Review: The Monster Hide series by Asparagus Jumpsuit

14 March, 2015

The Monster Hide series by Asparagus Jumpsuit, which means by Berin Kinsman, provide pre-generated monster statblocks for Pathfinder and, as the subtitle “classic monsters reskinned” implies, presents a new take on the role of each these humanoids in a campaign world.

The basic structure of all of the Monster Hide books is the same: cover, 1-page introduction to why Kinsman wrote the series and some background on Asparagus Jumpsuit, then a discussion on how the races fits into the Desteon campaign, Kinsman’s campaign world, and how they vary from the norm and suggestions for their use in a campaign.  Next is the core of the product, a set of five statblocks with the interesting parts all hyperlinked to the appropriate parts of the d20PFSRD.  Each ends with a copy of the OGL as you would expect.  There are a smattering of errors scattered through the works but nothing that cannot be easily sorted.

Bugbear Hide, (Fuzzy) Goblins Reskinned, these bugbears are swamp-dwelling tricksters and friends of bears.  It is a good role for them and the bugbears here are quite fun,  the bugbear cubs, who operate in adventurous packs, and the champion who is a mistress of traps and misdirection, look especially useful.

Drow Hide, Dark Elves Reskinned, Kinsman focuses upon the Dark Elven love of power and immortality and the ability of the Drow to work together to oppose outsiders, these elves are willing to embrace undeath to continue their quest for dominance among their rivals and against their enemies.  It is a good fit for the most sinister of elves and includes those who willingly chose to survive after death and those whom unlife was forced upon.

Gnoll Hide, Hyena-Men Reskinned, these demon-worshipping hyena kin serve as the ultimate scavengers in Kinsman’s version, they leave nothing to waste but also enjoy inflicting suffering, these gnolls will laugh as you die in pain and then make use of all of your flesh and bones.  It is an interesting mix of undead, demon-blooded and other gnoll variants designed to challenge adventurers expecting more traditional gnolls.

Goblin Hide, Toothy Tricksters Reskinned, for Kinsman goblins are “the cockroaches of the humanoids” living in the abandoned corners of the world and preying upon others by stealth and deception as they are too weak to win a stand up fight, so they cheat instead.  The goblins here range from disgusting mutants to abandoned undead and subtle and clever tricksters but all will betray you as soon as look at you, so beware.

Hobgoblin Hide, Alternate Orcs Reskinned, Kinsman’s hobgoblins are from an alternate reality, where orcs are a form of goblin and they hate the orcs of this reality for stealing their name.  They are discipled and militaristic, using tactics and allies to make up for their limited numbers.  They should present a good challenge to those who enjoy tactical puzzles.

Kobold Hide, Small Reptilians Reskinned, in this version, Kobolds are servants of dragons, acting as household staff, an interface between dragons and visitors and all around hard workers for their draconic masters.  Here there are outcasts, workers and even a physical combat oriented kobold, an interesting variety.

Lizardfolk Hide, Reptilians Reskinned, places lizardfolk firmly in the lost world  / mysterious tribe role among ruins of once great civilizations and dinosaur tradition.  So, if you like those sorts of things in your campaign, you will find useful creatures here.

Ogre Hide, Giants Reskinned, these ogres are nasty, brutish and . . . well, just nasty and brutish.  They form the brute squad of the humanoid ranks forking as living weapons for others, with the smart ones forming their own groups to get more nastiness done.  These are the monsters from fairy tales that will grind your bones to make their bread or worse.  Useable for a wide variety of situations when the GM just needs something that hits hard.

Orc Hide, Chaos Beastmen Reskinned, these orcs are the highly numerous pawns of whatever dark powers exist.  They are the faceless minions that any evil empire needs to expend in its wars of conquest.  They are tools of evil and little more.  But dangerous and threatening, as their masters want.

Ratfolk Hide, Humanoid Vermin Reskinned, looks at the neglected ratfolk, fitting them in at the edges of society and civilization with their own plans and rulers.  A good mix of leader types for ratfolk and the exceedingly creepy plague children (which need to be converted into a proper swarm).  If you have a place for ratfolk in your campaign, this will give you some interesting ideas to work from.

Serpentfolk Hide, Snakemen Reskinned, are serpentfolk in the Swords and Sorcery mode, proud (or degenerate) descendants of a once-advanced and mighty empire.  The serpentfolk here are useful leaders and specialists, providing direction to the other serpentfolk in their dark and sinister plans.

Troll Hide, Regenerating Giants Reskinned, begin with Kinsman’s reminiscences about the dangers of trolls (having lost a PC to one) and on how they can be difficult to use.  Here there are immature trolls, mixed-breed (ogre and fey) and, the most dangerous of all, troll mothers.  A good variety of vicious trolls.

It is also nice that many of the Monster Hide products comes in PDF, epub, mobi and png formats so you can use the optimal file for whatever sort of reader you are using.

There is also a bundle of all of the Monster Hide products available if you want the whole lot of them.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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