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The Grimoire #12
The Grimoire #12
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Quirin Adventure #5: The Secrets of Maevis
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/25/2007 00:00:00
Quirin Adventure #5: The Secrets of Maevis is a d20 Fantasy adventure from GMC, and is the sequel to Quirin Adventure #2: First Challenge. The zipped file is just over nine megabytes in size, and contains two PDFs. One is the main file, which is forty-five pages long, and the other is a printer-friendly version thereof. Both are fully bookmarked and have a hyperlinked table of contents.

This adventure is one with plenty of art. The covers are both full color, as are the maps that are presented. Most of the interior pictures are in black and white, and there are black and white reproductions of the maps as well. The printer-friendly version removes the covers, as well as all of the artwork and maps, reducing the page count by ten.

Taking place in the town of Clearwood, from First Challenge, The Secrets of Maevis has the PCs undermining a cult of an evil deity. Long ago, a holy warrior named Maevis lost his faith in his god when his wife was slain, and turned to an evil faith called the Moonwalkers. However, during an attack on the cult headquarters of his new religion, he was weakened and turned to stone. Now the Moonwalkers have finally located Maevis again, and are planning on undoing his petrifaction so as to let this unholy warrior rejoin their ranks, unless the PCs can stop them.

The adventure is one that takes place over the course of several days, with key events happening at certain times. The setup makes it quite possible that the PCs can arrive too early or too late for an event, which does make it seem like they're characters in a living world. However, it also makes it far more likely that they encounter Maevis after he's been brought back, and instead have to defeat him then and there, which is no easy task for 2nd-level characters. After the adventure, there are a few appendices presenting a new item, a few new magic items, and stat blocks for every monster and NPC in the adventure.

While the premise and execution for The Secrets of Maevis are both well done, the layout is rather poor, and that drastically affects how easy it is for a GM to read, comprehend, and run this adventure. Everything from the adventure background to the encounters are written in a style that is, quite frankly, overwhelming. Characters and events are mentioned one after another with little introduction, going on for paragraph after paragraph, to the point where it seems very hard to follow. Most GMs will probably want to separately take notes off to the side regarding who is who and what happens when so as to puzzle out what's going on. With so many things happening, it all just becomes very hard to follow.

Ultimately, The Secrets of Maevis is a good idea that is largely undone by the style of writing. The unrelenting writing feels almost like an assault, and comes across as intimidating. A GM with plenty of time and patience will be able to break it down into manageable chunks, however, and once that's done, this becomes a very plot-focused and intriguing adventure. The Secrets of Maevis demands a very high level of commitment from a Game Master who wants to run it, but it offers a grand adventure for those willing to do so.



LIKED: The focus of the adventure is intense, and offers a very tight adventure that is rich in depth. Also, an included web enhancement provides information on Clearwood from Quirin Adventure #2: First Challenge for those who don't own that product, as well as a discount to buy it.

DISLIKED: The writing style of this product is overwhelming, to the point of making it somewhat hard to read. GMs will have to wad through the thick blocks of text and note who's who and what's happening before they can get the firm grasp they'll need to run this adventure.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Quirin Adventure #5: The Secrets of Maevis
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Quirin Adventure #2: First Challenge
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/24/2007 00:00:00
Quirin Adventure #2: First Challenge is a d20 Fantasy adventure by GMC. The product comes in a zipped file which is slightly over four megabytes in size. The zipped file has two PDFs, one of the product, and a printer-friendly version thereof. The main PDF is thirty-two pages long, including front and back covers, a page for the credits/legal/table of contents, and a page for the OGL. Both PDFs have full bookmarks and have the table of contents hyperlinked.

The main PDF has a fair amount of artwork. The front and back covers are done in color, and the table of contents page has a colored background. Beyond that, several pieces of black and white art appear periodically throughout the book. There is also a map of the town of Clearwood in color with various locations marked, and a black and white version without markings to be given to the players. The printer-friendly version eliminates the covers and maps altogether, and also is devoid of the interior art as well. Boxed text is still shaded, though.

The premise of First Challenge is that the PCs, for mysterious reasons, are suddenly all magically transported to just outside the town of Clearwood, likely bringing the party together for the first time. They then band together and enter the town, which happens to be having a festival, which the PCs can enter to try and gain much-needed funds (presumably to try and get home). Clearwood, however, is a town in trouble. The evil gnome Zetto and his band of thugs are using a combination of bribery, staged heroics, and lies to make themselves into the heroes of Clearwood, and this includes winning the festival tournament, thus pitting the PCs against them.

