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Monsters of Sin 4: Lust (Pathfinder RPG) $2.99
Average Rating:3.9 / 5
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Monsters of Sin 4: Lust (Pathfinder RPG)
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Monsters of Sin 4: Lust (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/30/2012 06:36:37
Lust is arguably the most difficult of the seven deadly sins to deal with in game. Rightly or wrongly, many players have stronger feelings about it than they do, say, violence. This supplement does not shy away from taking those risks, but at the same time, includes a warning absent from the other six books in the series - and, to my mind, with good justification.

The format is much the same as the other books, with 7 pages of content (aside from Wrath, the others all have 6 each), and good production standards. The art, incidentally, does not contain any explicit nudity, so its perfectly safe in that regard. As usual, one page is spent on a discussion of the sin and a template, and half a page on a cautionary tale from the Midgard campaign setting. The template isn't really about lust per se, but rather about obsession with a single individual, and its relevant largely because one of the monsters in the book applies it to others.

There are, as always, four creatures, in this case ranging from CR2 to CR21, although the CR2 entry is actually an example of the application of a CR-1 template - and therefore could be higher or lower, as needed. The template is for a mutant orc. As a creature, it's really quite good, with a variable range of powers, depending on the nature of the mutation, but it has to be said that it has nothing to do with lust. Or at least, no more than half-orcs do, given that most of them were presumably just as created through lustful acts as this creature is.

There's a ghost that attacks because of its own lust, rather than through engendering it anyone else; a welcome turnaround from the way that lust-based creatures often operate. It's a nice concept, that works well.

It's the remaining two creatures that push the boundaries. Neither, in the usual sense, really attacks anyone, although the CR21 example is certainly more than capable of defending itself. Rather, both use mind-control against... well, anyone nearby, really. Of the two, its possibly the weaker one that might cause the most squeamishness, but, in both cases, player characters who fail their saving throws are going to end up doing a whole lot more than kissing if the creatures are used exactly as written. (Not that a good GM couldn't find alternative ways of using them, but it's something to bear in mind).

The first two creatures, then, can be used in just about any campaign. The latter two will either need tweaking, or be restricted to campaigns where sexual mind-control is acceptable. That said, the book itself isn't at all explicit, and it's really up the GM and players exactly how it would be used. Indeed, the monsters are good and original, and they are certainly tied to the theme of the book. They are far from the standard succubus or nymph, and that is to be welcomed.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of Sin 4: Lust (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2012 04:41:24
Monsters of Sin 4, Lust continues the series with what potentially could be the deal breaker for people, the sin of lust. Lust can be interpreted in many differentiating ways, and handled with about as many different levels of maturity. Regardless of the concept of complet-ism, this style of gaming book must be handled with care by a GM, for not every group handles this type of material well. That being said, lets take a look under the sheets, shall we?

11 pages boils down to 7 after we remove the covers, OGL and ad. The standard two column approach, with the monster entries following Paizo's standard text to the left, creature to the right look and feel. Opening as always with a quick opener to explain the author's viewpoint in this particular sin, we quickly step into this sin's template, the Lust Slave. An excellently handled game mechanic translation of what one can only call a groupie, or infatuated “fan”...this template could easily see some usage around my table making sure that my BBEG's have a following within a community. Well done.

First up for creatures this time out is the Inbred Orc. Born of inbreeding, these orcs are built with mutations, both of the fortunate (giving bonuses) and the unfortunate (negatives) type. This basically works the same way as traits and flaws do, but as a physical manifestation in a birth defect. As a creature, this simply doesn't work for me. As a template, sure, to a point. They are granted a bonus to hit simply because they are unpredictable, with the justification that players are used to fighting regular orcs, not a misshapen orc with birth defects...really?

The Lovelorn is our second offering, and took me back to my childhood and the ghost stories I so loved as a kid. The classic woman in white is obviously seen here in influence, and that is a total win in my book. The long and the short of it, we have here a ghost who believes the victims she sets her eyes upon are her lost loves from life, and they are intent on possessing these loves now. Some seriously cool abilities, like the Bleeding Eye Gaze – a nice gaze attack with one seriously creepy visual. But the cherry on top has to be the Lovelorn Embrace, she literally embraces her victims like a lover and kisses them, causing CHA drain as well as being able to perform any one action available to a grappling creature....Whole new appreciation of the kiss of death. The artwork for this particular monster is excellent by the way, and the inking job clearly helps drive forth the partial manifestation ability of this incorporeal creature.

The Truffle closes us out for the monsters this time around, and I'm not entirely sure what to make of this fey. Appearing as a small genderless child, this creature is fascinated by the concept of sexual identity, and what separates the genders of differing races, to the point that they will dominate others into “demonstrating” if they are unwilling to answer their curiosities. On the one hand these creatures could be dismissed as fey with their vastly different viewpoints on social concepts. On the other, what we have here is a creature with no regard for for boundaries forcing people into sexual situations...this is one seriously steep and dangerous slope, and one that a GM needs to be very certain they want to include in their campaign world...as not everyone will react to the idea of these things as being just curious harmless fey.

