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Blackdyrge's Templates: Primordial Beast

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Average Rating:3.5 / 5
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Blackdyrge\'s Templates: Primordial Beast
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Blackdyrge's Templates: Primordial Beast
Publisher: Blackdirge Publishing
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/07/2007 11:52:06
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.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review. Sorry this one didn't hit the mark for you. Maybe I can rectify that when it's converted to 4.0. =]
Blackdyrge's Templates: Primordial Beast
Publisher: Blackdirge Publishing
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/30/2007 10:58:01
Blackdyrge's Templates: Primordial Beast is a short 9 page d20 pdf and one of several products in the Blackdyrge's Templates line of products. Each product features a single template for your fantasy d20 game, and includes some example monsters complete with background and details on combat and roleplaying. This product features the Primordial Beast, a primitive but savage creature not unlike what one would come to expect from something like King Kong. The product is compatible with the revised d20 core rules.

Blackdyrge's Templates: Primordial Beast comes as a single, handsomely presented pdf file. The style of the product is very similar to other products from Blackdyrge Publishing, and the product also incorporates the Campaign Construction System, where every page is given headers and footers identifying type of content, authors and content captions. Layout and editing is very good, and artwork by Hunter McFalls and Edward Bourelle (from SkeletonKey Games) is excellent. Mechanics is very detailed and thorough, and the slight complexity of the template is very easily explained with all the required mechanical information. Overall, a splendidly put together pdf.

The Primordial Beast template creates creatures of legend; creatures that dwell in the hidden and dark places of a world unexplored by man or civilization. The nature and feel of the template is very much 'King Kong' - although perhaps not on the scale of the great ape himself. The primordial beast template takes ordinary animals and transforms them into fearsome beasts, yet still retaining much of the character of their animal species. The template can be applied to animals of Medium or larger, although I quite like the idea of being able to apply this template to other animals as well to which it should be equally applicable with a little alteration of the details. Deep jungles aren't always ruled by just big creatures - small, primordial creatures also have their place in the ecosystem. The template also lends itself well to creating 'dire' creature off a base animal, although the template perhaps creates a more powerful version rather than the standard dire animal.

The product provides an introduction by Blackdirge - a brief overview of the product and the creatures inside in a narrative vein. Two sample creatures are provided - the primordial leopard and an advanced primordial tyrannosaurus rex. Both are given their own unique flavor and character, making them stand out above the standard primordial animal of its species. Each of these creatures not only increases in size, but also gains a number of useful new special attacks that make them even more fearsome and dangerous. Overall, the template succeeds at creating something far more dangerous from a standard animal, and something player characters can fear.

While this template may perhaps not be the most unique of ideas, it's very well executed and presented, making for a very useful product that can be used often to instil a little extra power into standard animals. Presentation is very good, and the primordial template provides a step up from the standard dire animal, providing a challenge for higher level parties. A very good product and useful to DMs (and players if DMs can agree on information regarding animal companions or summoning of primordial animals).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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