Bugbears of the Frozen Tears (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible TRIBES supplement by John Bennett

The mangled cliff tops of the White Cliffs shelter a terrible menace for when the night air fills with the sound of invidious croaking, the Frozen Tears bugbears are on the hunt. Sadists, these bugbears stalk the passes on their bloated ice toad steeds seeking those foolish enough to venture out after dark. Chasing their prey, the Frozen Tears seek to prolong their quarry’s fear as long as possible. At the climax of their hunt, they strike taking their victim’s head as a trophy, the moment of fear forever frozen in ice by vile magic. It is these horrific expressions that earn the bugbears their standing in the tribe and the favour of their horrendous and profane witch-mother.

Bugbears of the Frozen Tears presents:

  • Four new alternate race and class features
  • Four new feats
  • Four new spells
  • Three new magic items used by powerful tribal members
  • One new weapon: the double-headed throwing kukri
  • One new demonic lord: Vhen Nhar
  • One new monster: the Vhen Nhar spawn
  • Ten stat blocks (ranging in CR from 5—15)

This product is a Dual Format PDF. The downloadable ZIP file contains two versions, one optimised for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimised for use on a mobile device such as an iPad.

This ZIP file also contains a separate PDF containing the product's compiled stat blocks enabling the busy GM to build up a handy library of ready-to-go stat blocks.

Download a free sample at ragingswan.com/bugbears

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZOPDFRSP101159E


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No Tears Shed For These Bugbears

5/5

First, I want to put this out there before anything else. Raging Swan Press has their pdfs set up in a way that's always kind of annoyed me. It's both pages on your screen. This makes things rather difficult to read. However, I've learned that if you use Adobe, in the View section, you can make it a single page scroll down by changing it to "Page Display - Single Page View". That helps immensely, and makes it far easier to read on a computer monitor, or certain tablets. The newer tablets seem to be okay with the format though. So kudos to them on having a way to change the layout, it just needs to be better advertised.

Secondly, when I read "Alternate Class and Race Features", my mind immediately thought that this book was going to have their take on the race as a Advanced Player's Guide breakdown. It does not. So if you're thinking of buying the book specifically for that, it doesn't have that there. Incidentally, it's over 20 points for all of the bugbear's abilities, minus the hit dice. I took the time to do it because it was bothering me. Would I have liked to have seen that? Absolutely. Especially with more races coming out all the time, and everyone's growing desire to play a monstrous race. Is it necessary to have had it in the book? No. This book has enough merits on its own.

Now that, that's out of the way, we can do the actual review. Neither of the above will get in the way of my final score.

The pdf opens with description of where this particular tribe of bugbears is located, and describes their home, and a bit of their personality. Called "sadists" and "chasing their prey", only to behead them at the end. This act is what places them in their pecking order.

The next page tells of how Raging Swan deals with errors and where you can find errata if you need any. It also tells us on the designer, John Bennett. It's very reminiscent of the old Dungeon Magazines where they'd describe the author as living in the jungle trees of suburbia, and compile them of skills and stats as if they were a d20 character themself. It was a nice trip down memory lane.

The first thing that really stands out to me about this pdf is the Table of Contents of the screen and print editions. Is it ever detailed. It tells you where exactly you should go, what stat blocks you can find, the new magic items, a brief description of the new spells, the alternate features, the feats, and the new monster. All this given to you on that one page.

This book comes in a pack of three. The package includes a print edition, a screen edition, and a stated pdf. The print and screen editions are exactly as they read. They're the books in question, just in different formats. The stated pdf is all of the NPCs and monsters in one small space so you can drop them in at any time for random encounters, or just because.

One thing I love about print editions is that they don't take up as much toner when I'm in need of having the stats out in front of me my tablet or laptop aren't working all the time. At first look they don't seem all that different, but once you start printing, you immediately recognize the error you've made.

