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Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
by Charles J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2004 00:00:00

When I first heard about Template Troves, Volume 1: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings my first thought was "Wow, what a really long and awkward title.? Then my next thought was "It sounds really cool, though. I want it." Of course, the facts that I'm a fan of templates, a fan of Silverthorne Games, a fan of PDF products in general, and a fan of Sean K Reynolds all added up to this being a must have for me. So lets see how the end product lives up to my high expectations.

Appearances: The cover piece is great. Too much black to be worth printing out with the rest of the book, but gorgeous none the less. If it this were a print book, it would certainly catch my eye. Of course, I have a thing for women with snakes growing out of their head. The rest of the art is decent but a bit dry. I wish artists of this kind of material would put a little more oomph into the illustrations rather than making it really feels like the monsters just stood there while the artist just drew their portrait. Fearsome monsters shouldn't look bored or as though they're mugging for a camera.

The layout of the book is very well done. The border image is tasteful, the information is well organized, and the text formatting is quite professional. The PDF file is well bookmarked, except that it is missing links to Hobart's Grayman and the Chemdrake.

Content: What we have here is twenty templates. Sure, it starts off with a long explanation of how to use the templates and all that jazz, but all that matters are the templates. Everything else is just icing. Let's take a look at them individually.

  • Arnrach - What happens when Aranea (one of my favorite monsters) are zapped stupid my magic and end up heading natures call with monstrous spiders? The Arnrach happens, and for a template that can only be used on monstrous spiders, it's pretty cool. These will definitely find use in my games eventually. The sample creature is an Arnrach large hunting spider.

  • Behirling - Another example of crossbreeding, the Behirling is the hybrid children of a behir and something else. These fellows have a pretty nasty set of abilities that tacked onto the right creature would give just about any party a pain in their buttocks. Another thumbs up. For sample creatures, we get a behirling ogre and an Ankhir, which is a behirling ankheg.

  • Chemdrake - Through an alchemical process involving the essence of black dragons, we get the Chemdrake. Reptiles with a lot of acid based abilities. I can see a lot of potential here...especially when we factor in the joy of dinosaurs. Our sample critters here is the chemdrake monitor lizard and the chemodol, which are chemdrake kobolds that I can't wait to use.

  • Couatlan - When Couatl get their freak on with other snake-like creatures (including nagas), we get the Couatlan. My first reaction was kind of blah, but after thinking a bit on it a few interesting story ideas spawned so ultimately a thumbs up. We also get a new spell, Minor Invisibility. The only sample creature is a couatlan constrictor snake.

  • Devourer Survivor - Had your soul devoured by a devourer and spit back up? Well, then you might qualify for the devourer survivor template. They have a handful of handy abilities that would perfectly suit a really creepy NPC and it could make for an interesting PC too. The sample creatures are a dwarven 6th level fighter devourer survivor, and Amurath, the Ghost Bear, who is a dire bear devourer survivor.

  • Dragonmongrel - It's always nice to see romance overcome racism, and the dragonmongrel is testament that even dragons can get over their pretentions of color superiority in the name of love (or lust...given the number of half-dragons around, dragons apparently aren't as discriminate about their lovers as their arrogance might lead one to believe). Dragonmongrels are the result of dragons of different colors mating. For an example we get the union of a copper dragon mother and a red dragon father in the form of a red dragomongrel juvenile copper dragon.

  • Fenrirrin - Much like dragons and...well, most creatures in d20 since the advent of templates...Fenris, the monstrous wolf-son of Loki, is quite the lecher. Unlike dragons, though, Fenris at least has apparently limited his loving to other canine type creatures. There's not much to them besides being more potent combatants with increased strength, better natural armor, and a few bonus feats. I would have hoped for a bit more out of the grandchildren of Loki. Still, they're not bad. The sample we get is a fenrirrin dire wolf.

  • Flashbeast - Flashbeasts are either really cool or really dumb depending on how you look at them. I think they're neat and as reasonable as your typical fantasy monster. Its main ability is to blind its opponents with a burst of light. If nothing else it's a new way to make PCs appreciate the blind-fighting feat more. It also includes a new treasure, the flashblister. The sample is a flashbeast large monstrous centipede.

