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Monster Focus: Skeletons $1.99
Average Rating:4.1 / 5
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Monster Focus: Skeletons
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Monster Focus: Skeletons
Publisher: Minotaur Games
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/23/2016 10:57:16

This PDF is 6 pages long, with the conent 4 1/2 pages. The other half is the OGL. This is a rather nice PDF on skeletons, with new spells, feats, items, skeleton types, adventure hooks, etc. It contains better items and abilities for greater command and destruction of these bony foes. Since skeletons have always been looked at as easy foes, this PDF can be of help to not only help destroy them, but also to make better, challenging ones.

Very nicely presented. At £1.40/$1.99 it's very much worth a look.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Focus: Skeletons
Publisher: Minotaur Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/13/2013 14:41:24

Six pages with cover and OGL. Presents some material for customizing skeletons and those that deal with these low level monsters. New uses for Knowledge (Religion), new feats, alchemical items and spells. New magical items, new monsters and some adventure ideas.
Crammed into just half-a-dozen pages, pretty good really.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Focus: Skeletons
Publisher: Minotaur Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/26/2013 15:50:17

Monster Focus: Skeletons is a short pdf for the Pathfinder RPG that presents a selection of skeleton-related options for both players and GMs. The product is neatly presented and well-written, and includes feats, spells, new alchemical items, new monster options and templates, and several new magical items. For those interested in expanding their options where the quintessential skeleton is concerned, this product offers a good way of doing that.

Skeletons are an excellent low-level undead creature to throw against your adventuring party. In part, this is because the skeleton template can be applied to just about any creature, so there's a lot of versatility in creating different kinds of skeletons. The human-like skeleton is no longer the only option, as dragon skeletons or bear skeletons, for example, can provide a different twist to the skeleton encounter. There's always been something creepy about skeletons, in particular when you imagine them clawing their way out of the ground to reach their living foes. And those who've watched the film Jason and the Argonauts will fondly remember the skeleton battle on the top of the cliffs.

This product is all about skeleton-related options. It presents options for players in the form of new feats, spells and alchemical items, and for GMs there are some new undead creations to play with. The player options are geared towards increasing damage against skeletons, be it from bypassing their damage reduction, or from spells that are more effective against skeleton-like creatures. New alchemical items are also presented that are very effective against skeletons. Each item is presented with good attention to detail, and solid mechanics.

For the GMs, there's the new skeleton lord template, a stronger skeleton capable of commanding and leading undead creatures. There are also some options to create a different variety of skeleton, including those that can retain some of their abilities from life. Fire breathing dragon skeletons, here we come! I think these GM option allow for a lot of good possibilities, and I particularly liked the plot hooks that were presented for the product as they seamlessly integrate some of the creatures and items presented in this pdf.

While I liked the options presented for GMs, I think the player options, while useful, aren't really that exciting. Designing something specific for a skeleton is fine when it's the only thing that can affect the creature, but there are plenty of other spells, for example, that can be just as effective against them. I've looked at the options for players, and there aren't many 'must have' options there - mostly just those that looks interesting but might not see a lot of game play value.

Overall, I think this is a stimulating product, particularly for GMs, but players in undead centered campaigns may want to peruse this product for some interesting options and items. Good product, with good value, and good variety.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Focus: Skeletons
Publisher: Minotaur Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/14/2013 20:00:55

Ah, the skeleton. One of the classic monsters, it occupies a sort of polar opposite to the mighty dragon or other monsters whose iconic status is (at least partially) concurrent with their great power. Indeed, skeletons are most notable for being the lowest-level undead most PCs will ever face, if not the weakest of any sort of threats. True, the skeleton template does allow for some upward scaling, but by and large these are lesser enemies, and little more.

That’s not nearly good enough for such an iconic monster, and so Minotaur Games brings us Monster Focus: Skeleton, to try and flesh out (not literally) not just skeletons themselves, but related materials to allow for greater command or destruction of these bony beings. Let’s take a look.

