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Designed by: Jeremy Hart
“Creature Feature Quarterly volume 1” is a compendium of 13 monstrosities (and otherwise) in a black and white zine style. I’m not normally a fan of that style, but the monster artwork is very well done, and the black ink fits the theme of the grotesque monsters.
Out of the 13 monsters, 10 of them are between CR 5-10, making this a solidly Tier 2 compendium. There’s a decent amount of variety to be found, though it relies too much on the hulking brute archetype.
Each monster entry is given a full page of information beyond the stat block, organized between Description, Ecology, Lore, and Seeds. Seeds are story ideas and hooks on possible ways to include the monster in your campaign.
I’ve never seen story hooks used in a monster compendium before – I love it! Some are quite clever and inventive and reveal some interesting ways to use the monsters, particularly the ones that aren’t immediately hostile to players, such as the Cerebran Warlock and Protocol Imp.
Most of the creatures err on the challenging side, which tends to be the case for new monsters. Nobody wants to make simple fodder – they want their big bad beasties to be main events and epic boss battles, capable of instilling terror into the most confident of players. That being said some creatures like the Star Tyrant seem eye-poppingly powerful.
At CR 7 the Star Tyrant has impressive HP, AC, and saving throws and Perception, as well as several condition communities and damage resistances. It can paralyze in a cone, innately dominate PCs and teleport them, and make three tentacle attacks at +8 with an average of 15 damage each. But the craziest part is its Energy Drain attack: +8, deals 6d10+12 damage plus 4d6 psychic damage, gaining temporary hit points of half damage dealt, and paralyzes on a failed save. Holy bananas!
Oh and it also reproduces like the xenomorphs in the Alien franchise, chest-bursting and all. That’s a hell of a monster design.
The monsters work best when they operate around a new concept or wholly original design, like the Star Tyrant. The Mantid Stitch Golem is a unique cross between a giant spider, golem, and ghoul, capable of climbing on walls and pouncing on victims with its giant blade arms. And the Tatterdemalion Lich is based around the Magic Jar spell, capable of possessing anyone around it.
There’s a lot of impressive monster designs found in “Creature Feature Quarterly volume 1,” and the full page descriptions go a long way in painting a vivid picture of the creature’s habitats and quirks beyond the stat blocks.
- Monster information is well organized, including background lore and ecology.
- Visual size comparisons for each entry.
- Each monster has several story seeds and hooks as fun examples to include the creature in your campaign.
- Black ink zine art style works well for the mostly alien and demonic creatures.
- Mostly focuses on Tier 2 creatures, some of which seem insanely powerful.
- Several monsters are slightly different variations of the ‘hulking brute’ concept, and none are particularly interesting.
The Verdict: A solid collection of creepy and otherworldly monsters await in “Creature Feature Quarterly volume 1.”
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