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Monster Menagerie: Ravagers of Time (PFRPG) PDF

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Welcome to Ravagers of Time, the eleventh in our Monster Menagerie line of bestiaries. Each volume in this line presents a small set of monsters tied to a single theme, but spread over a range of CRs. For Ravagers of Time, that theme is time, and all the complex and convoluted creatures that manipulate, eat, and travel through time. In addition to timekeeping terrors from chronal dragons to wampus cats, we provide an insight into the nature of time itself, with a brief description of the timestream (the medium through which time flows) and some items, feats, and spells tied to time. Fans of Rogue Genius Games’ two books on characters who manipulate time (The Genius Guide to the Time Thief and The Genius Guide to the Time Warden) will recognize many concepts from those books used here, and this list of time-sensitive monsters can easily be used to add a heavier time-element to a campaign. However, while these monsters work well with time thieves and time wardens, those books are not required to make use of this one. Each volume can stand on its own, or they can compliment each other in a campaign that includes all of them.

Like all Monster Menagerie books, this one covers a range of CRs, from the annoying and hard-to-pin-down CR 1 leap insect, to the CR 22 lord of time, the Chronal Dragon Great Wyrm. In a campaign where temporal magic is nearly unknown, a GM may consider treating all temporal creatures as gaining a +1 circumstance bonus to their CR for having powers players won’t expect, and may have more than normal difficulty.

So check your watch, set a schedule, and flip through these entries as quickly as possible, because with the timestream assassins literally killing time, you may be in a bigger hurry than you think.

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Product Reviews (1)

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***** (based on 1 rating)

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The best of the series and a must-buy - All killer creatures!

*****

This mini-monster-manual-pdf is 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving 16 pages of content, so let's check out this latest installment!

Due to the special nature of the critters herein, we are first introduced to some basic concepts: The timestream, the new temporal subtype and the aevum and motes of time. The latter two concepts were introduced in the stellar Genius Guides to Time Thief and Time Warden and while the beasts herein utilize these rules, everything necessary to run the monsters is contained in this pdf. Additionally, time-travelling creatures tend to have weird perceptions and problems communicating with beings that have a simple 3-dimensional perspectives and thus a small table is included for the DM to devise strange ramblings and concerns: "Trapped by 13 o'clock, indeed!"

After this neat setting of the stage, we draw the curtains and jump into the first creature entry: The Chronal Dragon, a new type of primal dragon. While reading this entry, I was first skeptical and then started grinning - wide. Remove oneself from the timestream, becoming temporarily invulnerable? Check. Cannibalize foe's motes of time and personal temporal energies? Check! Secure areas by making a temporal moebius loop? Check! Breath attack that sends foes into the future? Check! We also get 3 sample statblocks and all necessary pieces of information to make chronal dragons of all age categories. This is one of the scarce additions to dragonkind that actually makes sense and I thoroughly enjoyed the new breed. (Hint: If you want to convert "War of the Burning Sky" to PFRPG, a great wyrm chronal dragon makes for a vastly cooler fight when used to substitute "time" in "The Beating of the Aquiline Heart".)

The next beats is another high-level adversary is the Horological Golem (CR 15). The golem comes with UTTERLY awesome signature abilities: When damaged, it backlashes with a slow-effect. A blast that can change the age and even the position in the timestream of the victims and the ability to inflict wounds over and over on his foes. Perhaps the coolest, most unique golem I've read in quite some time - plus: Comes with a kick-ass artwork!

On the low-end of the gamut is the leaping insect (CR 1): These poisonous, tick/spider-hybrids can not only jump in time, but also (unintentionally, on a crit), call reinforcements by transporting future or past hive mates. Disturbing, alien and a rather nasty critter. Again: Well done!

Speaking of alien: The Nasr (CR 17) is alien indeed: A gargantuan eagle's body with 3 lamprey-like heads, they fly throughtime, infest foes with rot and then suck the rotting flesh from their victims. EWWWW! Now if that doesn't creep your players out...
....then perhaps a rather traditionally gothic horror might do the trick, one like the CR 7 Temporal Wraith. These spectres may not only age you by touch, they can also wrench creatures from alternate timelines to fight along their sides. Worse, their very presence makes time unstable and it possible for you to e.g. spent a minute in battle with one and have a year go by. Great idea for DM! Now here's another one, by yours truly: Remember the excellent Castle Forlorn boxed set for Ravenloft? Multiple versions of one dungeon, time travel etc., all to finally figure out a way to slay its master and escape? Just add the time warden's time travel-spell to the wraith's roster of powers and have fun with a neat basic creature to recreate similar experiences!

The beetle-eyed reptilian Timestream Assasssins (CR 10) are intelligent, deadly being living in the timestream and following unfathomable goals - oh, and their strikes can take away your actions! And that's, again, just one of multiple extremely cool signature abilities. (Motes of time being one of them...)

And then, there's the 3-eyed Wampus Cat (CR 5): These cats can create safe lairs in the time-stream, from which they can surface as either allies or ambush predators. Oh, their gaze might slow you and they also have access to motes of time...

Then there's the supplemental material: The Time Screen is a way to enter and exit the timestream via a frame and the temporal anchor and lock-spells are nice to keep those nasty temporal bastards from jumping.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Laoyut adheres to SGG's 2-column standard and each monster comes with a b/w-artwork, most of which range at the upper level of quality, though the piece for the chronal dragon didn't put awe in me, I e.g. loved the golem. The pdf unfortunately has no bookmarks, which is a pity. Yeah. Ähem. I'll come out and say it: Sam Hing has surpassed himself. This installment of Mythic Menagerie is literally all killer of the highest caliber. This is by far the best pdf in the whole line, surpassing even the excellent, more recent installments. Multiple signature abilities per creature, iconic adversaries and multiple adventure hooks practically ingrained in the creatures, these beings do what scarcely a monster manages these days - evoke a sense of jamais-vu, a nouveau frissant that immediately gets the creative juices flowing. If you own the Genius Guides to Time Thief/Warden, this is a no-brainer. If you're even remotely considering temporal peculiarities - check this out. And if you're tired of PCs bashing foes to pieces without using their brains, check this out. A stellar offering, an unbeatable price, a new standard for small monster-books. This Mythic Menagerie puts the bar higher for what to expect from monster-pdfs. If you don't give this a try, it will be your loss. My final verdict will be a very easily-given 5 stars + Endzeitgeist seal of approval - scarcely have I had so few doubts about which final verdict to pick. An all-out stellar job!

Endzeitgeist out.


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