Monsters of the NeoExodus-line


Bilecrawler

 

This pdf is 4 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 2 pages of content.

This is straightforward, we get two incarnations of a slug-like monster somewhat similar to the Ankheg.

-Bilecrawler (CR 3): A nice slug-like critter that spews caustic bile and hunts by digging up, surprising enemies.

-Vilecrawler (CR 5): The domesticated, weaponized advanced version of the Bilecrawler, this is just a bigger, more bad-ass version of the Bilecrawler.

Their flavor-text includes some references to other critters not yet released and made me interested in them as well. The artwork of the creature is top-notch and cool. There is one editing relic in the passage on their tunnels.

 

Conclusion:

There is nothing per se wrong with these critters, they are cute death-slugs and for the low price, you’ll get a decent purchase. Unfortunately no lore-section is given for the creatures and I would have loved a section on e.g. how to harvest their acid or how to train them. The editing relic is unfortunate. It would also have been nice, if the Vilecrawler had some other kind of ability apart from being a bigger version of the Bilecrawler that does everything a bit better. As written, it’s a decent purchase and a nice alternative to the Ankheg. Due to the similarity with the Ankheg and the potential the critters have, I’ll settle for a solid 3 stars. This could easily have been a 5-star file, though.

 

 Fleshweaver

 

This pdf is 8 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 2 pages mini-monster sheets and 1 page initiative counters, leaving 3 pages for the Fleshweaver.

The fleshweavers are terrible centaur-like aberrations with insect-like heads and the lower body of a spider.

We get 3 incarnations of the creature.

-Fleshweaver (CR 7)

-Fleshweaver Paragon (Fleshweaver Paragon 3, CR 10)

-Gloambristle Fleshweaver (CR 10)

Fleshweavers have some buffing spell-casting capabilities, fight with two weapons, can poison their attacks and make nice hit-and-run-scare-the-players critters.
I like the idea and execution of the critter, however, there are some minor mechanical inconsistencies: Fleshweavers cast “spells as a 6th-level cleric, sorcerer, or wizard,” – which makes it difficult to handle the creature. Do they cast spontaneous? What is the key-ability modifier governing their spell-casting? Is it divine magic or arcane magic? From the creature description I gather the latter, but I’m not entirely sure.

Additionally, the Fleshweaver Paragon (which is, I guess, an advanced, amped up version of the fleshweaver) mentions “Fleshweaver Paragon 3” in the brackets, which, while nice, doesn’t really help me – I’m not entirely sure whether this refers to a paragon template or a class. The line should probably just be deleted, leaving this creature standing as a more bad-ass version of its kind. Also, the section explaining how they poison their weapons in the Paragon’s section is not written in italics as with the other two statblocks. On the nitpicky side, the skills in the racial modifier section are written in all lower caps and not with a capital letter in the beginning, but this is a minor glitch that does not really impede enjoyment of the creature.

Conclusion:

Layout and artwork are beautiful, especially for the low price. As mentioned above, editing is not perfect, but passable. The mechanics seem to be solid enough, although I would have loved to see the Gloambristle Fleshweavers get some unique ability apart from being bigger and more bad-ass than the normal weavers. Their artwork rocks but they felt like something was missing. Quite frankly, I would have loved to see them get something more far-out as far as abilities go, something beyond some spells, arachnid abilities and poison. They are called Fleshweavers, after all, why don’t they get a cool fleshweaving ability? Due to the editing glitches and the fact that these critters have a lot of potential that is not entirely realized, I’m going to look at my other reviews: Bilecrawlers got 3 stars and I didn’t notice as many glitches there. However, we get one more statblock, so I’m going to settle for 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

 

Harvester of Sorrow

 

This pdf is 7 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial + SRD, 1 page mini-sheets and 1 page counters, leaving 3 pages of content, so let’s check them out.