After giving the background for the adventure, as well as very extensive notes on scaling the adventure for up to 10th-level characters, the town of Clearwood itself is described. This takes up roughly a third of the product, as several notable locations and NPCs are discussed. Enough information is given here that it seems like the designer wanted to intimate that the characters are going to be here for a while, and so should become familiar with the town and its people. The actual events of the tournament seem almost secondary in comparison, with Zetto and his band reverting to dirtier tactics until they eventually take a hostage to flee the town when they're undone.

An appendix gives a quick chart to track the tournament progression, as well as one new piece of equipment and two new minor magic items. It then gives statistics for the creatures and NPCs described earlier, essentially statting out everyone who?s anyone in Clearwood. The player's map of the town rounds out the product.

Altogether, First Challenge is largely what the GM makes out of it. There's plenty of information given here to run a starting campaign, but aside from the tournament (and a few minor occurrences in town), this is almost more of a supplement than an adventure. The adventure provides everything needed to set things up for the GM, but after the initial set up leaves him to his own devices; inexperienced GMs might find themselves floundering after the initial premise is taken care of. First Challenge might itself be something of a challenge to run, but for a Game Master who has a plan in mind, and wants to build a campaign from the ground up, it's a very useful resource.



LIKED: Clearwood serves excellently as a starting point for a new campaign. The small town is a believable home away from home for the PCs as they struggle to figure out what brought them there, and how they can get back. In short, there's great potential here to build a campaign from the ground up.

DISLIKED: Like most GMC products, this one is written in a style that could best be summarized as "intense." The information is presented quickly and pulls no punches, which can be overwhelming for inexperienced GMs. The entire adventure is like this, as the adventuring possibilities pale in comparison to the town information given. A GM will be best served by this adventure if he's done plenty of planning in advance for what to do after it ends.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quirin Adventure #2: First Challenge
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Quirin Encounter #2: Brianna
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/28/2007 00:00:00
Quirin Encounter #2: Brianna is a short adventure/supplement from GMC. The zipped file is slightly over four and a half megabytes, and contains two PDF files, one of the adventure, and a printer-friendly version thereof. The full version of the PDF is twenty-one pages long, with a page each for the front and back covers, a page for the table of contents/credits/legal, and a page for the OGL. The table of contents is fully hyperlinked, and the PDF has full bookmarks.

The book contains very little in the way of artwork. The covers are done in full color, and the table of contents has the same cream-colored background, but the rest of the pages are white. Barring the reuse of the cover image a few times throughout the book, the only other artwork here are the maps of Brianna's mansion. These are presented initially in color, but player handout versions are given at the end of the book in greyscale.

The synopsis of the adventure is fairly simple. While staying at an inn, Brianna, a vampire, attacks a guest there. The PCs must defeat her, which likely entails following her back to her mansion and staking her there.

For a relatively simple plot, GMC goes all-out in the information it gives. While intended for 7th-level PCs, the adventure gives fairly detailed guidelines on scaling it for characters as low as 1st level or as high as 13th. It then moves on to the adventure background, synopsis, and character hooks, before moving on to the encounter itself. No details were spared here, as everything from Gather Information check results to the statistics for doors to the menu at the inn the PCs are staying at are given. After the listing for how the encounter with Brianna likely goes (with several options being outlined), similar information, as well as maps, are given for Brianna's mansion. The resolution of the adventure comes next, presenting the treasure the PCs gain, developments from their slaying the vampiress, and further adventure ideas. Clearly, GMC considered everything here.

That's the first half of the product. The second half is the appendix, consisting of various crunchy bits. This section opens with a new magic item, the Fortified Coffin, which is Brianna's last line of defense. It then gives several examples of a character with the vampire spawn template, before giving the mechanics of the template itself. Several different versions of Brianna are given next, each with less class levels than the preceding version, in case the GM wants to scale the adventure up or down, along with brief statistics for the few other NPCs in the adventure. The book then closes out with the black and white maps for the players.

All in all, Quirin Encounter #2 goes above and beyond in its presentation of a fairly simple encounter. Everything that could conceivably be given is given, along with a smattering of new crunch to boot. The only real downside is the actual style of presentation. The rapid and thorough presentation of so much data, so unrelentingly, can be intimidating to read through first. This is only a minor issue though, as once a GM reads this through, there'll be no doubt that the PCs will have a thorough encounter with Brianna.



