Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Radioactive Review — 'Wisdom From The Wastelands' #5: Domesticated Creatures'

After the relative savaging I gave Issue #4, I am quite happy to cleanse the ol' palate with one of my favorite kinds of supplements:  new critters.

Issue #5 features, and I quote from the intro, "10 new creatures that the people of the post-apocalyptic wastes have relationships with and make use of in various ways."  Clumsy grammar aside, I like the focus on "tamed" mutants that do more than try to devour the PCs.

Included are the following beasties:

) Big Teeth:  enormous 80' long, 28 HD(!) pinnipeds that serve as living submersible apartment buildings for seafaring types (one can build dens in their honeycombed tusks, you see).  I adore these guys, in part because I love walruses, and in part because it conjures some insane visuals.

) Dangling Gourds:  500' wide masses of levitating, explosive-fruit-dropping plants that serve as housing and transport for the adventurous.  Get several of these vine-islands going, and you have an entire campaign setting where the PCs never have to touch the ground.  (Reminds me of my own skoral entry, if I may be so bold.)

) Hydroroses:  water-generating thornbushes that get stabby if not cultivated.  These are cool.

) Jellybirds:  living, breathing, flying Marshmallow Peeps edible sparrows.  Gross and hilarious.

) Lemming Grasses:  I'll just let the entry speak for itself:  "a grain with kernels that are effectively small rodents."  Also gross, also hilarious.

) Monitor Serpents:  aquatic, 18' long, legless, lizard mounts that generate oxygen for their riders.  Perhaps the most tame entry in the book, and that's saying something.

) Philly's Stones:  rock-hard cacti that shatter weapons (including natural claws, fangs, etc.) upon impact.  Used as living barricades.

) Rana:  not-so-domesticated giant frogs that try to eat their ranchers before their ranchers eat them.  I wish I'd come up with these first.

) Leafy Sandstones:  carnivorous desert vines that essentially excrete sandstone.  Houses made from this material have to be fed, or they'll crumble.  Nifty!

) Tarry Maple:  24 HD(!) killer trees that shed blood-infused leaves.  Not really sure how these count as "domesticated", unless the word now means "useful only to draculas".

Rounding out the material are two new mutations, Alter Physical State and Alter Soil Consistency.  The former works as usable-3-times-per-day alchemy (but gives no details as to whether ranged or touch-based), and the latter gives plants the ability to change earth density from softer to harder.

Each entry gets its own public domain pic.

Aside from a handful of grammatical / editorial mistakes, this is a great little supplement, if for no other reason than six of the new creatures are plants.  Vegetation is always under-represented in sourcebooks, and it gets a chance to shine here.  It's an added bonus that the enclosed mutants interact in useful ways with the setting.

This is a good'un.  Buy it.

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