This 7 page PDF (10 with front & back cover & OGC declaration) details the Elder Fiend Template. The PDF is laid out in the ?Campaign Construction System? format, designed for GMs to easily gather their game mastering materials into a campaign specific binder. The PDF includes an in-character introduction from the bestiary entry of the eponymous Blackdyrge. Included next is the Elder Fiend template write-up and write-ups of two monsters that have had the Elder Fiend template applied to them, an advanced Dretch, and an advanced Horned Devil.
The short in-character bestiary entry by Blackdyrge is entertaining and well-written and does not fall into the dreaded game fiction fluff category. No painful exposition here.
The Elder Fiend template, an acquired template that can be added to evil outsiders with 6 HD or more, is fairly powerful, providing a CR adjustment of +4, and a level adjustment of +8. The elder fiend template leaves the creature?s size and type unchanged, basically leaving it in the same form, but providing with additional and more potent abilities. They gain a bonus to their AC, doubled speed, a bonus to attacks, they inflict damage as if they are one size class larger.
In addition to the normal special attacks of the base outsider, they gain a numbe of additional special attacks. They gain the ability to Command Fiends (evil outsiders) as an evil cleric with a level equal to their hit dice. They can continuously detect thoughts as the spell with a caster level equal to their HD, being able to turn it on or off as a free action. They also gain the Fiendish Smite (su) special attack. They can use this attack to smite foes of good alignment. On a successful melee attack, they deal extra damage equal to its Hit Dice (to a max of +35) and the target of the smite must make successful Will save or suffer effects as the insanity spell, as panicked, or -4 due to pain. The effect caused depends on the alignment of the Elder Fiend.
They also gain damage reduction abilities, regeneration, resistance to energy, spell resistance, a bonus of +6 to all of their abilities save Int and Wis, for which they gain a +4 bonus. Finally, they gain the Fiendish Aura ability, which causes effects of confusion, dominate person, or crushing despair like the spell, to any non-outsider within it, each round, if they do not succeed at a will save.
Finally there are write-ups of two advanced template monsters, a Dretch, and the Elder Fiend Vexicus. Both are solid, The Dretch is CR8, a buffer version of your average Dretch, while Vexicus is god-like, with a CR of 35.
The PDF is laid out in a two spacious columns with an easy read to font. Section headers are in bold, with italics and bullets used as in the Monster Manual style write-ups. The PDF has a large grayscale header, it is a barwith a grungy paper look with page numbers titles and types, in the Campaign Construction System format mentioned earlier. There are two pieces of interior art, a full page of a scantily clad female sorceress making an offering to a giant horned devil, presumably the Vexicus character, and a ? page illustration of a Dretch. Both of the art pieces are well drawn, with the Vexicus piece having an old school Frank Frazzeta feel. The cover features a framed version of the Vexicus illustration set in a circular decorative frame over a red marble background. The title is done in a decorative font with a distressed texture over a black shape, with the subtitle done in white over a bar design abutting the illustration.
Overall, this is an excellent product; the template provides a powerful and unexpected variation to outsiders, allowing for the GM to surprise the characters toting their demonology tomes. If you regularly use the outsider creature type or have lots of dealings with the outer planes, I recommend this to switch up the types of creatures the characters encounter. It can also serve as a good means to make a memorable outsider NPC creature as villain, rival or ally to the PCs.
<b>LIKED</b>: old school Vexicus illustration<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Limited general usefulness<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>