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101 Not So Simple Monster Templates (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 3 ratings)

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Think you've seen it all?

It's a big, scary world out there, and for your players, it's gotten nastier. 101 Not So Simple Monster Templates gives you more options, more creative flexibility and more ways to just freak out your players with new templates—itching to be added to any Pathfinder Roleplaying Game monster.

Enjoy simple templates like cowardly creature who just wants to run away (even if he is a tarrasque). The Walking Fortress which makes the monster really big and puts a citadel on its back, and the Riven Magic Creature, who just wants to drain you of your spells and break your magic items.

Brought you by the same designer that brought you the best selling and critically acclaimed Book of Monster Templates this collection brings you an even more vast array of new options to suprise even the most jaded of players with strange and exciting encounters. 101 Not So Simple Monster Templates gives you the creative oomph you've come to expect from Rite Publishing, and it'll give your party something to remember for a long time—if they survive!

Author: Steve Russell
Cover Artist: Joe Calkins
Pages 32

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Product Reviews (3)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 3 ratings)

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A must have for DMs whose players have seen it all

*****

DM "Before you rises a hulking, hideously twisted form at least nine feet tall. Long, gangly arms end in razor sharp claws, and its greenish, rubbery skin is marked with countless scars. It tears the arrow out of its arm and before your eyes a new scar forms in seconds!"
Players: "Oh look, another troll. Get out the alchemist's fire to stop it's regeneration and watch out for its rend."

DMs have seen this before, or a scenario much like it, long term players have seen all the traditional monsters so many times that it is difficult to surprise them anymore. While there is always the option of throwing out the familiar in favor of something new, an endless stream of monsters that the players have never heard of gets tiresome as well, and adding class levels to monsters can be a complicated task. And sure, a DM can just decide to add abilities to a monster, but I'll be the first to admit as a DM sometimes my ideas are much better in my head than in the execution.

Enter templates, an easy way for DMs to add a little spice, changing up a monster just enough to let it surprise even the most experienced players. This book, 101 Not So Simple Monster Templates, is filled to the brim with these excellent resources. Many of the templates within this book include quick rules that can be used to modify a creature in a few seconds, perfect for the last minute additions a DM might need, though a few of the templates only include rebuilding rules, including some of the templates that stretch the label "simple" beyond the breaking point.

While all of the templates in this book were presented well, in my opinion, a few of the templates within definitely stand out from the rest.

First, the Afflicted creature template is quite simple in concept, a creature which is suffering from an affliction or curse that losers its defenses and abilities, but provides a wealth of possibilities to to a DM. As a CR -3 template, this template could be of excellent use to DMs whose players tend to know exactly where a certain monster falls on the CR scale. Having a creature 4 or 5 CR above the players with this template allows a DM the chance to center an adventure around an iconic, powerful enemy that might be too strong for the characters otherwise. You could even provide a way for PCs to be the ones who cause the affliction in the first place, giving them a way to weaken a powerful creature before taking it on. There are numerous possibilities for this template to be part of an adventure beyond simply changing the mechanics of a monster, which drew me to it immediately.

Also, the Mist Hunter template had my mind spinning with possibilities. A creature that creates its own fog, and attacks from it without being troubled by it, seems to be a perfect fit for any number of foul or undead beings. Facing something, or a number of things, that strike hard and melt back into the fog, perhaps eerily silent or else babbling or shrieking with maddened laughter, could make for a difficult and memorable encounter.

Pyrrhic creatures just scream to be the creation of a powerful creature, serving as weak and disposable minions that explode upon their death, dealing a type of energy damage that any self respecting being of power will have made themselves resistant or immune to long ago. This could force PCs to be careful with their attacks, or clever PCs might use this to their advantage once they know about it, maneuvering the exploding creatures together and setting off a chain reaction of exploding minions. In any case the first use of this template is sure to be a shock, and subsequent encounters that include this template will certainly make for some adjusting.

Finally, I can't talk about this book without mentioning the Walking Fortress template. An excellent, nearly page long template that stretches the definition of a "simple" template to the limits, walking fortress does what it says, turns a creature with at least 4 legs into a Colossal version of itself, complete with a fortress on its back. The Walking Fortress creature itself is probably not something you want to face in head to head combat, but could be a fantastic location for the adventure. A ruined island on the back of a long dormant turtle, an invading drow army complete with a command post on the back of an enormous spider, or any number of other scenarios could revolve around the PCs braving the defenders or inhabitants of the fortress in order to get control of or stop/kill the creature from the inside.

I've left out many excellent template but if I talked about them all this review might be as long as the pdf. In the end if you are a DM I can't recommend this product enough. The templates within are excellent ways to spice up monsters that the players know and love, and many of these templates may spark adventure ideas that could lead you to many hours of excellent adventuring.


Stellar toolkit to add versatility to your monsters

*****

This pdf is 37 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisements, leaving 32 pages of content - quite a lot for the price!

Just about every DM had encountered a critter and ad-hoc added some kind of quality to the critter on the fly to make the foe more interesting - I know I try to give every monster some kind of memorable ability. This essentially is where this pdf comes in - we get a whopping 101 templates to add to your creatures, presented in the simple template format we already know from Paizo's book. It should be noted, that these templates range from rather simple to complex. One difference from RiP's Book of Monster Templates (which every DM should own) is that the templates can potentially be added on the fly to the critters. We don't get sample monsters for the templates, either. However, we do get some templates that go quite a bit beyond what anyone would consider simple.