LIKED: This product truly went the extra mile in making sure that all of the information that could be presented was. Presenting the vampire spawn as a template, as well as giving a new magic item, was a pleasant touch as well.

DISLIKED: The rapid presentation of so much information so fast can be off-putting to a casual reader.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quirin Encounter #2: Brianna
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Quirin Adventure #2: First Challenge
by Paul R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2006 00:00:00
I'd like to able to fill this box in without having to put anything in this comment box, alas I cannot- I apologise but I've not got a lot of free time and yet I want to rate the products.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quirin Adventure #2: First Challenge
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you very much for the rating! GMC has updated the adventure as follows: Better adventure scaling guidelines added (adventure is for 1-8 PCs of level 1-10 now). A color NPC portrait added. Cartography reworked. Research tables added. Three new adventure ideas added. Monster stat blocks added. Player handout of the map added. Graphics-free printer-friendly version added.
Quirin Mythology #2: A Handful of Artifacts
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/25/2006 00:00:00
Quirin Mythology #2: A Handful of Artifacts is a sourcebook from GMC. The product comes in a zipped filed just over 2.5 megabytes in size. The file contains two PDF files: a full-color PDF, and a printer-friendly version. The former is just under 2.5 meg, while the latter is just under 500 kilobytes. Both files have fully indented bookmarks, and have their table of contents hyperlinked.

The color PDF is twenty-three pages long, including full color front and back covers, the table of contents, and the OGL. Each of the five major artifacts has a piece of black and white artwork depicting what it looks like. The Cyl, a new monster, is depicted twice (not counting being on the cover) ? once for its notation in The Observer?s entry, and once where the Cyl itself is detailed. The last piece of art is of Zofen, a schattentaeter pit fiend. The printer-friendly PDF file contains no artwork; the only instances of color are the red and white d20 logo, the blue-boxed read-aloud text, and that some tables have tan backgrounds.

Quirin Mythology #2 presents us with not only five major artifacts, but so much more besides, so as to make the artifacts more useful in your game world. The product opens with an innovative Campaign Ideas. Each major artifact (along with the Cyl) come with nine adventure ideas listed in their entry. As such, the Campaign Ideas section artificially assigns each artifact a number (1-6) and each adventure idea a number also (1-9). In this way, it can discuss the third adventure idea of the first artifact as ?1.3?. In this way, the Campaign Ideas section lists several ideas for campaigns by giving ways to tie the various adventure hooks together, allowing it to give overviews of several campaigns in which the PCs are retrieving, destroying, or even serving various artifacts in this book. A short section on what the PCs can learn about each artifact by research closes out this section.

The major artifacts themselves are given next. Each major artifact has its powers listed, along with drawbacks, curses, history, description, means of destruction, nine adventure ideas, and a table of what PCs can learn with Knowledge checks (or bardic lore) at various DCs.

On the artifacts themselves, five are described in total. The Grail of Belief is an artifact that, when filled with holy water, makes whoever drinks it a fanatical worshipper of the deity whom the water was dedicated to. Since gods are powered by belief, this can destroy a god (or even make a new one).

The second artifact is the Observer, and in my opinion this is the greatest and most interesting artifact in the book. The Observer is a sentient crystal ball with incredible powers that seeks to observe history, even if it must manipulate events to see what it wants to see. The Observer has multiple powers, including extra abilities it can bestow on its construct mount, the Cyl. Given the nature of this item?s powers, it?s easy to make an entire campaign around this artifact.

The Paragon Crown grants the Paragon template to any creature who wears it. However, doing so requires the creature to undergo a quest chosen by the crown.

The Schattentaeter is a statuette that shrouds the wearer in darkness. However, it lets the wearer give his shadow the schattentaeter template, essentially making a sinister copy of the wearer under his control.

The last artifact, the Thrown of Awust Raldig, is a throne that destroys the magic items (and even artifacts) of anyone who sits in it. However, doing so converts them to XP which is granted to the one sitting in the Throne.

Following this are the appendices, introducing a hodge-podge of new material. A new armor/shield magic quality is given, along with a new magic ring. Over a dozen epic ioun stones are listed, as are two minor artifacts and a new spell. Most interesting however are stats for the Cyl itself. The Cyl is a construct, an animated suit of armor, built for the Observer to act as it?s hands and mount. Stats are given for the Cyl itself, and when it?s under the benefits of the Observer?s construct mount ability. Given last is the schattentaeter template, along with an example creature: Zofen, the schattentaeter of a pit fiend.

