Bullet Points: 3 New Supernatural Monster Abilities (PFRPG) PDF

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Sometimes RPG rules supplements seem to have as much world setting information as they do game mechanics. While solid world-building is a useful skill, you don't always need four paragraphs of flavor text to tell you swords are cool, magic is power, shadows are scary, and orcs are savage. Sometimes a GM doesn't want to slog through a page of history for every magic weapon. Sometimes all that's needed are a few cool ideas, with just enough information to use them in a game. Sometimes, all you need are bullet points.

#1 With A Bullet Point is a line of very short, cheap PDFs each of which gives the bare bones of a set of related options. It may be five spells, six feats, eight magic weapon special abilities, or any other short set of related rules we can cram into about a page. Short and simple, these PDFs are for GMs and players who know how to integrate new ideas into their campaigns without any hand-holding, and just need fresh ideas and the rules to support them. No in-character fiction setting the game world. No charts and tables. No sidebars of explanations and optional rules. Just one sentence of explanation for the High Concept of the PDF, then bullet points.

The High Concept: New supernatural monster abilities allow you to customize monsters by slapping new powers on them, each giving full game mechanics and a suggested CR modifier for monsters with the ability.

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Following the standard Bullet Point format with three pages, landscape orientation with new material presented with a three column format and a few pieces of stock art (one of which is truly creepy and cool), this addition to the Bullet Points series gives us three new abilities for monsters.

Beguiling Voice grants a monster that silver tongued ability to befriend and ingratiate themselves to any target, making it difficult for foes to follow through with hostile actions towards them.
Camouflage allows for a color changing ability within the outer hide/skin of the creature, allowing for a stealth check that can leave the monster with total concealment against those who do not make a high enough perception check.
Doubling Regeneration might be better known as the Hydra complex, as it allows for two limbs to grow back to replace any one that is severed, as long as there is no acid or fire damage done to the severed limb's stump before the growth can occur.

Perhaps shorter than many of the Bullet Points, the three abilities presented here are still all solid options, and are all presented with CR rules for their addition to a monster. Design wise the collection falls well within the range of still being a good value for the price, and more than worthy of the rating of 5 stars.

Three curious creature abilities with which to throw your players curve-balls.

****( )

Alongside the other entries in the Bullet Points series here is another quick, concise collection of tidbits offered at a low price point to further season creature encounters in a given campaign. While many in the series are oriented around feats, here we have a trio of effectively à la carte additions applied similarly to templates.

First off, I'd like to say that the premise is interesting from a mechanical standpoint: flavor a given monster or their ilk with enhanced or unusual abilities in an accessible fashion. You could conceivably toss these into the mix on the fly to spice up an encounter in a pinch--and while it treads very close to simply being templates altogether, I'm fond of the notion of singular special abilities and would love to see the concept explored in a lengthier supplement. That said, let's get started!

Our menu begins with Beguiling Voice, a supernatural savvy by which a creature can attempt to woo its foes with progressively more potent effects until culminating cumulatively into a charm attempt against a given target. As presented, a creature with this ability must first affect it upon all available hostile targets within range before they can focus on swaying an individual fully.

Mechanically, the ability layers penalties on characters attempting to attack the possessor of the beguiling voice ability--with the penalties bestowed scaling on the creature's hit dice and potentially packing a lot of punch; usage of the voice is a move action--and there's a curious balance putting it to practice.

I think this would be a dish best served for scenes with a villain or villainess extolling to our heroes from afar as they fight their way through guards and protectors--slowly but surely attempting to sap their will and sway uneasy hearts. Altogether a neat and fairly inventive ability that has potential for fun use with a bit of pondering. Not bad!

Camouflage is our second course, chameleon-esque in its execution; each round the possessor of this ability makes free stealth checks to potentially gain concealment against its foes. What distinguishes this from conventional invisibility and concealment on demand is that adjacent foes are always able to see through the ruse--while juxtaposed with the fact that magic means which ordinarily overcome such obfuscation are rendered ineffectual. I like this swap, personally--and feel it presents a potentially interesting twist on the convention of adversaries who are tricky to pin down; of course, coupled with -actual- invisibility this could be rather nasty!

We wrap up with desert in the form of Doubling Regeneration which proves to have ample portions; each turn, the possessor of this ability regrows two of any limb severed in the prior round--and presented are mechanics for explaining and accommodating for just when limbs are considered to have been removed. Each of these new limbs grants additional secondary attacks which could lead to quite a bit of mayhem; in standard form with regeneration, acid and fire prove to be dependable deterrents to the mechanic. In practice, I think this one would work best if you prepared a critter with some extra limbs ahead of time before springing the further surprise of more sprouting up.

Overall: 3 pages, one dedicated to the intro and cover and one advertisement / licensing page, keeping the three 'bullet point' abilities on a single concise page. There's some black and white art in the mix which works loosely for the abilities ascribed--but really, you're looking at a printable page you can tote to the table with you if you're apt.

With only three abilities, this edition of Bullet Points is rather short--but to be fair, the three presented here are also decently lengthy by necessity in order to accommodate the explanation of their mechanics. All three of the abilities included could make for a very interesting twist on an encounter and since they are presented with quick and easy application in mind there's good fun to be had.

Though one might be deterred by the low ability count, I would argue that the relative complexity of those included justifies such reasonably well; for the very cheap price point at least three encounters could be made more interesting even if only used a single time apiece and there's room for creative use in any campaign. I'd rate this one 4 out of 5 stars--and note a desire to see SGG put together a bigger product off of this concept, as it would be a neat combo to work with existing monster template supplements.

Dark Archive

And another new one.

Dark Archive

I've posted my review--let's see a bigger compilation of drop-in abilities for critters! :)

Nice review, Gozuja!

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

Gozuja wrote:
I've posted my review--let's see a bigger compilation of drop-in abilities for critters! :)

Thanks for the review, and the feedback!

While it's not exactly the same idea, if you liked this Bullet Point (and you haven't picked it up already) you might be interested in The Genius Guide to Simple Monster Templates.

reviewed here and on RPGNow

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

KTFish7 wrote:
reviewed here and on RPGNow

Many thanks for the review!

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