After a short paragraph introducing us to the templates, we are cast right into these new templates: Many of the templates come with both quick rules and rebuild rules, the former being easily applied on the fly, while the latter often produce a more complex experience. From rather simple, basic templates like one granting the adhesive template (and a fitting extraordinary quality) to a creature to truly complex ones, we get a lot of fodder: Ever thought that banshee-style keening should not be limited to extremely powerful undead creatures? There's a template for it in this book! Need a creature touched by eldritch abominations from beyond the stars? Go for the creepy beyondling template! Want crypt guardians in vein of the Crypt Thing? There's a Crypt thing template!

Especially if you're a fan of Monte Cook's classic bestiary for the Iron Heroes d20 variant, you'll find some stellar adaptations in this tome: The Twin-bound creatures make a return and the hungering darkness also has its inspiration from one of the best creatures in said tome. This does not mean that content is ripped off, mind you, but rather that the pdf pays homage to one rather underutilized, awesome tome and brings the best of the ideas therein to PFRPG.
If you want, you could also create a beast that serves as an icon to one faith or even a walking fortress: Make a creature colossal and recreate a beast akin to legendary Dungeon adventure "Beast of Burden". Never start a high fantasy war without this one - the iconic potential is immense.

It should also be noted that the pdf offers a wide variety of 12 templates that reduce CRs from -1 to -5, which is plain awesome to create extremely complex creatures with multiple templates even at lower levels or have your PCs fight a taste of things to come, foreshadowing the true threat with great effect.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout of the pdf adheres to the full color 2-column standard by RiP and the stock artwork fits the theme. The pdf comes with alphabetical bookmarks, though I would have enjoyed more extensive ones. This is one of those books you really should own as a GM - you get 101 cool tools to use to make sure that your PCs don't get bored by fighting the oomphteenth monster xyz from the bestiary. How the creatures acquired the templates makes for seeds in and of themselves and while the templates are not as complex as in the book of templates, Designer Steven D. Russell knows templates and how to craft truly ingenious, cool ones that will enrich your game for quite some time. Additionally, we get quite a lot of content for the price and in the end, I don't have anything to complain about. Personally, I enjoyed the more complex template, but using the simple ones on the fly makes this book even more useful than anticipated. I recommend this book to the PFRPG-DMs out there with this piece of advice: Put this pdf down next to your adventure and every time you see an encounter you consider bland/boring, flip through these pages - chances are, you'll find some interesting template to make your encounter memorable. Due to the extreme usability, excellent bang-to-buck-ratio and the great ideas herein, I'll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


Perfectly living up to its name

*****

One of the best things to come out of the d20 rules is, in my opinion, templates. Being easy ways of customizing your monsters helps to make what would otherwise be generic creatures have a special, unexpected slant to them. Of course, saying templates are “easy” ways of customizing your monsters is a relative term. In fact, templates virtually always require tweaking a monster beforehand. Hence why Pathfinder offered us the new simple templates, micro-templates that made comparatively small changes, complete with “quick” rules that told us how to change a monster on-the-fly.

Rite Publishing’s second book of templates goes with this approach, trying to keep the new material in line with existing simple templates…but not everything herein is quite so simple, as the title acknowledges: 101 Not So Simple Monster Templates.

The title’s honesty is slightly undercut by the fact that this book doesn’t actually have one-hundred-one templates in it, but rather ninety-three. You wouldn’t know it unless you actually counted, though, so it’s not like that’s a deal-breaker.

The templates themselves run quite the gamut in what they offer. Some of these templates are indeed worthy of being called simple, such as templates for creatures that are blind, deaf, or missing an arm. Others are based around turning the base creature into another creature-type, such as the Banshee Creature template, or the Lich-Touched template (which gives the base creature the lich’s paralyzing touch).

Some may find the aforementioned templates to be something of a deal-breaker, as these seem like something easily constructed on your own. That may be, but that’s not the fault of the book – after all, this is focused on simple templates, and that will mean that many of the templates take a single idea and implement it. That the book exhibits a range in the templates it offers is a virtue, not a vice.

Speaking of a range, there are plenty of templates in here that aren’t quite so simple, either. The Walking Fortress Creature template makes the creature into a titanic monstrosity with an actual fortress on its back. A Riven Magic Creature not only shrugs off magic, but drains and destroys it as well. There’s a lot here for those looking to put an unexpected spin on their everyday monster. Most helpful is the chart at the end of the book that ranks the templates by their CR adjustment, ranging from -5 all the way to +4.

The book doesn’t offer any example creatures, and in only a few places are there sidebars that discuss what’s presented. Likewise, while the lion’s share of the templates offer both quick and rebuild rules, not all of them do. In many cases, this is because the template is effect-based, and so the quick and rebuild rules are identical. Sometimes, though, the template just offers one or the other. Again, that isn’t particularly bad, but keep an eye out for the templates that assume that you’ll make things like ability score adjustments ahead of time.

Ultimately, this book is overflowing with templates that are simple and not-so-simple. In fact, some of these are templates of such creativity that they could have gotten the full template treatment. Whether you want your monster to have an exceptionally powerful bite attack (Gnawing Creature) or be the personification of death itself (Grim Reaper Creature), look no further than 101 Not So Simple Templates.



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