
Mythic Menagerie: Engines of Destruction by Super Genius Games
This product is 14 pages long. It starts with a cover and forward. (2 pages)
Creatures (10 pages)
This book is about mechanical monsters. Following is a list of the creatures with in. Each one has a full stat block and construction costs.
Cactus Crawler – CR7, it is called a Crawler and golem, I am guessing the parts that say golem is a error.
Ceramic Soldier – CR1
Gearwork Golem – CR10
Hide Golem – CR 5
Prism Golem – CR12
Reef Stalker – CR8
Rustmote Storm – CR5
Still Golem – CR 6
Void Golem – CR18
Golem Variants (1 page)
For some reason this is stuck in the middle of the book, between two full stated monsters. The Hide Golem and Prism Golem. At any rate this introduces two templates to be applied to other constructs to turn them into these version. Golem Stead +1 CR and Golem Guardian +3 CR.
It ends with a credits and OGL. (1 pages)
Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white, it ranges from ok to pretty good. Layout and editing was well done, other than the one odd thing of putting the variants in the middle of the book. The monsters presented with in where fairly well done. There is a nice variety of construction types and where you might find them. The book gives pretty much what it promises, which is 9 new types of construct monsters. By the name I was expecting more clockwork and steam powered types than what was in the book though. So what's my rating? Well the book is well done but it didn't wow me either. It is solid and well done, so if you are looking for more golem types then it is worth picking up. I am going to settle on a 4 star, I almost went 3 ½ cause of the weird layout with the variants but it is not a big enough deal to detract a half star so I settled on a 4.
I really don't have much to say that can't be gleaned from the other reviews. I'm not 100% sure all of these guys are winners (Cactus Golems are interesting, but they don't jump out for me to use them, for example), but there are a few I really want to use.
Lower CR constructs are great as temple guardians, and the Void Golem alone is almost worth the cost of admission. In fact, the Void Golem is is probably my #1 vote for monster that I would love to see used in an official Pathfinder product right now.
I've got to admit, it's getting better, it's getting better all the time...
So I was a little rough on "The Kingdom of Graves", the previous installment of the Mythic Menagerie line. This installment, Engines of Destruction, aims its sights on constructs. Let's see what it has to offer.
The Good: The golems in this product are certainly more creative than the usual fare. I've seen many a golem in my day, and I've never seen one made out of a liquor still or congealed starstuff. Crystalline golems are a dime a dozen, but ones that shoot prismatic sprays? That's new and excitingly different.
My favorite monsters on display this time around are the aforementioned still golem (it sprays intoxicating steam!) and the reefstalker, which is made out of dozens of shark jaws and are generally stained red with blood. Grisly, cool and memorable.
The Bad: There are still some balance issues on display here. The gear golem is really cool, but its defenses are far too good for its CR. Randomized disarm or sunder to anything that touches it? That's harsh. Likewise, the prismatic golem shooting a prismatic spray in all directions once every 1d4 rounds? Very powerful. The prism golem does have far fewer hit points than do most CR 12 creatures... but that's not going to matter when your whole party is insane on another plane, is it?
There are a few monster abilities that don't say what action it is to use. The prism golem's prismatic sprays and the void golem's vacuum generation have no action associated. I can assume standard, but I shouldn't have to.
The Nit-picky: The art isn't nearly as good this time around. It's serviceable, but I don't like it as much.
There's a fair amount of non-standard language used in this product; one can generally make out what is meant, but it's irritating. Things like the still golem's slam attack dealing "heat" damage instead of fire, or the rustmote swarm's rust attacks doing damage "to hardness", rather than "ignoring hardness". On a similar editing note, the cactus crawler is referred to as a cactus golem in its stat block.
Final Thoughts: The third Mythic Menagerie is rather better than the second one. It's more usable as is, although there's still some difficult balance patches. I hope that Volume Four is better still!
Originality : I liked the constructs in the book, they were a very eclectic collection, and most were original, or else original takes on existing ideas. I especially liked the Hide Golem and Ceramic Soldiers, and Still Golems. Also, there were some really good 'golem variants' including rules for making mount golems (although that section really could use some fleshing out, such as what mount rules apply, such as barding, combat tricks, etc).
Balance : It's a decent mix of balanced and a few overbalanced entries. The Gearwork Golem is very cool, but I feel it's way undervalued on the CR at 10. The Prism Golem is also a bit undervalued as well, but not as bad as the gearwork golem.
Utility : Honestly, I see myself using the low CR (7 and under) constructs a lot, and especially the golem variants. The higher level constructs, not so much. I love the Still Golem, and I'll have to work that in to my games somehow. :)
Overall, very much worth the price of admission, just adjust some of the CR's in your game.