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Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
 
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Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
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Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/19/2006 00:00:00

Template Troves I: Serpents, Spiders, & Godlings is a monster book from Silverthorne Games. In keeping with this company?s claim to fame, this monster book consists of templates (along with creatures they have been applied to). The zipped file is 3.76 megabytes in size, containing a single PDF, which weighs in at 4.27 meg.

The book itself is forty-two pages long, including a page each for the front and back covers, a page for the credits, a page for the table of contents, a page for the OGL and legal information, and a page of ads. It has bookmarks to not only each template, but also to the scattering of new materials, as well as specific creatures, also found therein.

The book?s covers are done in full-color, but other than that the product is entirely in black-and-white with grayscale. The pages have borders on alternating sides. Most, but not all, of the new templates given have a picture of what a creature with that template would look like. There is no printer-friendly version.

The book opens with an introduction describing how to use the twenty templates that it provides. In addition to the template itself, each has an introduction of a paragraph or two explaining where such creatures come from, or how they would be created. It also briefly discusses appearance changes to the base creature once the template has been applied. In addition, each template has an example creature.

Most of the score of templates in the book fall under its title theme; a few, however, such as the devourer survivor or the twilight haggling, do not. Interestingly, most of the ?godling? templates are representative of creatures that are descended from one of the legendary beasts from Norse mythology, such as Fenris or Sleipnir. None of the templates are very powerful, though, being at most Challenge Rating +2 (one, the Skoth, can be +4, but that?s rare). Additionally, a few extras are thrown in, such as a single brand-new (non-template) monster, a few feats, or a trio of new spells, among others, all of which are presented to round out existing entries.

Altogether, Template Troves I: Serpents, Spiders, & Godlings does a good job in presenting templates that alter the flavor of the monsters they?re applied to. The only real flaw with the book is that it doesn?t seem to go far enough with its inspirations. Many of the templates here represent crossbreeds, or otherwise creatures with the blood of another ?standard? monster in them, which seems somewhat lackluster. Luckily, this only makes up about half of the templates presented here, with the other half being colorful enough to more than make up for the cut-and-dried nature of their fellows. GM?s looking for new ways to spice up existing monsters would be well served to make them into Serpents, Spiders, & Godlings. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Additional bonus material, such as the oxeph (a new monster) helped to round out the material quite nicely. Likewise, many of the new templates here (such as the oxeph host) were exceptionally colorful.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Some of the templates seemed rather dry in their nature, such as a template that can be placed on spiders representing an aranea ancestor, or one for snakes that's indicative of a couatl ancestor. Likewise, the product had no printer-friendly version.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2005 00:00:00

I just didn't find this work useful. I bought it looking for some templates to use, and I didn't find any that I consider useful. It's a somewhat subjective thing, of course, but I generally think the templates are too focused and just not comprehensive or engaging enough. From the Arnarch which is an aranea-spider crossbreed (that's a MONSTER, not a TEMPLATE), to the Poisonflow creature template that just adds a poison to the base creature, I just didn't like this offering. You can get ideas for some new monsters from this work, but I personally doubt I'll ever use any of the templates to do anything but create the single implied creature. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Disappointing<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
by Derek H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/13/2005 00:00:00

There are 20 templates in this file.

Those that relate to gods are descendants of the mythological animals of the Norse pantheon (Odin's horse, Frey's boar, etc.)

There is one spider template (what happens when a areana breeds with a spider)

There are several that relate to reptiles- like alchemically created lesser black dragons, 1/2 couatls, corrupted lillends, and dragon hybrids among others.

And then there a few misc ones like humanoid gibbering mouthers and powerful skum.

This is such a grab bag that most DMs will find several of use.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
by Remi F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/30/2004 00:00:00

Template Troves is a collection of variant creature templates designed to enhance a high-fantasy d20 game. The detailed mechanics presented by Sean K. Reynolds, lives up to his reputation for high quality material. Now with his new label ?Sean K. Reynolds Games?, the gaming community finally has a way to collect all his great work in one place. Template troves has some truly unique character templates. Though some work by Sean K. Reynolds on character templates for Wizards of the Coast is not include here. Well we cannot have it all, can we?

Hence, since some of my favorite templates by Sean K. Reynolds were forced to remain absent from this book, I subract 1-star from an otherwise 5-star book. ;)<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Some of the templates like the Arnarch, Gullinburstin and Sleipnirrin, make excellent mythical monsters. Though the title of this particular volume of Template Troves concentrates on Spiders, Serpents and Godlings, there is enough of a variety in monsters to satisfy any Game Master. Thus, I recommend this book for those Game Masters interested in expanding their array of variant monsters. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: This book is so great, there is not much to dislike, except maybe the inside artwork. It could have been better, but then again, very good artwork costs lots of money, and needs the kind of the artist who work for Wizards of the Coast. The cover artwork, is excellent though.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2004 00:00:00

a nice book of templates. wide range, eclectic at times schizophrenic assortment of creatures. as far as mechanics sean k is one of the best there is. <br><br><b>LIKED</b>: the power levels of the templates are very balanced and rated well. no suprises when plugging them in.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: the weird assortment of templates and origin's limits the use of this supplement to me. while all are good there are several for example templates of grandchildren norse gods loki, odin's horse etc. while interesting how useful is that to me? when it said godlings i expected some sort of godling template or similar lines.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
by Paul P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2004 00:00:00

I've already started using these templates in my weekly game. They are well-balanced, and there is a nice variety of them. I'd recomend it.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
by Orval M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2004 00:00:00

Tweak your monsters and watch the players go crazy! Just what the evil GM needs to keep ahead of their players!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
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!]
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