Game: Emerging Forms – Grizimilak
Publisher: Primal Urge Games
Review Dated: 20th, January 2005
Reviewer’s Rating: 5/10 [ Perfectly acceptable ]
Total Score: 5
Average Score: 5.00
There’s a swamp theme running through the first of Primal Urge Games’ Emerging Forms series. The D’Ah Rien and Aegire from the first two PDFs are insectoid races who live in the swamps. In this issue the Grizimilak also tend to live in the swamp but like urban areas too.
The Grizimilak are not insect like. Is that important? It’s worth noting because one of the goals of Emerging Form, in fact the main goal, is to get a way from stereotypical elves, dwarves and orcs. Emerging Forms would be escaping a trap only to fall into a slightly different one. Different stops being different once it’s done often enough. If you couldn’t care less about the insect theme and can work with a swamp theme – then you’re in luck. If you couldn’t care less about the swamp theme – but were working with insectoid races – then you’re out of luck.
The Grizimilak are ugly little creatures of about 3 to 3 ½ feet in height. They might be related to gnomes. The Grizimilak believe so. The gnomes hope not. The truth is that the Grizimilak are frightfully annoying.
I imagine the comedy sidekick. The useless one. The one who gets in to trouble by trying to help out. That’s the idea behind the Grizimilak. You’ve seen this before, I’m sure, the brave hero helps out an unfortunate, the unfortunate tags along and is quickly so annoying that the hero begins to regret his actions. Throw in an alien or inappropriate sense of humour and it’s twice as annoying. The Grizimilak likes jokes but doesn’t seem to understand humour and so pranks are often badly timed, embarrassing, out of order and otherwise frustrating.
The more annoyed you get the harder the Grizimilak tries to appease you. The harder the Grizimilak tries to appease you the more inappropriate pranks you have to face.
I think this pushes racial stereotyping just one step too far. One of the issues with the “elf, dwarf and orc” fantasy world setting is that all dwarves are pretty much alike, all elves have similar goals, ambitions and personality and any orc is fairly indistinguishable from a thousand others. Whereas I can just about accept that a race is generally shy (some animals are more timid than others) and another racial culture values knowledge (we value shiny trinkets) I can’t quite accept that every member of a race will want to be your best friend, no matter what, if your ever even remotely nice to them. I can’t accept it and I don’t particularly want it in any of my fantasy worlds.
The PDF suggests that entire villages have had to be abandoned because too many Grizimilaks became too interested in it.
The Grizimilaks are not pretty. They’ve four irregular eyes flat head. They’ve lanky and awkward legs and arms. They’ve short stumpy wings-cum-fins. What’s worse; the ooze slime which eats away their clothing. Yuk.
Should you not be put off by the Grizimilak concept then you’ve more than a dozen pages of support for the strange race. You get this for less than a handful of dollars. I might not like the concept but I like the value for money.
Grizimilaks enjoy +2 Dexterity for the cost of -2 Charisma. I see combat wombats making a dive towards their stats – but, thankfully, Primal Urge are thorough enough to point out that the oddly shaped Grizimilak has trouble finding armour and helmets to fit (and will dissolve leather eventually). On the other hand they do have a fairly effective Damage Reduction attribute.
Emerging Forms does not huge the clumsy effective level attribute. Instead players and GMs are able to select up to three levels of “Grizimilak character class”. In lieu of core or prestige classes levels the Grizimilak can concentrate on improving its awkward flying and developing its sturdy and toxic skin. Sure, this isn’t a “I’ll practise being toxic” type level but represents Grizimilak developing and maturing.
There’s supplementary material at the back of the PDF as a welcome bonus. We find annoying spells for the annoying Grizimilak; Finger Trap and Imbued Finger Trap. Urg. There’s the new poison – Gnomblin Extract. Gnomnlin is another name for the Grizimilak; combing “gnome” with “goblin”. There’s even a new disease.
In truth I can’t fault the presentation and spit and polish of the PDF. If you want a character or NPC race like the Grizimilak then this is a good PDF for you. I just don’t think anyone would really benefit from the race. This edition of Emerging Forms just doesn’t appeal and whereas its hard to fault either mechanics or presentation its easy to run the average rule straight through a product that offers little to any game.