Everybody loves a good monster, and everybody loves a challenging and exciting battle where fortunes sway back and forth until through sheer brilliance the PCs finally prevail. And one of the beauties of RPGs in general is that there is infinite choice in battle - you can use a variety of tactics, you have a variety of combat and magical options, you have terrain to exploit and you can even run away. Essentially, a good battle and a good monster will allow you to dabble in all these aspects of combat, where each round is different from the last. I mention this because The Hero's Bastard deals with a new monster that effectively takes one of those listed options away - the option to run. When dealing with the The Hero's Bastard, or Morekareth, it's not fight or flight, but just fight. And that changes the ball game quite a bit.
The Hero's Bastard is a short 8 page pdf product presenting a new monster for the Pathfinder RPG. The product comes as a single pdf file, and is professionally presented with good art, front and back covers, extensive credits and a useful set of short bookmarks. The only thing this product lacks presentation-wise is a little bit more of an introduction than that offered by the back page and the advertising blurb. The product dives in immediately with the statistic block for the creature, leaving the organisation a little back to front. Writing and editing is good, and the mechanics look sound, even those sets of new mechanics that are offered for this beast. There's even an extensive list of statistics to use for various variant d20 rules, though the Summon Monster options looks considerably off target. Overall, I was pleased with the presentation - Rite Publishing have done an excellent job.
The Morekareth, or Hero's Bastard, is a powerful creature born of the blood of a fallen hero. The details of this are left unclear in the product, but the pdf does provide extensive background information, including descriptive text, background details, combat tactics, and general information on the creature and its ecology. The morekareth has a number of unique abilities, the more pertinent ones the ability to suppress healing and the ability to summon a creature to be adjacent to it. The combination of the two makes the morekareth quite a unique challenge, as there's no healing and no escaping. Now, admittedly, that's not everybody's cup of tea, as the creature is designed in a way to ensure that the battle is not a fair fight, but it should certainly make for an unique and deadly experience. It was disappointing to find, though, that despite this creature being unique and having unique abilities, it has a paltry Will save that any 1st level Wizard can have a go at. For a CR 12 creature, that's not really acceptable.
The morekareth is an interesting creature, but one that should probably be used with care. I think that for all the good design that's gone into it, there are a few flaws that are just to easy to exploit for the CR. Overall, I liked the monster, its description and details and even the story of its origin. Perhaps a few more details on how the origin actually came about would've been useful. Like most Pathfinder RPG product, this product can most likely be used in standard 3.5e OGL games as well. Good pdf, interesting monster, unique abilities, and good presentation.
[4 of 5 Stars!]