I liked the fact that each NPC had a side bar that described them, and how you could put them into your game, or the type of encounter you'd find them in, and what kind of combat tactics they'd use. Groego stuck out the most to me though because of his personality, mannerisms, and especially his appearance. The guy has mad respect for his gear. It all shines and glows. Seriously, he should have a level or wizard or sorcerer so he can use Prestidigitation at-will. He's doing it the old fashioned way.

I used them for a pre-made evil adventure path that had the party dealing with a lot of bugbears, and a few of them are even going to be key NPCs for later. The PCs like a few of these guys, and are leery of others. Exactly how you want them to be when presenting evil NPCs.

Now, what do you get with the main pdf? Well, you get the location of the White Cliffs, where the bugbears are from, each of the four specific spots within the area, such as The Demon Pit and The Frozen Tears, and descriptions of each locale, and the lore behind the White Cliffs themselves. It's detailed, yet vague enough, that this location can be put into any campaign. The terrain features are wonderful to read, and the players are going to hate it as their character trek along the rockfalls, icy slopes, across the frozen rivers, and even have to go through blizzards.

Some of the things that the players can take from this are the new sorcerer bloodline, Yem's Bloodline (good for witch bugbear descendents), the Fear domain, a snow toad familiar, a few new feats, a couple of spells that are not only for the standard spellcasters, but also for the NPC adept. Who does that? Raging Swan Press, that's who. There's also a few new magic items to add to a character's arsenal. The creepiest of them all for me has to be the shrieking head. It's a disembodied head that's been placed on a pike, and screams if a password isn't given before walking by it. The art is probably what really creeps me out about it though. And while not really for the players, a new monster, the vhen nhar spawn, a frozen corpse undead creature that hungers for warmth. Needless to say, you'll be very surprised as to how these things are created. I won't spoil it. You'll have to buy this pdf in order to find out. I know I sure didn't see it coming.

Now, are there any cons to this? Yes, but it's a mild one, and it's something that I've come to notice with all of Raging Swam Press pdfs, aside from what I've listed above, and that is everything being black, white, or grey. It's hard to really immerse yourself into something when there's nothing to really grab your attention. The only colour in the whole pdf is that of the Pathfinder logo. While it's sort of this company's staple to be seen as it is, I'd like to see a little colour here or there to spice things up a bit. Make it a little more dynamic, and give it more of a sense of difference between the screen version and the print version. It's nothing big, just something that could possibly help emphasize things a little bit. A little more art every so often to help break up the bricks of text would be nice to see as well.

Overall, I liked receiving the three pdfs in the bundle. Even if you aren't running this specifically for its own side-trek, which you could very easily do, especially with Reign of Winter coming out, you could put this in any campaign that's going to have the PCs going North into the frozen wastelands.

I give this pdf a 4.5 out of 5. I recommend getting this product.


One of the best if not the best in the series to date.

5/5

Bugbear's of the Frozen Tears by Raging Swan Press

This product is 27 pages long. It starts with a cover, ToC, and credits. (5 pages)

Bugbear's of the Frozen Tears(4 pages)
We start off with ecology and society of the tribe, with how to use them in your game. Names for the bugbear's, Lair, Combat and Tactics (with locations they like to use including terrain features they use to their advantage near their lair).

Alternate Class and Race Features (4 pages)
Racial changes for the tribe. Yem bloodline for Sorcerers, a new familiar, new domain Fear, 5 new feats, 4 new spells, and 3 new magic items. Along with a alternate adepts spell list for adepts among the bugbear's.

Minor Encounters (4 pages)
Here is a list of possible encounters for encountering the tribe. We have encounters of CR 9, 10, 12, and 13. There is also full stat blocks for all the creatures in the encounters that are not key NPC's detailed later.

Persona (6 pages)
Here we get full stat blocks, backgrounds, personality, appearance, and tactics for each key NPC of the tribe. There is 5 NPC's in this section. CR 12 barbarian Bugbear, CR 9 Cleric bugbear, CR 15 half-fiend witch bugbear, CR 10 Sorceress Bugbear, CR 6 demon.