Altogether, Quirin Mythology #2: A Handful of Artifacts is a superb product. The artifacts it lists are disparate in powers and theme, but all are interesting. The collection of materials at the end does an excellent job supplementing the rest of the product, and the Campaign Ideas section is absolutely spectacular in how it gives ideas for tying the material together for either pre-existing campaigns, or all new campaigns centered around these artifacts. Any Fantasy d20 game would be well-served to have A Handful of Artifacts.



LIKED: The Campaign Ideas section at the beginning of the product does a truly marvelous job of tying the entire product together. It showcases how GM's can use these artifacts as part of their campaign, whether at low, high, or even epic levels. Also, the Observer, in particular, is a brilliantly-designed artifact that is overflowing with potential.

DISLIKED: A few of these artifacts seemed to have possibilities for destruction that were, comparatively, easy. Destroying the Paragon Crown by having a natural Paragon creature wearing it, for example, doesn't seem epic enough.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quirin Mythology #2: A Handful of Artifacts
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Quirin Mythology #2: A Handful of Artifacts
by Charles G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2006 00:00:00
If you've seen any of the other Quirin Mythology series, or Quirin Adventures #3: Door to Simit Al, you know that GMC is building a niche for itself with 20-plus material. This immediately raises two questions: is A Handful of Artifacts one of these epic-level products? Will work for lower-level campaigns?

Of the six artifacts in the product, only one (the Paragon Crown) would be difficult to use in a mid-low level campaign. The others are well-suited for use as the centerpiece of nonepic campaigns?in fact, one of the campaign ideas (#2.1) is designed for perhaps 1st to 3rd level characters. Of course artifacts are powerful, and they're better-suited for higher levels.

For those interested in epic level play, the artifacts are designed with flexibility for high-level use in mind. These are not conventional magic items in any way, and no character would be likely to own these for long, but they could drive epic campaigns just as sub-epic campaigns. Additionally, they could be used as posessions of powerful NPCs and creatures, making them more interesting. These NPCs would act differently than the PCs might expect, since they will be driven by the need to satisfy the requirements or curses of the artifact they posess.

The ideas behind the artifacts are diverse. The Grail of Belief is a relic which could spark interreligious conflict or cause major changes to the faith structure of the world; the Paragon Crown and Schattentaeter serve from the shadows, giving their wielders special powers in exchange for certain acts. The Throne of Awust Raldig is almost like an incarnate spell, and the Observer and Cyl have beliefs and goals strong enough that they almost qualify as characters. (Cyl is statted like a monster, as a 'race' and a unique.)

Highlight: adventure ideas and research information tables for each artifact
Recommended to: All DMs, without qualification: well fleshed-out story ideas along with solid mechanics are useful to everyone.


LIKED: The nine adventure ideas for each artifact are the most useful part of the PDF.

DISLIKED: "Schattentaeter" refers to the artifact, the template, and the creatures controlled by the template. It's not a big deal, but there's not much else to complain about.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Quirin Adventure #3: Door to Simit Al
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/01/2006 00:00:00
Quirin Adventure #3: Door to Simit Al is an epic adventure from the German d20 company GMC. It presents an epic dungeon crawl for 21st-level characters.

The book is roughly 4.3 megabytes, slightly less than that zipped. It contains a single PDF file of the product, which is thirty-six pages long. The product contains both a hyperlinked table of contents and bookmarks.

The product is mostly black and white. The colored portions consist of the front and back covers, the table of contents and credits page, the GM?s-only maps, and the blue boxed read-aloud text. A few pieces of black-and-white artwork of some of the locations and creatures of the dungeon are also given.

The product opens with a brief adventure synopsis, followed by suggestions for optimal party structure. This is important, because if the characters don?t have access to the spells and class abilities outlined, their chances of successfully completing this dungeon (or even surviving it) plummet. Following this are guidelines in scaling the adventure. The product is quite thorough here, giving scaling details for parties with average levels ranging from 15 to 25.

A thorough adventure background is given behind both the existence of the labyrinth, and why it recently became known. However, there is no clear reason given for why the PCs should explore it. Instead, eight possible adventure hooks are given, lures for the PCs to explore the unearthed maze.