The Embodiment of Lust is presented as a 10 foot tall humanoid of almost impossible to resist temptation. Surrounding itself with a constant orgy of loyal followers and lust slaves the Embodiment communicates and controls its throng telepathically, or through bodily language. Of all the various ways to embody this sin, I have to say this outsider pretty much does the sin justice for this series, and presents not only a challenge to a group due to its high CR (21), but the sheer fact that everywhere it goes it is surrounded by a willing throng of “lovers” who will kill or die in an instant for it. Not to mention the fact that all within range of it must fight the urge to join the party.

As with previous entries to this series the sin is addressed within Midgard with a bit of setting fluff detailing the Red Goddess, Marena, and an interesting bit of knowledge regarding the birth of the Seven Cities, and how Lust played its part in their origins.

All in all, I liked the Embodiment, the Template and one Monster without contest. That leaves two monsters, one I flat out was unimpressed by, and one, well, that disturbs me. Perhaps I am reading far to much into it, but any creature that, as a normal part of its behavior, “forces” people in this regard...no. Not at my game table.

So, With five items on the block, I like three of them basically. Taking into account the small section on the Midgard setting, I am going to settle on a 3 star, as the Lovelorn really is that good of a creature in my opinion.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of Sin 4: Lust (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/22/2012 08:58:28
This pdf is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's check this mini-bestiary out!

Starting with a discussion of the Sin of Lust and its destructive potential as well as a short run-down of love/lust as well as a CR+1 mini-template, the Lust-slave. After that, we're in the first monster-entry along a sidebar that explains the obvious: We are touchy when it comes to lust and sexuality and the matter should be handled with care in games - some of the subject matter may not be appropriate for younger gamers and making sure that everyone is comfortable with a given level of explicitness should be a given. That being said, in my opinion, this pdf is tame. *shrugs* Perhaps because I'm a perverted goth. ;P

All right, on to the monsters:
-Inbred Orcs: These creatures are stronger than regular orcs, but come with 1d12 beneficial and 1d12 detrimental mutations due to their inbreeding as well as health and mental issues - think mutated "The Hills have Eyes" with orcs. They come as a racial write up with a CR 2 sample statblock.

-Lovelorn: This CR 11 ghost of a being who died of a broken heart can cry blood and emit heart-wrenching moans - rather cool!

-The CR 3 Truffle is a rather weird fey - genderless, these completely innocent fey are fascinated by genders, sexual organs etc. - worse, they are not about using their dominating ability to make people show them their anatomy or do worse. I get a distinctly weird and disturbing vibe from these beings and I'm hard to put out of my comfort zone.

-Finally, we get the CR 21 Embodiment of Sin that can create whole orgies of wild men and women when manifesting and even enslave people to its euphoric touch, making them their obedient lustslaves - disturbing, sick, awesome - though the artwork is PG 13, which somewhat sucks.

The pdf closes with a tale on lust in Midgard and the embodiment of sin type.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a full-color 2-column artwork and the b/w-artworks are awesome. The pdf has no bookmarks, which, while not mandatory at this length, would have been nice to have.
Of all the deadly sins, the ones that hit closest to home for me personally are lust and pride and thus, I was really stoked to see this installment of the series. And then I remembered that the PFRPG-license is somewhat restrictive regarding mature content and in this instance, I feel as if that somewhat hurts the subject matter. I'm running a mature game and I would have loved appropriately mature content - and yes, the content here is mature, but I would have wanted these creatures to be slightly more explicit.

Since that's not possible, though, I won't hold that against the pdf. What somewhat irks me, though, is the fact the pdf creates a binary opposition between love in lust, all the while acknowledging how entwined they can be. The deviousness of lust, at least to me, is not the fact how powerful it can be, but rather its entwinement with one of the most driving, positive things we are capable to experience - love. That out of the way, the creatures herein deal primarily with the consequences of misplaced lust, rather than making it a weapon to wield against sinners. In the end, this mini-bestiary is a good addition to the series, but could use a slightly tighter focus on the theme rather than its consequences - thus, I'll settle on a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of Sin 4: Lust (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/11/2012 19:35:22
Lust is one of those aspects of the Pathfinder RPG that tend to get glossed over. It can’t be helped – in a game whose mechanics reward killing things and taking there stuff, it’s hard for the game rules to incentivize the PCs’ desire to have sex. The next best thing is to make enemies that are physically attractive and have lust-themed powers – the ubiquitous succubus comes to mind. Still, such creatures are comparatively few in number.

The fourth book in Open Design’s Monsters of Sin series, Monsters of Sin: Lust expands the roster of lust-based monsters, albeit only slightly.

The book gets most of the technical aspects of a PDF RPG supplement right. It has no bookmarks, which it really should, but copy-and-paste is enabled. There’s no printer-friendly version, or for that matter any sort of format for other types or easy-reading (e.g. tablets, Macs, etc.), but again its brevity helps to make that be less of an issue.

