Monday, October 17, 2011

Lone Wolf Multiplayer #5 - Magnamund Bestiary Review

The Magnamund Bestiary is the fifth book published for the Lone Wolf Multiplayer RPG.
As the name states, the Magnamund Bestiary is essentially the Monster Manual for LWM. Creatures are broken down into the categories of mundane, sentient, humanoids, undead, elementals, constructs, darkspawn, agarashi, mutants and extra-planar creatures. This book is the beefiest of all the LWM books weighing in at 200 pages and it's for good reason! There are well over 100 different creatures listed in this book!

These creatures range from the common such as a tiger to a wolf to the truly exotic. The one thing about Lone Wolf is that it doesn't rely on the old standbys from Dungeons and Dragons such as Kobolds and Bug Bears. I don't know about you but if I didn't read about a Dhax, Chaksu, Cinquali, Crocaryx, Uraroh, Oudagorg, Plaak, or Ziog I would have no idea what they were at all! There are SOME pictures included in this book but I wish there were more.

Still, where there are no pictures each entry gives you tons of information. You get a physical description, history (where applicable - they don't give you a history for mules, for example), combat notes, and roleplaying notes. The combat notes are welcome, telling when and how a creature will attack or under what conditions it will retreat. The roleplaying notes are unintentionally funny sometimes. Some of them are written in the second person point of view. For example, for a Szall it says, "You are scared of the humans but you covet their possessions. The bandit humans are much too tough and wary for you to dare raid their campsites..." The creature POV for the Game Master is funny...

There are plenty of common NPC characters provided as well such as villagers, assassins, pirates, academics, etc. With the Drakkar the authors really go above and beyond the call of duty, giving the army structure and stats for each rank and specialty in the army. Wow!

Another place that I thought they did an excellent job in was the constructs. The clockwork constructs are given a four step process for customizing them, allowing you to create your own clockwork monstrosities. The results are fairly balanced. I just wish they had provided a few more examples of completed clockwork constructs.

The one major gripe I have about this book is the stats provided. They're too tough! An average character will have stats somewhere a 15-20 Combat Skill and 25-30 Endurance. A lion has a CS of 18-24 and END 27-33 making it tougher than most characters! And that's just one example! The Mawtaw has CS 34-43 and END 42-50!!! We're talking Total Party Kill at that point! Everyone will be at -11 CS at that point and the Mawtaw will just tear everyone to shreds! And that's not an isolated example! Here's a list of more creatures that have a 40 CS or better:
Black Corvayl, Giant Spider, Shianti, Drakkar War Marshal, Drakkar Nadziranim, Shadakine Wytch, Cabalah, Dentaag, Ghost, Urgaroh, Ziog, Earth Elemental, Tzoog, Iron Golem, Clockwork Constructs, Ashradon, Liganim, Xaghash, Agarashi (common), Brumalghast, Chagarashi, Dakomyd, Deathstalker, Quoku, Xanon, Antah Wasp, Demon (Lesser), Ice Demon (up to 53 CS!!!), Kleasa, and Lavas. Now, that's  THIRTY ONE creatures that can completely own a party. Some of them have special abilities such as magical absorption that make them even worse! I'd say there's probably a greater number of creatures that have a CS between 30-39. Even in that range that's a MAJOR boss! Sure, some of these creatures are godlike beings such as the Shainti but a Giant Spider? Wasps? At the end of the day, it seems the creatures' stats weren't carefully calculated and playtested. This diminishes the value of the book somewhat.

Also lacking are special powers for creatures. For example, the Cener Druid write up simply gives a CS and END score. But the downloadable evil character class Cener Druid fleshes out the class with skills like a player class. This omission is probably due to the nature of the LWM system - the enemies don't really get a "turn" as it were.

Even considering the stat issue, I'd still say this is a great resource. While not essential, this book really does add a lot of dimension to your two-stat creatures.

1LR Review - 17 out of 20 - It's a Solid Hit!


  1. In terms of the stats, this is the same as in the books. The CRT favours the PCs by quite a bit, so a creature with the same stats is actually quite an easy opponent.

    The Book of Magnakai also assists in boosting the PC levels quite a bit.

  2. Here's the bottom line - a creature with an over 40 CS has the entire party at -11 combat ratio. That means that on any melee attack the party member has a TWENTY PERCENT chance of instantly being killed. That's just crazy.

    I've actually run a few encounters in the 30+ CS range and these creatures completely decimate the party... maybe not a TPK but certainly close.

    Thanks for the comment and checking out my blog!