Keyed locations (to the GM?s map of the labyrinth) make up the majority of the adventure. Every location with a creature or trap has an Encounter Level listing. Note that the majority of the threats to the PCs are magic traps, with only a few encounters being with monsters.

After the final encounters at the center of the labyrinth, the product lists the rewards the party accrues (besides treasure from the various encounters), and a list of further adventure possibilities, something that the last encounters are ripe with?

The appendices present a variety of new material. Four magic items, one major artifact, two new monsters, and three new epic spells are presented. Following that are the full stat blocks for the two major NPCs met in the labyrinth. Since each NPC can be met under conditions which could alter their stats, each has two stat blocks listed. Finally, copies of the full map, and player-handout maps with less details are given.

Quirin Adventure #3: Door to Simit Al is an adventure that feels no need to pull its punches. If the PCs aren?t fast enough and smart enough for the traps and guardians in this dungeon, they will be annihilated very quickly. Interestingly, they may be able to avoid the ?boss fight? of the dungeon entirely if they can out-think the dungeon design. While some may see this as evidence of this being an ?unbalanced? adventure, I enjoy the no-hold-barred style, since I feel that too many adventures holds the PCs? hands and reward them for just walking from room to room. Door to Simit Al is truly epic material.



LIKED: This product was innovative in its design. Being focused more on puzzles and traps than monsters is rare, particularly at the epic levels. The new items, spells, and creatures in the appendix round out the adventure quite nicely.

DISLIKED: I hesitate to mention this, but while the grammar and sentence structure were fine, the text for this product didn't flow smoothly. The fact that the English here is actually TOO perfect makes reading it feel slightly stilted, betraying that it was written by a non-native speaker. This caused no comprehension problems; it just made reading it a slightly stumbling experience.

Some GMs may have a problem with the main map for this encounter. While each keyed location has a magnified image showing it on a five-foot scale, the main map has its squares on a thirt-foot scale (each square is thirty square feet). Since, as a labyrinth (with almost no doors), the GM will need to draw virtually all of it, this may lead to some headaches.

Finally, the product didn't include a graphics-free printer-friendly version.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quirin Adventure #3: Door to Simit Al
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Quirin Adventure #1: Nrasra's Death
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/07/2006 00:00:00
Nrasra?s Death is the first in the series of Quirin Adventures by GMC. It is a very short adventure designed by Christian Janke. The adventure is designed for fourth tenth level character. The PDF is not very large only being thirteen pages long. The PDF is fully book marked and has pretty good art. The layout is okay, there is a biut of white space here and there that could have been dealt with. The cartography is basic and the lettering they use on it is not the best. There is color on the four of the thirteen pages, but only of those the map is really needed to be printed out. The organization of the material is not the good as the first detailed encounters are actually in the middle of the adventure so unless the party teleports to the middle other encounters would happen first.

The adventure is pretty basic and not that creative. There is a stretch of road that has become dangerous. The party is hired to figure this all out and clear the obstacles making it safe. While the encounters are tough enough to warrant a tenth level party the plot itself is one I expect to see for lower level groups. The group then walks the road and some off the road, encounters many of the creatures that make this place dangerous and should with ease figure out what happened. It is rather straightforward and easy to run module which is a good thing.

However, the module does not have everything to make it easy. For instance there are no monster stat blocks. The hit points of the creatures are listed but for the rest of the monster?s abilities one needs to have a Monster Manual or access to the SRD. I prefer to have the creatures stated in the adventure or at the very least in an appendix. It is easier to run a module that way. There are two NPCs stated in an appendix. One is of a ghost that the party probably will not fight or need stated out and the other is of Nrasra who one can deduce by the title of the module is dead. I have no idea why they included the stats of a dead NPC in the adventure. The toad familiar of the Sorcerer who I did not even read anything about in the module is fully stated out as well.

The Module does have some nice character hooks to get the characters to go on the adventure. It lists a few spells that would prove useful in the adventure that the DM might want the PCs to have access to. There is a some good background info though more would have been useful. At the end it does list PC rewards and ideas for further adventures and things that can develop out of this.

The module is a nice straightforward site based adventure. The players can go from encounter to encounter at any order and solve the little mystery that is there. There are a pair of new magical items in the modules that are inventions of the sorcerer as well. But while there are some good points to the module it just does not do enough to allow me to recommend it. There are better modules for tenth level characters on the market.



