Hello, and Happy Anniversary to Mystical: Kingdom of Monsters!
This special edition of the original marks the beginning of our full transition from Northwinter Press to Samurai Sheepdog. As you'll find here, this change affords us the time and opportunity to better organize and create content that you can enjoy.
After 5 years we've learned a lot. Not just as designers, but in layout, editing, and content development. The anniversary edition here is not just our way of showing how far we've come, but also a basis on which we can finally start putting out more--and more complete--content for this world. This is now the version of the book we envisioned when we first Kickstarted the project almost 6 years ago, and while we probably would have liked to do all of this back then, I think this makes it so much better to have it now.
So, grab your beloved monsters and head out with us once more as we journey through the expanded, anniversary edition of Mystical: Kingdom of Monsters.
Part II of my review;
We also get alternate summon-lists, an amorphous eidolon base form and a few new evolutions.
The final section of the book, which provides an all too brief (14 pages) glimpse at the eponymous kingdom of monsters, alongside random monster tables for respective environments, is interesting- and the writing here is really nice. The level of passion that went into this is also mirrored by the copious indices: Monsters by CR, by spell granted and even those not covered in the book (provide page upon page of handy information. Kudos! EXTRA Kudos: We even get artworks here, and the new version includes ALL Paizo Bestiaries – yep, including #6!
Editing and formatting have significantly improved on both a formal and rules-language level, particularly considering balancing. The only significant concentration of formatting hiccups I could find, is in sidebars, where spell-references are a couple of times not in italics- but frankly, that matters little, as these tend to be explanatory, and not rules-language per se. The layout improvements get two big thumbs up. Seriously. It may be a bit ore busy, but that FITS the book. It made it more FUN to read, and there’s some cool art going on pretty much everywhere. The use of icons in the monster lists is super helpful, and makes navigation and flipping through the book seriously more fun. I’m usually not a fan of busy presentations, but here, it’s pitch-perfect. As noted, the color-saturation, back to back with the previous edition, also helped here. The book feels more lively on an aesthetic level throughout. The hardcover has the name on the spine, as proper. I can’t comment on the pdf, since I don’t own, but all previous iterations had a TON of bookmarks.
I have dreaded going through this book’s latest iteration. I positively loathe reading (or watching) most forms of media more than once, and this’d be the third run for me. And I dreaded the snking feeling of seeing yet new issues, of having to complain once more about some snafus…or worse, unresolved ones. Then, something unexpected happened: I genuinely started SMILING.
I had issues with the last incarnations of the book, improved though it may have been. Almost all of my nitpicks have been addressed.
Better yet: The new engine is both SIMPLER without sacrificing complexity in what it can do (making it easier for kids to grasp) and actually uses a well-executed blend of GM control and rules-integrity to make the experience of playing the monster trainer work MUCH better than it ever previously has. It’s only once you give the new trainer a spin that you realize how much better it runs, how much more organic everything feels. From class features to archetypes to feats, this just WORKS.
It’s genuinely beautiful and made me grin from ear to ear. Lead designer Kevin Glusing, with additional design by Hel Greenberg, Ken Shannon, Doug Herring, Jenny Bradshaw, Scott Gladstein, Amy Glusing, Eric Glusing, Autumn Glusing, Timothy Ott Sr., Anthony Russel, and Zaaron Winn, has finally succeeded at the lofty goal this vision always had.
Mystical: Kingdom of Monsters Anniversary Edition is finally a book I can’t only recommend to fans of Pokémon, or within limitations and caveats – if you’re a fan of Shin Megami Tensei, mode-based classes or the like, do check this out. The trainer is a strong class, but actually plays rather well with the other classes; beyond that, its massive improvements regarding layout, and presentation should not be ignored either. This is a better book; it is a more beautiful book, and both in content and actual use at the table, it runs smoother than ever before. I genuinely find myself wanting to use this.
Oh, and, you know - this class is perfect for a 1-on-1-campaign...just saying...
Sometimes, third time’s the charm – 5 stars + seal of approval.