Art of the Genre

I did a review recently of a product and was accused of, and I quote ‘not having enough meat’ in it. So, taking that to heart, I set about delving into another modern gaming supplement, Pathfinder’s Bestiary 4.

Now I know what many of you are thinking, what the heck could Paizo put in a fourth huge monster supplement? Well, certainly I thought the same thing, and yet as I sat down with this very impressive 317 page hardcover book, I was soundly amazed by the content.

So, to provide ‘meat’, I’m going to take you through what makes this book so important to me that I’d add it to my already extensive collection of Pathfinder ‘gear’.

And that means I’m bringing out some monsters!

Bodythief: Page 20. Now seriously, I was on Facebook not a week ago and someone had a horrifying picture of Donald Sutherland pointing and screaming from the 1978 horror classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. My mother took me to see this movie when I was 7 and I ended up spending the bulk of the movie sitting in the lobby. To this day, I’ve yet to sit through it, and seeing the Bodythief in Bestiary 4 made we very badly want to unleash them on my players… I mean, this village seems rather odd don’t you think? Perhaps I’ll just take this plant they game me and go to sleep in the inn.

Clockworks: Starting Page 30. Yeah, let’s build some stuff from metal and make it kill players! Awesome, and the best part, no critical hits in my homebrew because I don’t allow them on constructs! Take that vorpal weapons, and I’ve got four pages of these things!

Colossus: Starting Page 34: Golems don’t pack enough punch for you? Try one of these babies out and see your players duck and cover.

Demon Lord, Kostchthcie, Page 48: When artist Daniel Horne did his version of Kostchthcie from the MMII on the cover of Dragon Magazine I instantly had my very favorite demon lord, and now, finally, we’ve got his stats for Pathfinder! Oh, and Pazuzu is on the next page as well!

Velociraptor: Page 59: Want to take your Pathfinder party to a revisit of the classic D&D Isle of Dread? If so, be sure to throw some of these at them!

Dragon, Outer, Starting Page 65: Two words, Space Dragons… enough said!

Einherji, Page 84: Because I love a good Norse inspired campaign, that’s why!

Fleshwarp, Starting Page 101: Yep, because you absolutely need to put the ‘creeps’ back in your campaign. Trust me, these are going to do the trick in spades.

Formain, Starting Page 108: Slave Pits of the Undercity anyone!? Finally, yes finally we’ve got the stats for the Formian ant race. Love these guys, and good to see them make an appearance.

Great Old One, Starting Page 135: Ok, here were go! Have you waited for these stats in your Pathfinder universe since… hmmm, let’s say the original AD&D Deities and Demigods 1st print circa 1978 before these Gods were stripped out? If so, look no further because all your Cthulhu stats are here, and yes, the big C himself is worth 9,830,400 XP.

Juggernaut, Page 163: Been waiting for this one since the Desert of Desolation!

Kaiju, Starting Page 165: Loved Pacific Rim? Loved Godzilla? Yep, we’ve got all you need to make some ‘Tokyo Smash’ in your campaigns.

Kitsune, Page 175: Because I love L5R and it’s great to see this fox race in the game of Pathfinder.

Lycanthrope, Wereshark, Page 190: One of my favorite campaigns, run by my old DM Mark, was ‘The Out Islands’. My sea ranger sat on the back of the ship the entire campaign watching a wereshark follow us wherever we went. Yep, I’m not likely to forget how much I hate weresharks…

Selkie, Page 236: Because they’ve always given me the creeps…

Swan Maiden, Page 257: Well, there has to be some beauty along with all the beasts, right? RIGHT!?

Vampire, Nasferatu, Page 269: No shiny vampires here!

Zombie Lord, Page 286: Because sometimes standard zombies just aren’t enough.

So there you have it, just a small rundown of stuff I thought was awesome in this volume and there were several hundred more monsters that I didn’t have time to write about! Not to mention there are Appendices that detail Mythic Creatures for upper level campaigns, Monster Cohorts and Animal Companions, as well as all sorts of detail for the DM to design creatures and understand feats. And, like previous Bestiary volumes, Paizo has a great visual coding system for making all creatures easily classed and utilized.

Trust me when I say that Jason Bulmahn and his design team pulled out all the stops to make this book worth your investment, and cover artist Wayne Reynolds and the legion of artists who rendered every single monster in full color also had a hand in making this book outstanding. Keep up the outstanding work Paizo, and I’ll keep coming back for more!

Gaming Review: 4 [out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — September 24, 2013

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