Game: The Slayer’s Guide to Minotaurs
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
Review Dated: 20th, August 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 5/10 [ Perfectly acceptable ]
Total Score: 5
Average Score: 5.00
If you compare the count of 24 pages to the US$9.95 then The Slayer’s Guide to Minotaurs looks extremely expensive. If you go down that route then you’re unlucky. This, the smallest of Slayer’s Guides, was given away free with Signs & Portents #1.
Signs & Portents has a cover price of US$4.95 (at least the first issue did). You can look at that offer backwards if you want and buy the Slayer’s Guide to Minotaurs for half price and get Signs and Portents #1 for free.
The small size doesn’t seem to effect The Slayer’s Guide to Minotaurs that much. I’m sure, though, that those gamers who like their libraries to be consistent will already have thrown up their arms in despair with the Slayer’s Guide series thanks to the expanded Slayer’s Guide to Dragons and Slayer’s Guide to Undead or the humorous asides of Slayer’s Guide to Female Gamers or Slayer’s Guide to Rules Lawyers.
If you can boil the standard 32 pages of a Slayer’s Guide down to the core contents then you’ll probably end up with something much like the 24 pages of Minotaur goodness here.
The inside cover has the faux-biological drawing of a minotaur, it looks little like the minotaur on the front cover or the minotaurs in the inside illustration. Problem? Nope. The author quickly moves to point out that there are different types of minotaurs: brown, shaggy, bearded and noble.
Half of the book is written in an “In Character” style prose. The author, Shawn McKee, adopting the mannerisms of some old sage and dismissing the biological crossbreeding origin myth of the minotaur as unlikely and pointing to newly discovered evidence of magical blending with an Outsider.
The original minotaur, the one from Greek myth, was a single creature. As has happened with Medusa, D&D fantasy has taken the minotaur and turned it into an entire race of creatures.
The Slayer’s Guide is here to reassure us that there are female minotaurs and briefly talk about the mating cycle of the creatures. The female is compelled, via biological clock, to leaver her labyrinth, find and test a mate and then later to fight for the privilege to (briefly) rear the young one.
Yeah. Minotaurs live in labyrinths. The bull-headed creatures will create and design their own but will often adapt tunnels already there or even force gobbos and kobolds to dig for them. Why? Minotaurs use their labyrinths to capture food, a bit like a spider using its web to capture flies.
The labyrinth is also a defence mechanism. This works if you accept D&D with the Cheese setting on full. Actually, D&D 3.5 states plainly that you will be playing a character who explores dungeons regularly. The minotaur’s labyrinth building is a successful hunting mechanism because there seems to be a steady supply of adventures who’ll try and defeat both the maze and the minotaur.
Minotaurs worship The Horned One and will build altars of bone to this brutal god in their lair. Through special spells this bone altar can drive people who look at it mad and the blood collected from live sacrifices impaled on it can be used for magical salves.
The Slayer’s Guide to Minotaurs changes out of its “In Game” voice right at the middle page and when the Roleplaying With Minotaur chapter starts. Here’s you’ll find the numbers to play any one of the minotaur’s subspecies as a character class.
The book offers up some scenario hooks and ideas before offering Kuroon’s Labyrinth as a pre-made lair. On one hand this sort of pre-made material is why you might buy the Slayer’s Guide, a quick and easy access to some minotaur support but on the other hand you’ll left trying to explain how the minotaur was able to construct falling block traps and hidden doors so perfect that a dwarf has to be on top form to notice.
The last few pages have some exclusive minotaur spells and minotaur feats. It’s here that you’ll find the extra spice for the monster race and a way to surprise players.
It’s wrong to dismiss The Slayer’s Guide to Minotaurs just because it’s wafer thin or because it is (if you’re unlucky) expensive. The book doesn’t the business and then nothing more. Given that the Slayer’s Guides are appropriate for D&D on full fantasy mode and that the book meets its target – it gets the passing grade.
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