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Thursday Treasurepile #3: Liber Bestarius

Written by MythicParty - Published on March 7, 2013

51JCMJSQ7SL._SS500_Our 3rd giveaway.  To review the Legalese:

Every Thursday has a short summary of gaming product.  If there are at least 20 unique comments under that review, we’ll give away whatever we’ve reviewed to the reader who posts a ‘+5 comment’ for it.   i.e. based upon whether the staff here either got something useful out of reading your post or maybe just LOL’d at your reply.  And yes, employees of DMing or their family members are not eligible, although their comments do count towards the 20 minimum requirement.  Readers can post multiple times- say if responding to another post- but still only get counted once towards the 20.  Contests run for a full-week, so if a book reviewed doesn’t get the full 20, it’ll stay eligible until it both does & the next review comes out.

Our other books to be given away- Love & War- The Sourcebook of Knights & Chivalry– + Classic Play Book of Adventuring still have not been given away, so please check it out & go post there as well.  Need a few more posts there before its eligible to be won.  Come on readers, we need your help here!

So Eden Studios’ Liber Bestarius- The Book of Beasts by Matthew Colville.  A 160-page perfect-bound hardback book from 2002 (MSRP $27) that gives us 61 new monsters, several of which are ranked ‘High’ for PC-suitable races.  (Other monsters are Medium, Low, & Zero) .  Each monster gets at least 2 full pages as well as an illustration.  In addition to the usual stats/numbers, there is a brief background explaining the monster, several paragraphs on their physiology/habitat, & then a section detailing their usual combat tactics.  Lastly every beastie has a few  story hooks for how to introduce them into your campaign, as well as any PC Suitability- Medium means that 1 or 2 things would have to be changed while Low literally means unique- “the character would be the only one of its kind in a given campaign world.”  Zero being ‘no way.”

Obviously fresh monsters can always be useful- the more creatures a DM can draw from, the more interesting an encounter can be.  So even being able to include a few of these in a game would help keep things fresh for those who have been through the various Monster Manuals.  Even without that factor, there is worthwhile material here.  These Platinum Pieces are a combination of things.  Eden Studios’ has a neat feature they call ‘Instant Badass’ which is essentially a pretty tough NPC, all ready to meet your PCs.  Each is given a name, an illustration (a  few with a full=page), equipment appropriate to their CR, & their own personal backstory.  Incredibly handy & something more such monster books should do.

The other Platinum aspect to the Bestarius is the overall organization.  Eden Studios has a simply awesome Appendix.  They start by listing the 2 new Feats (Planar Adaption & Speed of Thought) they made, then organize the creatures by size, Type/Subtype, CR, Level Experience, & then Alignment, Climate/Terrain.  All the Instant Badasses are listed along with their Class Level & pages.  Finally there is a list of any of these monsters that might be brought by Monster Summoning.  Very easy to find the right beastie for the right spot.

Alright DMing Readers, get those comments posted.  Remember, we need at least 20 before we can select someone’s to be the ‘+5 comment‘ & win this book for themselves!

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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Thanks for reading.

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Thursday Treasurepile #3: Liber Bestarius, 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings » Leave a comment

 

 Comments

22 Responses to “Thursday Treasurepile #3: Liber Bestarius”
  1. James Soon-Roth says:

    I think I would rather deal with the contense of this book turned to life than deal with the effects and persons of my current Afghanistan location. Since it is d20 capable, I might pick it up for my GM.

  2. francesco says:

    Oh well that is interesting, I need something new to scare the living hell out of my players (they seem to have read ALL the possible MM from Ad&D to Pathfinder)

  3. Chris says:

    I always like the thought of fully statted NPcs for use but a random generator can do this, just have to have a place to store the info after generation.

  4. Mason says:

    Giving my players something unexpected sounds great.

  5. Sean Holland says:

    Monsters with plothooks are my favorite kind.

  6. ub3r_n3rd says:

    It looks like it has more than kobolds, goblins, and bugbears, oh my!

    I know my group loves to encounter new/different creatures and one of my passions is to look through and devour every monster manual/bestiary out there.

  7. I think @francesco and @ub3r_n3rd hit it right on the head with this one. The biggest benefit I can see as a DM for this book is the fact that the monsters will be new for the players in my group.

    I think that the hardest part of running a game (in any genre) is keeping things interesting by doing your best to keep a steady flow of “newness”. This is easier to do with plot (if you do it right) than it is with combat, simply because anything that is rule-based is, by definition, more constrained than something that is free-form.

    If something like this gives some variety to help get my players’ blood flowing (figuratively and literally for their characters), I’m all for it!