  • Gullinburstin - Descendants or Gullin-Bursti, the boar servitor of Frey, the gullinburstin have a goofy name and are pretty limited in that the template can only be applied to "boars or boar-like" creatures (like Shredder's minion Beebop), but they do fill a niche. The sample critter is, logically enough, a gullinburstin dire boar.

  • Hobart's Greyman - About the time that this book came out, I was renting The Suffering for the PS2. Hobart's Graymen immediately reminded me of the Slayers from the game, though quite different at the same time. Basically Greymen are zombies with oozes living in their chests and weapons replacing their forearms and hands. Really creepy stuff. There are some variants, creature stats for the ooze itself, and a new treasure, Hobart's Notebook. The sample is a medium zombie greyman, which was kind of inevitable since they're the only creature from the SRD that qualifies.

  • Jormugandrin - More grandbabies of Loki, this time through the serpent Jormugandir, the jormugandrin are reptiles that become venomous, fast healing reptiles that have the spiffy Death Throes ability that will give PCs fits. The sample is a jormugandrin lizardfolk.

  • Lenkag - The Lenkag are kind of hard to explain, but they're basically evil snake creatures that originally burst out of Lillends tortured by fiends with transmutive magic. The template can be added to any snake of Medium-size or less and their main abilities are their nightmare poison, various resistances, and captivating song. The example is a Lenkag small viper.

  • Medusan Creature - Basically non-humanoid half-medusa creatures. Toned done versions of the medusa's abilities tacked onto something else. Probably the least inspired creature in the book, but still fairly cool. There's also a spell that's used to make such a creature, a feat to give more uses of its petrifying attack, and a bit on using the head of a medusan creature. The sample is a medusan dire wolf.

  • Murmouth - The murmouth is essentially a gibbering mouther that has a humanoid form. They're pretty nasty, and that's always a good thing in my book. The sample is a murmouth bugbear.

  • Oxeph Host - At a first glance, these seem like a poor man's half-mind flayer, but really when you get past the goofy image of creatures that have octopuses for heads they work pretty well as creatures that take over the bodies of other creatures. There are also creature stats for the Oxeph itself, a new spell, and a psionic version. The sample is an oxeph host human.

  • Poisonflow - It's good to see a template for both oozes and elementals. It's a pretty simple concept...their essences are poisonous...but it's cool for giving oozes and elementals a little something extra. The example is a poisonflow air elemental.

  • Shulgspawn - An insect-like creature that multiplies by implanting eggs in other creatures that are turned into similarly insect-like creatures. I know I've used the adjectives before, but they both bear repeating for this template...creepy and nasty. These are the stuff that nightmares are made of. The sample creature is a shulgspawn elf.

  • Skoth - Essentially, they're half-skum and they are pretty formidable...the highest CR adjustment in the book, unless I'm mistaken. If you dream of having PCs shredded by humanoid fish monsters that look like they crawled out of the black lagoon then this is the template for you. They are slightly more powerful than their skum ancestors (thanks to controlled breeding by their aboleth domitors). The sample creature is a skoth dwarf monk. We also get the true skoth creature.

  • Sleipnirrin - Yet another descendant of Loki, this time through the stallion sleipnir. This template can be added to any equine creature, from standard horses to centaurs to hippogriffs. Their main virtue is its increased speed and movement over ice and water. The samples are a sleipnirrin light warhorse and the Sleipnirrogriff, a sleipnirrin offshoot of hippogriffs that breed true.

  • Twilight Hagling - Half hag, half something else. I'm not a real big fan of hags myself, but there are some interesting story possibilities here. The sample creature is a twilight hagling grimlock.

There's also a handy appendix which basically indexes the material in the book.

