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Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra $7.99
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
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Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Christopher T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/13/2014 20:32:52

I love this thing. I use this for LoTFP and 13th Age (combined with an Excel doc to balance encounters) and it rocks. Players just don't know what's going to hit them next. It's a very solid idea generator as well as just busting out the stats and powers for a crazy looking beast. I can just imagine a summer afternoon getting high and making a bunch of monsters with this except I'm a geezer with kids that works at a large national corporation so that's just a fantasy, but I can sneak a couple monsters in from time to time while MLP is on the TV to fill up a notebook.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Ray D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2014 10:07:12

Quite handy. Akin to free writing with dice. Provides interesting starting points for a variety of 'strange' critters. Helps in keeping that feeling of the 'unknown and unfamiliar' at hand. 'Undiscovered country' is a good hook for engaging folks. Keeps them thinking.

Were I to criticize constructively, I'd say the lean towards the 6 stat gaming system is a small hinderance. Makes for a small stumbling block when in the rush to create while using another system. Not a deal breaker though.

I've drawn up about 20 or so exotic beasties and fleshed them out. They will be fun to spring on the group or even just provide some color while traveling between chapters.

I've found this item to be a solid utility.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/17/2009 07:41:45

Diving straight in, the Introduction compares 'traditional' and more 'experimental' styles of role-playing, with a strong case for the 'traditional' style being timeless and enjoyable by successive generations of gamers... but that while good plot design, innovative situations and novel traps will keep players on their toes, the classic monsters are so well-known even beyond role-players that reactions to them are predicatable and dull. To regain the sense of wonder - and of danger - that a monster encounter ought to provide, this book is intended to aid the referee in providing new, even unique, monsters without the need for being a professional monster designer!

The method proposed - as indicated by the title - is based on random tables, but from the outset the referee is encouraged to allow his own ideas to take priority, using the tables as stimulus rather than a straitjacket. An interesting note is that creatures need not necessarily be balanced to party strength, provided the monster does not have to be defeated in face-to-face combat for mission objectives to be achieved, it is quite all right for the party to flee in terror from an overwhelming opponent!

Beginning with a run-down of the essential characteristics that will need to be determined, there are then a selection of tables to help decide everything from body shape to method of locomotion, how it fights and even its distinctive features. Strict adherence to die rolls can result in mighty odd creatures - but if the result is not quite right, go ahead and change anything you wish. You can even determine combat strategy randomly, if the creature's design does not make one obvious - even if you choose not to roll on any of the tables, just reading them can start spawning ideas for that next show-stopping monster! The book rounds out with suggestions for drawing all your ideas and rolled results into a coherent whole, and then ways in which it can be presented effectively to your players and their characters.

While presented as 'systemless' the book is actually geared towards the general outlook of Dungeons & Dragons, although it doesn't matter which edition you play. If you use a different fantasy ruleset, you may need to develop different information for monsters but these tables will at least help you to devise the basic concept of your monster even if you then need to build the final design to suit the rule mechanics of your choice. Overall, if you want to go beyond published monsters, this is a good book for ideas if not complete creatures!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
Publisher: Goodman Games
by David M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/23/2009 17:54:10

I won't bother singing this product's praises, you only have to google it to find almost universal praise. It is simply an excellent book. I do however want to give Goodman Games some feedback on the pdf version. Every interior page has a grey background. While this may look good hot off the professional print press, it's not so good for the home desk top printer, which doesn't have the same level of quality. Not only is it an unnecessary waste of ink, but the small font of the charts can be a bit difficult to read against the grey background.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Kenneth H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/14/2009 10:23:29

This little publication has become a staple in my gaming. I agree completely with all the positive comments by the other three reviewers, so I will not repeat them.

I will say that, beyond the core rule books, few items I have purchased have had such a significant impact on our game table experience with our gaming group. After character class and race, nothing shapes a player's actual perception of their adventuring world as much as the creatures they encounter.

Not only is it incredibly useful in creating creatures, the advice given at the end is worth the price of the book. But, wait, there's more: Not only is this book practical, it is highly entertaining.