The Harvester of Sorrow is an undead creature and uses a sonic ability to make other people aggrieved, a new condition similar to the confused condition and a linear 4 round progression – I.e. after 4 rounds, the creature gains a new save. This might seem a bit powerful, but I still like the idea of the condition. Harvesters also get a new disease they transmit via their bite. They come in two variations, the regular harvesters (CR 4) and Dread Harvesters (CR 6), the latter also getting a nice aura ability. The creatures are quite interesting in that they are rather physically weak undead but can disrupt or potentially kill a lot of PCs/people via their wail and aura. On the downside, though, the disease mentions having an effect of 1d4, but does not specify the attribute it damages, rendering it unusable.

Conclusion:

Layout is beautiful and once again, the artwork rocks. While I encountered some minor editing glitches and typos, there are not too many. I liked the new condition, although its 4-round progression-cycle limits its potential usability with other creatures. On the other hand, the disease does not work as written, which is a big problem. My final verdict will thus be 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2.

 

Caliban

 

This pdf is 7 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD and two pages of print-out mini-sheets for monsters, a nice bonus for the DM. That leaves 3 pages for the new creatures, the Calibans.

This is straightforward, as it includes two statblocks of the new race of monstrous humanoids it introduces, the white-skinned, barbaric Calibans. Think “The Hills have Eyes” if you want to know what to expect. Degenerated, cannibalistic, brutishly strong guys.

Two statblocks are given:

-Caliban (CR 1/3): This section also comes with information for Caliban characters, who get +4 Str, -2 to Int, Wis and Cha, Ferocity, Darkvision (60 ft.), Light Sensitivity and familiarity with Caliban weapons.

-Caliban Headhunter (CR 3): This is a two-handed fighter, as per the APG-rules. All rules necessary to play them are included, though.

The pdf also includes 6 racial feats for the Calibans:

-Consume Brain: Gain knowledge of the deceased person’s memories and, in a limited form, their skills by eating their brain. Great idea to implement them as a roleplaying device or make PCs traffic with the brutish Calibans. I’ll use this feat in my campaign, if only to gross out my players and force them to make hard decisions.

-Consume Heart: Eat hearts to gain temporal bonuses to Str and Con, depending on the HD of the creature consumed. While not providing as many roleplaying opportunities as Consume Brain does, it still makes for an iconic feat for a villain to have.

-Terrible Sunder: When successfully sundering armor, weapon or shield, you may add your Str-modifier to the excess damage. Ok feat, I guess.

-Filthy Beast: Gain half your level as a bonus to saves against poison and disease. I’d never allow this for PCs, as it is EXTREMELY strong, depending on your campaign’s style.

-Plague Carrier: Makes your Caliban immune to a certain disease and lets you inflict it on others via unarmed strikes and natural attacks, although Calibans per se don’t have the latter. This feat left me with a “been there, done that” feeling.

-Prime Specimen: +1 to all Str-based Skills and +3 to all Str-checks. Ok, I guess.

 

Conclusion:

Me being a huge fan of the unfortunately discontinued 3.0/3.5.-interpretation of Ravenloft (not the mockery WotC has made out of it with a certain 3.5.-adventure…), the Caliban has hit a soft spot of mine. On the plus side, the artwork as can be seen on the cover and layout are beautiful, we get these monster-sheets and some bonus feats. However, we don’t get a lore-section, a fully detailed ecology or the like. The feats are ok, but should be handled with care if you allow a player to play a Caliban. Consume Brain is a great roleplaying catalyst and I would have loved to see more along the cannibalism angle. Editing-wise, I didn’t notice any mistakes or typos. What struck me as kind of strange, though, was that on the one hand Calibans are familiar with Caliban weapons, but none are given in the pdf. I think that meat-hooks, gruesome weaponry etc. would have improved this file even further – as written, the weapon familiarity is unfortunately quite useless. This being my only true point of criticism, especially for the low price, I’ll settle for a solid 4-star rating. A good race of monstrous humanoids that could have been a 5-star file.

