When I was first checking out this book, I read up on the author, Rafael Chandler. He has done other stuff, including an adventure called Slaughtergrid. I am currently running my Dungeon Crawl Classics group through that adventure, and I should have a full report in a couple of weeks when we've finished. My favorite part so far is a red unicorn who likes to eat genitals. The party cleric will never be the same.
We left off in the tome with the goblin princess, which I think is an extremely cool idea. She's a maroon goblin lady who casts spells. Makes sense. I will definitely try to work that into something.
Let's dive in at the letter "I". I am going to talk about the stuff that sticks out the most for me, to give you an idea of what's in this book and whether I think it is worth getting.
Lamia Bonegrinder: There are a whole lot of "woman with a monster lower half" creatures in this book. This one is a lady with a serpent lower half with a stinger. She's got 4 arms and some lobster claws. She tries to trick people into eating healing bread that is made from the bones of clerics and druids.
Leyak: Flying demon head with entrails dangling The art for this monster is awesome. It builds dungeons and eats babies. Eats babies... not kewl.
Magistrate: This thing is crazy looking. It's, yes, a lady with monster parts. She's got flashing lights all over her torso (she was made by
Moppet: A weird demonic newborn in a translucent red egg. When it hatches, it links to a PC and gives them stat bonuses. It regularly has to eat flesh of magic beings like unicorns or a "plus" from a magic weapon or drink a potion, etc. Killing this little baby will earn the heroes the enmity of Phenex, our evil buddy from part one with the feces-soaked plains. This is a neat little creature but I think many players would resent it. You'd have to place this one carefully. One other cool option is to escort it to this Abyssal lair where it will spend 666 years growing into a demon lord. That is fantastic.
Nethasq: Welp. I am going to not show you the art to this one. She's a naked lady with a monster face. Where her genitals should be are "a glistening mass of foot long tentacles." Egad.
Here, have some more: A Nethasq hangs out in places where women have been defiled. "When a man enters a place that the monster has claimed for its own, he begins to seep blood from his mouth, anus and urethra." The Nethasq can smell blood and.. well, yeah, I think we've said enough. This one pretty much sums up the tome. Even if it's not your style, you can appreciate the creativity.
I just used an owlbear in yesterday's D&D Encounters adventure. There's something very fun about them. They are not a first-tier d&d monster, but I think every long d&d campaign should have one (as well as an ettin, one of my favorite d&d monsters).
Pantagruel: He's 200 feet tall and he was once a nice guy, but then he saw something in a far away land that turned him evil. He rampages about, killing the living to "protect them from the horrors yet to come." Pantagruel's blade can destroy items , drain enchantments and even absorb levels from a victim.
Crimson Slime: A red, sentient slime that can break off into separate pieces (splitting its' hit points among them). When it is hit by a weapon, it takes only one point of damage and the item has a chance of dissolving. Whispering faces can be seen forming in the slime. This is a very good slime/ooxe type creature. I'd like to see a slime that is even more David Lynch-y than this. I just watched the movie Videodrome yesterday... it had a pulsing meat-VHS tape. Pretty gross.
Tuataran: These are humanoids with three eyes. Each eye has a different power:
Right Eye: Cause Serious Wounds
Left Eye: Swaps the souls of two people for d6 rounds (your players swap character sheets and have -2 to all rolls).
Central Eye: Sends anyone within 20 feet to a random outer plane... no saving throw!
They break into people's houses and eat flesh. Seems like, with these powers, they should do more than that. They feel like they could be the githyanki-type creatures of the Teratic Tome, or mind-flayer types. With these powers, they will be greatly feared by all in the campaign world.
Vomitorian: What a great name. These 15 foot tall monsters puke up yellow monsters that hunt prey. It has all of these powers to torment a village with hallucinations.
This book isn't going to be everyone's speed. The Teratic Tome has its' own gory style and it pushes the envelope. I think it is worth getting because the most important thing in any RPG work to me is fresh ideas - and this has plenty.
One thing I would note is that this book has too many monsters. Some of them feel like... enough already. Too much of the same thing. Too many monster ladies, too much "I hate adulterers/abusers". I would have liked to see another trope or two added into the mix. But that's a minor criticism, especially when you consider the price.
This would make a great foundation for a gory-style adventure path. I'd probably start the party off with a moppet and go from there. The climax of the whole thing would likely involve the demon lords, which are very cool. In fact, I'd be interested to see a bunch of gory magic items in the same style as this book.
The Teratic Tome is an inspired piece of work and definitely worth checking out. It is nice to see that there are people working in tabletop RPGs that have a unique vision of what games can be.