The first product in the Animal Archives line of products, Prehistoric Animals I gives stats to animals that once existed in the real world, but have since gone the way of the dinosaurs. Ironically, there are no dinosaurs to be found here, these are all animals as we think of them, albeit extinct ones.
The zipped file for the product isn’t quite six megabytes in size, and contains a single PDF of the book. Weighing in a twenty-four pages long, there is no table of contents here, but there are full bookmarks. The cover is the only instance of full color, with the rest being black and white. Each monster has an illustration of what they (probably) looked like, and the artist has thoughtfully included a silhouette of an adult male human for size comparison purposes. There are grey borders along the top and bottom of every page with product information.
Nine prehistoric animals are included in this product, with five of them having an advanced version given (for example, after the entry for the hyaenadon is an entry for Old Gnawfang, an advanced elite awakened hyaenadon). Each animal also has a section describing what these animals were like in the real world, as well as a section describing how they can be useful to PCs (as animal companions, familiars, etc).
A few appendices round out the product. The first provides for celestial and fiendish versions of four of the monsters here (those being the only ones that can be summoned with a Summon Monster spell), as well as a list of creatures that can be summoned via Summon Nature’s Ally. Further, two templates that were used for some of the advanced creatures, the Elder Beast and Paleoskeleton, are reprinted in their entirety.
It’s hard to say what makes this product as cool as it is. Maybe it’s knowing that all of these creatures really did once roam the Earth. Maybe it’s how each has information on how a PC can use these animals themselves. Whatever the cause, this is a product that just seems too good to pass up, and that’s an impression that’s borne out after reading it. Prehistoric Animals is a great monster book, and even if you’re game isn’t at all prehistoric, you’ll find something here you can use.
[5 of 5 Stars!]