today I've gottwo new installments of the TRIBES-line for you:
This pdf is 26 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside the front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page explaining how to read stat-blocks to novice DMs, 1 page back cover and 2 pages advertisement, leaving 18 pages for the centaurs, so let's have a look at them!
The TRIBES-line of Raging Swan has provided us with some great sets of monstrous tribes to set upon our PCs and this latest installment is a take on the roaming tribe of centaur. In tradition with the recent Raging Swan files, we get a cool rhyming verse on the ToC-page that serves as a nice bardic verse to introduce and sum up the tribe. After that, we get an introduction to the peculiarities of the tribe, including appearance - we get a little table to customize the individuals, which I consider a nice touch. Raging Swan products have a tradition of nice b/w-artwork and this one is no different - in fact, it goes further and features some beautiful, evocative pictures of the bleak moor, home to the centaurs and new setting beyond the tangled forest. Even better, we get a map of the new region. The write-up of the moor also includes extensive information on the terrain, serving as another proof that Creighton Broadhurst keeps in touch with his fan-base and continuously improves his products. The battle-feats to customize the individual tribes of the line have become a staple of the series, and this pdf is no exception - we get 5 new battle feats focusing on the centaur's giant eagles and devastating sling combat style. Fans of halflings might want to check this file out just for the sling-feats - from manystone to stunning hits and rapid sling loading, these new feats rocks. In contrast to other installments, though, we also get alternate class features for both the druid and the rangers of the centaurs and the full stats for their giant eagle companions. Furthermore, we get 4 new spells focusing on terrain control in the bog and a new magical sling as well as two kinds of enchanted sling ammunition and a new exotic double weapon (the double morningstar) for their berserkers. The sling and ammo get their own artworks.
The crunchy part of the pdf is separated into different section: Minor encounters, major encounters and characters.
Minor encounters feature the rank-in-file warriors, berserkers, druids and scouts as well as two sample groups. Major encounters include ready stat-blocks of both experienced berserkers, sling-specialists, veteran warriors and greater druids. They also come with two sample groups. Finally, we get the warleader of the centaurs, Corafel Ferareen (Advanced centaur barbarian 4/Moorland Ranger 3, CR 11) and Solavel Verynn (Advanced centaur druid of the bleak Moor 7, CR 11). Both get the raging swan NPC-treatment with mannerisms, distinguishing features, hooks, etc. However, Corafel, due to space-reasons, doesn't get much text. Solavel makes up for this by a cool adventure hook involving a debased fey. It also doesn't hurt that both get their own pieces of artwork.
Editing is top-notch, I didn't notice any mistakes. Formatting adheres to the 2-column standard. Layout is clear, concise and printer-friendly and the deal includes an e-reader-friendly version of the pdf. The pdf is also extensively bookmarked for ease of reference. As has almost become tradition with Raging Swan publications, this pdf is extremely easy to use and endeavors to take as much weight as possible from the shoulders of the GM and easily succeeds in this. The sling-feats are cool, the spells rock, the fluff of the tribe is cool and rife with some nice ideas and the b/w-artworks of the moor are stunningly beautiful. Moreover, while it's a pity that the fluff of one of the NPCs fell a bit on the short side, the other one makes up for this and we get the quality statblocks we've come to expect of the series. The map and the potential connection to the upcoming minotaur-book is another factor in favor of this pdf. What else can I say? Raging Swan Press has once again surpassed its own by now ridiculously high standard, delivering an installment of the TRIBES-line that even surpasses the more than excellent Half-Goblins of the Tangled Forest. Ladies & Gentlemen, my final verdict is, as it should be, 5 Rudii - highly recommended, not only to people who want a tribe of centaurs.
And here are the dread rivals of the centaurs, the
This pdf is 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside front cover, 1 page sub-header, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (including once again a great rhyme), 1 page back cover, 1 page advertisement and 1 page SRD, leaving 18 pages for the tribe of minotaurs. It should be noted that the pdf comes (as all Raging Swan books that are part of the dual format initiative) with an additional version optimized for e-readers.
