Malevolent Medium Monsters (PFRPG) PDF

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Bigger Isn't Better!

Too often in high-level Pathfinder Roleplaying Game play, your opponents are either high-level NPCs or towering titans of imposing size and strength. There’s nothing wrong with a colossal killing machine, but when you want creatures for your campaign that pack a powerful punch in a size small enough to walk right in the back door, you need Malevolent Medium Monsters! These are not outsiders with a million spell-like abilities, nor complicated classed characters, but honest-to-goodness monsters from CR 11 to 18 ready to terrorize your unsuspecting heroes as they tear them apart! You’ll find the paralytic alabaster beetle, the malformed composite homunculus dragon, the blood-soaked ersatz, the sinister and heretical faithslain, the grotesque misbirthed, and an entire new category of fiendfused monstrous humanoids that drink deeply from the wells of fiendish corruption to achieve an awful apotheosis! Each new creature is designed with full-page portraits, dynamic abilities, and detailed ecology, tactics, and advice on using it in the campaign, whether your heroes are facing invading demon hordes, exploring a wounded wasteland where chaos reigns, or expunging the tainted lineage of an ancient evil! Grab this 30-page monster accessory by Thurston Hillman and Jesse Benner today and Make Your Game Legendary!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This bestiary clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of introduction/how to use, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, let’s be real – ginormous monsters are awesome! Duking it out with Godzilla as a demigod-like high-level character? Heck yeah! Here’s the thing: Running these titanic foes on the battlemat? That can be a pain. Worse: What if you need a good showdown in the middle of a dungeon? Suddenly, the vast threat is a lot less mobile, cool, and you need to structure the dungeon to account for it. Retreating battles are out of the question…and I could go on.

This is where this book comes in – within its pages, we get an array of new Medium monsters for mid to high levels. Better yet – the creatures are new, and they all come with their own full-color artworks. Beyond that, they not only feature unique signature abilities, they also come with full write-ups for their ecology as well as habitat & society! These are not just bland statblocks, they have a context. I thoroughly applaud this!

But what kind of monsters do we get within? Well, first, there would be the alabaster beetle, and I love it: This CR 12 vermin has a carapace that renders them invisible to darkvision (Now that’ll be a nasty surprise!) and they also are capable of emitting a spray of acidic, paralytic spray with a cooldown. Add grab and constrict, and we have a critter that feels plausible in its streamlined nature, and creative. Strong first critter!

The homunculus dragon (CR 16) has easily my favorite artwork within this book: They have blood points that they can use to metamagically enhance their spells, and the draconic patchwork creature has a chaotic breath weapon – it may manifest as cones or lines, and damage types similarly are random…oh, and the length? It also oscillates! Cool! The homunculus dragon can also generate a random elemental aura, and with its clever feat array, it makes for a kickass adversary!

Taking a truly horrifying concept, we also are introduced to a new construct, the CR 14 Ersatz (which btw. means “replacement” in German); an ersatz comes with programmed skills, depending on the role it’s supposed to take, and they are superb at imitating the creature they’re designed to mimic. Its disguise only becomes flawed once it has taken a sufficient amount of damage…oh, and guess what…they have a self-repairing trance. Being actually composed of a bloodlike matter, they can bypass armor and shield bonuses by worn equipment, but not their enhancement bonuses. Oh, and yes, construction notes included. Basically, we have liquid replicant blood-terminators. How cool is that???

At CR 15, the faithslain are undead wearing porcelain mask, a darkened void behind the eye-slots, a slithering, black tongue that deals negative energy damage (or heals undead) projecting from the mouth. Creeped out yet? They are vulnerable to good magic…but its tongue? It may instill heretical thoughts in those hit, tainting the target. Really nasty and creepy – as undead should be. The write-up also btw. includes a good version

Then, we get general rules for fiendfused creatures, which are a kind of extremely possessed humanoid: They all can change shape, and gain fiendish knowledge. Sufficient damage from [good] spells or holy weapons (not italicized; like a couple of other spell-references here) can actually rip free the fiend, annihilating the fiendfused, but confronting the PCs with a well-rested and angry fiend… and while fiendfused have the monstrous humanoid type, they detect as outsiders, but do NOT count as such for the purpose of effects that inflict additional damage versus fiendfused.