Monster Focus: Skeletons is a fairly short book, being a grand total of a half-dozen pages in length, including the cover. Several black and white illustrations liven up the presentation. These all seem to be hand-drawn; interestingly, these pictures are rough, but not quite so much that I’d call them of poor quality. Rather, their unpolished nature seems to capture the rough feeling of an undead skeleton, chipped and imperfect but still whole and functional. I’m not certain if Jason Bulmahn did that on purpose or not, but it works to surprisingly good effect.

As a supplement themed around a specific type of monster, the book basically presents a selection of new crunch related to that monster. The book opens with a set of escalating skill DCs for what knowledge checks reveal about skeletons; this is nice, if somewhat expected, since most PCs are likely to know pretty much everything your basic skeleton has. More helpful is the note that for stronger skeletons, the DCs should be increased on a 1:1 scale with the CR. This is good advice, though it should be noted that the information should be tailored slightly in that case, since it’s possible to make creatures of varying CRs using the basic skeleton template.

Three feats are next, two of which go towards damaging skeletons (though at their narrowest these feats still deal with undead made primarily of bones, e.g. liches, as well), and one towards commanding greater numbers of them. I have to say that I particularly enjoyed the Bone Breaker feat, as it allows for slashing weapons to beat DR X/bludgeoning, something that always seemed like a no-brainer to me.

A half-dozen alchemical items are next. Roughly half of these are essentially power components, in that they’re used with certain specific spells to enhance the spell’s effects. This is sensible, since Craft (alchemy) has long been the province of magic-users.

Five new spells follow. I wasn’t particularly impressed several of these, but some of the other spells here did, I must admit, wow me. Corpse Rebellion is a creative way to attack an undead creature – by allowing its departed spirit to reach back and try and confound, if not destroy, its defiled body. That does rub up against the whole “no unwilling resurrection” prohibition, but only slightly. It also calls up interesting questions for undead who are presumed to be still in possession of their warped souls, such as mummies, vampires, and liches, but that’s the sort of grey area that cunning GMs will love.

Seven magic items are present, each of which is a specific item rather than a magic weapon or armor quality. These weren’t bad, but as with the spells nothing seemed too innovative, something I suspect comes from most of them simply regurgitating specific spell effects. A few go beyond this, such as the Skull of Fangs, which can independently attack creatures on command.

The book ends with three new skeleton templates, getting back to the monsters that are at the heart of this book. The decrepit skeleton is one of the rare kinds of templates that makes a creature weaker, rather than more powerful. The monstrous skeleton template exists solely to allow creatures that had powerful abilities in life to retain them as skeletons. The skeletal lord is an enhanced version of the skeletal champion, being layered on top of that template. It was here that I wish a sample NPC had been included, not so much because it was necessary as because it would have been really cool to have had a pre-made skeletal lord NPC on hand. Three skeleton-based adventure ideas round out the book.

Overall, Monster Focus: Skeletons isn’t a bad book, but while it does have the occasional gem of an idea, there’s little here that reaches out and demands that you buy it. There’s no insightful ecology or game-changing idea found herein, nothing that makes you think that this is “Skeletons Revisited”-level inspiring. That’s a shame because such iconic monsters really need something on that level to do them justice. That said, what’s here is certainly viable for your game, and you likely won’t regret picking this book up. It is, ultimately, a bare bones product that needed some more meat on it to make it truly substantive.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Focus: Skeletons
Publisher: Minotaur Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/24/2013 12:24:08

Did you think you knew all about skeletons?

You know, those low-level bony undead that clatter around, smash quite easily and aren't much of a problem once you've got a few levels under your belt (or a good cleric at your shoulder to turn them).

Think again! Here's a wealth of resources for GMs and characters alike.

Perhaps your character wants to know more about skeletons. Roll a Knowledge (Religion) check and see how much of the lore herein you can find out. Maybe you anticipate fighting them a lot... there are feats in here to make you better at doing so, not to mention spells to learn and alchemical substances and magical items that will be most efficatious against them.

Now, if you sit the other side of the GMs screen, don't despair as your characters tool up with all this anti-skeleton kit. For herein you will find three new types of skeleton - including a rather potent Skeleton Lord - to send into battle along with several rather cracking adventure ideas.

Everything you ever wanted to know about skeletons but didn't dare ask... get this and find out!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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