Now this is what I am talking about.
I am a sucker for a good bestiary/monster manual, and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 4 does not disappoint. With over three hundred monsters ranging from classic fantasy, horrors and constructs, this book is perfect for those looking for that perfect creature-based angle for a campaing.
I tend to be a very visual person, and something about the Bestiary 4 just grabbed my attention right away. The pages and cover are of quality construction but the artwork here stood out when compared to even other Pathfinder materials so far. Maybe it is just because these kinds of books help me to better visualize the encounters I am trying to portray, but the art here really appealed to me.
the way the book is laid out makes a lot of sense. Basically the introduction helps to break down how the Bestiary works from a mechanical standpoint. What do statistics mean, where should you go to find a particular type of detail - basically it helps set the foundation so your time is best spent finding whatever it is you are looking for. The appendices also serve to act as a quick reference guide - handy for when your players throw you for a surprise and you want to return the favor.
What I think I love most about the Bestiary is that it is more than just a picture and a short description. You get to understand how challenging they are, often if they are related to some other species and even the creature's habitat and history. Of course these are not completely all-encompassing - if it were they would have needed a much larger book to pull this off. As it is, there is so much information that some people might feel like the information is overkill at times. I beg to differ.
I have built entire campaigns around Bestiary/Monster Manuals in the past. This is not a book that is meant to be read from cover to cover (but I do anyways). However, so many of the individual entries feel like small stories all to themselves. Out of that can come a plethora of ideas that have led to many of our group's best campaigns. This was true in games like Dungeons & Dragons, and having put that theory to the test with Pathfinder, I was able to replicate that successful experience.
Part of the reason I am probably partial to this particular Bestiary is the layer of horror theme running through it (Cthulhu is in here for crying out loud). I have always had a soft spot for horror and tales of supernatural suspense, and there are a lot of monsters in here that are perfect for setting the stage for just such a campaign.
It is hard to discuss a good Bestiary, because at the end of the day it is little more than a glorified list. What a glorious list it is, though! The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 4 covers a considerable range of creatures and carefully explains them while also making them easy to reference or look up when you just need that something specific for a campaign. As someone who almost always leads our gaming sessions, I can appreciate how effectively this tome allows me to bring the creatures from the page to life within our campaigns.
Review by Nick