Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Terratic Tome: A Review from the Tail End of a Reviewing Frenzy

Hauling dirt up to make raised beds on top of a hill is a lot of work. Since I'm tired and already did a lot of work today, I went and read through my Teratic Tome again to write up a quick review instead of putting up a real blog post.

The Teratic Tome is a compilation of unique monsters, baddies, and creatures that are each accompanied with their own illustration. The illustrations are top notch, black-and-white drawings by numerous authors that also happen to lean NSFW (lots of bare breasts and gore, no genitals as far as I saw). The quality of the writing is superb and my gaming group better watch out, as these monsters are coming to get them. The stat blocks are for a system I am unaware of, but they are easy enough to understand and convert to my preferred edition, Dungeons and Dragons 5E. At 9.99 (6.66 as of 4/14/2015) or $20 for a hardcover, I'd have to rate this as an amazing purchase I'm glad I finally pulled the trigger on.

My top four favorite parts of this book are:
1. A cool 'X' monster, the Xarualac. No but seriously, this undead evil musician murders people to build a big instrument out of bodies like a musical Jeeper's Creepers. The fact that it then secretly places its mechanism in the center of town after finishing is the cherry on top. I like that so many of these monsters jump right out with interesting encounters and motivations.

2. This little devil has fantastic art. The fact that she is all about bloody carnage and battle like some sort of psychotic hit girl that eats childrens' teeth like fine candy makes her interesting outside of cool art on a page.

3. Elves, halflings, etc all get a slight twist for you paranoid human's out there. Who is to say whether the things written here are xenophobic propaganda hit pieces or the dark truth, or both?

4. Querist is just your average crazy-zombie-demon with nonsensical plots that include giving away money to the poor, curing plagues, solving difficult math problems, bullying school children about their weight, and making sure puppies never get adopted. If you ever needed something to happen in your campaign without rhyme or reason, this guy should be on your DM speed dial. 

5. Lastly, many monsters in this book hunt the average sins or petty crimes of your regular joe-schmo villager. Having these sorts of monsters makes the conservative pieces of advice about staying true, being honest, etc some real teeth (or are these just fairy tales cooked up by the morality police and nosy-busy-bodies?). At worst, they have patterns outside of the usual monster tactic of food, treasure, or conquest. Many of them explicitly target horrible people, raising the question of how hard the players really want to protect the jerks among them.


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