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Brixbrix's Field Guide to the Creatures of Ados
Publisher: Tangent Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/19/2006 00:00:00

Brixbrix?s Field Guide to the Creatures of Ados is a monster book from Tangent Games for the Ados: Land of Strife campaign setting. The zipped file is 8.5 megabytes, and the single file therein is just over 10. The entire book is 222 pages long, including covers and the OGL. There is a (non-hyperlinked) table of contents, but no bookmarks.

The product is full-color, with no printer-friendly version. Both the front and back covers are done in color, and all of the monster entries have a color picture showcasing them. As several artists were used, the pictures for the monsters ranged from cartoony to quite impressive. While the pages don?t have borders, various parts of the text are in colored boxes to denote the text is talking about; beige-boxed text is flavor text, for example, and blue-boxed text is an adventure hook.

The book opens with an in-character explanation for the creation of this book, giving a one-page notation of how this guide is made in the name of Brixbrix. After that, it explains how all of the creatures in this book are from the continent of Ados, and have a small map in their entry outlining which part of the continent they?re normally found on.

The table of contents breaks down how the monsters are given alphabetically by type. Instead of the entire compendium being alphabetical, all of the aberrations, then the animals, then the constructs, etc. are given. A total of fifty-five monsters, altogether, are showcased here. In addition to statistics, flavor text, and a picture, most monsters then have a sample treasure listed, an example encounter given, and a few adventure hooks.

Appendix one gives four new templates, along with example creatures which have had the template applied. Unlike the aforementioned monsters, none of these have sample encounters, treasure, or adventure hooks listed.

Appendix two is a series of tables arranging the information about the book?s monsters. The creatures are given in a single alphabetical listing, as well as listings for their average encounter levels (in the sample encounters), and by encounter name.

Appendix three is a short list of items that can be made from/for the creatures listed. Most of these consist of items used for riding or handling the new animals here, though some are products made from dead monsters. Much like in the PHB, these give a table with the pertinent information, and a short description of each item. Listings are also given for raw materials that can be harvested, and services that some of the new creatures can perform.

Appendix four covers magic. Five new spells are given, all that specifically deal with animating, creating, and controlling undead plants (as the normal spells for these don?t target or affect plants). After this is a listing for a few dozen existing spells (from the PHB) and exactly how they affect undead plants. Following this are new tables that show how the new monsters here can be summoned with summon monster spells, and where the monsters suitable for PC races fit in on a modified reincarnation table.

Appendix five covers NPCs. One new NPC given here is Issilor, an epic-level evil druid who is a major, but hidden, power player on Ados. After this, concise stat blocks (and no flavor text) are given for all of the NPCs mentioned in the various sample encounters from the previous monster listings. The book then closes out with a short notation of credits for various artists and authors, the OGL, and a page of ads for other Ados products.

Altogether, this was a product that was very impressive in how far it went. While the artistic design and presentation of the monsters, and somewhat unsightly layout (unbordered pages with blocks of colored text), combined with the lack of a printer-friendly version made me skeptical of the book?s contents, the monsters themselves were quite serviceable. Add into this the new spells, new NPC, and extensive retrofitting of existing spells, along with the integrated guide for presenting these monsters in the Ados campaign world, and I raised my initial rating up to 4 out of 5 stars. Brixbrix?s Field Guide to the Creatures of Ados is a book that does nothing by half-measures. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: I liked how this product gave small maps of the creatures' habitats, along with sample encounters and adventure hooks. The revised summon monster tables, reincarnation table, and notes on how existing spells affect undead plants show that the product is dedicated and informative.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: This product had no printer-friendly version. Moreover, the lack of bookmarks or hyperlinks made moving around it somewhat cumbersome. Small errors in stat blocks crept in throughout the product (size bonuses to grapple checks often were overlooked, for example).<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>

[4 of 5 Stars!]