Oh, Silverthrone, you had me at hello.
When I read the first book of templates you published, I thought it was pretty darn creative. When I read the deluxe version, which I still find myself pulling things from (I can’t say that about a lot of books), I was impressed by the level of thought and effort put into them.
It did not take much for me to want to get my hands on Twisted Menagerie. Whereas the Deluxe Book of Templates was like the Director’s Cut of Planet Terror, Twisted Menagerie is akin to a series of top notch extras that did not make it into he DVD. If you have the Deluxe Book of Templates, there is nothing in Twisted Menagerie that you can not create your self. All you need is a little creativity and the twisted psyche to combine certain templates that only a demented person would have thought of.
Seriously… A half gnome dire badger. Hive minded Kobolds. A demon undead dog the size of a city block.
If you had doubts about taking a purchase break until 4e arrives, this monster manual has enough twisted badies to make you rethink converting your campaign all together. This is 71 pages of proof that there is a decade’s more life in 3.5.
There are 38 creatures in the book. As with previous material from the publisher, you will not find too significant a balance issue with any of the creatures. What you will find is some really “different” things to throw at your PCs. The entries are formatted a tad differently than normal monster manuals that begin with the statbock. Instead you get the abilities and write up of the creature and on rectangle notepad at the bottom you receive the statblock. The bookmarking is precise, though the page numbering is slightly off. Everything looks very clean and the papyrus background makes me feel like I am reading about some things I was never meant to find. If I had to find issue with something, it would be the small type font, but is that really an issue when dealing with PDFs and the magical magnifying glass.
For the Dungeon Master
There are lots of creatures to choose from which can fit into various environments. I am in an aberration set of adventures now, so plucking the aberrant ettercap was a no brainer. As much as my players hate these things they will especially despite the ones with confusing gaze and fast heal. As an surprising trap I really liked the Marble Guardian, a different kind of construct that has the powers of a medusa.
The Iron Word
I feel I should recommend this product with a series disclaimer. Do not go through all of your currently written adventures and delete the creatures there and put in a bunch from the Twisted Menagerie. Because you will not stop. And then you will start trying to figure out ways to put in this creature and that creature, until whatever adventure you wrote is not even what you wrote and your players will be looking at you in the middle of game wondering why you have that devilish smirk on your face. If you can prevent yourself from getting carried away you might not find a better monster supplement this year better than Twisted Menagerie. .
[5 of 5 Stars!]