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Beasts of Legend: Boreal Bestiary (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 2 ratings)

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A magnificent bestiary of frozen fear!

This supplement contains over a dozen monsters and variants that prowl the harsh and bitter climes of north. From fey spirits hungry and cruel to hard-hearted hunters and feral giants, even the tundra itself comes alive with menace in its mind and hate in its heart in Beasts of Legend: Boreal Bestiary from Legendary Games. Drawing upon real-world folklore and legends as well as classic tropes of fantasy and horror, the Boreal Bestiary presents richly developed creatures replete with inventive abilities alongside detailed lore and ecology, all designed by the top creative minds in the business, with monsters from Jason Nelson, Tim Hitchcock, and Matt Goodall and amazing art by Tanyaporn Sangsnit, Jason Juta, and Frank Hessefort.

With beautiful full-color layout, full-page illustrations, and printable miniatures, this 40-page product delivers monsters from CR 1 to CR 17, Beasts of Legend: Boreal Bestiary is a terrific addition to any GM's monster toolkit when their adventures head into the cold and wild lands, whether in your home campaign or in Adventure Paths like the Kingdom-Building, Far East, Witches of Winter, or Righteous Crusade AP.

Download includes two files, one full-color version and one print-safe version.

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 2 ratings)

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This collections of monsters is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page ToC, 1 page how-to-use, 2 pages back cover variants, leaving us with 34 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After a short introduction of the monsters herein, we dive head-first into the new beasts herein, first of which would be the CR 4 Arctic Harpspider, a spider that plays a hypnotic, haunting tune via its crystalline web - cool! At CR 5, Green Children are small undead spawned from the soured mires of the colder climates and they are GLORIOUS: They can phase around, use deadly pack tactics versus their adversaries and get three (!!!) different types of gaze attacks - from stripping foes of sleep to wis-damage and starvation-based non-lethal damage, these attacks are cool and the creature is both disturbing and awesome - that is great monster-design there!

Gruen are disturbing, small CR 1 fey with lower torsos of centipedes and wide, insectoid maws that may affect foes with nauseating bites and they may also benefit from slopes by curling up - deadly and almost aberrant allies of mites. On the opposite of the CR-scale, at CR 16, are the scraggly huge humanoids called Hiisi, which are not only masters of exotic traps (with 4 sample traps), they may also bleed themselves to generate dead magic zones - which makes for GLORIOUS tricks to spring upon those pesky spellcasters. Awesome!

Also on the upper CR-range would be the Maniitok at CR 17, a colossal intelligent ooze born from spirits and desolate landscapes, these beings have hyperaware senses and thus avoid civilization with no less than 7 (!!!) signature abilities/weaknesses, including some that differ depending on the temperature - awesome! Just glorious!

At CR 10, Orroul, the stone fey, have already featured in Cold Mountain, so I won't go into details regarding that cool creature here. The CR 14 Poleviks are essentially fey-slashers that deal with their adversaries with chain-linked double-sickles and garrote their foes, even stealing their souls. Worse, they can fashion a variety of fetishes from said souls. Disturbing and oh so cool...

The Torden come as CR 3 and CR 7, black-antlered humanoid hunters of the cold lands, these beings may cause hypothermic bleed and boost allies via their hunting horns. Vodenjak, at CR 6, would be gaunt, dark ferrymen that may drink the souls (and make potions from them) of the dying, grant limited wishes to petitioners and conceal their less than savory intentions. GLORIOUS!

The Wiitikowan (lesser Wendigo) comes with no less than 3 sample creatures at CR 6, CR 4 and CR 3 as well as the surprisingly cool template, either at same CR or at CR +2. Beyond treating the Wendigo-myth more like a disease/curse, the template also offers synergy with the sanity-system introduced in "Tomes of Ancient Knowledge".

The final regular page features paper minis of all the creatures and finally, the end of the book offers awesome 1-page hand-outs of the illustration for each creature herein - awesome to have those ready to show to your players and even cooler to have them all collected in the back of the book.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, as I've come to expect from Legendary Games, is top-notch -I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the glorious 2-column portrait full-color standard of the Kingmaker-plug-ins. The artworks by Tanyaporn Sangsnit, Jason Juta, and Frank Hessefort are SUPERB and drop-dead-gorgeous - each creature benefits vastly from the evocative artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version.

Jason Nelson, Tim Hitchcock and Matt Goodall have crafted an array of exceedingly awesome all-killer, no-filler monsters herein - oozing a sense of antiquity, folklore-flair and combining that with signature abilities galore, each being in this book is just a glorious monster that mops the floor with the majority of creatures out there - if Paizo released a full bestiary of creatures of this quality, everyone would be screaming about the best bestiary ever - it's that good. With a lot of space devoted to each creature, lore, stellar artworks, player-friendly artwork-handouts ("THIS attacks you!") and sheer imaginative potential, these beings have the space required for them to shine. And yes, you may know some of these beings from e.g. the excellent "Cold Mountain"-adventure, but believe me - this bestiary is well-worth every cent of the asking-price, making for one of the best mini-bestiaries ever released for any d20-based system -Period. Final verdict? Unsurprising 5 stars + seal of approval - Legendary Games once again lives up to the premise of the company name - legendary indeed!

Endzeitgeist out.


More magnificenty malevolent monsters from Legendary Games

*****

Beasts of Legend: Boreal Bestiary is the latest such collection of new monstrosities for Pathfinder from Legendary Games, and it's quite a fine set indeed.