 

 Cerebral Assassin

This pdf is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page counters, 1 page SRD, 1 page mini-sheets and 1 page combat & initiative tracker, leaving 5 pages for the monster, so let’s check it out!

The cerebral assassin is an aberration with mental abilities that may daze enemies (mind static) and subsequently kill them (mind blast) with another ability, while also offering some abilities to cloak themselves. We get 2 incarnations of the creatures, the regular cerebral assassins (CR 8) and the cerebral assassin paragons (CR 12). The latter actually get some additional abilities beyond simple HD progression, which is nice.

The avid reader can probably guess, which critter these guys are somewhat reminiscent of – hint: They are beloved by many, WotC IP and somehow look like miniature Cthulhu sans wings. I do consider that to be a plus, however, I’ve also got some points of criticism: Mind blast usually was an ability that stuns enemies, not kills them. I think another name would help to give these creatures a more unique identity. On a mechanical note, while I do think that having to daze an enemy first to kill him via mind blast is a nice idea, I do think that the DCs are high: Mind static being a 30 ft. burst with a DC 19 or 23, mind blast also has these DCs. The paragon has the ability focus feat for mind blast , but the DC is just as high as for mind static, for which the stat block does not mention the feat. Plus, the saves in question are will saves. I’m not sure, but I think I’d prefer variable DCs or them being fort saves. That is only a personal preference, though. What is certain, though, is that regular Assassin’s Death attack, with 3 rounds observation and the requirements for available targets is still weaker, making the cerebral assassins potentially very deadly. Another weird choice is that the cerebral assassins get a grab attack, which I could imagine with their inspiration, but from the artwork, I can’t imagine them biting PCs.

Conclusion:

Layout, as always with NeoExodus-books, is beautiful. The artwork, while nice, is somewhat ridiculous. while the text for the cerebral assassin is nice, the artwork would elicit laughs from my group. That might just be due to our twisted minds, though. 😉
Once again formatting and editing glitches are there: Additional blank spaces, numbers for skills that have slipped to the next line sans their plus, minor typos (e.g. 3rd person singular and comma errors, etc.) are there etc. More importantly, though, there seems to be a math-error or an omitted feat in the paragon stat-block. I’d do the math for the whole creature, but I’m quite frankly, too lazy. In combination with the rather strange choice of e.g. the grab ability for the creature and my balance concerns for their insta-kill attack, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 2 stars.

 

 The Chanting Queen

 

This pdf is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page counters, 2 pages of mini-sheets and 1 page combat & initiative tracker, leaving 4 pages for the Queen, so let’s have a look at her!

All right. The Monsters of NeoExodus -line has provided us with some truly far-out creatures, but this one takes the “Wicked cool”-idea-cake: The chanting queen is the embodiment of a sentient spell that seeks to prolong and propagate its own existence by subverting the collective wills of people sent into a surreal paradise that solely exists in their minds by usage of said spell. The queen is a CR 19 foe, an incorporeal construct that is focused on utterly dominating her enemies and subverting them into the blissful utopia of her own addictive pseudo-reality. Once, her spell might have been designed to provide succor for the deranged and traumatized. Now, however, the chant may very well spread like an infectious wildfire of bliss and stupor and her mostly enchanting/dominating abilities reflect her non-lethal and yet deeply disturbing nature.

The Chant-scroll containing the rite of the old spell is also detailed and offers enough incentives for hard-pressed PCs to use the addictive scroll in spite of its risks. We also get information on DCs of Bardic knowledge etc.

 

Conclusion:

Layout adheres to the beautiful two-column full-color standard set by LPJr Design, formatting is top-notch, I noticed one minor punctuation error, but apart from that I didn’t notice any glitches or problems with the abilities of the queen. Due to the low price, the cool concept and the additional information provided, I’ll settle for a final score of 5 stars.

