Four Horsemen Present: Gruesome Aberrations (PFRPG) PDF

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Four Horsemen Present: Gruesome Aberrations!

In conjunction with d20PFSRD.com and Rogue Genius Games, the Four Horsemen have put together some frightening new options, perfect for adding some horror to you games or just throwing your players for a loop! Behold the Bound Horror, the Eternal, the Fleshwarper, and a mythic threat, the Old One. Gruesome templates you can use to turn any aberration into a unique threat your players will never forget!

Be sure to check out the Four Horsemen Blog at d20pfsrd.com also!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

The first on the new Four Horsemen Present-pdfs clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look!

In case you've new to the concept of "gruesome" templates -in case you've missed the previous installments that featured the concept (for handy links to reviews and products, click on the "Gruesome-series" tab in this review on my homepage): Basically, we get a template as well as a sample creature, both of which deviate from what you usually get to see. First of all, the respective monsters do feature a shock value - particularly suitable for horror/dark fantasy scenarios, these values allow for a simulation of the unsettling effects these creatures can have on the heroes facing them. Beyond that, though, they quite simply tend to be designed in a thoroughly excellent manner that surpasses most creatures, at least in my book.

Why? Well, as you may have gleaned from my reviews, I tend to be a pretty brutal GM, but at the same time, years upon years of horror/dark fantasy games have instilled a desire in me and my players for them to be rewarded for being SMART. Not for being meta-gamey, but for being SMART. Gruesome templates tend to feature offensive/defensive capabilities that render the creatures brutal challenges...but they also feature a weakness the players and PCs can exploit to triumph...and better yet, the templates provide information to actually glean such weaknesses. This makes the series extremely rewarding for both GMs and players - GMs can see the fear in the PCs as they scramble for the hills; players get the satisfaction of seeing the lethal adversaries fall and be destroyed as they exploit their Achilles' heel. I'm a huge fan of this type of design and so far, the supplements featuring the gruesome templates have been superb, to say the least.

The templates herein, after an explanation of the above-mentioned peculiarities, would be as follows: We begin with the CR+0 bound horror, which is tied in its life-force to a place, on object or a person, called the creature's "charge" - they may possess said being and are practically immortal and may even rejuvenate from total destruction: However, via their charge, they can be influenced via their charge. This is pretty much a rendition of the classic "bound to darkness"-trope and the narrative potential is vast: Will the Pcs elect to kill innocent XYZ to stop the dread aberration? Can they escort the haunted charge back to a safe haven to get rid of the constantly respawning beast?

The CR+2 eternal template follows a similar vein: These creatures get MASSIVE defensive capabilities - from bonus feats to resistances and DR, these bastards are exceedingly hard to kill...and they auto-resurrect...only killed in a particular manner, which is unique for each eternal creature and which may be tied to creatures, artifacts, innocents, materials, etc. It is a cool take on the nigh-unstoppable nemesis that combines well with the prior one. That being said, both fill the same narrative niche.

The CR+2 fleshwarper creature can at-will modify its body to adapt to circumstances in both offense and defense. Additionally, a fleshwarper's mere touch can instill painful, paralyzing deformity in a target and even twist the minds of the helpless to serve this nasty being - and yes, this pretty much would allow for a more versatile rendition of Resident Evil 4's adversaries - just add parasites to the mix and there you go. The next template would be a mythic one - the Old One, who adds +1/2 tier to CR. Beyond massive boosts to intellect (minimum 20!!!), their very presence makes non-mythic creatures fall to the floor and grovel before the creature...and the effect may also be wiped from their minds! With triggered suggestion-instilling telepathy and options to ignore the laws of space, these guys are deadly...and yes, permanent confusion-inducing, spellcasting as a caster of their choice with levels equal to HD and yes, they are undying...but also, thankfully, apathetic, which may be the only reason why the PCs survive an encounter with such a magnificent adversary...

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf sports 2 nice artworks.

Stephen Rowe's aberrations deliver - each and every template herein has something serious going on for it and does feature some mechanically interesting tricks. At the same time, I do feel like there could have been slightly less conceptual overlap between the templates - we get 3 variations of the immortal nemesis-beast herein, which, while all different in focus and execution, ultimately serve similar purposes on a meta-level, though at vastly diverging power-levels. Ultimately, this remains my only viable gripe and hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.


Eldritch Horrors get an upgrade

4/5

This PDF is a collection of four templates for aberrations, those wonderfully creepy horrors from truly alien spheres. Like the other PDFs in the Gruesome series, it's short and to the point, with a cover page, one for credits and the OGL, and the remaining eleven devoted to the templates. So let's tale a look at them.

