There’ve been countless times where I’ve ran a campaign and gone “actually, I really could do with creating a custom creature”. Usually because I’ve been playing a game where the scenario is so far out there, that the confines of Dungeons and Dragons dicates I should be reaching far outside of it to get something more fitting. I’ve had grand wars between gods with my players being in the middle of the fights, I’ve also had to get people to fight off flaming dire wolves. However, sometimes, your mind draws a blank and you need more inspiration. That’s where monster compendiums such as L’gats Tome of Amazing Creatures comes in.
The good team over at Power Up Gamers have come up with a brand new supplemental series for tabletop RPGs. They are working on a three-part series called L’gats Tome of Amazing Creatures; a compenium of 75 monsters which will be distributed across the three books. You can order the first book from DriveThruRPG.com for $8.00, which is a great price for a PDF eBook. You can spend $15.00 however, which isn’t too badly priced for the first set of monsters, which will get you a softback version of the book along with the PDF (for a limited time – Normally it’s $23.00). You may think to yourself that it’s a little bit steep, but the company are interested in doing more work with established charities and non-profits, such as RPG Research, Child’s Play, The D.O.T.S. Program, the Special Olympics and other various charities and projects.
One of the first things that really jumped out at me was the stunning use of artwork, all of which was produced in-house. There are some pieces which legitimately look to me like they could fit in a Wizards of the Coast supplement, so the team should truly be proud of this. One of my particular favourites is for their Chaos Pixie, shown above. The art style tells a lot about this type of creature in a really simple, almost fundamental light. There are many scaly creatures, which all get highlighted with added detail. All of the artwork genuinely looks great.
Next, I’d like to quickly talk about the layout – It reminds me of one of the first RPG books I had ever picked up; a monster compendium for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. What I really enjoy about L’gats way of displaying the information is how clean it all is, with information split in two columns. Considering this is the companies first attempt at publishing as well, I think they’ve done a fantastic job at portraying a creature compendium. I’ve also seen professional RPG books by established companies that are much, much less professionally produced than this.
The information in the books are simple, which is quite nice. Some tabletop RPG DMs or players may not like the simplicity, they may find it too simple for their liking. However, I personally am a DM that thrives off imagination. A little known fact about myself is that 90% of my campaigns are improv. I tend to take ideas and use the base rules of a campaign, letting myself and my players run wild. Some people don’t like that – And that’s cool – That’s the joy of tabletop gaming.
I’d recommend that you give L’gats Tome of Amazing Creatures a chance – Even if you don’t use the creatures yourself in your own campaigns, you may find some of the ideas interesting. Furthermore, proceeds will help charities and hey – That’s always a good thing in our eyes. I’d just like to wind this all up by saying that the team, namely Jarin actually got in touch with us, having provided us a copy to review and I’m really happy they did. There is some fun content in here, which actually made Joel and I discuss matters. It’s great that Power Up Gamers are working hard at what they’re doing, as they’re providing for an oft-forgotten niche in RPGs: Those who need accessibility. L’gats Tome may not be a meaty wad of text – nor might there be detailed descriptions of everything – but there’s enough context to get you going.
Hey, if you find you enjoy L’gats Tome of Amazing Creatures, then why not check out their current Kickstarter campaign for volume 2? As of today, there’ll be only 8 days left to back it and they need a little last push to get them over the funding required – So do go check it out. The company has an interesting dynamic, as I’ve been informed that the whole team have learning difficulties, which was an added challenge for them as they produced this title, which they wanted to do out of a labour of love. I think there’s good in this tome, which honestly, you should check out yourself. Go give Power Up Gamers a like on Facebook while you’re at it!
As a final note, in volume 2, the team have vowed to make the stats better, as they feel the stats of creatures weren’t quite good enough this time around. I respect the fact they’re trying to grow – And I hope their campaign goes well! Do you think there is room for more accessible RPG books, or do you think there are enough? What did you think of the stunning use of artwork and design? Do you think Power Up Gamers are doing this for a great cause? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.