Still on the fence about picking up the Dark Sun Creature Catalog? Let me give you the bottom line first…don’t hesitate to pick this product up. I have been delighted with WOTC’s latest creature offerings (MM3, Monster Vault) and the Dark Sun Creature Catalog (hereafter abbreviated DSCC) may take its place at the very top as far as true value.
144 page full-color (brilliantly illustrated) hardcover for $19.95. This is how major monster books are supposed to look. The monsters feel extremely coherent and part of the world of Athas. However the creatures contained therein have the ability to thrive outside of a harsh desert world. Just the tiniest of tweaks (some requiring almost zero work other than fluff changes) and these beasties are ready to terrorize a multitude of worlds. Need an example?Let’s dive right in to the Silt Horror.
The Silt Horror is a massive tentacled beast that bursts appendages up through the sand which constrict, rake, and sweep victims. The tentacles are treated as separate minions in a really terrific use of the minion mechanic. Fight going too easily for the PCs? Just pop two more tentacles up out of the sand. The obvious reskin is drop this badboy into the ocean and you’ve got the kraken. How about making him slimy and green and he becomes the “Marsh Horror”. Another example? Glad you asked. How about the Tembo?
The Tembo is a saber-tooth tigeresque solo apex predator. It however has the aberrant origin and several stealth-related abilities. Hmmmm….How about we change his origin to “shadow”. And change his “Tainted Wounds” aura to a “Shadowy Reckoning” aura that says “While the Tembo is bloodied, creatures in the aura that take necrotic damage are pushed 1 square.” This forces a change of tactics halfway through the battle as ranged attacks become much more effective. Maybe even a name change? I like “Shadow-tooth Lion”.
As far as creatures that beg to be moved to other environs…How about the Belgoi? This eerie bell-ringing fey humanoid just asks to be put in a gothic horror setting. The Cilops (a single-eyed centipede with psychic powers) would be right at home in a campaign world modeled after ancient Greek mythos. Make the Obsidian Golem into a colorful precious gemstone (I like Amethyst) and drop him into a fungal cave in the feydark.
The bottom line is this….WOTC has hit a grand slam with the DSCC and it takes very little effort to move these interesting and unique monsters out of the desert and into your world!
Overall Score: 10 of 10- a flawless effort.