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Creepy Creatures: Bestiary of the Bizarre $21.95 $17.00
Publisher: Alluria Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2012 05:42:03

This massive 115 pages full-color pdf has 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside of the front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page explaining the glyphs that denote creature-types, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 107 pages for the content.

The first thing you'll notice is that this book is beautiful - full-color, cool artworks are provided for every monster and both formatting and layout are professional and adhere to the highest standards. What do I seek in a monster-book? I want iconic beasts that are more than just another set of stats, that feature more than just variations of old tropes. I want the immediate impulse to use them in my games and, ideally, to yell: "Yeah, now that's it!" "Creepy Creatures" is a bestiary of rather horror-themed creature or at least bizarre ones, so let's take a look at some of my most and least favorite among them:

Rather lame ones: -Adhaesus: Creature that clings to walls while fighting. The choker is much cooler and the artwork doesn't help the creature. -Bisontaur: Centaur with Bisonlike-top. Boring. -Hawkape: Owlbear-like creature. Owlbears are canon by now and while they never were my favorite creatures, Hawkapes are in my opinion unnecessary. Their abilities don't really set them apart. -Centpede Folk: Centipede-like humanoids whose artwork unfortunately lacks arms. -Frogodile: Another amalgam animal. Just as boring. -Gibbering Terror: Incorporeal undead which feature the one truly boring/bad artwork of the book. -Magma Kraken: Fire-elemental kraken creature. Disappointing for a CR 20 creature, this one has almost only elemental abilities. -Star Jelly Ooze: This creature is a ooze-steed that looks like a long version of a Super Mario star with wings. I'm not kidding. -Assassin Zombie: Assassins. Zombies. I don't think they go together or that you actually need a separate creature that fits this particular niche.

Cool creatures: -Assassin Cat: A cat with brilliant abilities with supernatural abilities and a deadly toxin. -Brain Wasp Swarm: Disturbing swarm of vermin. -Clutch Hound: Cthulhoid dog with a great artwork. -Corpse Worm: Shapechanger-worm - great variation of the doppelgänger-trope. -Plague Dragon: Deadly dragon with cool abilities. -Eye Parasite: One of the few truly despicable and creepy creatures in the book, this is a combination of a bodysnatcher and beholder-like abilities. Two thumbs up! -Fleshwarper: Undead that drains charisma by warping flesh. -Fungus, Ooze: Deadly plant that spawns oozes. -Hair Golem: Disturbing Golem with a cool artwork. -Hydra Grub: Multi-headed giant grub, delicacy for dragons. -Terrorkin: Dream-demon that is half beautiful & half deformed - One of the best artworks i the book. -Century Tortoise: Giant benevolent turtles that drain away the years of enemies. -Fang Tree: Spiked, poisonous, carnivorous tree with a beautiful artwork. -Windigo: Another version of the classic wendigo, this take on it has a mechanically interesting, cool snow and wind aura. After the monsters, we also get information on the remarkable races (other Alluria products) and have the monsters listed by CR, roles, type, terrain and climate, which is nice.

Conclusion: Layout and artwork are beautiful, editing and formatting are top-notch (I didn't notice any typos or glitches) and the pdf is extensively bookmarked. On the production-value side, there is nothing to complain. On the content-side, though, there are some problems, at least for me: I thought I'd get a bestiary of rather horror-themed critters and while the book delivers on "bizarre", it, at least in my opinion, does not deliver with regards to "creepy." Even more important: In contrast to e.g. Fey Folio, the monsters herein often fall in the rather bland category, be it fluff- or crunch-wise or just didn't capture my attention, which is a pity as some of them do rock. There are no lore-sections for the critters and most don't get too much fluff-text. More importantly, though, several of the background stories of the critters mention characters of races from Alluria's "Remarkable Races"-line. While I usually enjoy some plug-ins, I do think they went a bit over the top with regards to this book - some of the monsters are directly tied to the races and thus are harder to get or insert into your campaign than necessary. There is no b/w printer-friendly version and while the book is beautiful, it is also very taxing on your printer. While it's a long and beautiful book, it's also not too cheap. My final verdict, taking all of the above into consideration, will be 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.



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Creepy Creatures: Bestiary of the Bizarre
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