Monster manuals are one of many evergreen books in tabletop RPGs. Monsters may help outline the world not simply as issues for the gamers to battle but additionally via their artwork and the bits of lore related to every creature. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Version has stored monsters to a minimal to date, specializing in human antagonists with the often fell Chaos beast on the finish of an journey. This may occasionally even be a byproduct of their launch schedule specializing in adventures in cities and cities, most of which have an investigative tone slightly than a superb quaint dungeon stomp. That modifications with The Imperial Zoo, the primary devoted monster e book for the road. Although, in flipping via the evaluation copy despatched to me by Cubicle 7, they do hold the journal model of the remainder of the road by together with some participant going through components to make chasing after beasts extra about incomes a revenue than saving a city from a monster. Does the e book deserve reward from the Emperor? Let’s play to search out out.
The Imperial Zoo frames itself as a story exploration of the Outdated World wilderness written up for the pleasure of the court docket. The e book splits the tour into three journeys, with every part roughly comparable to one of many three broad ranges of character expertise. On the low ranges you will have issues starting from large wolves and rhinox, whereas the third journey seems into shard dragons and merwyrms. Many of those creatures provide glimpses of the world past the Reikland. Every writeup is framed because the explorer’s encounter with the beast. A handful of entries provide completely different statblocks, one for a generic model and the opposite for a “legendary ” one. TS Luikart, Elaine Lithgow and Padraig Murphy use one in every of my favourite recreation writing strategies to supply just a little selection. Although the official account is in the primary textual content, many entries include small sidebars providing argumentative takes and alternate concepts in regards to the monster’s powers and behaviors. I’ve cherished this factor ever since I first encountered it in Shadowrun the place the assorted shadowrunners would provide sarcastic takes on the textual content. These sidebars give the monster sections just a little extra pep.
On the gamers aspect, the sport takes a swing at offering a brand new system for gamers who’re followers of a sure silver-haired monster hunter identified for taking steamy baths and having cash tossed at him. There’s a quick dialogue on how monster hunters can revenue off of slaying the beasts within the e book by chopping the beast up and promoting elements on the town. It might simply be that carnosaurs are good consuming or that the native witch wants the attention of an evening goblin for an upcoming ritual. It’s a reasonably good match for the Outdated World given how so most of the adventures are targeted on participant characters making a dishonest buck. This leads into the opposite new system within the e book for gamers by brewing potions and poisons for themselves out of those unique substances. The e book rounds out with writeups of the characters who commented on the zoo entries, weapons and armor which are helpful in monster hunts and a group of creature traits for a one cease reference store.
The Imperial Zoo sits someplace between a monster guide and a wilderness marketing campaign information. Given the city nature of this version, I can see why now is an efficient time for a e book like this. Whereas I loved the dissension within the write ups, my preferences lean in direction of direct dialogue with the GM by offering hooks, variants and monster technique over flash fiction. I discovered the wilderness information stuff like promoting monster elements and alchemy extra participating. I hope that we see just a few extra adventures specializing in these components, as that’s the place the energy of this version actually lies.