First is the Bound Horror, an aberration that has been confined to a creature, place, or object by some bizarre means. It lasts as long as its prison does. There's room for a lot of truly inventive and fiendish plots here. Maybe the haunted book with the strangling ghost actually has a choker bound to it, or the infamous haunted house that drives people mad is the prison of a neothelid or seugathi. And never mind how you'll deal with the innocent child who has some abomination bound to their very soul. Just to make it all worse, Bound Horrors are immortal and can only die when their prison is destroyed; and if you know about them, then anyone who controls the prison, be it place or object or creature, can command the horror. Imagine the possibilities this provides for clever villains.

Eternal aberrations are immortal and invincible to all save one specific substance or object or even location. Else they can be killed with great difficulty, but will return in perfect condition in a few days.

Fleshwarpers are my favorite here. They can control and manipulate flesh, their own or others. This gives them improved and changeable defenses (improved AC one turn, and energy resistance the next) and natural weapons. Even better is that they can twist and make monstrous anyone they get their appendages on, AND control them afterwards. This gives you one more reason to use the various fleshwarped horrors that have cropped up in Pathfinder and 3rd party releases, with the added bonus that they're innocent victims and as such the PCs may not want to blithely hack them to ribbons.

Last is the mythic template for this PDF, the Old One. Any Lovecraft fan can probably guess from the name alone what this is like, but just in case -- Old Ones are vastly ancient and powerful aberrations. They all possess mighty intellects, immunity to mind-affecting effects, and the ability to reduce even the bravest of heroes to cringing fear. They can possess even greater powers depending on their mythic rank. Old Ones can reduce mortals to gibbering madness, inflict terror on even mythic enemies, exist in multiple worlds at once and cast dread spells with the greatest of ease, or simply be unkillable. Of course on the other tentacle there's the problem that all Old Ones are downright apathetic. Just getting them to defend themselves is a major effort (that you will regret), and they spend most of their time on millennia-spanning schemes of their own. And yes this has an effect on just which actions they can perform in-game.

I should add that there are sample monsters with all these templates in the PDF. And there you go. The PDF has two classic aberration templates with the Old One and Eternal, and two great ones with the Bound Horror and Fleshwarper. For the price you get some amazing content; four stars easy, and it's a five star purchase for big horror and aberration fans.


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Thanks, Liz!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ooo neat!

How many pages of aberrant horrorgoodness does this give us?


Rysky wrote:

Ooo neat!

How many pages of aberrant horrorgoodness does this give us?

Hi Rysky! =) The four new Gruesome templates cover 13 pages (11 pages of content minus the OGL and cover).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Four Horsemen — Pestilence wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Ooo neat!

How many pages of aberrant horrorgoodness does this give us?

Hi Rysky! =) The four new Gruesome templates cover 13 pages (11 pages of content minus the OGL and cover).

Thank ye oh verminous one.

Hmm, will have to ponder on this.


So this is four templates?


No problem Rysky!

Deranged_Maniac_Ben wrote:
So this is four templates?

Yessir! Four new templates with example monsters. This is also the first of our now weekly Rogue Genius Games products! This month we are also producing Gruesome Fey, Oozes, and Constructs (each four templates including one mythic template).


There's also a BLOG of good ideas and free content you can check out if you are on the fence about Four Horsemen products for some reason!


Just posted my own review. I REALLY love the Bound Horror and Fleshwarper ideas; they hold so much potential for horror and nasty surprises that it's amazing.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

Thanks for the review, Eric! It's always great to get another designer's view of a product.

We hope everyone picks out their favorite gruesome creature type, and then visits our blog for our celebration of Star Wars next month with fantasy in your science fiction!


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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.


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Great review as always, End! I like the idea of combining the Bound Horror and Eternal templates for maximum effect.


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A truly amazing book! The Old One template is just... beyond awesome. I was nearly speechless when I first read it. It really captures the way that I envisioned them working.

I will likely write a review on it at some point in the future, although I believe that Endzeitgeist's review has already trumped mine!

I will probably review the other books in the line as well, once I purchase them. I definitely want to get Four Horsemen Present: Gruesome Constructs at some point, as the idea of the mythic template in that is... something that could be of use in a campaign. :)


Thank you Endzeitgeist! I can't wait to see what you think of the rest of the new Gruesome books!

And thank you Divinitus for the kind words! I'm glad you liked it, and thrilled to hear you might offer a review. Every review means a lot (on a personal level), and really helps promote a product.

The Insane Intelligence from Gruesome Constructs is one of my favorites! I really wanted to make an evolving mega smart construct villain chassis simce they so often end up cannon fodder.

Also, in case you didn't know, the Four Horsemen include some blurbs and summaries of all our products at our website!

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