Without further ado, let's check them out!
After the obligatory page explaining how to read stat-blocks to novice DMs, we get 2 pages of fluff text on the minotaurs. The question you all want answered, of course, is whether this installment of the TRIBES-series once again manages to add a different twist to a classic monster trope. To be frank: Yes, it does - the scarlet axe minotaurs are made unique via several ideas: First of all, they are rather civilized, eschewing the barbarism and rage usually associated with the horned beasts. Another distinguishing mark would be the minotaur's special breeding. Serving an elder race on the decline, the scarlet axes have an aptitude for sorcerous power due to the mingling with their dread Yith masters. Suffice to say, we also get lore sections on the tribe, their masters and even some information on the black hills, their home.
Following the tradition of the TRIBES-line, we also get a huge box detailing the environment in which the minotaurs might be encountered and several locations that might serve as nice adventure locales/hooks for further adventures. We also get a one-page map of the black hills & the bleak moor, the haunt of the minotaur's archenemies. I should also note that the hills get stunning original pieces of b/w-artworks, as do the minotaurs.
On the crunch-side, we get the new Yith-bloodline for sorcerors, a new ranger-variant and 4 battle-feats that help displaying the unique fighting style of the tribe. I liked the bloodline and had no problems with any of the feats. We also get 4 new sorceror spells focusing on maneuverability and taking on aspects of the Yith as well as two new magic items (boots and a quiver), complete with their own artworks and lore-sections.
After that, we get to the stats:
We get normal and elite warriors (CR 5 & 7), Scouts (CR 7), Sorcerors (CR 7) and 3 sample encounters. In addition to the sample ideas for minotaurs given in the fluff section, we also get 2 fully detailed NPCs that get the Raging Swan NPC-treatment, i.e. we get distinguishing features, mannerisms, hooks etc. In addition, the two NPCs get their own artworks. The final two pages are devoted to the bat-like humanoid masters of the minotaurs, the Yith, which get 3 variant spell-lists, full stats and e.g. ecology & society sections as well as their own artwork.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice a single mistake. Layout adheres to the clear and elegant standard established by Raging Swan Press. The quality of both writing, stat-blocks etc. is superb. If I had to nit-pick, I'd say that I didn't particularly care for the battle-feats or the variant ranger and that the Yith-artwork is "only" good. That's it. The b/w-artworks are STUNNING and belong to the best I've seen in quite a while and the tribe per se, once again, is almost perfect. For the lack of flaws and the excellent writing as well as the overall supreme quality, I practically have to rate this installment of the TRIBES-series 5 Rudii and add the Endzeitgeist seal of approval - once again, Raging Swan delivers an excellent quality product for a very affordable price.
P.S.: The Kobold-tribe has been updated with additional information on terrain.
All right, finally, I have a nice FREE critter by Spes magna Games for you!
This pdf is 3 pages, 1 page SRD, leaving 2 pages for the free critter, so let's give it a closer look.
Tha baykok is an undead hunter suitable for mid-to medium level parties that has a tremendous potential to be both creepy and memorable. Why? It has 2 cool signature abilities I haven't seen before: It uses invisible arrows and is invisible, even while attacking, to all but the target of its attacks. Now this makes for very cool predator-like encounters and awesome horror-potential. What about PCs trying to protect a target from a whole group of them? Awesome work. And it's free.
Editing and formatting are top-notch and while there is no artwork, the fluff-text makes sure to adequately convey the coolness of the creature. Layout adheres to the printer-friendly two-column standard. Plus: This is FREE. You get a critter that is cooler than a lot of creatures you usually have to pay for and for the price diddly-squat. You have NO reason not to check this out. If there ever will be a Spes Magna monster book with foes of that quality, I'll be sure to pick it up. My verdict will be 5 Rudii.
All right, that's it for now from yours truly, next time, I'll have an adventure and a sourcebook for you!
As always, thank you for reading my ramblings,