DMs Guild Review – Eoth Khalstan’s Revised Encyclopaedia of Great Animals & Draconic Beings

Over 50 beasts and dragons, along with five subclasses and a dozen magic items.

A review copy of “Eoth Khalstan’s Revised Encyclopaedia of Great Animals & Draconic Beings” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Daniel Kay

Beasts are arguably the most boring creature type in Dungeons & Dragons, and dragons are definitely the most frequently mined when it comes to new additions.  Why would then should you care about a monster supplement that’s all about beasts and dragons?

Because Eoth Khalstan’s Revised Encyclopaedia of Great Animals and Draconic Beings is a fun read with lovely original sketchbook art and a huge amount of content.

The nearly 100-page supplement is apparently the designer’s first published work on the DMs Guild. That’s astonishing considering how well-designed this entire product is, from the professional layout to the superb editing and graphic design.

Did I mention the artwork? It’s not fair that someone can be both a talented writer and an artist. Each beast and dragon entry is accompanied by a large piece of original art reminiscent of a sketchbook. Because of this lovely art style, the book resembles an old-fashioned explorer’s handbook. Early 20th century perhaps?

Indeed, the titular Khalstan is meant to be such a figure, exploring and cataloging exotic beasts of the wild (and extra-planar dragons, somehow). Although his inquisitive personality peeks through on occasion, I would’ve loved to see some hand-written notes in the margins, or italicized anecdotes of his outdoor adventures. The explorer’s handbook would’ve been a really satisfying angle, had the designer fully committed to it.

The monster book is divided into four sections, with beasts and dragons taking up the bulk of the content.

The 30+ beasts are mostly inspired by real-world creatures (cheetah, electric eel, hippo, manta ray, penguin), prehistoric (glyptodon, dunkleosteus, giant ground sloth), and mythological (ahklut, dingonek).

dunklesoteus

The statblocks aren’t exactly exciting — these are still beasts after all. They have claws, teeth, and horns, but they can’t compete in a world of beholders, mind flayers, and oozes.

What sells me is the excellent artwork and well-written descriptions that include lots of fun little animal facts — like a trip to the zoo.

Shout out to the giant leech, though. I know a certain leech-worshipping warfoged cleric who would’ve loved to encounter one of those.

Dragons make up the other half of the creature supplement, around 25 new statblocks, nearly 20 of which are natives to the outer planes, such as Mechanus, Ysgard, Limbo, and the Nine Hells.

As cool as it is to read about Adamantine Dragons, Howling Dragons, and Hellfire Wyrms, they all have nearly identical statblocks, which is my main problem with dragons.

Every dragon has multiattack with bite, claw, tail, a powerful breath weapon (on recharge), Frightful Presence, and legendary actions that include Detect, Tail Attack, and Wing Attack. Simply swap out the breath weapon and maybe add a single defining trait and voila, a brand new dragon! Eh.

The big exception are the lair actions. Each planar dragon has awesome, unique lair actions that effectively showcase the dangerous, alien landscape you’re battling in. In Acheron, the Rust Dragon can enrage enemies, or cause rusted metal spikes to sprout out of the ground. When battling the Hellfire Wyrm, you’ll have to escape fiery portals opening under your feet, and exploding sacs of bile.

Eighty pages of monsters is plenty of product, yet we’re not done yet. This is an encyclopedia after all! The final pages are for players, adding five new subclasses and about a dozen new magic items, all inspired by beasts.

Most of the subclasses are a bit too undercooked, though. The Druid Circle of the Old Ways empowers attacks in Wild Shape, but it doesn’t look better than the obligatory Circle of the Moon, while Monk Way of Nature’s Warden borrows too liberally from the Barbarian Path of the Beast. Druid Circle of Swarming has some neat ideas, and I like the concept behind the Ranger Animal Lord, even if all the animal aspects are bit too similar to one another.

The new magic items include new variants of the Bag of Tricks, and an entire item set based on everyone’s favorite tentacled behemoth, the giant squid.

Even if I’m not high on the subclasses or items, they’re thematic bonuses on top of a well-designed supplement with a ridiculous amount of content and professionalism.

 Pros:

  • Over 30 beast statblocks, inspired by real-world, prehistoric, and mythological creatures.
  • Over 25 new dragon, including nearly 20 planar dragons, each with unique lair actions.
  • Five new animal-inspired subclasses.
  • Over 10 new beastial magic items.
  • Wonderful sketchbook-style original artwork for each entry.

Cons:

  • Missed opportunity to inject more personality.
  • Dragon statblocks are too similar to one another.

The Verdict: With a breezy writing style full of fun animal facts, lovely original sketch art and a huge amount of extra player content, Eoth Khalstan’s Revised Encyclopaedia of Great Animals and Draconic Beings proves a worthy supplement from the two more boring creature types.

A review copy of “Eoth Khalstan’s Revised Encyclopaedia of Great Animals & Draconic Beings” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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