To my perception, one of the biggest hits among Game Masters, is a big old book of monsters. When Chaosium had opportunity under the OGL and their deal with Wizards of the Coast, who produced a full color Call of Cthulhu d20 hardcover, to make a Monster Mallus for 3.0/3.5 and didn’t take it, I thought it a massive lost opportunity. Game Masters of the Dungeons and Dragons game want to bring in elements of the Cthulhu mythos. Paizo and Green Ronin, along with others, have been tweaking the material that’s open for years. This doesn’t count the various homage such as WoTC’s own Far Realm and various critters from the beginning like Mind Flayers.
For me personally, this is a great product in that I’ve been waiting for more material in this vein for a long time. While the old 3.0 hardcover from WoTC was nice, it’s great to have this material in 4th ed. Between the original Deities and Demigods, which was essentially useable with 1st and 2nd edition, this means we’ve got eldritch goodness for essentially every edition of D&D.
Now fans of the 4th edition game need wait no longer. Clocking in at 42 pages, this is I believe, the largest Critter Cache that Goodman Games has done. Yes, the stars are indeed right and it’s not a nightmare you can awaken from. The Lovecraftian Bestiary is out. As a nice touch, it’s on sale now for $3.99. A solid deal.
The book is illustrated by Hunter McFalls who should be familiar to fantasy fans. If you like the cover, you’ll enjoy the interior illustrations. Written is done by Blackdirge who should be familiar to fans of both 3rd and 4th edition.
Monsters range in level from a 2nd level skirmisher, Mi-Go Scout to a massive 35th level solo soldier Cthulhu himself. In between is a nice range of old favorites including Star Spawn, which come in at the second highest level, 25th, to Dragon himself, a 15th level solo brute.
Lore checks vary depending on the monster. For example, on the deep ones, it’s a nature lore. On the big guy? It’s dungeoneering or religion. Other standards, including encounter groups, and tactics are included.
As an added bonus, there is a brief section on eldritch artifacts that allows you to include such treasures as the silver rod or the green trapezohedron. These act a little different than standard magic items even though these are statted up as regular magic items with details including level, gold piece cost, and ability. The silver rod for example, ranges from 2nd to 17th level and does cold damage and slows the target. To use such an item requires an arcane check equal to 10 + item’s level. A nice touch is a +2 bonus for warlocks with the star pact. There is a potential side effect if the user fails the check by 10 or more. To continue with the silver rod, the user would take damage and be slowed.
It is my hope that with this, Chaosium shakes off the strange apathy they have for the Dungeons and Dragons system and works with Goodman Games and author Blackdirge and make a full fledge 4e Monsterous Mallus.
[5 of 5 Stars!]