LIKED: Straight forward site adventure with nice hooks and ways to continue the adventure

DISLIKED: no monster stat blocks, stat blocks of NPcs that do not matter, and not that interesting plot especially for character of 10th level

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Quirin Adventure #1: Nrasra's Death
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you very much for the review! GMC has updated the adventure as follows: *Better adventure scaling guidelines added (adventure is for 2-8 PCs of level 4-16 now) *Three black&white pictures added (2 scenes and 1 NPC portrait) *Cartography reworked *Organization of the material changed *Monster stat blocks added *More obvious reasons for Nrasra's stats added (several Further Adventure ideas) *More background info added (e.g. Drusil's history) *A variant idea for more mystery added *Player handout of the map added *Graphics-free printer-friendly version added
Quirin Mythology #1: A Handful of Epic Creatures
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/20/2005 00:00:00
Quirin Mythology 1 Handful of Epic Creatures

The game has seen very little epic level support so it pleases me to see a few epic level creatures come out. Just looking at the book though makes one understand why so many people fear DMing campaigns this high. The Stat blocks on these are a bit large with lots of abilities and options as they should. I do not really look over stat blocks to make sure they are accurate and this is defiantly a product that might be nice to see happen to.

Quirin Mythology 1 Handful of Epic Creatures is a PDF by GMC (Game Master?s Choice). The PDF is eighteen pages long. The layout is pretty good but the art is rather mediocre. It is black and white and looks like pencil sketches. It is important I believe to have good art in monster books. So the bad art in here really hurts the book. The book is nicely book marked and easy to use from a computer.

There are only five creatures in this book. That seems rather light as epic creatures are hard to use as just placing them in a dungeon like environment just does not seem right for creatures like this. The beasts here I feel also do not have enough information to use them. Creatures of this type of power I would have really liked to see more history and information on. The stats on most of these are easily three or four times as long as the brief creature descriptions. Information like what can be learned from a knowledge check or Bardic knowledge checks would really have gone far to make these monster more useful.

The first creature is Alcorn the Flying Serpant. He seems to be a unique creature though the stat black does seem treat him like a type of creature one can see more then one of by giving advancement rules for instance. The creature is thirteen thousand years old and I would have loved to see some examples of the plots and strategies this thing has been doing over those many millennia. It says he works behind the scenes through minions and plots and very power hungry. But what has he accomplished so far? What other goals does he have? These questions really left me wondering and I would have liked to have seen the writer go more into this. The stats of the creature seem okay for the Challenge rating though it does have a pretty low will save. Most of the highly intelligent creatures actually have wil saves as their best and not their worst of all saves.

The next creature is the very small Deshaywine. There is little useful information on what these guys are. They are unwanted offspring and serve people more powerful then them and other then that the DM has many blanks to fill in.

Next is the Gomthu. This is a demon created to help serve a god that is not described here. Now the reader knows as much about these creatures as I do. The creature has two paragraphs describing it and one of them is pure physical description. The creatures in the book do have a nice round to round tactics which can be useful. There are also adventure ideas for the creatures. But many of the adventure ideas refer to other books GMC has put out. That?s great if one has the books and wants to use them, but other wise it makes those particular adventure ideas useless.

The Milmang actually seems to be more of a plot device then a creature the player characters are expected to defeat. It has a challenge rating of one hundred and fifty and is called a Quasi deity. This creature is directly tied into one of the adventures GMC has. It is built to guard the Door of Simit Al which is presented in one of the their adventures (Quirin Adventure 6: Lost and Forgotten).

Lastly are the Threyclops. It seems a little odd that these giants with over seven hundred hit points and challenge rating of twenty eight would be used as shock troops. The saves aside from the Fort save are pretty low for a creature of this type of power. They do have a good Spell Resistance so maybe they would do well against spell casters.

Overall the book provides monsters that just feel like they are there to be killed. There is no really reason for the creatures to be there other then because. This complaint is common one of many monster books but with epic monsters I think it rings even more true.




LIKED: Epic Support

DISLIKED: Not nearly enough detail of the creatures.

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Quirin Mythology #1: A Handful of Epic Creatures
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Quirin Mythology #1: A Handful of Epic Creatures
by Mark G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/23/2005 00:00:00
?Quirin Mythology #1: A Handful of Epic Creatures? is a 18 page pdf monster supplement that provides a detailed statistic block, descriptive text, portrait, adventure hooks and tactics for using the creature in gameplay. Having just come out of an epic game I was excited to see a supplement that devoted to monsters at this level of play.