There are a total of 4 fully-statted fiendfused included: The first, at CR 18, would be the Abyssal tyrant, who is a fusion of humanoid and balors that is wreathed in a nimbus of “unholy damage”-causing energy. There is no such thing in PFRPG. Cool, on the other hand: On crits, these fellows can snare targets in bonds of force, and they get a backlash versus targets that crit them – oddly, here they get the damage type right…but on a flavor nitpick, the ability shouldn’t be called “Hellfire Rebuke” – balors are demons, not devils. While I’m nitpicking: The magic weapons the creature uses are not properly italicized, a minor oversight that also extends to the CR 15 coil kissed fiendfused. These fellows add 1.5 Strength bonus to damage with slams (Strength not properly capitalized), their weapons become magical, and they have an increased slam reach. Their grapples are weird, though; or at least: Inconvenient. One ability kicks in when the fiendfused hits two or more times with a slam, but the standard attack array only sports one slam; an alternate, weapon-less attack array would have made this more convenient to use.

On the lawful evil side of things, we also get CR 18 infernal despots, pit fiends fused with mortals. These fellows can grapple foes with their tails, get poisonous pins, and immediate action quickened fireball retribution for crits is neat, as is the ability to tear the DR-ignoring properties of defensive tricks of armor etc. away. Nasty, brutal – love ‘em! The final fiendfused is the fellow we can see on the cover – at CR 11, we have the shearing menace, a fusion of mortal and glabrezu, who gets an alternate attack that can neuter the movement rates of targets, confuse targets subject to rend, and 1/day retaliate for a crit with power word: stun.

Finally, there would be an aberration – the CR 18 misbirthed, a thing straight out of your Silent Hill-ish nightmares, with not only a nasty SP-array, but beyond that, even looking at it may render you insane, as per insanity! And yes, the ability does still affect those immune to fear, though to a lesser extent. Sure, it only is this bad when seen in proper light…but here’s the issue: Proper lighting is the only thing that can suspend the creature’s regeneration…and no, daylight does not suffice. In darkness or other lighting conditions, on the other hand, the misbirthed warps reality and may attack multiple targets…Creatures successfully subjected to the misbirthed’s rend attack have a chance to be randomly greater teleport/plane shift-ed away. Truly a horrifying monster! To quote the flavor text: “Bruised and red skin stretch over a malformed alien skeleton. It’s impossible to tell what parts are bone or what parts are flesh, amid the body of the writhing creature. This thing should not exist.”

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are, for the most part, very good on both a rules-language and formal level; it’s just in the fiendfused that sport a couple of minor hiccups, two of which, unfortunately, slightly influence rules-integrity on a rules-language level; on a formal level, there are a few missed italicizations, more than I’m accustomed to see from Legendary Games. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the Wrath of the Righteous plugins, and the plethora of full-color artworks provided for the monsters is cool. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Thurston Hillman and Jesse Bonner provide a great array of flavorful, high-concept critters – quality over quantity. Much to my pleasant surprise, even the fiendfused aren’t just straight ability-grafts, but do creative things. On a metalevel, I really love how they have abilities that discourage builds that focus solely on critical hits, and how it doesn’t go the easy route – these are high-complexity, well-written adversaries, which makes up for some of the minor, formal snafus. There is not a single creature herein that I disliked or considered boring – and it’s only the minor hiccups that make me omit my seal of approval from this pdf, which makes this clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


Magnificent Marvelous Monsters Make Me Masterfully Merry

5/5

If I have one single gripe about the Pathfinder rules, it's that high-CR almost always equals big. I have always enjoyed coming across monsters that are medium or smaller and tougher than your average bear (or level 8 Barbarian, at least).

