Review – Fursona 5E31 August, 2016
Fursona 5E provides a set of tools for incorporating anthropomorphic (human like) animals in a D&D (5e) campaign and it does a solid job of doing so, it is a little light on the campaign advice side but very strong mechanically. If you are thinking of including anthropomorphic characters in your campaign, it is worth a look.
Fursona 5E is (unsurprisingly) for D&D 5e and is written by Keith McBlaine (based on original work by Chris Field) and published by Otherverse Games. It adapts the Fursona rules for anthropomorphic characters to D&D 5e. The layout is clear enough with considerable color artwork for illustration.
Its introduction is brief and talks about the basics of the anthro races and how to make sure that they will fit into your gaming group. Then it moves into the pre-designed races which are a broad category (say, amphibians) further defined by subrace (such as frogs or salamanders in the case of amphibians) and theme (such as tauric -humanoid upper body and animal lower-, several variety of fae creatures and many more. Beyond a wide range of natural animals, there are frameworks for Lovecraftian beings, xenomorphs, dinosaurs and dragons and half-breeds.
Most of the packages are well balanced, sometimes with most on the abilities in one side or the other but a few seem exceptionally strong, for example those races (such as arachnids and snakes) have natural attacks combined with venom. The addition of the theme gives them a sight edge over other races as the player gets to choose one that will build on their design and the racial package are almost all at east equal to that of the other races.
For those that would like to customize an anthro race even further, there is a full section on building you own anthro race with a little advice including a list of racial traits and drawbacks to aid in that task.
The New Options section includes a new subclass, most with an animal/anthropomorphic spin, for each of the D&D classes all of which look balanced and interesting. I think the Roguish scamp is fun take on the trickster sort of rogue archetype. Seven new feats, most of which key off of anthro traits, are included.
The Anthros in the World section starts with a set of six new backgrounds especially suited to anthros, such as feral or incredible transformation, and then moves into a section of advice for the Anthro Campaign including sections on reproduction, deities and languages. Ending with a quick look at creating anthro NPCs and monsters.
The magic section includes both new spells and new magic items, many that have additional effects if cast or used by certain types of anthros which is an interesting, if potentially problematic, design choice. Most of these fill interesting niches and, even if they reference anthros, and could be used in most campaigns.
Lastly there is an appendix of extraordinary options which are noted to be unbalanced and best used for monsters or unique encounters, including things such as two-headed and the toon (living cartoon) theme. Interesting things here but of limited utility.
Overall, there is much to like about this product, even if you do not want to use anthros in your campaign, there are ideas that can be adapted to other uses. While I feel a GM will wish to be careful about allowing any of these races into their campaign without considering both mechanical and player balance issues, it is a firm foundation for working with anthropomorphic characters in a game world.
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.
You can also compare and contrast with my review of Fursona for Pathfinder.