 

 Necrostruct

This pdf is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page combat & initiative tracker, 2 pages mini-sheets, 1 page counters, 1 page SRD and editorial, leaving 5 pages for the Necrostructs, so let’s take a closer look at them!

We get three stat-blocks of Necrostructs: Lesser (CR 7), normal (CR 10) and greater necrostructs (CR 13). Necrostructs are a terrifying combination of an undead and a construct.
Ok. We’ve seen that before. However, these takes on the trope come with magic immunity, energy drain, magic sense and a signature ability of permanently draining magic items: With a touch, necrostructs can drain and thus destroy magic items, though they get a will save. Cooler, though, they get a nice hive-mind-like quality to control them. Greater necrostructs become free-willed and subsequently sport skills and feats and go beyond simple progression by gaining a diseased breath weapon. They all come with information on how to construct them.
I don’t have anything to complain rules-wise but one thing – the general capability to destroy magic items, while cool and painful for PCs, in my opinion should somehow scale depending on the power of the item. It somehow feels wrong to have almost artifact-level weapons be just as easily destroyed as regular weapons.

Conclusion:

Layout is beautiful and adheres to the full-color, two-column standard set for the series. The pdf is not bookmarked, but at that size, it’s not a problem. While I encountered some errors regarding punctuation, they don’t impede the usability of the creatures. I’m not entirely blasted away, but neither do I have much to complain about regarding the mechanics apart from the non-scaling magic-item-destruction-ability. Thus, my final verdict will be slightly above average, a 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

 

Scythian

This pdf is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page creature counters, 2 pages monster sheets, 1 page combat & initiative tracker, leaving 12 pages of content for the Scythians.

The pdf kicks off with two pages history of the Scythians, a servitor race of the first ones. While they look humanoid, the bonespur-growing creatures are engines of destruction and feature their own warrior-culture and reproduce via “hatching” bonespurs. Disturbing. 4 infamous Scythians are mentioned. Although no stats are given, each can serve as a nice adversary.

A new material, a new alchemical item and a new magic item, focusing on lessening the costs of material spell components are provided.

After that, we get 6 adventure/campaign ideas, all but one (that was the standard “go below, encounter enemies”) of which had something going for them.

While they are not intended as playable characters, their racial traits are given and, should you be so inclined, you could play one. A variety is also given, the dark Scythian, bred with a natural invisibility that he can use a limited number of rounds per day. The central idea of the race is that they can grow bone weapons from their bodies at will and thus, many of the feats presented herein expand upon this idea. We get 16 new feats:

-Bone Blade: Grow a longsword-like bonespur instead of the standard short-sword-like one.

-Bone Blade, Greater: Grow a bastardsword-like bonespur instead of the standard short-sword-like one.

-Bone Caltrops: Litter the floor with bony caltrops. COOL idea!

-Bone Knuckles: Unarmed Strike as if one size larger, monks increase their damage dice by one category.

-Bone Razor: Self-grown bone weapons are considered masterwork.

-Bone Spikes: Shoot spikes like a handcrossbow.

-Bone Tools: Create thieves tools from your bones.

-Bone Tools, Greater: Create masterwork thieves tools from your bones.

-Disjointed Skeleton: Squeeze through small spaces.

-Facial Contortions: Alter face 1/day as if by disguise self.

-Intimidating Mask: Use Con instead of Cha for Intimidate, but get the same
penalty to Diplomacy.

-Natural Invisibility, Extra: 2 extra uses of natural invisibility.

-Natural Invisibility, Greater: Char-level rounds, your natural invisibility works as Greater Invisibility.

-Natural Invisibility, Improved: Your natural invisibility lasts for minutes instead of rounds.

-Reinforced Bones: Gain DR 1/piercing and become immune to nonlethal whip damage.

-Reinforced Bones, Improved: DR increases to 3/piercing.

After that, we get 5 sample Scythian statblocks:

-Scythian Bone Flower Initiate (Monk 5, CR 4): I noticed that there are probably some miscalculations here, e.g. in the initiative and AC (Wis 10 should not grant a +1 bonus to AC) of this one.

