Reviews of 'Fiend Folio'
Reviews of 'Fiend Folio'
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The newest addition to the Dungeons & Dragons family of products, the Fiend Folio might better be termed Monster Manual III. Fiend Folio is 224 pages of the most vile and evil fiends to be found in any player's wildest nightmares, with the occasional non-evil creature thrown in for good measure. As the title implies, however, the vast majority of the book is devoted to creatures designed to keep players awake at night and DMs drooling with anticipation of what the PCs will find around the next dark corner of the dungeon.
Fiend Folio opens with a brief introduction to the book that provides information on how to read the entries for each monster. Monster entries are in the D&D 3.5 format, and Fiend Folio provides additional rules and modifications to the cold, extraplanar, fire and shapechanger subtypes. It also introduces a new subtype, the swarm, which comes into play with entries for such monster as the three types of Aquatic Oozes on the following pages. Fiend Folio also provides a table and rules for skill points by creature type, and several monster-specific feats (also found in Savage Species).
With the exception of three short appendices, the remainder of the book is devoted to more than 150 monsters. Some of the monsters gracing the pages of Fiend Folio are from the original 1981 edition of the book, updated to D&D 3rd Edition, while others are new creations. Many are simply a new member of an existing fiend's family, but all of the fiends are unique enough to provide suitably difficult and interesting challenges for any campaign.
One of the nastiest of the fiendish bunch is the blackstone giant, which, according to a recent interview with the book's authors, made short work of a 12th level party of adventurers. The giant has a nasty petrify attack, which it uses to great effect when it uses its animate objects ability to command the petrified target. Another interesting guardian creature is the Caryatid Column, a stone construct typically assigned to guard a door or a room.
The Fiend Folio wouldn't be complete without an extensive repertoire of demons, and the Fiend Folio certainly does not disappoint. From the Alkilith and its cloudkill form to the Blood Fiend, to the Klurichir and its dual mouths, the Fiend Folio provides sufficiently original and nasty demons. And, for underwater encounters, the Myrmyxicus Tanar'ri (CR 21) is a perfect choice for the DM that needs to throw a four-armed half-dragon-half-humanoid-half-octopus-half-lamprey at the party.
To balance the book, the section between Demons and Devils is devoted to Devas, specifically the Monadic and Movanic sort. However, they neither would be much of a challenge for some of the powerful Baatezu that appear on the next few pages.
In addition to the celestials and infernals already mentioned, there are some monsters of the more common sort-such as a dire rhinoceros, a Half-Fey Centaur, one of the three new golem types, or an iron cobra. Fiend Folio also provides rules for half-fey and half-illithids in the entries for appropriate creatures.
Of course, any tome of monsters would be incomplete without at least a few undead, and the Fiend Folio provides the hideous Crawling Head, the Hullathoin, Ulgurstasta, and the Swordwraith, among others. Fiend Folio introduces several new dragons, including the Sea Drake and the Sunwyrm. The Fiend Folio also includes several new types of swarms which may provide a tiny but difficult enemy for the PCs.
The first appendix contains three monstrous prestige classes for outsiders with the evil subtype: the Fiend of Blasphemy, the Fiend of Corruption, and the Fiend of Possession. The Fiend of Blasphemy provides ample opportunities for roleplaying, as the stated goal of a fiend of this type is to sponsor a cult and to draw worshippers from the true gods to worship the fiend. A Fiend of Corruption works to corrupt an untainted soul and generally works alone-but toward their own nefarious ends. A Fiend of Possession works in a similar vein, but works by possessing objects or creatures which it can manipulate to its own ends. Any of these templates can be used to great effect by a DM to introduce an entire story arc into a campaign.
Appendix two provides rules for attaching grafts to an existing creature. A graft is a non-living thing-such as an additional eyestalk, or an extra hand, skin with specific properties, or wings. The appendix provides a variety of grafts, grouped by the type of graft (aboleth, beholder, fiendish, illithid, maug, undead or yuan-ti). In addition, the appendix provides information on Symbionts that may live with a host creature-such as a cerebral hood or a mind leech that feed off the host to preserve themselves.
On the strength of its monster portfolio alone, the Fiend Folio deserves strong recommendation. The appendixes for fiendish prestige classes and grafts and symbionts an added incentive. The artwork in Fiend Folio is excellent, and virtually all of the monsters are detailed in full color that provide much-needed visuals for players and DMs alike to visualize the many horrors from the Abyss that will surely spring forth into many campaigns.
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