Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Review and Commentary On The Inferno Bestiary, Second Edition From Spellbook Games

I've always believed in do it yourself Hells as an adventure location for old school adventures ever since I was a kid. I read Dante's Inferno at a very young age and have a long very storied history with Judge's Guild's Inferno adventure. Judge's Guild's Inferno was written by Geoffrey O. Dale and "based primarily upon the poem 'Inferno' by Dante" and offers up the first four of Hell's nine circles for use as a location for D&D adventures. Geoffrey O. Dale was the original architect and writer of the original Judge's Guild classic adventure. So a couple of years ago  Paul Elkmann& Geoffrey O. Dale  released  The Inferno Bestiary, Second Edition for their own  line of Hell based campaign adventures. These adventures such as Journey through Malebolge Book One From  Spellbook Games  contains the following;  " This module completes and expands the 1980 Judges Guild module, Inferno.  Book One describes means of entry into Hell by portals, from the wilderness, and through a dungeon; it also describes an area of Gehenna above the Great Pit, the Gates of Hell, and Outer Hell, consisting of Circle Zero through the Fifth Circle.  More than thirty encounter areas are described, including the Shining Hill, Vile Forest, Gates of Hell, Noble Castle, the River Archeron, Cave of Tantalassus, Minos’ Palace, the Garden of Succubi, Cerberus’ barn, and the treasure caves of Plutus, the swamp Styx, Phelgyas’ Tower, the Walls of Dis, and the City of Burning Tombs."
The Inferno Bestiary, Second Edition contains all of the monsters from their Hellish adventures and their placement within the Inferno as well as expansions of the various creatures.

 Grab it Right Over Here

So what's this book all about besides being a monster book and a Hell based monster manual well in the intro we're told;"This is the second edition of Spellbook Games’ Inferno: Bestiary. This edition includes all of the monsters from the original edition
plus more than three hundred additional monster descriptions that were not part of Portal to Adventure.
This monster compendium is intended as a companion volume to Spellbook Game’s Inferno: Journey through Malebolge, and provides the details about those creatures and monsters encountered in Hell that are not described in the Portal to Adventure rulebook. In particular, this Bestiary provides important descriptions of Devils, Angels, and some Demons which are found nowhere else. This
Bestiary also fills a significant gap in the Portal monster lists by providing statistics and information about a large number of fishes and aquatic creatures. Games Masters not playing Inferno may also find this volume very useful as a source of new and unknown creatures which could inhabit their campaign, dungeons, and other places frequented by Adventurers."
The nice thing is that this book is keyed for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first edition but could be used with any old school edition including retroclones such as OSRIC or old editions with some adjustments as needed. The book has its own internal monster ecology including placement of the demon lords and devils as needed. Hell has always been a primary source of adventure going all the way back to the early days of D&D and this book makes DYI placement of demons, devils, and hellish versions of animals quite easy. The placement is dependent upon the validity of the level of Hell your adventurers find themselves in.

Monsters stat blocks here are easily adapted into a first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game and if your thinking of using this sort of a campaign these are designed for the high end of the PC level spectrum for example here's a male angel as an example; "Angel, Male, 1d8 appearing; Warrior L15, hp 75; AC 46;
Weapons: Long Sword +3 (holy, flaming, cuts steel in single stroke, spell storing [fireball, 30
FT, 4d6 damage]), Silver Dagger +2 (holy); Special Qualities: cure light wounds (limit 5/person/day),
cure serious wounds (limit 3/ person/day), daylight (100 FT), detect evil, detect undead, discern
lies, immune to spells of mental attack and control, immune to soul binding and trapping, infrared vision, regenerates hp4/ round, resists spells (1d12 GTET 6), resists prayers (1d12 GTET 4), sees invisible (125 FT), speaks languages, telepathic communications (300 FT), true sight (60 FT); 5/day — cure serious wounds (1/person/ day), dispel evil, divine favor, prayer, protect from evil, 3/day — geas/ quest, alter realities, time stop, 1/ day — holy word; AL Good; Attributes: Agil 21, Int 22, Stam 26, Str 26, Will 24; Possessions: Candle of Truth, Chime Opening Doors, cure blindness/ deafness potion, cure light wounds potion (x3), cure moderate wounds potion (x2), cure serious wounds potion, holy water (x5), Incense of Meditation, Prayer Beads, protection from evil potion (x2), Ring of Undead Command, Wand (Magic Arrow); Description: Handsome winged men 6 FT 6 inches tall, with round faces, short golden-blond hair, small rounded ears, thick blond arched eyebrows over wide deep blue eyes, long upturned noses, wide
mouths with thick dark red lips, and tapered chins. They have wide muscular shoulders, narrow hips, long thin legs, small feet, and long arms with wide hands. Their 5 FT span wings are made of long white eagle feathers. They appear in longsleeved white hooded robes, an open-faced gold Helm AC+12 (resistance to sound attack), gold Breastplate AC+10 (electricity resistance), gold Shield +10 (winged), black cord belt, and black leather sandals. They have very deep and resounding voices. They are partial towards Crusaders, those Wizards specializing in teaching. Male Angels have far more patience than do Female Angels."
All of the major movers and shakers of Hell in the form of the demon lords are here as well as they're placement within the framework of Spellbooks adventures and game setting. This makes dropping in these monsters a snap into your old school adventures.

DYI Hell means taking & switching out adventure locations as necessary because this is Hell and its ever changing. Hell is the perfect place to switch out adventure locations as necessary for campaign play. All of the adventure environments have monsters and not all of the usual demonic ones that players might be expecting. Creatures, monsters, and things of Hell are very very dangerous. The Inferno Bestiary is the perfect device to act as an adventure primer to add in monsters where and when the DM's needs. 

So is there any real major problems with the  The Inferno Bestiary, Second Edition? The price point is a bit excessive at fourteen twenty but I'd wait for a sale that frequently crop up on Drivethrurpg. If you wish to take a look at a sample of what's in this pdf there is the Diabolical Denizens pdf right over here.

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