Prehistoric Animals III continues to present us with d20 game stats for real creatures from prehistoric Earth that nature, in its infinite wisdom, killed off. It’s a good thing too because many of these freaks are creatures that I for one would not want to share the planet with. I’m sorry, but my respect for life ends when there are eight foot-long, eight hundred-pound millipedes living on the same plane of existence as me. Can you imagine what it’d be like if one of those things crawled out from under your bathroom sink while you were taking a shower?
The format of this book mimics the others in its series. Five historical creatures are presented, three of which also have fantasy versions given through the use of templates and advanced Hit Dice. Each creature has an illustration of what it might have looked like, with an outline of a human for size comparison purposes. There are also descriptive sections given about how these creatures behaved in the real world, and what use player characters might have for some of these things.
The twenty-five page book is very neatly laid out. Appendices provide celestial and fiendish stat blocks for all of the creatures that can be summoned via summon monster spells, as well as briefly listing what creatures can be summoned with summon nature’s ally. Also, all of the templates uses are presented in full at the end of the product. Full bookmarks are presented, and the product’s information is given in the page borders along the top and bottom of each page. There is, however, no printer-friendly version, which is something of a shame. Luckily, the illustrations are fairly sparse, so that shouldn’t present too much trouble.
Most of the creatures are fairly low-level in terms of Challenge Ratings. Luckily, the monsters of prehistoric Earth apparently only rarely reached into the double-digits. With one exception, even the templated versions of these creatures top out at CR 9. That exception, however, goes far beyond that level, being a low-epic level monstrosity that has the classic Blackdirge touch that this series has been missing so far. It’s a nice nod to the power-gamers who knew him back before he started charging us money for his fiendish inspirations.
Animal Archives: Prehistoric Animals III stands on its own, not requiring any of the other books in the series to use. I found it to live up to the high standards of previous entries, presenting interesting new creatures mixed in with great options for PCs and good artwork. Having an epic beastie just makes it even sweeter, particularly since I can sleep comfortably knowing that all of these hideous things are all long since dead and gone…right?