Creature-features meet superheroics.
The Youniversal Monster Omnibus (a cool nod at Universal Studios, responsible for most of cinema’s classic movie monsters) is a collection of Fainting Goat Games’ pdf series containing portrayals of eight legendary monsters. Each one comes fully fleshed out, with stats (ranging from PL9 to PL14), with detailed personalities and adventure seeds that, in many cases, presents the creature in refreshing new light.
*Dracula, of course, needs no introduction. As one would expect, he’s presented here as a PL14 upper-tier monster, a threat worthy of even mighty superheroes.
*Mummies are a classic horror monster, shambling undead shrouded in funerary wrappings and animated by ancient magic. You could use them as mindless foes, sure, but a far better option for terrorising your costumed heroes is to make the mummy a powerful and intelligent sorcerer-priest or pharaoh hailing from a civilization long buried under the sands of Egypt. The adventure ideas provide plenty of inspiration for doing just that in a four-coloured supers world.
*As fans of Hammer Horror flicks know, Victor Frankenstein created not one but two golems from reanimated dead flesh. But Hammer got it wrong; ‘Adam’ (Frankenstein’s Monster) and ‘Eve’ (The Bride of Frankenstein) are not just immensely strong, but also highly intelligent.
*Werewolves are the living manifestation of the savagery, the bestial nature, that lies within all of us. As such, they’re great villains or tragic heroes (look no further than the classic comic series Werewolf by Night).
*The Gill Creature is the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon of B-movie cinema, an aquatic man-beast – a mutant human or a lost evolutionary link from when ancient humanity left the ocean to become land-dwelling creatures. In a cool twist, the adventure ideas posit that the Gill Creature is highly intelligent; one sees the man-beast capturing nuclear weapons from submarines with an eye towards detonating them an unleashing a Kaiiju.
*The Abominable Snowman – more appropriately known as the Yeti – is the legendary cryptid hominid of the Himalayas. In the West, the Abominable Snowman is thought of as little more than a beast. In the East, however, they are often attributed with mystic abilities and considered defenders of sacred places. That’s the tact YOUniversal Monsters endorses.
*One wouldn’t immediately associated Jack Frost and Krampus as classic movie monsters, but they are staples of folklore and fit in nicely among this cast of threats. Jack Frost is the living spirit of winter and has a reputation as both a sinister prankster (representing the cruelness of the season) and a mischievous protector of children. Krampus is another holiday-themed monster, but unlike Jack Frost there are no redeeming qualities about this fiend; he mercilessly hunts down children on the naughty list, stuff them in his sack and later devours them for Christmas dinner. Yikes! If that as a modus operandi, your heroes don’t want to punch Krampus in the face, they’re not worthy of the name.
Author Jacob Blackmon’s writing is evocative, thoughtful, and entertaining, proving that monsters – even dead ones – don’t have to be lifeless. He clearly put a lot of thought into the adventure seeds (better described as adventure outlines, as they are several paragraphs in length), which often play against expectations and elevate the monsters to new heights. Blackmon shows intimate awareness with mechanics as well, as the stats are top notch.
Entries are brought to life in breathtaking artwork, all save Dracula by Blackmon himself (the Prince of Vampires, for those keeping score, was illustrated by Dionysis Jones)
If you want to liven your superhero game with supernatural villains and desiccated corpses or launch a campaign of grim monster hunters combating ancient evils, Youniversal Monsters Omnibus is a must buy.