Reviewed by John G. Snyder
Every great RPG has its share of beasts, creatures and monsters. GURPS is no exception. This book details 48 individual creatures, people and things. Each creature has two pages dedicated to its description. Complete with stats and some truly disturbing artwork by Christopher Shy. Also included in the creature’s description, its motivation and some tips for how it is to be encountered. Which helps when dealing with some of the more bizarre entries.
This is not just a collection of monsters to throw at your PCs. Each one of the monsters in this book is an individual and is quite unique. If you want a collection of horror monsters that are not unique individuals check out GURPS Creatures of the Night, it’s an excellent bestiary for modern day horror games.
The first section deals with mythology. Creatures included are such beings as: Tiamat, Lilith, Amenhotep the Mummy, Medusa and the Golem. The evil grin that one gets while reading the stats for Lilith, a mere 1,059 points, is almost worth the price of admission by itself. (Considering the average modern day PC will be roughly 100 points).
The next section is the Cryptozoo. Every horror game has to have its stats for the Mothman, Bigfoot, and El Chupacabra. This section also has a few other surprises like Spring-Heeled Jack and the Honey Island Swamp Monster. This chapter has some excellent entries from our modern folklore and urban legends.
What monster book would be complete without the Legends of Literature? This chapter deals with the famous monsters from literature. You ever want to have your PCs encounter Grendel, the Headless Horseman or even the Big Bad Wolf? You can now. They’re all here. As well as the classics: Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and a few other surprises. There’s a Cthulhu reference that fits wonderfully into modern times.
By far the largest section of the book is the Original Monsters section. This details over a dozen new monsters. These are some never before seen creatures and some are inspired by some obvious sources. A sampling of the chapter gives us: Gill Man (featured on the cover), Lord K’Han (think King Kong), Barclay Thormon (more than just a brain in a jar) and an undead dragon named Pusan Chen.
The last chapter deals with game related information. New advantages and disadvantages, new uses for old adsdisads and a comprehensive bibliography.
The art throughout the book lends itself to the subject matter perfectly. Almost too perfect. Shy’s photo-realistic images cross the line between your mind’s eye and reality. Some of these pictures look like the real thing, which really connects for me, as a reader. The one downside is that the art is black and white and some detail is lost. Some pictures become rather muddy and unclear.
This book provides more than just monsters. Each section also has ideas for incorporating the creature into other GURPS settings. Ideas range all the way from Super Hero to Space, Historical and near future. Each creature has more than its share of campaign and adventure ideas. I personally can’t wait to incorporate some of these beasts into my game.
Some monsters are easier to work with than others without a doubt, but if you’re looking for something a little ‘different’ check this book out. You will be pleasantly surprised and not a little disturbed.
From: Steve Jackson Games
Written By: compiled by Hunter Johnson
Cover art by: Christopher Shy
Additional art by: Christopher Shy
Number of Pages: 128
Retail Price: $ 22.95 (US)
Item Number: 6418
Added: April 20th 2002
Reviewer: John G. Snyder
Related Link: Steve Jackson Games