Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pathfinder Bestiary 2: Review

I'll go ahead and say it - Paizo's Bestiary 2 is the Fiend Folio of the Pathfinder RPG. For those of you not familiar with the classic Dungeons & Dragons reference, let me take you back to 1981.

The Fiend Folio was the second hardback creature tome for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game (now known as 1st ed D&D). It had some monsters that came directly from some of TSR's adventure modules (the drow or dark elves from the Against the Giants and Drow series readily claimed iconic status), but a good chunk of it came from fan-based creations in the UK. Some were winners, some weren't. It's hard to imagine the game without the likes of the planes-traveling Githyanki (who graced the book's cover), or my favorite - the dark folk (dark creepers and dark stalkers). Some of the monsters were way out there, and all of them showed a lot of imagination, regardless. While I never considered the book superior to the original Monster Manual, I cannot deny that I always brought a selection of FF creatures into my games.

Well, that's what Bestiary 2 feels like to me now. There's plenty of stuff in there that if you want to populate your adventures with B2 monsters, you can readily do it. It definitely has that otherworldly feel to it, considering the number of extraplanar creatures, fey, and aberrations you can find in between the covers. Of course, you get a number of dinosaurs, magical beasts, and giant mammals and insects to boot.

I recognize a number of the creatures from prior Pathfinder publications, although I'm fairly sure a number of them are seeing print for the first time - at least in regards to how Pathfinder has re-imagined a lot of the classic monsters of the D&D game. I must say, I do like how they did some interesting takes on freaky monsters from the old D&D 3.0/3.5 Monster Manual like the destrachan and the howler - and that's just the artwork.

Oh, and the dark slayer (a new addition to the dark folk), may be a new favorite of mine.


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