A Clan of Wretches is a 24 page pdf for the 4e GSL system. This product is the 2nd product in Sceaptune Games' Greysca4e series of products, the other being A Drake Miscellany. The aim of the Greysca4e series is to produce innovative game supplements for your 4e games, while at the same time being easy to print (hence the use of the term Greysca4e). The first two products in the series so far, which includes this one, focus on monsters and creatures, but also provide ways of adapting these creatures as PC races where applicable. A Clan of Wretches details the lives of the wretchers, a group of clanspeople creatures that live on the outskirts of civilised territories.
A Clan of Wretches comes as a single pdf file that's neatly presented and well designed. The product includes nicely done front and back covers, complete bookmarks, a table of contents and even a searchable index. The product is largely produced in greyscale, apart from the racial write-ups where the powers have been color coded. The use of greyscale means that when printed you'll use less ink than a solid black pdf. Sceaptune Games have pulled out all the stops in making sure this product is as usable as possible, both in terms of printing and searchability. General writing, editing and design is good, as is the current art set. Note that this product has been released prior to all the art being available, but a free update will be issued once the artwork has been completed. On the whole, this is a neat little pdf that looks good, and will hopefully be even better once the art arrives.
The wretch or wretchers are a group of humanoid creatures that live on the fringes of the known lands, where they gather together in social clans with strict and ordered hierarchy. This product presents these creatures both as monsters and as a racial race for PC characters, and introduces three different subspecies of wretch - the bogwretch, the moorwretch and the stonewretch. Each subspecies gets a complete write-up, including several different monster varieties under each write-up, meaning that in total you get 16 different wretchers to use as monsters, and this does not include the handful of other monsters that the wretchers can summon through the use of their ancestral magic.
The product presents a very detailed and structured overview of the wretch, and details all the important aspects of their society, such as their clan structure, their art, their music, their social hierarchy and more. Each of the three subspecies expands on this information, allowing one to get a complete overview on where the different wretchers fit into the overall society and what their role is. The moorwretch is the predominant wretch and the most intelligent, and these wretch normally use the massive and lumbering stonewretch as guards or guardians, while the bogwretch see to the day to day activities of the clan or society. The pdf provides useful Knowledge checks related to each subspecies and the wretch in general, typical combat encounters for each wretch subspecies, details on typical wretch clans, and several new rituals related to the wretch ancestral worship. All the wretch powers and racial abilities are combined towards the end of the pdf to allow you to use these creatures as a PC race.
This is a very complete pdf. The wretch or wretchers (the naming and singular/plural is very confusing) are detailed very nicely, and the social structure, group dynamic, and culture of the creatures is nicely illustrated. In this way the wretch have a sense of purpose and an identity, which makes them more meaningful creatures within a campaign world. This detail of their society and culture feeds down into the mechanics and abilities of the various monster creatures and racial powers, and it's good to see monsters build around a common theme or common societal elements. The detail allows you to see the wretch as a whole rather than in a vacuum which is frequently the case for monster design. The racial powers and monster abilities are well constructed, and there are some good ideas in there stemming from creative design. While some of the monsters have a little flair, for the most part the creatures are standard fare, as one would largely expect for a society of 'non-magical' humanoids. Typical abilities revolve around group tactics, music or battle cries and ancestral worship, fitting in nicely with the wretch culture.
A Clan of Wretches is a good pdf. I have to admit that I'm not a fan of the naming and the subsequent confusing use of the creature's name, but that aside this does a good job of presenting a well thought-out, detailed creature that has an identity, culture and society of its own. Even if you don't care for those details, there are almost a score of new monsters, several rituals and lots of other useful bits in this pdf. The culture and background has been well incorporated in the monster mechanics, although with the freedoms allowed with the 4e GSL, I'd hoped for a little more flair in the various abilities. Still, they mesh well with the nature and culture of the creatures, and that's good to see. Good pdf.