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Minotaurs of the Black Hills $3.99
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2011 09:40:32

This pdf is 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside front cover, 1 page sub-header, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (including once again a great rhyme), 1 page back cover, 1 page advertisement and 1 page SRD, leaving 18 pages for the tribe of minotaurs. It should be noted that the pdf comes (as all Raging Swan books that are part of the dual format initiative) with an additional version optimized for e-readers. Without further ado, let's check them out!

After the obligatory page explaining how to read stat-blocks to novice DMs, we get 2 pages of fluff text on the minotaurs. The question you all want answered, of course, is whether this installment of the TRIBES-series once again manages to add a different twist to a classic monster trope. To be frank: Yes, it does - the scarlet axe minotaurs are made unique via several ideas: First of all, they are rather civilized, eschewing the barbarism and rage usually associated with the horned beasts. Another distinguishing mark would be the minotaur's special breeding. Serving an elder race on the decline, the scarlet axes have an aptitude for sorcerous power due to the mingling with their dread Yith masters. Suffice to say, we also get lore sections on the tribe, their masters and even some information on the black hills, their home.

Following the tradition of the TRIBES-line, we also get a huge box detailing the environment in which the minotaurs might be encountered and several locations that might serve as nice adventure locales/hooks for further adventures. We also get a one-page map of the black hills & the bleak moor, the haunt of the minotaur's archenemies. I should also note that the hills get stunning original pieces of b/w-artworks, as do the minotaurs. On the crunch-side, we get the new Yith-bloodline for sorcerors, a new ranger-variant and 4 battle-feats that help displaying the unique fighting style of the tribe. I liked the bloodline and had no problems with any of the feats. We also get 4 new sorceror spells focusing on maneuverability and taking on aspects of the Yith as well as two new magic items (boots and a quiver), complete with their own artworks and lore-sections. After that, we get to the stats: We get normal and elite warriors (CR 5 & 7), Scouts (CR 7), Sorcerors (CR 7) and 3 sample encounters. In addition to the sample ideas for minotaurs given in the fluff section, we also get 2 fully detailed NPCs that get the Raging Swan NPC-treatment, i.e. we get distinguishing features, mannerisms, hooks etc. In addition, the two NPCs get their own artworks. The final two pages are devoted to the bat-like humanoid masters of the minotaurs, the Yith, which get 3 variant spell-lists, full stats and e.g. ecology & society sections as well as their own artwork.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice a single mistake. Layout adheres to the clear and elegant standard established by Raging Swan Press. The quality of both writing, stat-blocks etc. is superb. If I had to nit-pick, I'd say that I didn't particularly care for the battle-feats or the variant ranger and that the Yith-artwork is "only" good. That's it. The b/w-artworks are STUNNING and belong to the best I've seen in quite a while and the tribe per se, once again, is almost perfect. For the lack of flaws and the excellent writing as well as the overall supreme quality, I practically have to rate this installment of the TRIBES-series 5 stars and add the Endzeitgeist seal of approval - once again, Raging Swan delivers an excellent quality product for a very affordable price.

P.S.: The Kobold-tribe has been updated with additional information on terrain.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Minotaurs of the Black Hills
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