First the PDF itself. It's 40 pages long, with one page for the cover, the credits, the contents, one for an introduction, one telling the buyer what they can expect, one page of full-color paper minis, a dozen(!) pages of full-color art plates of the monsters, a page telling you about their other products, and a back cover. That leaves twenty pages of monstrous goodness, so here we go.

First is the Arctic Harpspider, an outsider that looks like the standard giant spider. Only this one is made of ice, and along with the usual poison it can play music on its icy web that captivates its prey, luring them in close so the appreciative spider can have dinner. Nice, odd, and quite eerie.

Next are the malevolent and pitiful undead Green Children. Formed from wrongfully slain children, these nasty little horrors (who almost always run in packs -- big ones, which when you consider their origin adds another layer of horror onto them) can inflict any number of nasty curses on you, as well as use a short-range teleport around the battlefield to gang up on their victims. And oh yes, when they gang up their curses and damage both improve with how many are attacking. And they can squeeze more of themselves into a square than bigger creatures! The green children don't look like much, but they can be incredibly dangerous.

The repellent half-centipede fey Gruen are kin to mites. They live with their creepy relations, and have the odd talent of being able to roll themselves up into an armored ball for both defense and offense, as well as a nauseating poison bite that can leave victims vomiting and unable to even speak. Charming.

The gigantic Hiisi are physically powerful, love to make nasty traps, and oh yes, their blood when spilled creates an anti-magic zone! The hiisi know this and will gladly spill their blood into their traps or on the rocks they hurl as weapons to weaken their human prey. In a nice creepy touch, the hiisi don't just eat humans to be jerks but because they think human flesh increases their intelligence and virility.

The Maniitok is a sort of spirit embodied as an ooze. It longs of the peace and stillness of the wild places -- and so naturally when adventurers or civilization shows up, it goes berserk and tries to kill everyone! It has an ability to destroy objects and structures that would make a treant weep with envy, can unleash a tundral swarm formed from its own body (which means it takes damage as it deals it) with varying effect based on whether it's freezing or not, and since it's made of mud, muck, and half frozen slush it's almost impossible to get away from if it grabs you or if you wander into range to fight it. It's a very dangerous, very strange monster to face, and it can be set off just by hearing the sound of human voices. This is something you'll have to deal with cleverly, if at all.

The fey Orruol are mountain spirits, the rulers of their lofty and stony abodes. They have powers to control and affect nearly everything about their homes from the affects of altitude to controlling the creatures that live upon it. They also have spellcasting power as an oracle of the Stone mystery with twists to keep things surprising. I really like them; mountains in real life have long been places of fear and mystery, and the orruol helps to make them that way in the game as well.

We finally get some nicely malevolent fey with the Polevik. Resembling a bug-eyed, maniacal and filthy dwarf with a chained pair of sickles, poleviks have a number of sneak attack and stealth-related abilities which they use in their pastime of jumping people and snatching pieces of their souls away to barter off to creatures from the lower planes. As this also drains your best ability score, this is very troublesome. Just imagine the problems PCs get into as they deal with who knows how many fiends to get the pieces of their souls back! Oh yes, the polevik can also use the stolen soul essence to create one of six different magical fetishes with different but always unpleasant powers. This entry finishes with a description of the double-chained sickle, which is certainly a nasty weapon.

The merciless Torden are literally cold and cruel hunters. They can cross ice and snow without difficulty, something they can share with their mounts, and possess abilities from the ranger class such as favored enemy and terrain, making them even more dangerous. They are descended from beings cursed long ago by druids, and so they bear a murderous hatred for druid, and creatures that serve druids, or beasts and plants that might be protected by druids, or... I think you get the idea. They can also conjure phantom hunting horns which can buff them and weaken enemies when blown, and their gore attack inflicts bleed damage. The Torden Huntmaster has more potent versions of all these powers as well as some nasty surprises all its own. Oh yes, torden also have long-standing alliances with giant owls and winter wolves, who gladly serve as mounts for torden hunting parties. Another favorite of mine; I'm a fan of all versions of the Wild Hunt and the torden definitely remind me of them.

The murderous Vodenjak serves as a nasty ferryman. He can control the water around his skiff, he can see the future, and far more original, he can grant limited wishes --- but ONLY to beings of 7 or less hit dice. The wish also comes with a geas free of charge to perform any one task of the vodenjak's asking to be done within one year. But what really sets this one off is his ability to snatch the souls of the dead and turn them into potions that affect either others or the vodenjak itself. Despite his evil the vodenjak can be bargained with for passage or a future foretold or even a wish. But always with a dreadful price. The vodenjak is great. It feels like an actually folkloric creature, and at the same time has enough power and threat to it that most PCs can't simply mug the poor monster to get out of paying him his fee if he helps them.

Lastly is the Wiitikowan, a template for someone or thing possessed by a raw and hungry spirit of nature. Based pretty clearly on the classic windigo possession/psychosis, this template basically turns someone into a maddened killer with a murderous bite that spreads its cursed state as well as the ability to inflict nightmares as the spell that also weaken its victim against it. It thoughtfully includes a human ranger, a wolverine, and a mountain raven that have already 'gone wiitikowan' and are ready to take a bite out of any PCs. Another favorite of mine; windigos are some of my favorite mythic monsters and this lower-powered yet scary template gives you the chance to have some in your campaign before meeting the true wendigo at higher levels.

The Boreal Bestiary promises some truly nasty monsters from the frozen north and it delivers in style. I like that many of them have a mythic or folkloric feel to them yet still manage to be honestly dangerous in combat situations. The full color section doesn't hurt either. I give this one five stars and my best recommendations!


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