This post is for all the 4th edition players out there, or at least those of you willing to admit your still playing 4th edition which has become the gaming equivalent of smoking while pregnant..not technically against the law but overwhelmingly met with shock, revulsion, and swift condemnation by others. I wanted to let people know that there is still awesome content being produced, not by Wizard’s of the Coast mind you (god forbid), but by others with a real passion for the system and who share the belief that it was thrown in the wood chipper a little to soon. I am not just talking about great fan generated content like Frothsoff 4e, but company generated stuff as well.
The Midgard Bestiary for 4th Edition (Open Design) by Richard Green and Brian Liberage is one of these new products that really scratched an itch for me. I have written before that one of my major gripes with 4th edition is that they didn’t get the monster math sorted out until later in cycle, causing the majority of the monsters designed for the system to be full of suckage and virtually unusable. When I flip through the Monster Manual 1 and 2 I actually feel embarrassed for the monsters, like I am embarrassed for them. It would literally be a crime to have them square off with the veritable plethora of twinked up pc’s I am frequently assailed by. Listen I know what your gonna say “the players don’t always have to be physically threatened, you can have alternative combat goals…blabity blah blah blah” Sometimes you just wanna smash the pc’s in the mouth and let them know you mean business.
The Bestiary does not suffer at all from this monster impotence as it utilizes the updated damage progression. The monster ecologies and fluff are based, not unsurprisingly, on the Midgard setting, another Open Design project and originally Wolfgang Baur’s homebrew world. I enjoy reading fluff, you might even say that I am a bit of a fluffer (kidding), and the Midgard Bestiary really delivers in this regard. Don’t let this push you away from the product though, as the monster mechanics are not tied to the setting and are easily re-skinned. For example, I have used dudes exclusively from this book to stock the latest location in my Dark Sun game full of Tareks. In the end it is really the mechanics that matter most and the book offers some interesting and cool variations for a little freshness. I particularly liked the several different Hags and Babba Yaga’s Horseman.
I managed to snag this bad boy through a Kickstarter project. I got a full color soft cover print edition and a pdf (if you’re reading Wizards take some notes) for 25$, well worth it my opinion. Overall, I really like this product and find it refreshing to grab a monster book that isn’t the “Monster Vault” for a change when I am looking to make my players crap their pants