  8. Liselle says:

    Okay, this does sound like a good resource for new monsters and badasses. I doubt that I could use the stats as presented, since my group has switched to D&D 4e, but I could still mine the book for aesthetics or good villain NPC concepts.

  9. Waffledragon says:

    I’m not entirely sure whether this book is an open-platform sourcebook or not.

    Regardless, the thought of having a book my players do not is a very exciting prospect. They have purchased the same (if not more) books than I have, which includes the Monster Manuals. A new book with complete and ready-to-rumble creatures is something that ANY GM would greet with open arms and a handful of dice. Or at least they should… :)

  10. Waffledragon says:

    @Liselle: Just because you’re doing 4e, doesn’t mean the monsters aren’t compatible. Any monster can be compatible, you just have to do a little thinking before introducing. At the most, you would have to set a DC-CR Knowledge check, and give it a few skills and/or feats to use, and voila, you can be done with it! Modding health and Damage output may also be necessary of course, but all in all, it isn’t even challenging to alter a beastie to fit in your chosen system. :)

  11. Kate says:

    That sounds freaking amazing. I love that includes alot of info about the monsters and that there are NPC builds included as well. A book with all NPC builds is something I’d love to have as well.

  12. Liselle says:

    @Waffledragon, have you played 4e at all? I might be able to use the ability scores from a d20 monster as a guideline, but that’s about it. Then, I’ll have to choose an appropriate level, whether the monster should be standard, elite or solo, and what its role is. Then, I can choose defenses, hit points, attack bonus, and damage output from the 4e DM Guides. Finally, I assign powers that are similar to the ones that monster should have (e.g., fire, poison, acid).

    Like I said, aesthetics. Basically, I’ll be taking a 4e monster template and making it look and feel like one in the book. That’s what I was saying.

  13. Chris says:

    I just like have monster power ideas so I can morph into any system. I know not funny but another comment for the comment count.

  14. Jay says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about the book just staring at me like that. Yikes!

  15. James says:

    This will be sweet! Organization in a book beyond a table of contents is so incredibly helpful. Too often, I cook up an encounter and I go to look for a creature that either, exists in the ecology of the encounter or one that fits with the overall theme (sometimes creature subtype) of the module and I spend upwards of a couple of hours trying to hunt something down that I haven’t used/would be interesting to throw at the party. Kudos to Eden Studios

  16. Tony says:

    Awesome! More Monsties! I like having even more things to throw at them, as it seems they can’t get it through their little heads that their new characters haven’t the knowledge of the old characters, new challenges are exactly what the DM ordered. Looking forward to getting this book.

  17. Adam says:

    The more monsters in my back pocket, the better. I play with two different groups – one that is new to gaming and has actually promised not to read anything except for the PHB for D&D until they are ready to move from a player role to a DM role and another group that has been playing since AD&D or earlier.

    The first group is fun as just the boring monsters form the MM are capable of bringing in a lot of entertainment as the players do literally have little information about the creatures. The second group requires heavy modification to catch them off guard – so the more ammunition and the more varied it is, the better off I am in preparation.

  18. EdTheMad says:

    In a campaign where the player were dragons, after a few battle they were quite beaten up when they faced an iron golem. After a few rounds, the only capable of fighting with a good amount of HP left was the green dragon, so he decided to use he BREATH WEAPON, and insisted on this.
    – It’s your breath.
    – Yes, I know! It’s a poison gas.
    The group, hoping he would figure out, got frustrated as he didn’t. The black dragon tried to give a tip.
    – I think your breath is not working.
    – Oh no! You’re right, the golem can HOLD HIS BREATH!

    Yeah, we can “always” surprise players with new monster (or old ones).

  19. Annie Malmstrom says:

    The more details about a monster provided the more likely I am to use it, 2 pages for each monster? Sounds right up my alley.

  20. Alton says:

    Of all the years I have been playing 3.5 D&D, I have never seen this book. Having some new monsters would be quite refreshing to throw into any epic campaign. Sometimes the monsters we currently have in the MM’s get stale and predictable, this is quite the change.

    Looks good!

  21. Ben Allred says:

    After reading about the other giveaways, this seems a little lackluster. Still, Eden Studios does good work and it seems like this book has something to contribute that you just won’t find in any Monster Manual.

  22. Kitsap Charles says:

    Back when I was running a 3.5 campaign, the possibility of throwing something at my players that they completely did not expect was intriguing. The problem with 3rd-party expansions and supplements was that they were *so* uneven in quality — often within a single book. That’s when I realized that simply adding a template to an existing monster, coupled with a description that didn’t jibe with anything they recognized, was easily as effective.

    That’s not to say that this supplement is bad /per se/, but that I would have been unlikely to use it.

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