Monsters of Sin 4, Lust continues the series with what potentially could be the deal breaker for people, the sin of lust. Lust can be interpreted in many differentiating ways, and handled with about as many different levels of maturity. Regardless of the concept of complet-ism, this style of gaming book must be handled with care by a GM, for not every group handles this type of material well. That being said, lets take a look under the sheets, shall we?
11 pages boils down to 7 after we remove the covers, OGL and ad. The standard two column approach, with the monster entries following Paizo's standard text to the left, creature to the right look and feel. Opening as always with a quick opener to explain the author's viewpoint in this particular sin, we quickly step into this sin's template, the Lust Slave. An excellently handled game mechanic translation of what one can only call a groupie, or infatuated “fan”...this template could easily see some usage around my table making sure that my BBEG's have a following within a community. Well done.
First up for creatures this time out is the Inbred Orc. Born of inbreeding, these orcs are built with mutations, both of the fortunate (giving bonuses) and the unfortunate (negatives) type. This basically works the same way as traits and flaws do, but as a physical manifestation in a birth defect. As a creature, this simply doesn't work for me. As a template, sure, to a point. They are granted a bonus to hit simply because they are unpredictable, with the justification that players are used to fighting regular orcs, not a misshapen orc with birth defects...really?
The Lovelorn is our second offering, and took me back to my childhood and the ghost stories I so loved as a kid. The classic woman in white is obviously seen here in influence, and that is a total win in my book. The long and the short of it, we have here a ghost who believes the victims she sets her eyes upon are her lost loves from life, and they are intent on possessing these loves now. Some seriously cool abilities, like the Bleeding Eye Gaze – a nice gaze attack with one seriously creepy visual. But the cherry on top has to be the Lovelorn Embrace, she literally embraces her victims like a lover and kisses them, causing CHA drain as well as being able to perform any one action available to a grappling creature....Whole new appreciation of the kiss of death. The artwork for this particular monster is excellent by the way, and the inking job clearly helps drive forth the partial manifestation ability of this incorporeal creature.
The Truffle closes us out for the monsters this time around, and I'm not entirely sure what to make of this fey. Appearing as a small genderless child, this creature is fascinated by the concept of sexual identity, and what separates the genders of differing races, to the point that they will dominate others into “demonstrating” if they are unwilling to answer their curiosities. On the one hand these creatures could be dismissed as fey with their vastly different viewpoints on social concepts. On the other, what we have here is a creature with no regard for for boundaries forcing people into sexual situations...this is one seriously steep and dangerous slope, and one that a GM needs to be very certain they want to include in their campaign world...as not everyone will react to the idea of these things as being just curious harmless fey.
The Embodiment of Lust is presented as a 10 foot tall humanoid of almost impossible to resist temptation. Surrounding itself with a constant orgy of loyal followers and lust slaves the Embodiment communicates and controls its throng telepathically, or through bodily language. Of all the various ways to embody this sin, I have to say this outsider pretty much does the sin justice for this series, and presents not only a challenge to a group due to its high CR (21), but the sheer fact that everywhere it goes it is surrounded by a willing throng of “lovers” who will kill or die in an instant for it. Not to mention the fact that all within range of it must fight the urge to join the party.
As with previous entries to this series the sin is addressed within Midgard with a bit of setting fluff detailing the Red Goddess, Marena, and an interesting bit of knowledge regarding the birth of the Seven Cities, and how Lust played its part in their origins.
All in all, I liked the Embodiment, the Template and one Monster without contest. That leaves two monsters, one I flat out was unimpressed by, and one, well, that disturbs me. Perhaps I am reading far to much into it, but any creature that, as a normal part of its behavior, “forces” people in this regard...no. Not at my game table.
So, With five items on the block, I like three of them basically. Taking into account the small section on the Midgard setting, I am going to settle on a 3 star, as the Lovelorn really is that good of a creature in my opinion.
[3 of 5 Stars!]