It ends with a OGL, reading stat blocks, ad, and back cover. (4 page)

Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white and ranges from meh to very good. Editing and layout is very good. I didn't notice any errors at all. If you are a fan of the series you will like this one. This is one of the best if not the best of the series so far. My one complaint is, I wish they all came with maps of their lairs. The NPC's are well done and interesting, the tribe is very well done and I especially liked the sections on local terrain. So what's my rating? Well other than the map this product is outstanding. So for the price I will give it a 5 star review.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.


With the Orcs, this sets a new standard for the line

5/5

The latest installment of the TRIBES-line is 27 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside the front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC (containing a nice rhyme about the TRIBE), 1 page back cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page information on how to read statblocks for novice DMs and 1 page SRD, leaving 18 pages of content for the bugbear-tribe, so let's check out whether they can hold up to the awesome predecessors, the Orcs of eternal Zenith!

On the fluff-side, the bugbear has perhaps apart from the goblin, been one of the most innovative re-imaginations of classic goblinoid foes in PFRPG. Their association with bogeymen and fear makes them feel more distinct and this particular TRIBE uses said theme of fear to its advantage and gives it a twisted direction: The arctic bugbears of the frozen tears have taken to hunting enemies not simply to kill them, but to make them experience the maximum amount of terror before they die. Fear is the name of the game and thus we get a new sorceror bloodline, a new fear domain and 4 new feats centered on terror and mounted combat. Wait, what? Mounted combat? Yep, the bugbears of the frozen tears ride on terrible arctic toads that emit a deadly chill, hence also their variant racial traits that set them apart. The favored weapon of the bugbears is by the way the rather interesting double-bladed throwing kukri. Another example of their artifice being the power to enchant the severed heads of their victims and crafting cloaks from the hides of their glacier toads. The magic items come with top-notch pieces of artwork, only Yem's Kukri, the claws of Vhen Nhar has no artwork. The 4 new spells feature enchantments to frighten hit creatures, a variant of gentle repose and demonic black flames that do quite a neat amount of attribute damage.

Wait, where are the demonic flames coming from? Well, the frozen tears (which come with quite a neat assortment of terrain features and descriptions) actually are the resting place of a dread demon lord Vhen Nhar who feeds on fear to slowly thaw his icy prison. Yem, the immortal crone and brood-mother of the incestuous Bugbears of the Frozen Tears has paid for her significant sorcerous powers with the souls of her offspring, lording over her deadly hunters while plotting her own ascension to demon-lord-hood.
The stats for the bugbears are rock solid and we get quite a bunch - better yet, we get sample personalities for the statblocks and even alternate spell-lists for the adepts of the tribe. Of course, their glacier toads get full stats as well. The demonic sons and daughters of Yem are included in the selection of stats, along the decapitated undead victims of the tribe, seeking forever the warmth of hearth and hearts... Among the NPCs, we get a bully-cleric, an over-ambitious daughter, Yem (who is a neat witch and has her own sidebar explaining her hexes) and BOEG. Boeg is a plain awesome idea - favored son of Yem, the bugbear almost killed his perpetually pregnant mother when she gave birth to him. Infused with When Nhars demonic essence, he grew to gigantic proportions and rides a huge glacier toad into battle. Solitary, he is the terror that comes with the snow-storms and perhaps the lynchpin to destroy the bugbears of the Frozen tears once and for all.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the elegant, classic 2-column b/w-standard and the artworks by Will McAusland and Matt Morrow are neat. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks, a version optimized for use with e-readers and a separate pdf collecting all the statblocks so you can establish your own statblock-library. Author John Bennett has created a distinct, disturbing, cool and iconic TRIBE that ranks among the best of the series so far. While personally, I preferred the Orcs of the eternal Zenith, I do so only by the slightest margin - both tribes are very distinct, evocatively-written and twist tropes enough to make them good purchases indeed. Additionally, the Bubgears essentially have their adventure written out for and take only the barest minimum of DM-creativity to weave into a tale of ice-cold horror. I do have a minor gripe with this installment, though: I would have loved to get a map of the frozen tears, similar to the one we got in the centaur/minotaur-installments. The absence of this map constitutes my only gripe with this pdf, though, and thus my final verdict will be 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Thanks Paizo for getting this up and another big thanks to Raging Swan for letting me write this for them. This is my first professional freelance gig, so I'm pretty excited about it and I look forward to seeing what you all think about it.