You really can't go wrong with this one.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
Publisher: Goodman Games
by James H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/06/2009 15:37:34

My only real complaint is that the product was very obviously designed for use with D&D (as evidenced by the dicussion of monsters in terms of Armor Class, Hit Dice, Alignment, Character Levels, etc) and then sold as a supplement for use with any system. I'm using it with Original D&D (1974) so this isn't much of an issue for me — but had I purchased it for use with a non D&D-derived fantasy system (e.g., Ars Magica, GURPS, etc) I would've felt like I overpaid at the list price $7.99 (US).



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Naomi B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/26/2009 16:56:42

This was a blast to use. I've only used it once so far but it certainly knocked the cocky back on their heels! Good reactions so far.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/09/2009 14:21:24

Monsters just don’t seem as monstrous as they used to, in RPGs. While there are a lot of plausible explanations for why this is (or rather, why it feels that way) I think the main reason is that a byproduct of the growing success of role-playing games – as well as general information tools – has quantified monsters to the point where they’re all just obstacles rather than creatures now. Admittedly, there are a lot of monster books out there, but the ones used most often are also the ones the players are most likely familiar with. When players know exactly what they’re up against, they just evaluate the challenges as little more than a cost-benefit analysis of how their characters will do in a fight. In other words, familiar enemies aren’t ones that cause fear, or excitement. This is the problem that the Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra aims to fix (along with going for the award for Longest Name in an RPG Supplement).

Before we go into the belly of this beast, let’s go over its particulars. This book is just under three dozen pages long, including the covers. Full bookmarks are present, allowing easy navigation around the PDF. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s actually quite a bit of artistic presentation here. All of the pages are grey, rather than white, and there are quite a few interior illustrations. While I usually don’t mention the artwork that much, I really have to sing the praises of the illustrators here, they (Brad McDevitt in particular) drew a number of black and white pictures that excellently portray some of truly hideous, twisted freaks of nature that can be created with the tables found in this book.

Before going further, it’s important to understand that this book is clearly aimed at being used with D&D. In fact, it’s forthright about this, saying so right in the introduction (though it does the usual tap-dance around using proper names). While this book could easily be used for any game system in particular, it drops references to things such as Hit Dice or AC that are clear indications of where this will be best put to use. On that note, however, the book really is edition-neutral. There’s never enough specificity here to clearly say that it’s meant more for one edition than another.

After the author’s introduction, he walks us through some of the basics regarding creating monsters. That is, he presents some basic aspects of a creature (e.g. Alignment, Experience, Morale, etc.) and tells us what general guidelines we should use when determining these, after rolling on the appropriate tables, for whatever version of D&D we play. It’s after this that we get the actual tables for building a creature. A grand total of ten tables are present, varying wildly in what they present (a few results have sub-tables, but these are rare). Some table results have mechanical effects, others don’t, but the possibilities here are as imaginative as they are diverse. While I suppose one could multiply all the possible table results to determine exactly how many possibilities there are here, it’s reasonable to say that you’ll always make monsters that are incredibly different every time you use these tables. Even non-physical factors have tables for them, such as the creature’s combat strategy and motivation.

Unexpectedly, the book doesn’t end when the tables do. There’s a five-page section after this called Putting it All Together which is, hands down, some of the best advice a Game Master will ever get regarding how to use monsters in the game. Breaking it down into sub-sections, the author presents wisdom and tips that may not be new, but are still incredibly valuable to read and remember. From little things like not telling the players the name of the creature they’re facing, to major epiphanies like using any given monster only once over the course of an entire campaign, all of the advice here is solid gold that any good Game Master should read before starting a game. Combined with the diverse tables and the advice for filling in the blanks beforehand, this book might be the best supplement a GM ever reads, no matter which edition of D&D he plays.

The greatest strength of the Random Esoteric Creature Generator is that it makes monster creation be an exercise in design philosophy, rather than balancing mechanics. By providing just enough mechanical and narrative framework so that the generated results form a clear picture of what monster you’re making, without getting tied down in the minutia of making things exhaustively detailed and “balanced,” this book makes creating monsters an exercise of imagination – in other words, making new creatures is both easy and fun to do! It’s because of that that the Random Esoteric Creature Generator is inspirational, evocative, and truly impressive for how it puts the magic back into monsters for your game. I really can’t recommend it enough.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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