Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Augury – 3 flavors of sin (Monsters of Sin)

In case you’re interested, my review on Monsters of Sin 1 – Avarice is here. I specially recommend this Monsters of Sin installment, based on its really cool monsters.

Our next sin is Envy. First you get a small template – Envious Creatures – that grants Improved Disarm, Steal or Sunder to the base creature, inflicting a few penalties on social skills. Bizarre and I wished the author has tried something more “supernatural” (and symbolic).

The new monsters are Bone Swarm (CR 11), Emerald Eye (CR 2) and Re-Echo Doppelganger (CR 14). The first creature isn’t something really new, but the author does pull up a cool new ability for swarms – Death’s Embrace. The Emerald Eye is perhaps the best creature concept (a really jealous psionic crystal), but I wished its abilities were more versatile or strong. The new Doppelganger is a scary martial version that copy feats and even spells and spell-like abilities.

The Embodiment of Envy (CR 19) is a more of a concept than a monster and can provide a cool framework for a recurring villain (or antagonistic source) in a campaign, especially if linked with some deity (or archdevil). Its special abilities are an interesting mix of beneficial and detrimental traits – discovering this can become the main goal of your party. Actually, looking now at this outsider, I really wished the author has done a template. It would fix nicely with its concept.

Time for the (usually) most grotesque sin – Gluttony.

I admit that I’m surprised that new template – Gluttonous Creature – doesn’t grant the Swallow Whole ability. It does however increase a creature’s size, Strength and Constitution.

The new monsters are the Bottomless Pit (CR 5), the Gnarljak (CR 6) and the Trap Bush (CR 10). The first critter is a disgusting aberration made all around the idea of swallowing (and digesting) adventurers. It’s the typical monster made to force a change of tactics in a party. The Gnarljak is a really devious construct that occupies the same role of traps in my mind. If it does catch you, it’ll hurt – a lot! The Trap Bush is a cool idea based on the goodberry spell. My only problem with it is that it doesn’t fit thematically with the other monsters.

The Embodiment of Gluttony (CR 18) is everything would expect of this sin – its grotesque and its getter bigger with each victim. A really cool take on the subject. I’m pondering adding an “Aura of Hunger” to it, and inflicting non-lethal damage to targets that don’t spend a move action eating.

Well, are these PDFs worth it? For $2.99, that’s definitely a yes! I still find Avarice the best PDF so far. Gluttony is also really cool, but I think Envy needed a stronger focus on its theme. Maybe its template should grant the base creature the power to mimic the most powerful ability of the (or to steal it). I don’t know, just an idea. Anyway, these PDFs are good for 2 reasons – they mix REALLY well with two other greater products: the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path (particularly to customize sinspawn) and the amazing Book of Fiends (still my favorite take on Neutral Evil outsiders).