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Is now available! (Curses, John beat me to it!) And if you like Bugbears of the Frozen Tears, the good news is that John is working on a duergar supplement as we speak!


Before I grab this are there plans on doing a print version?

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

HalifaxDM wrote:
Before I grab this are there plans on doing a print version?

Not a sole version of this, but Bugbears of the Frozen Tears will appear in TRIBES Anthology II which will be out in June/July next year. Luckily, each of Raging Swan's print products come with a free PDF deal, which enables you to even choose different PDFs to get free up to the value of the product you purchased. So, even if you get this as PDF, you are not loosing out. You can learn all about the promotion here.


Creighton Broadhurst wrote:
HalifaxDM wrote:
Before I grab this are there plans on doing a print version?
Not a sole version of this, but Bugbears of the Frozen Tears will appear in TRIBES Anthology II which will be out in June/July next year. Luckily, each of Raging Swan's print products come with a free PDF deal, which enables you to even choose different PDFs to get free up to the value of the product you purchased. So, even if you get this as PDF, you are not loosing out. You can learn all about the promotion here.

Thanks, Creighton, I recently did grab a copy of Tribes Anthology I but have yet to redeem the PDF offer. As I don't think can wait until July for bugbear goodness I will have to grab this now.

BTW, I give you a hearty thanks for the great products you have been putting out. So far I have been very impressed.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

HalifaxDM wrote:
Creighton Broadhurst wrote:
HalifaxDM wrote:
Before I grab this are there plans on doing a print version?
Not a sole version of this, but Bugbears of the Frozen Tears will appear in TRIBES Anthology II which will be out in June/July next year. Luckily, each of Raging Swan's print products come with a free PDF deal, which enables you to even choose different PDFs to get free up to the value of the product you purchased. So, even if you get this as PDF, you are not loosing out. You can learn all about the promotion here.

Thanks, Creighton, I recently did grab a copy of Tribes Anthology I but have yet to redeem the PDF offer. As I don't think can wait until July for bugbear goodness I will have to grab this now.

BTW, I give you a hearty thanks for the great products you have been putting out. So far I have been very impressed.

Awesome, I hope you enjoy it and I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I tried to make these guys the baddest, scariest bugbears that have ever seen print.

Also, if anyone is on the fence about this, check out the free sample at Raging Swan's website. Matt Morrow's art is fantastic. It was like he invaded my mind to draw the fiendish things I was thinking of exactly how I pictured them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Benbo wrote:
Thanks Paizo for getting this up and another big thanks to Raging Swan for letting me write this for them. This is my first professional freelance gig, so I'm pretty excited about it and I look forward to seeing what you all think about it.

Congratulations, John! :)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Thanks! I hope you all find it useful.

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

HalifaxDM wrote:
BTW, I give you a hearty thanks for the great products you have been putting out. So far I have been very impressed.

Hey! Thank for trying them! I'm glad you are finding them useful.


Reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine. Also, if you release another 5-star-TRIBE, I'll post another best-of on RPGaggression. :)

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Endzeitgeist, thanks so much for the glowing review! You seemed to really get what I was going for with these guys. I appreciate it very much.

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Thanks for the review, Thilo! It's much appreciated. John is working on a rather spiffy duergar TRIBES supplement as we speak. So your challenge is accepted!

