Blackdyrge’s Templates: Primordial Beast is a short d20 product from Blackdirge Publishing. The zipped file is almost six megabytes in size, and contains a single PDF of the product. Said PDF is nine pages long, including the cover, the credits/legal page, and the OGL. Full bookmarks are provided.
As with other works in this line, the cover is the only case of full color artwork. The remaining illustrations are black and white, including the pictures of each example monster. Almost every page has borders along the top and bottom giving details regarding the product’s information. There is no printer-friendly version, though given the relative brevity of this product, that isn’t a very big issue.
The Primordial Beast template is meant to be applied to any animal. Representing an atavistic throwback, it makes the animal a size category larger, along with giving them a few extra hit dice and adding one or two special attacks depending on their natural weapons. The two example animals are a leopard, and a fully advanced tyrannosaurus rex.
I personally found that I couldn’t get behind this template to the degree that I usually do for others in this series. While there can be no question that every aspect of this product is excellently done, from the mechanics to the layout and design, it just felt too unoriginal, and too limited, for me. The main theme of this template is that it makes an animal larger by a size category; the extra hit dice and the few new abilities are relatively minor additions on top of that. However, we already have templates that do that, and do it to a greater degree. I’ve seen several different versions of the Dire template, which increases any creature, not just animals, by a size category, and usually it can stack with itself for multiple size increases.
This product is a good one, but if you invest in d20 monster books, you quite likely already have a template that basically does what this one does. Even without a template, advancing hit dice and increasing size is easily done, and need not be limited to animals. In short, I like what’s here, but you may already have what you need to create your own Primordial Beast.