Game: Monsters of the Boundless Blue
Publisher: Goodman Games
Review Dated: 28th, October 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10 [ Something special ]
Total Score: 10
Average Score: 5.00
Monsters of the Boundless Blue
Monsters of the Boundless Blue, the Wanderers Guild Guide to Aquatic Organisms, is the second book in the Wanderers Guild series from Goodman Games. The first book was entitled ‘Monsters of the Endless Dark’ and dealt only with monsters from underground. Boundless Blue limits itself only to monsters that live in the ocean.
This book, like the first in the series, is illustrated by Andy Hopp. The writer for Boundless Blue is Gunnar Hultgren. The layout of the book has not changed with all the D20 information, adventure hooks, etc being contained on sidebars on each page so the GM can easily show players the illustrations without giving away the monster’s gaming information. The given adventure hooks are broken down into three categories (low, mid, and high) for characters of different levels. The remainder of the pages has the art and a short story, poem, or memoir dealing with each creature being detailed.
The art in the book is well drawn. Andy Hopp is very good at what he does. The writing is exceptional as well with some pretty good short stories. I’m not familiar with Gunnar Hultgren’s writing prior to this project but he seems very talented.
I had written a review on Endless Dark after requesting a free copy from Goodman games. This time they sent the complimentary copy without my asking. It is good to be a reviewer.
Boundless Blue also has a series of symbols that allow you to know at a glance the time of day that creature is active, what it eats, what terrain it is usually found in, that sort of thing. One page gives the details of what each of these symbols mean and they are not difficult to learn. Some of the terrain symbols are Kelp Forests, Frigid Waters, and Pelagic Realms (open ocean).
As in the first book, a new Prestige class is included to allow your players to more easily function in an underwater adventure. This one is called the ‘Sea Delver’ and gives the player advantages such as freer movement and holding their breath for extended periods, or even being able to breath underwater for short periods.
The very end of the book has a page that I really like. It shows silhouettes of all the monsters from the book so that you can truly judge the sizes of each. The monsters are listed by name and CR, and the page number. It also gives the correct pronunciation of the monster names. This is helpful to me to prevent arguments a friend of mine and I have had since the first edition. I say ‘Co-bald’, he says ‘Ka-bold’. Yeah, I know I’m right.
The book also contains a number of new items for use in undersea adventures. If not for the various Submersion Suits, I don’t believe the rest of the book would be as useful, but with these items your players do have an opportunity to see the underwater realms. There are a variety of other items as well, not all magical, but all of use in an ocean-going campaign.
There are also notes give for using some of the new monsters as mounts, or even as familiars. Not a bad idea if you really are developing an all-ocean campaign.
As should be expected, the majority of the book is monsters. Almost thirty new monsters ranging in CR’s from 1 to 22 with the overwhelming majority being 10 and under. Several caught my eye, like the Bulkhead (the Revenant Wreck). You’ve heard of ghost ships before? Not like this one. The ship IS the ghost! The various portions of a sunken ship are animated and take the shape of a living denizen of the deep. That’s pretty cool. Another I like is the Moriesa, a sea-going piranha-like fish that routinely devours whales when enough of them get together. I’m not sure how I’d use this one in a campaign, but I can’t wait to try. Perhaps stranding the players on a small island, surrounded by Moriesa…
These monsters are not all evil-kill-them-quick monsters. Some may be used in other ways, such as good places to gather information and even long-term NPC’s. All in all a good mixture even if the CR’s tend to be somewhat low overall.
The Wanderers Guild has its own webpage at www.wanderersguild.com where anyone can join the Guild itself and submit art, stories, whatever for posting and feedback. You don’t need to own a WG book to enjoy the WG website.
Good monsters, acceptable D20 stats, great writing, great art, good variety, good new items, a little something for everyone.
Best feature: The D20 art-book layout is a winner. There’s something for everyone here whether you enjoy new art, new stories, or just new monsters.
Weakest feature: The Sea Delver prestige class. Not terrible by any means, just not as good as the Deeprunner from Endless Dark. It does what they intend for it to do and I wouldn’t hesitate to offer it for my players to use but I can see ways to improve it. It just didn’t grab my attention and make me want to develope a new character just to use the class.
Monsters of the Boundless Blue. 65 pages (inside covers are used too), softback for $18.00 from Goodman Games. Worth every penny.