The product opens with two pages of introduction on how to read the entries in a monster supplement. While beneficial to some I think by the time a game and its player have passed the 20th level they should be familiar with how the monster statistic block is broken down. However it should be noted that the epic statblock does contain an additional line for Epic Feats, and the author uses this line in his statblocks but doesn?t include it in the introduction.

The creatures include a magical beast, two outsiders, a construct and a giant. The monsters are very much rooted in the world of Quirin, so if you are a designer and want to use them as open game content for another product you will need to rework the descriptions quite significantly in one place. Essentially the monsters break down as follows:

Alcorn ? A unique flying serpent that is evil influential leader of Masapapu.
Deshayvine ? An fine abomination that is cross between fairy and demigod orc.
Gomthu ? a demonic praying mantis (at least that?s what it looks like).
The Milmang ? A quasi-deity construct that deals energy drain to divine ranks.
Threyclops ? A three-eyed giant created to act as shock troops.

Though the creatures are a good mix of ideas, I wonder how many will easily find a home in your campaign if you are not using Quirin. The monsters also seem a little quirky in their design, for instance Alcorn is said to be ?one of the most influential mortal beings? and yet as a 24 HD creature it only has a Diplomacy of 24 and a Charisma of 16, it also wears full plate barding. The Deshayvine are abominations and yet do not seemed to be misshapen, grotesque or horribly marked. The Gomthu has both improved grab and rend, are these abilities usable together?

Mechanically, some the statistic blocks have issues as well such as the Alcorn which has only one natural attack and thus should get x1 ? Str to its attack, the Milmang whose size is listed as Colossal+ (does the + change the mechanics), or the fact that the author seems to adjust BAB by the creatures? size modifier.

Overall, the editing seemed fine except in a few places. The art seems appropriate for all the monster except the Gomthu who looks more comical than threatening.



LIKED: Support for an area of the d20 game that is not well recognized.
Tactics seem appropriate for each of the creatures (why don't more books have tactics)


DISLIKED: Embedded setting makes it harder for another publisher to use this material.
Some mechanical errors seem in the statistic blocks.
Almost all the monsters have something quirky about their design.
Adventure hooks firmly entrenched in Quirin.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Publisher Reply:
Epic Feats line of the epic statblocks is included in the intoduction now. The Flying Serpent's influence error has been reworked. Tense and grammar mistakes have been fixed. Mechanical errors have been corrected.
Quirin Mythology #1: A Handful of Epic Creatures
by Charles G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/07/2005 00:00:00
For those of you looking for a collection of high-CR monsters, there's not a whole lot out there. Quirin's Mythology #1 delivers a number of epic creatures, suitable for a variety of levels.

Overall the creatures are well-designed and interesting. The creature ideas are compelling, though the mechanics are unexceptional. (Needless to say, the skills aren't correct -- in fact, skill points are assigned almost at random.)

Alcorn is an interesting unique monster; Deshayvine are thumb-tall feyfolk warriors with a twisted background; Gomthu are corrupting demons; the Milmang is a unique creature with incredible power, sapping the strength of even gods when it hits; Threyclops are epic giants.

The text expands on these by adding variants (Deshayvine assassin, Threyclops fighter), custom magic items, and a new spell.

Highlight: creative backstories for all creatures
Recommended to: everyone who runs epic campaigns, nonepic DMs looking for background material

LIKED: The creatures all have interesting backgrounds and the material is well fleshed-out.

DISLIKED: I didn't like the format of the product so much, or the mechanics of the creatures.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Publisher Reply:
Alcorn's skills have been fixed. The others were correct.
Quirin Mythology #1: A Handful of Epic Creatures
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/29/2005 00:00:00
Quirin Mythology #1: A Handful Epic Creatures presents five new epic monsters. Despite the small number of creatures, a very diverse range of themes and challenge ratings are presented here. Two of these listings are for unique individuals. One is a race that could conceivably exist in any fantasy campaign world. Another is a new demon, and the last is an abomination, god-spawned creatures that are spurned by their divine parents. Following these entries are a new weapon/shield property, two specific magic items, and a new spell.

Each monster has a single picture of it in black and white. The entries detail not just stats and combat abilities, but also background text, appearance, round-by-round tactics, and adventure hooks. Likewise, the new spell at the end has a picture done of what it would look like in-character (done in a very creative fashion).

