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Fey Folio: The Unseelie Court $6.25 $5.25
Publisher: Alluria Publishing
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/05/2011 10:37:59
This collection of fey creatures offers you thirteen new monster “species,” several of them represented by multiple versions (such as dullahan dreadlash and dullahan fearknight, for example), for a total of twenty-one new creatures. Dullahans provide a cool twist on the headless horseman motif. Erlkings are sort of like the baby-stealing legends straight out of the grimmer fairy tales. You could think of kapres as mischievous, medium-sized treant-kin. Nightshades strike me as basically fey eco-terrorists. To picture a rarog, imagine Marvel Comics’ Human Torch as a dwarf. Cross a banshee with a siren to get a sidhe. Spriggans are savage brutes; spring-heel jacks are cultured, urbane duelists. Yallery come across as slothful, drunken versions of the fairy-tale cobbler’s helpers. These observations don’t exhaust the creatures in this book, but will give you a feel for the volume’s contents.

The mechanics seem solid enough, though I haven’t used these creatures in actual encounters and therefore can’t verify how they stand up to PCs. I’m not too sure about Jack-in-Irons; for a level 32 solo creature, he has remarkably few options for making multiple attacks during his turn. He has a minor action attack, but it recharges after a successful attack with a standard action that itself is a recharge 4–6 power, a very fragile combination. (That minor action’s frequency is actually written as “recharge after a successful chain toss attack; encounter,” which is self-contradictory.) As mentioned, I haven’t actually run a combat against Jack-in-Irons, but I suspect that even an average team of high epic tier characters would take him down without significant difficulty.

A short section of advice for DMs, including a complete campaign arc complete with a skill challenge for binding Jack-in-Irons, and five new magic items round out the product. The aforementioned skill challenge, however, could easily get tiresome; a 30th-level challenge that requires 10 successes (!) should offer options for more than the five predictable skills actually used (Arcana, Athletics, Religion, Acrobatics, and Perception, of which the last two can only generate bonuses to other rolls, not successes for the challenge). If I were a player running a high epic tier character, I'd rather just fight him.

Vasilis Zikos’s illustrations are fantastically executed, although a couple might be considered disturbing. The picture of Jack-in-Irons looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing Spock makeup, vampire teeth, and a Red Sonja outfit; along with the vodnik's picture, this one skates rather close to S&M porn.

Punctuation and grammatical errors abound, including double hyphens in place of dashes, non-possessive plurals formed with apostrophes, inconsisently-sized paragraph indentations, use of ellipses where colons should appear, use of semicolons where commas should appear, foot marks instead of apostrophes, missing periods or commas, and misplaced adverbial phrases. Finding agreement in grammatical number seems to present a special challenge. On the other hand, I wish every publisher putting out a bestiary would emulate the table found on page 3, which lays out at a glance the monsters by level, type, role, and page number.

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Fey Folio: The Unseelie Court
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