The Book of Templates Deluxe Edition 3.5 is from Silverthorne Games, being the latest (and most likely final) incarnation of the original Book of Templates. This book offers a wealth of new material, beyond a truckload of new monster templates, for your Fantasy d20 game.
The product contains two files. The first is the full-color version, weighing in at almost 7.5 megabytes. This version has borders along the pages, colored headers, and tables that are shaded. The printer-friendly version eliminates all this, and is just over 5.5 megs. Both versions contain a full-color cover and black and white interior artwork. Both have bookmarks and a hyperlinked table of contents, and a page of ads at the end, as well as the OGL.
The Book of Templates offers, as mentioned, far more than mere templates. The first chapter offers a wealth of advice regarding building monsters, outshining the Monster Manual by far in terms of summing up building monsters. It gives the layout of each template, reiterates the features of each monster type, covers things that alter the monsters stats (such as size), and goes over how to calculate CR and level adjustment. That?s a heck of a lot for just one chapter, and doesn?t even mention the sidebars.
Chapters two through thirteen are organized by type. This usually covers creature type, such as Aberrations, Outsiders, etc. A few chapters are more thematic though, such as Augmentation, a chapter which covers all sorts of templates that have no related theme beyond increasing the creature?s power. Most of the monsters have a piece of art depicting them, and all of the templates have an example creature that showcases what the template can do; in many cases (utilizing a tip given in chapter one) the monster is given a new name, with the understanding that all monsters of that kind with that template are part of a new species. Altogether, there are over sixty templates in the book, many also feature variants. Sidebars with additional information dot the chapters.
Appendix I offers additional new crunch. It has a few new skills (such as Craft (taxidermy)), new feats (such as Cross training, which lets you make two cross-class skills into class skills), and new spells. While there are only a handful of new skills and feats, the new spells number several dozen, and all relate to the enclosed templates thematically, if not directly.
Altogether, The Book of Templates Deluxe 3.5 offers a spectacular array of ways to vary your existing monsters, and expertly gives you the tools and advice for doing so. This book is nothing short of a toolkit that offers an endless variety of material for your game. There are few, if any, better products out there for giving familiar monsters a deadly new edge.
<b>LIKED</b>: The format and layout was stellar. The size Tables went up to Titanic, which is the new name for Colossal+. The product presented a wealth of ideas as well as tools and advice for how to make those ideas possible.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: One minor point was how, on the size table, the AC/attack penalty for Titanic was -12 instead of -16; it ignored the cascading penalty from previous sizes. Also, a lot of chapter one reprinted material from the Monster Manual, such as size information, the qualities of various monster types, etc. Some may find that a waste of space.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>