Frugal GM Review: Creature Feature Quarterlies Volumes 1 & 2

Frugal GM Review: Creature Feature Quarterlies Volumes 1 & 2
It's been years since I did a review, or at least it seems like years....probably has been.

I've been playing a lot more BX lately and have been eye-balling a few different releases and the one on my radar right now is Old School Essentials. I haven't picked up the all-in-one Rules Tome they have available quite yet, but when these two Creature Feature Quarterlies (Volume 1 and Volume 2) were on sale for $1 each, I figured I'd check them out.

Right off the bat......I don't think these Quarterlies are worth $6 each. That was my gut feeling before picking these up and reading them afterwards hasn't changed my opinion any. A buck though? Sure, why not....and afterwards no regret about the purchase. Well, actually $2 since there were two purchase, but still 16 new BX(ish) monsters for $1...sweet.

The Astrayael (from Volume 2)
The Astrayael
Ah, but you do actually get quite a bit more than 16 or 32 new monsters for your campaign. You get your basic PDF book like you'd expect, but you also get print & play paper minis of each new monster as well as VTT tokens. You might need to tweak the tokens for your campaign, but that is a minor issue.

A not-so-minor issue I found, and really worthy or deducting a star, is that there are no VTT tokens for Volume 1. Technically there are VTT tokens, but they are the same tokens used in Volume 2. At first I thought maybe I just screwed up the download, but I deleted my files...several times....and re-downloaded the files. Yep, still the Volume 2 VTT Tokens. Since the folder name is the same I think there was a simple mistake with the upload on the creator's end. Hopefully they'll have that fixed soon.

Another issue that I found particularly bothersome, and again probably should be deducting a star for, is that Volume 2 is missing the freaking cover.......seriously? For my copy I went and tweaked the Volume 1 cover to make my own Volume 2 cover and hopefully Jeremy Hart will fix this issue as well. Had I a contact email I'd have fired off these details before putting together this review.

One more additionally important note, for some....is that this product is sized for A4 sheets of paper, with the one cover being A5...er the other way around. You can see how familiar I am with European size paper. This actually makes sense because OSE comes from a European publisher. If you don't like it, just print out the PDF differently. You'll get some possibly odd margins, but since the Creature Feature Quarterlies are black and white.....unlikely you'll notice too much....I didn't.

Now so far this review really hasn't been too kind and as I re-read this it feels like maybe I'm blowing off a few things that are problems. The thing is, at it's core this is a mini monster manual (two actually) and the over-riding factor for if this is a good or bad product is the quality of the entries. Each Volume has 16 monsters ranging from 2 HD to 20 HD, with the majority falling in the 4-8 HD range like you might expect. Each entry starts off with the name and a one-liner description, big & bold right up front. There is a condensed stat-block and then the rest of the page is some expansion of the creatures abilities. The next page is a nice black & white depiction of the monster, along with a man-sized silhouette to help show scale. The silhouette is a nice touch, but one of the cool things I liked is that it isn't the same silhouette. Did they really need to do this.....no, but it's a nice detail.

Each monster entry also contains a couple more pages with better descriptions, ecology, lore, seeds, and loot. I'm particularly fond of the seeds paragraph because who doesn't need some more ideas?

Overall I really liked these two Volumes (Volume 1 and Volume 2) of the Creature Feature Quarterlies. While they are on sale for $1 I think they are well worth it....just keep your eyes open for those two updates to fix the missing cover and VTT tokens, or just make your own like I did.

PS. I'll be revisiting these titles in a month and will adjust my rating as needed, assuming these two issues don't get fixed.



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