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Cooper’s Compendium of Corrected Creatures: OGL Monster Stats A – D (Aboleth – Dwarf) $6.99
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/10/2009 07:39:08
Most people that frequent the fan site EN World will be familiar with the reviews of staff reviewer John Cooper, and in particular his uncanny knack for spotting errors in monster and NPC stat blocks in the products he reviews. In fact, many view his reviews as a sort of 'unofficial errata' for the product in question, using his profound knowledge to complete and correct the many mistakes in published products. It's a strange feature of the 3.5e OGL system that very few people could get stat blocks completely right. This product, Cooper's Compendium of Corrected Creatures: OGL Monster Stats A - D (Aboleth - Dwarf), is the first of four products in a series that puts John Cooper's knowledge of the rules mechanics to work in correcting and adding to all the official OGL creatures found in the SRD.

The product comes as 2 separate pdf files, one containing the front and back covers, while the other contains the remainder of the document. I'm not sure why the covers (a 5 MB file) were omitted from the document (~ 3 MB), as it would seem easier to just include it in the main file itself. Nevertheless, the covers are very professionally done with some good art by Alejandro Melchor and look impressive. The product itself contains a fair proportion of art as well, although most of it appears to be more 'filler' art than actual new art for the many monsters in this product.

Design and layout of the product is good, using a single column to keep the stat blocks larger. One thing I would've preferred to see would be to not split the stat blocks across pages, but one can understand various reasons why the layout did not afford this. Given the nature of this product where you're most likely to print the needed stat blocks for use in game, it would've been useful to have one page for the stat block rather than 2. A full set of bookmarks and table of contents allows you to navigate the 134 page pdf smoothly. Overall, though, the presentation is top notch, and the stat blocks faultless

This first product in a four part series presents corrected stat blocks for monsters in the SRD, starting with the Aboleth and finishing with the Dwarf. Most gamers will probably not have noticed some of the many errors that are present in the SRD, largely because many of them make little to no difference. But some could be quite significant, and for that, and those gamers that just prefer to have their stat blocks correct, this product corrects the mistakes and provides complete stat blocks along with many comments on what corrections, reorganisation or alterations have been made. In addition to these corrections, the product also includes all the official errata and the stats for a number of mentioned creatures that never saw a stat block. In this light, one thing I'd wished and hoped they'd done in this pdf was to stat out the various dragons at different age categories, but alas that has not been done. Even a template would've been useful there.

This product is a valuable resource for both gamers and publishers of OGL products, although it remains a niche product simply because most gamers wouldn't be bothered if a particular creature had an extra skill point or two. Nevertheless, as one who approves of complete stat blocks, I'm very pleased with this product and the way in which it was done and presented. John Cooper's comments are very useful in guiding you in which changes have been made, and it's nice to see the monsters and creatures of the SRD as they should have been presented in the first place. The 3.5e OGL ruleset provided a excellent framework for monster design and construction, and it was disappointing to see how many people got it wrong. This, though, at least corrects some of the errors of the edition.

While Cooper's Compendium of Corrected Creatures: OGL Monster Stats A - D (Aboleth - Dwarf) will not be a product for everyone, it's one of those products that should've been done ages ago, and one that will take up useful and worthwhile space on your bookshelf or harddrive. In addition to the corrected stat blocks, it's in a way an excellent tutorial on monster design and getting it right. In that sense, I hope this product inspires future 3.5e OGL publishers and gamers to use the splendid rules to create fascinating monsters with correct statistics. The next volumes in the series are due for release monthly through to May, and will features creatures from E - K, L - S and T to Z respectively. A very good reference product.

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Cooper’s Compendium of Corrected Creatures: OGL Monster Stats A – D (Aboleth – Dwarf)
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