-Scythian Soldier (CR 1/2): Rank & file Scythian

-Scythian Sergeant ( Fighter 4, CR 3)

-Scythian Captain (Fighter 10, CR 9)

-Scythian Commander (Fighter 10, CR 10)
We also get two Scythian mini-templates, Barbed Scythian (Half-barbed devils, CR +1) and Half-Scythians (CR +1). Both get a sample statblock.

-Barbed Scythian Monk (Monk 5, CR 5)

-Half-Scythian Hill Giant (CR 8)
We also get three new monsters:

-Scythian Bone Golem (CR 6): Cool bone Golem that explodes when killed and can shoot bone shards, comes with means of construction

-Scythian Bone Swarm (CR 8?): A swarm from unborn Scythian bone shards. The editing has improved in this revision of the file: While the statblock contradicts still itself, being CR 8 and only 600 XP, its HP-count has been fixed.

-Scythian Cemetery (CR 12): This is supposed to be an undead conglomerate of Scythians, but I’m not entirely sure whether this is supposed to be a swarm or not. While it’s type is undead and it has no swarm-traits, it also mentions “Immune: weapon damage”. An additional clarification would have been nice here

Scythian skeletons are also mentioned as a variant of the burning skeleton.

Conclusion:

Artwork and Layout are beautiful and you get quite a lot of content for the low prize of 2 bucks. The writing could use some improvements, though, as the fluff didn’t impress me that much and the Scythians, although cool, seem rather one-dimensional to me, which is a pity, really, as I think they could have made an even cooler critter. The central feature of the race, growing bone blades, has been revised and its mechanics are now clear and concise. Unfortunately, the pdf still suffers from some editing glitches. Thus, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.
RPGNow.com

And the best one at the end

Annihilation Sphere

 

This pdf is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page mini-sheets for monsters, leaving 6 pages of content, so what is this sphere about?

Put simply, the annihilation sphere is a doomsday device of epic proportions, a spherical construct that was constructed by the aneishi (or was it? – never trust the first ones…) to counteract the human insurgency driven by the Kaga. The sphere, however, turns out to be a rather uncontrollable engine of devastation and subsequently was dispatched and forgotten in the subsequent time.

Unfortunately for the world of NeoExodus at large, the sphere was not destroyed and fell into NeoExodus’ Darkseid-like villIan’s hands.
The write-up of the sphere includes what some of the factions of the world and how they’d use (or fear) the sphere. The sphere itself comes with 2 sets of statblocks, one for CR25 and one for even deadlier CR 30. How deadly is there sphere, then? Well, the orbiting satellite spheres can blast up to NINE spells per round as a standard action at your PCs. This specific mechanic is elegant and unique, but even worse news for your PCs, the sphere also has a deadly dampening field that cancels out spells and psionics and some defensive abilities that might have your PCs sweating, although its hit points are nothing to write home about at this level, even though it has more HP than similar constructs due to a special quality. I should also note that beyond mechanics, we also get a new book-write-up to put the PCs on the trail of the sphere or learn about it.

After the SRD you also get a 1-page primer of the nations, religions, etc. of NeoExodus.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. The pdf is a beauty to behold, its layout adheres to the full-color NeoExodus standard and the artwork, as we’ve come to expect of LPJr Design, ranks among the best out there. The annihilation sphere is a deadly, versatile engine of destruction with several signature abilities and will force even the most powerful of PCs to play smart or perish at its arcane onslaught. For the very low price, you get two statblocks for a quite deadly and cool construct that will haunt the nightmares of PCs. All in all, due to the cool idea of the parallel casts (and its limitations!), the low price and the lack of glitches, I’ll settle for 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval. This is my favorite book of the “Monsters of…”-series, on par with the Chanting Queen.

As always, thanks for reading my ramblings,
Endzeitgeist out.

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