Liberty's Edge

Although not a Tribes installment, if you can wait until closer to April or May, I've got some serious Sahuagin goodness coming which I am REALLY excited about! :)


Sahuagin? AWESOME! I have only the fondest memories of running a mash-up of return to white plume mountain and the monstrous arcana sahuagin trilogy in 2nd edition and had a soft spot for them ever since. A soft spot they relentlessly bit, drew blood and I've been swimming for my life from Daganisoraan ever since...

Dark Archive

Last time I played with Sahuagin was in U3 the final part in the Saltmarsh adventures long long ago.


S+igh* Saltmarsh..you make me all nostalgic, D_M...

Dark Archive

Saltmarsh was the very first adventure I ever played in when I was just 8. It will always hold a special place in my heart as the doorway that opened me up to the wonder that is Role Playing. :)

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Awesome module. I got to play it a couple of years ago and had a blast!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Dark_Mistress wrote:
Saltmarsh was the very first adventure I ever played in when I was just 8. It will always hold a special place in my heart as the doorway that opened me up to the wonder that is Role Playing. :)

Hah, my first adventure was when I was 8, too! Though I can't remember much about it. I know I was a playing a thief and the stairs suddenly turned into a slide and I vaguely recollect a stone golem.

Anyways, expect to see a lot of cool stuff coming from Raging Swan next year. I only know a little bit just from the projects I'm involved with but lots of good stuff in the pipeline.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Creighton Broadhurst wrote:
Awesome module. I got to play it a couple of years ago and had a blast!

I'll have to check to see if I have that one...A couple of years ago, a friend of mine moved and he didn't want to carry around a bunch of old D&D stuff he picked up cheap. I know one of the adventures in the collection is something to do with Sahuagin.

Dark Archive

John Benbo wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Saltmarsh was the very first adventure I ever played in when I was just 8. It will always hold a special place in my heart as the doorway that opened me up to the wonder that is Role Playing. :)

Hah, my first adventure was when I was 8, too! Though I can't remember much about it. I know I was a playing a thief and the stairs suddenly turned into a slide and I vaguely recollect a stone golem.

Anyways, expect to see a lot of cool stuff coming from Raging Swan next year. I only know a little bit just from the projects I'm involved with but lots of good stuff in the pipeline.

The only parts I remember is, my brothers friends who was playing both the fighters didn't show and they needed a fighter. So they recruited me to play a big dumb fighter. It was one of the pregens Lief Stern. I still remember his name but not sure on the spelling. The only other thing I recall is I ended up getting the Pseudo Dragon from the ship.

After the first game session I wanted to join in and made up a cowardly girl rogue who was something like 13(which i thought was old at the time), the DM had Lief leave and the dragon switch over to my new character. Mostly all I did was sneak around, disable traps and on occasion back stab stuff once the fight was well in hand. I had fun and the guys didn't mind. They was all in the teens. By the end my character at 16th level ended up with a small army of pets I collected.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Sounds similiar to my experience as well. My very first session was with my younger brother, who was only 6, and another neighborhood kid my age. Our DM, Danny, was about 5 years older than us. After that session, I mostly played with Danny and his friends who were all older than me, in their teens as well, so I was always the little kid, which is a class I used to play in the old West End Star Wars game. Good times.

Dark Archive

Reviewed.


Nice review, D_M!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Dark_Mistress wrote:
Reviewed.

Wow, thanks for the awesome review! I'm really glad people have been enjoying the Bugbears so far. My follow-up, "Duergars of the Obsidian Citadel" should be coming out in the next couple of months (just turned in the opening duergar poem to Creighton last night). I just hope it lives up the high standards of the Tribes line.

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Thanks veru much for the great review, DM!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks very much for the great, indepth review Kevin! I much appreciate it.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Thanks for the review! I'm glad to see these guys get some use in your campaign. Part of Raging Swan's design philosophy is to make their supplements extremely modular. Bugbears received one review where the reviewer was going to use them in a Jade Regent campaign and another in one of Frog God Game's Hex Crawl Chronicles. I think they would be perfect for Reign of Winter as well.

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