Enter Malevolent Medium Monsters from Legendary Games. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when I saw this, not least because I know that LG can pull it out of the bag.

And then I bought it.

Hooo boy!

Please ignore the fact that this is part of the "Righteous Crusade" AP Plug-ins. This book is great for anyone playing a level 10+ game.

The Good
I could go through everything in here (and I expect Endzeitgeist will when he reaches this product in his schedule), and drool over how utterly awesome everything is, but that's not me, so here we go with some high points:

The Alabaster Beetle. This thing is terrifying. Whatever genius came up with the idea of an underground beetle that can burrow, fly, spray paralytic poison, reproduce asexually, and is invisible to dark vision, is simply... a genius. A sick, twisted, my-kind-of-evil genius. CR 12 and comes in groups of up to 20. Because players need to learn fear, sometimes.

Homonculous Dragon. Oh, hell, yes. It's... well, it's sort of the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) of all dragons. This round it might be breathing a cone of electricity, next round a line of ice. And its aura might be acid this round. Fire the next. Or something else. Because being predictable gets you killed. And being unpredictable tends to kill PCs.

Fiendfused. Okay, I want more of these. A lot more. A whole book more. Preferably with Mythic versions. Because... oh, there is nothing not to love about these: they're people who died while they were possessed by a fiend, and the fiend merged with the mortal body and... awesome fiendish stuff happened. Like the one based on the balor that has an explosion every time it takes a critical hit. Or the marilith-based one that has four arms and infuses its weapons with magic. Or the pit fiend one... you get the idea.

The Bad
Nitpick time! I like all of the monsters in this book, so that leaves me looking for things that are missing, don't make sense, or just seem out of place... and there's so little.

Save vs what? I can calculate a DC as well as the next guy (27, since you're asking), but the Bedlam Breath ability of the homonculous dragon is missing it from the entry.

Free metamagic? Maybe? Weirdly, this is another "issue" with the homonculous dragon (which is one of my favourite creatures in this book!). It has an ability to spend points from a pool to add metamagic feats to its sorcerer spells. It's a free action to spend the points, and it adds the feats on the fly, but... I can't tell if the casting time increases like it would normally for a sorcerer casting a metamagic spell. Part of me wants to say "yes, it does, be consistent", and the rest of me wants to say "CR 16, this thing should be nasty, let it be completely free!" I'd have liked it spelling out in the text.

The Conclusion
If it's not clear, I'm Legendary Games fanboying again. This is wonderful. Thurston Hillman and Jesse Benner have absolutely knocked it out of the park. Other than my minor issues with what I spotted in the homonculous dragon, this is just thoroughly amazing. Clearly it's not perfect, but it's focused on a gap in the market that has been bugging me for years, and that cuts it a huge amount of slack. I'm going to use this book just as soon as I can. This is not something I can leave on my drive and forget about, because if nothing else it gave me fiendfused and I just want more of them (even if I have to make them myself). I can't help it, one day Legendary Games will produce something that I can't just enthuse about from start to finish. 5/5.


Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

The Medium Monster Mash begins now!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In the immortal words of George Takei: Oh, my.


I'll have to get this one for Halloween.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Did I buy, read, and review this in a single day?

Why, yes, I did!

Also, fiendfused are awesome.


You made this one sound great, Chemlak.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It really is. I suppose I could gripe about how short it is, but it’s priced right for what you get, and what’s in there is just fantastic. And if I can somehow manage to drum up enough enthusiasm for more fiendfused, I’ll be a very happy chappy.


Neat review, Chemlak!! :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks, Endy!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the great review, Chemlak!


Just a heads-up: I tried adding this item to my cart at Legendary Games' website but it is not working for whatever reason. I can add the Horseshoe Calamity and the Eldritch Elementalism but not Malevolent Medium Monsters. :(

CB

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Just saw the note today. That's weird. Checked the back end of the product page and looks like it should be live.


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

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