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Immortals Handbook - EPIC BESTIARY: Volume One
$17.90 $8.95
Publisher: Eternity Publishing
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/31/2005 00:00:00

The Immortal?s Handbook Epic Bestiary volume one is the first release from Eternity Publishing. It?s the first part of a series of products that are collectively under the banner of ?The Immortal?s Handbook? which is geared towards epic and immortal gaming in the d20 system.

The zip file is just under 2 meg, and contains a PDF that is just over 3. The single PDF has a (non-hyperlinked) table of contents, as well as bookmarks. In addition to covering all of the new monsters, the bookmarks also link to all of the new artifacts, magic weapons, epic spells, and even the new material in the book.

The cover of the product is done in color, presenting an amilictli and seraphim battling, while a tarrasque cowers in terror. The rest of the product contains black-and-white artwork for most of the monsters (only the Dire Creature template lacks a picture).

The product presents thirty-eight epic monsters. However, five of these are templates, and each template has an associated example monster presented alongside it. One of these (the aforementioned Dire Creature template) is a template that stacks with itself multiple times, effectively becoming a new template each time (twice is the Behemoth Template, thrice is the Teratoid Template, four times is the Brobdingnagian Template, and ten times is the Macrobe Template), and has a variant template (the Legendary Animal) template presented, which gives an increase to power without the increase in size, and then presents two example Legendary creatures. Between the age categories of the dragons, and that the various elementals and golems have multiple entries (see below), this book could be said to have well over fifty new monsters.

One thing that needs to be mentioned before going any further is that this book is meant for not just epic gaming, but gaming that stretches into the realm of immortals; that is, gaming at high enough levels where the characters are effectively (if not literally) gods. As such, the monsters (and other information here) are extremely powerful. Challenge Ratings go up into not just the dozens, but well into the hundreds and, in two cases, the thousands. This makes every other epic-level product seem timid by comparison.

After the table of contents, there are lists for the monsters by CR (which also includes ECL), and Type and Subtype. After this comes a single page of new epic feats. Eleven new epic feats are presented here, and there?s something for every kind of character. A new feat tree is presented in the Three-Weapon Fighting feats, wherein you fight with three weapons by constantly juggling them between your hands. Also of note are two new feats that change the way metamagic works. The first is Automatic Metamagic Capacity, which gives you +1 free levels of metamagic everytime you take it (e.g. each time it?s taken, all metamagic feats use up a spell slot one slot lower than normal, down to +0). The second is Metamagic Freedom, which lets you stack the same metamagic feat on a spell multiple times.

Size Matters is a four-page section detailing new rules for sizes. The basics of this system are (besides calling Colossal+ ?Titanic?) that, once you go beyond Titanic, the ten size ranking continue to go up, gaining a new prefix. E.g., after Titanic comes Macro-Fine, then Macro-Diminutive, etc. Beyond the standard, nine such prefixes are presented, all the way up to Xota, or universe-sized creatures. An associated table lists the cascading bonuses and penalties to AC/attacks, speed, ability scores, etc. After this is a section on virtual size categories (that a creature or object gains by being very dense without being exceptionally larger), and increases to damage based on expanding size (or virtual size).

The next page-and-a-half is A Glance at the Kosmos. This presents the multiverse that the Bestiary is using when it presents its creatures. This is fairly standard to the D&D multiverse (Prime Material Plane, along with Inner, Outer, Transitive planes, and the Far Place), but it adds a few new dimensions, such as the Death Dimension below all the existing planes, as well as the holistic meta-realities beyond the planes.

After this comes the monsters. Each entry has the monster?s proper name, and a given name as well. After the stats is an in-character description of what it looks like, then a paragraph or three of description. Following that is the combat section describing its powers and abilities, and then a listing of its tactics round-by-round is given. Finishing each entry off are at least three adventure possibilities listed.

Quite a few of the creatures are presented in categories (e.g. Abominations, Angels, Dragons, Golems, etc.), which always have their basic properties and shared characteristics, as well as their history and outlook, given in a section beforehand. Well over half of the monster entries end with a new epic weapon property, a new artifact, or a new epic spell listed at the end. A new epic material, orichalcum, is also listed towards the end of the product.

Altogether, this book is quite literally a must-have for epic gaming. While it calls itself a Bestiary, the truth is that there is far, far more than just that here. Between the new rules, new items and artifacts, and adventure ideas, this book is worth its weight in gold for what it brings to the table, in regards to epic gaming. Players and GMs won?t realize how much they?re missing this book until they read it, at which point they?ll likely wonder how they epic gamed without it. This book deserves a 5 out of 5 stars, as it's an epic book for epic gaming.

EDIT: This review has been edited based on the product being updated. While initially it was plagued with minor errors, these have almost all been corrected since. Eternity Publishing has truly risen to the occassion, updating their book to smooth out stat problems, leaving a product that is virtually flawless, even as it takes epic gaming to the next level.

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: This product was spectacular in the related material it presented; new epic feats, new rules on size categories, new ideas for a mega-multiverse, new epic magic weapon qualities, new major and minor artifacts, new epic spells, and more!<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: This product lacked a printer-friendly version, but that's a minor complaint when compared to the work as a whole, which is spectacular.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Immortals Handbook - EPIC BESTIARY: Volume One
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