The artwork, it must be said, is of a high quality. Cory Trego-Erdner’s cover of the succubi stripping a hapless young man is vivid both in terms of its quality and of how expressly it connotes what’s happening. Likewise, Aaron Riley’s black and white interior artwork quite literally paints a start contrast, showcasing the monsters with striking depth.

Eleven pages long, with seven devoted to the eponymous monsters, Monsters of Lust contains a grand total of five monsters. The first isn’t really a monster per se, but rather is the lust slave template. Even calling this a template is hard, as it adds only a single new ability (annoyingly lacking in an ability tag – presumably it’s extraordinary) which has the lust slave creature gaining a bonus if the object of their adoration is in sight, but is confused if not. I personally thought that a confusion effect was the wrong mechanic to use here, but should have been some sort of penalty from their depression at being separated from their beloved. Ah well.

The first fully-fledged monster is the inbred orc, which needs no real introduction as to where these particular variants come from. Racial information is given for these hillbilly orcs, which are perhaps not surprisingly different from their normal counterparts – chief among them being two tables of mutations – one fortunate and one unfortunate. An NPC stat block helps to round things out.

Personally, I thought that this particular monster was good, but would have worked better as a template. Orcs aren’t the only humanoid creature that seems lacking in civilization enough to start inbreeding and suffer the effects thereof. It’s not too hard to take inspiration from this monster and use it as a baseline for varying other creatures in a similar manner, but this would have been easier as a template.

The lovelorn, a CR 11 creature, is a sort of ghost that died after being betrayed by a cruel lover or was simply so unlucky in love that they died heartbroken. Interestingly, there are shades of the banshee here, as they have a moan-based attack (though nowhere near as deadly, thank goodness!), and it’s likewise fitting that they deal Charisma damage. The lovelorn falls into a narrow gap of being different enough from similar incorporeal undead as to be distinct unto itself, but not so unique that your players will easily figure out what to do about it – there’s a lot of fun to be had here by a cruel GM.

For me though, the most interesting monster in the book was hands-down the truffle. A weak (CR 3) fey creature, the truffle looks like a small naked human child…making it clearly obvious that it has no sexual characteristics whatsoever. Not malevolent, truffles understand nothing about sex or gender identity, and so are intensely curious about creatures that have these characteristics when they meet them. This can quickly become awkward and even dangerous, however, when they start exercising their natural abilities to forcibly manipulate other people’s bodies, making people take their clothes off and demonstrate their sexuality to sate the truffle’s curiosity. Normally I frown on monsters with no original powers, but the role-playing potential – demonstrated excellently in the monster’s write-up – is incredibly strong here. This is a monster that should only be used with groups that can handle mature subjects in the game, but it’s likely to be quite worthwhile to do so.

The final creature in the book is the embodiment of lust itself. I wasn’t sure what to expect here, and was somewhat surprised by the creature’s description – that of a ten-foot tall creature with a vaguely feminine figure, but it entirely translucent, like a statue made out of glass. Of course, just being around the embodiment is exceptionally dangerous, as its Challenge Rating of 21 demonstrates. Just being around it can make you its lust slave, stripping naked as you approach it, and making you willing to do whatever it asks. I do wish there’d been more about the embodiment as an individual – it says that it has its thralls do its bidding, but there’s little explanation about just what that is. Presumably this creature has no particular agenda or goals beyond corrupting mortals into the sin of lust, but even this simple desire isn’t made entirely clear.

A few sidebars are peppered throughout the book. One talks about using sex in your campaign, but can basically be summarized as “don’t make people uncomfortable” – it’s the ubiquitous disclaimer that’s part and parcel of talking about sex in your game. Likewise, the issue of lust in the Midgard campaign is one paragraph about the lust and death goddess Marena, and two about how one man seduced several merchant’s daughters as a means of starting a war, allowing him to pick up power in the aftermath. Interesting to be sure, but so brief as to be little more than anecdotal.

My overall impression of the book is that while it’s probably stronger as part of the entire series (and certainly will be in the inevitable compilation volume), on its own it feels like it’s just starting to ramp things up when it suddenly comes to an end. The five monsters – really four and a very brief template – don’t seem like enough for the theme of the book. This isn’t to say that they’re not well-done, because they are; they’re simply not showcasing everything that could be done here. From the truffle showing us the unexpected ways that monsters can be developed around this theme to the embodiment of lust’s needing further expansion on what it wants to do to the inbred orc needing to be a full-fledged template, there’s more that could have been done here.

It’s primarily due to the book not living up to its potential that I’m giving it less than full marks. What’s here is worth four stars, but what’s not here would have been the fifth. Having said that, this book provides some fun new creatures for your game, dealing directly with the idea of lust without becoming tawdry. Pick up Monsters of Lust, and add a few new ways to scare your PCs with sex.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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