This product is a superb addition to the epic-level tradition of d20 fantasy. All of the monsters here are interesting, and well worth their challenge ratings. They do an excellent job of opening up new ideas, all the more so since they have adventure hooks and background text given for them. The only reason I didn?t give this product a five star rating was because there are some mechanical errors (though they?re nothing major), and because, perhaps because English isn?t (I assume) the first language of the author, a sentence of two reads oddly. But these are, for the most part, minor quibbles on what is otherwise an excellent product. I recommend this to anyone venturing into the realm of epic-level play.


QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Click here to issue a publisher reply
Publisher Reply:
The mechanical errors as well as the tense and grammar mistakes have been fixed.
Quirin Mythology #1: A Handful of Epic Creatures
by Mark C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/28/2005 00:00:00
My concern when approaching epic material is how is it made epic. The difficulties in creating truly epic creatures is great and, unfortunately, this product failed to pull it off. The creatures are interesting, but they are not very epic. I took a closer look at some of the creatures in the book and reviewed them individually.

The Flying Serpent
The Flying Serpent is described as the most influential creature in the world, but does not have the stats to back up this claim. Its Diplomacy is a paltry +24. (A 2nd level character who takes 5 ranks in Diplomacy, Skill Focus (Diplomacy), takes 5 ranks in the 3 synergies and has an 18 Charisma, has a +18 Diplomacy.)

The Flying Serpent?s 300 hit points puts it within a one-round kill for high level adventuring groups. Its saves are a low 22/16/9. Finally the serpent only has a single attack, a bite for 4d6+15. It has a solid spell selection as a 24th level caster but this is its only serious offensive ability.

A Great Wyrm Red Dragon, with a CR 26, has 660 hit points, saves 32/22/22. The dragon?s bite does 4d8+13 and it has five other attacks. The dragon has 19th level spellcasting abilities, slightly lower than the serpent. The Great Wyrm Red Dragon is considerably tougher at a lower Challenge Rating. While it is not a completely fair comparison, the serpent could use a little beefing up, a few more hit dice.

There are three adventure hooks for the Flying Serpent. Two of those ideas have nothing to do with the Flying Serpent, except that they take place in his territory.

The Deshayvine
This finy size creature has only 9 hit dice and a Challenge Rating of 18. With a level adjustment of 9, the Challenge Rating should actually be about 13-14 (CR is level adjustment + about 1/2 the HD varying by type according to the Monstrous Manual).

Doing 1d3+7 or 1d2+11 damage, its melee and ranged attack are not very threatening despite its wounding attacks and huge attack bonus. With a +35 Hide bonus it is an effective assassin. Tucked in among the spell-like abilities is ?power word kill 1/day? making it dangerous once per day.

This is an interestingly put together creature, dealing low amounts of damage with great accuracy. It could be a real challenge for high level adventurers but only an annoyance for epic characters.

Milmang
Tossed in with the not-so-epic creatures is Milmang, a 225 Hit Dice, Challenge Rating 150 creature. Thor would be hard pressed to take this monster ? seriously, you can compare his stats from Deities and Demigods.

Adventure Hooks: Many of the adventure hooks refer to other products and to rivals of the PC?s, another adventuring group, rather than having anything to do with the monster. The adventure hooks switch between present and past tense from sentence to sentence.

Monsters as Player Characters: Many of the monsters in this book are ?playable as characters?. With +47 Strength bonuses and other epic abilities, and relatively low level adjustments (+9 to +15), I would hesitate before allowing a player to play such a race.

A Final Note
This product has a lot of potential and, if it gets reworked, I would like to see it.


LIKED: These creatures are tough and are built on original ideas. There are some Easter eggs nestled in the back. The new armor ability, globe of greater invulnerability spell and new magic items are worth taking a look at. The picture of the scroll containing globe of greater invulnerability is a great idea (how about some color?). The cover looks good its worn appearance.

DISLIKED: This product needs to be reworked. The challenge ratings need to be closer together rather than ranging from 18-150. A number of tense and grammar mistakes need to be fixed. There are good ideas but they need to be refined. This product introduces some interesting creatures and hint at a much larger history. More of that history needs to be included. 2 of the 18 pages are dedicated to Reading the Entries, something already covered in the Monstrous Manual. As a PDF space is hardly a concern unless someone wants to print it.

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Click here to issue a publisher reply
Publisher Reply:
The influence error of the Flying Serpent has been reworked. Tense and grammar mistakes have been fixed.
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