In Conclusion - There's not much I can say bad about this book. My only genuine complaint is that there's a bit too much half this, half that type templates. I prefer templates that have some basis other than defining what happens when a creature breeds outside of its species. Still, that's a minor grumble that is easily lost among the sheer amount of use that I know I'm going to get out of this product. Not only for things to fight the PCs in my campaigns, but the inspiration for storylines. It is as near to perfect as any product of its type that I've seen, thus it gets a quite hearty five star recommendation.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
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Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Jeffrey J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/14/2004 00:00:00

There's not much to say here - either you like applying templates to your creatures to customize them, or you don't. If you're in the former group, you should have this book. If you're in the latter group, you can safely give it a miss.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
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Races of Evernor (Part I)
by Paul P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/13/2004 00:00:00

I love this series. I like to populate (possibly over-populate) my game world with intelligent species. They make for better opponents, and a greater variety of allies, as well as adding a broader wonder to the world. In this series you'll find dozens of imaginative races that you can drop into your world, either as replacements for or additions to the standard races.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Races of Evernor (Part I)
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Book of Templates
by Mark C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2004 00:00:00

Interesting PDF, but not as useful as I'd anticipated. That may be more because of me than the product itself. Some of the templates, such as the plant creature one, can be used to create playable, memorable alternatives to standard creatures. Overall, a good value.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates
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Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by David M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2004 00:00:00

Excellent...not perfect, but I'm not about to nitpick. With the Deluxe Book of Templates, Silverthorne Games has brought back that sense of 'omg...I can build anything that the concept of templates gave me when I first discovered them. The big difference is that after a while, that initial amazement wore off. Now...I have incredible possibilities, all under the OGL! If you've ever tried to develop a scenario for publishing under the D20 system, you know how constraining that can be. THROW OFF YOUR SHACKLES! I feel like I've been handed the key!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
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Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Joseph B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2004 00:00:00

The real genius in this collection is the half humanoid template and the theory behind it.

Simply excellent!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Joel T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2004 00:00:00

This product has an amzing number and variety of templates. It would be very useful to make every encounter unique (and to prevent metagaming).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Nathan O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2004 00:00:00

Some good feats, some not so good. Particular favorites are the Apocolyptic and Hypermitotic. Definitely a decent buy. The only real problem is that there are very few CR5 templates but plenty of 1-3 and a few 10+.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Feats Volume I
by Nathan O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2004 00:00:00

READ the warning on the page. These feats were originally designed for specific races. In that role they are likely good, but they have not been sufficiently removed from that setting. There are countless vestigial references in this pdf to a race or ability found only in that setting. Many of these abilities/races are still inherent to the races. There are also a couple of feat (Cantrip) which are missing some major writing. When something is standard in a campaign, that does not make it standard d20. There are still a few gems, but overall it will be rarely glanced at.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Feats Volume I
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Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Brian G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/16/2004 00:00:00

I like it, I now have more then enough monsters to make my group worry.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
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Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Jonathan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2004 00:00:00

With the recent outpooring of monster books, this book allows a DM to expand upon that amount immensely. Not only do you get well statted out and well developed templates, but ones that actually make SENSE and are BALANCED!

I was slightly disapointed that this book was only for 3.0 and not 3.5 but with a few tweaks and some knowledge about how monsters work and the new rules one can easily use this for any game from Modern to Fantasy.

I highly recommend this book as it has brought terror to the gaming board and even when using common creatures from the Monster Manual one can easily cause simple creatures like orcs, goblins, and owlbears to become a challenge again!

Try throwing a ferrovore bullete at them and watch the party fighters run in fear1



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Matthew O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2004 00:00:00

5 out of 5 stars. An excellent product that can shake up my whole campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Antonio S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2004 00:00:00

I liked most of the templates in this book. Some of them are the "classics" old players have been used to (like "Gigantic") or must-have (like most of the Undead ones). There are a few templates that are great to shock players with the unexpected ("THAT'S a MONSTER?"). Worth the money. Absolutely.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Ronald J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/14/2004 00:00:00

I really enjoyed this book. It had good valuable content, was thoroughly thought out and provided some good guidance on how to develop your own templates and modify those in the book! Great job!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Templates - Deluxe Edition
by Nathan I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/06/2004 00:00:00

Put simply, the Book of Templates Deluxe Edition should be the first thing you buy after the 3 core rulebooks...or the first thing you buy period if you use the SRD. No other book has as much utility for me as the BoT-DE.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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