Kobold Press Delivers the Midgard Bestiary to 13th AGE!

It probably comes as no shock to most gamers that Kobold Press/Open Design has become quite a powerhouse in the Third Party Publishing neighborhood of the RPG Community. For several years now, Open Design has been providing considerable high quality content for a number of fantasy role playing games, including D&D 3.5, Pathfinder, 4E, and DragonAge RPG.

Now under the guidance of Kobold Press, there has been a strong effort to offer Wolfgang Bauer’s Midgard Campaign Setting to a wide variety of game systems – including the 13th Age RPG. Recently, Kobold Press has released a supplemental “monster manual” linked to the Midgard Setting with the 13th Age RPG in mind. The Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition provides new creatures and all new additional content, offering new challenges and support for a new setting to explore!

Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition

  • Author: Ash Law
  • Illustrators: Aaron Miller (cover); Darren Calvert, Blanca Martinez de Rituerto, Jason Engle, Cory Trego-Erdner, Rick Hershey, Michael Jaecks, James Keegan, Pat Loboyko, Chris McFann, Jeff McFarland, Aaron Miller, Hugo Solis, Allison Theus (interior)
  • Publisher: Kobold Press
  • Year: 2013
  • Media: PDF (110 pages)
  • Price: $14.99 (Available from RPGNow in PDF formats)

Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition is a monster supplement of creatures and entities from the Open Design campaign setting of Midgard. Designed for use with the 13th Age RPG rules, the Midgard Bestiary contains nearly 100 monsters native to Midgard, with stat blocks appropriate for use with 13th Age. There is a separate listing for monsters/races which can be played as characters. Additionally, this supplement offers 13 Icons appropriate to the Midgard setting, with information and descriptions for use by both players and the GM.


Production Quality

The production quality of Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition is good, demonstrating some very strong writing and a pleasing layout of monster entries. The monsters use stat blocks which will be familiar to 13th Age RPG players, and the description and flavor text are quite complete.

While this monster supplement has PDF bookmarks and a table of contents for navigation, it does feel a bit incomplete in amenities. There is no listing of monsters or appendix which organizes them be level or challenge. This is found in most other monster manuals, and allows a GM to select level appropriate monsters with greater ease. Regretfully, a 13th Age GM would have to read through each monster to determine if it represents a reasonable challenge to the heroes, which is not always convenient when running an adventure or campaign.

The artwork in Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition is nicely done overall, with a full color heroic looking cover, and depictions of most monsters listed in the PDF. The cover art and a number of the monster illustrations were recycled from earlier releases of the Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder and the AGE RPG systems, but overall the art does enhance the quality of the book.

Disappointingly, the new Midgard-friendly 13th Age Icons introduced in Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition lack both the illustrations and the heraldic symbols found in the official icon versions in the 13th Age Core Rulebook. One would expect that entities of such import to the Midgard Setting and the 13th Age RPG system would have been given more a little more attention in this book.


Alternative Adversaries

The Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition offers a significant selection of monsters, player-character races, and Icons for use with the 13th Age RPG. While these creatures are ostensibly intended to be used with the Midgard Campaign Setting by Open Design, this supplement of creatures can be used with any sort of 13th Age setting as desired by a Game Master.

The majority of creatures in the Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition are often alternate forms of classic fantasy monsters - such as a Minotaur Bodyguard - or is a monster/race belonging to a particular socio-political faction – like the Free Canton Mercenary, which is a type of dwarf. In addition, there are a number of monster types which are unique to the Midgard Setting, such as the Gearforged Assassins and Roachling Warriors – humanoid intelligent giant cockroaches are not something found in too many settings… thankfully!

Also, there are unique new monsters which could appear in almost any campaign setting, which have no ties to classic fantasy creatures. The Death Moth Swarm and Horakh, for example, are two deadly and vicious insectoid creatures which could challenge heroes of any world.

Each monster listing has a number of elements which is useful to the GM when using it in their campaigns. This includes a short description of the creature, along with qualities of the monster type which might be useful for storytelling and plot purposes. There are listings for the type of magic and other items which the monster/race might have on them, as well as adventure hooks to generate potential involvement with the player-characters. It should be noted that these features in the monster entries are perks not found in the creature listings in the 13th Age Core Rulebook, and make them an exceptionally helpful bonus for GMs.

Each of the stat block for a monster consists of flavor text in italics, along with the creature’s level, role, and type (i.e. Large level2 wreaker). Their mundane and special attacks are listed as well, and use the format seen in the 13th Age Core Rulebook. This makes the creatures ready-to-use right from the PDF – another handy feature for GMs to utilize at the gaming table.

The section on Player Character Races in the Midgard Bestiary include nine different options: Centaurs, Darakhul, Gearforged, Gnolls, Goblins of the Wastes, Kobolds, Minotaurs, Ravenfolk, and Roachlings. Each race entry comes with recommended ability score modifiers, a description, racial abilities, and a selection of adventurer, champion, and epic feats. As nearly all of these races have monster entries in the preceding pages, there is a considerable amount of role playing content to assist in character creation.

Finally, the Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition offers 13 replacement Icons appropriate to the Midgard Campaign Setting, to substitute for those designed originally for the 13th Age Core Rulebook and setting. These include such entities as Baba Yaga, the Emperor of the Ghouls, the Free City Council (of Zobeck), and the Queen of Night and Magic, just to name a few.

Each of the icon entries is designed like those icons found in the 13th Age Core Rulebook, detailing content such as their identifying Quote, Usual Location, Common Knowledge about the icon, etc. These substitute icons for the Midgard Campaign Setting are nicely done overall.


Overall Score: 3.6 out of 5.0


Conclusions

The Midgard Bestiary 13th Age Compatible Edition really offers a great selection of monsters and races to help GMs use the Midgard Campaign Setting with 13th Age rules. The writing is both creative and sharp, and the monster entries are filled with all sorts of “fluff” content to enhance the role playing potential in the course of the game. While the artwork was reused from previous Midgard Bestiary releases, it is well-done and conveys some excellent imagery of the creatures in this book.

And while this Bestiary was designed for use with the Midgard Setting, these creatures might still be used in the 13th Age Campaign Setting should an enterprising GM wish to tweak them into line. Overall, it’s a great optional monster manual for fans of 13th Age RPG, and comes at a very decent price for all new and inspiring content for a GM to use in his storytelling.

Editorial Note: This Reviewer received a complimentary playtest copy of the product in PDF format from which the review was written.


Grade Card (Ratings 1 to 5)

  • Presentation: 3.25
  • - Design: 3.0 (Excellent writing; good layout; lacking in challenge organization)
  • - Illustrations: 3.5 (Reused but nice cover art; good monster artwork)
  • Content: 4.0
  • - Crunch: 4.0 (Great monster design; excellent adaptation to 13th Age ruleset!)
  • - Fluff: 4.0 (Excellent details and additional information for monster entries!)
  • Value: 3.5 (A good price for a bunch of new monsters!)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top