EnWorld Staff Reviewer
This will be my second monster book in as many days. I usually
try to space out books of a similar nature but this one and the last are pretty darn different
for being monster books. This is a really good thing as it means some publishers are finally
starting to break away from the boring Monster Manual format. It is the standard but a really
boring read. If it did not have so many of the typical monster I like to use I would have
left it behind a while ago. There are lots of monster books out there these days and it
really takes something a little extra to break away and get noticed. Brixbrixs Field Guide
to the Creatures of Ados is very much like Creatures of Freeport in that it gives
a lot of information on the monster and includes adventure ideas for each one.
Brixbrixs Field Guide to the Creatures of Ados is a PDF by Tangent games. The book is
two hundred and twenty pages long but there is a bit of wasted space in there. The monster
take up two or three pages each with all their information and the next monster appears on
the next page even if the previous monster only takes up a quarter of the page. It would have
been better if they filled that space with art or something. I do like that each monster starts
on a new page though. It makes it easy to just print out the monsters that I am going to use
if I do not want to print out the whole book. The art in the book is not that great but they
do have art for each creature. The book also has no book marks which are a problem for a book
of this size.
The book has over fifty new creatures in it. The book organizes the creature by creature
type. I think this is the first book that I have seen do that. Most obviously just list them
alphabetically and there is one publisher listing theirs by challenge rating (Expeditious Retreat).
Each monster starts on a new page. There is the stat block for the creature, a color picture of it,
a section of the world map of Ados showing where the monster can be found, sample treasure,
description of the creature, plot hooks for using it, and a sample encounter. I really like the
map section showing where the creature can be found. This of course can only be done for monster
books that are tied to a world but I really liked when I say Kenzer do this and I really like to
see it here. Sections of the monster descriptions are in different color making them easy to locate.
The sample treasure is on a green background, the description of the creature is on a tan background,
the Sample encounter is on a purple background, and the plot hooks are on a blue background. Many of
these are great time saving devices. The sample treasure is obviously useful and easy to use. The
plot hooks are pretty creative and offer a variety of different ways to use the creature. There
seems to be three plot hooks for creatures. The sample encounters are short but complete. They
describe where and how the encounter takes place, have a shortened stat block of the creature,
and are ready to be used with ease.
The book has some other things in it besides creatures. The first appendix has a template
for Disciple of Pain. It is a template that changes monstrous humanoids into undead creatures
that inflict pain on others. There is the messenger template that changes any animal into a
magical messenger, spy, and translator. There is the Moon Shadow template for creatures that are
devoted to the god of the underworld. There is the Soul Stealers, a template for animals that
have been killed through indifference. It is another undead template. Each of the templates has a
sample creature along with the full description.
There is an appendix that has the creature alphabetized. On the table it also includes creature
type, where in the world it can be found (name of places), type of terrain it can be found in, subtype,
challenge rating, and page number. Then there is a table that has the creature names alphabetized with
name of the sample encounter and also the encounter level of that encounter as well as the page number.
Lastly, there is a table that has those encounters organized by the encounter levels from lowest to highest.
The book has a few new items, their costs, and different services. There is a table for payment on exotic
materials from some of the creatures. There are some new spells. One great thing they have done is define some
new spell effects. They introduce a new creature type, the undead plant. And then they list all the spells
from the core rules that can effect them and how the spell effects them if it is different from the standard
spell effect. There are supplemental summoning tables and supplemental reincarnation tables. Lastly,
there are quite a few NPCs presented.
This book has really good content, great organization, but not good presentation. There are a bunch
of great creatures and useful information in this book. It serves well for the world it was designed
for but also makes a good took box book allowing someone to pick and choose from the many different
things presented in here. At first I was thinking the book was not going to be that good based on the
look, layout and art. But as I read I quickly discovered that the writing and ideas are solid. The
extra table in the back like the summoning table, the way spells work on the new creature types,
the encounters, the plot hooks, and all the other little extras in here that other monster books
simply do not have make this one of the better ones. The books is very DM friendly and quite simply a nice surprise.