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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How a monster supplement should be written.
Before we go any further, scroll up and have a look at the page count of this book. It's not the thickest book out there. You have been warned.

The book cleanly divides into 2 sections - a player and a GM section if you want to call them that. The first section simply has descriptions of the beasts contained within. There are only 50 or so creatures but each...
Published on 16 Dec 2008 by Majuran Umapathee

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great read, but not the best sourcebook
The warhammer world is one that has been around for more than 25 years now, and as picked up its fair share of ghouls and goblins along the way. This bestiary is the tome that collects the information on this.

The first major thing to note is the seperation betweens a players perspective and the GM's perspective. This is great in two ways. The first is that the...
Published on 14 Jan 2009 by T. Brown


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How a monster supplement should be written., 16 Dec 2008
By 
Majuran Umapathee (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) (Hardcover)
Before we go any further, scroll up and have a look at the page count of this book. It's not the thickest book out there. You have been warned.

The book cleanly divides into 2 sections - a player and a GM section if you want to call them that. The first section simply has descriptions of the beasts contained within. There are only 50 or so creatures but each one's been so much care and description that a GM can incorporate them meaningfully into a campaign making them memorable (for those who play WFRP for the campaign setting) rather than the next piece of easily forgotten sheesh kebab as in D&D.

The sections the creatures are grouped into - 'Forces of Chaos,' 'The Greenskin Races,' 'Denizens of Athel Lorien' (eg treemen, dryads), 'Children of the Horned Rat,' 'Brigands and Beasts,' The Restless Dead.' It's a pretty comprehensive list of the basic warhammer creatures though in some places (eg skaven) not as detailed as the specific supplement for race in question. Each creature is written from several points of view - first hand accounts from various people in the old world. For example orcs are written from the POV of soldiers, merchants, peasants, scholars and the orcs themselves. Some entries will have you cracking a big grin which is a testament to what a good rpg should be about:

"Oh yes, I remember the summer when we had the plague of Giant Spiders. No one knows why they swarmed down out of the hills that day, but we was overrun! Most decent folk locked themselves in their root cellars. They trampled on everything and carried off every sheep, goat and pig in the village. I heard tell that they took the mayor's daughter as well, and her only babe in arms too. Mind you, they said some funny things about him and his goings on. His house got burned down a few years after that, and not by accident neither. Funny business. But like I said, I was no' but a little'un."

The book doesn't bore you as you read. NPCs fly off the page and I can see quite a few campaigns developing just from misconceptions and prejudices towards certain creature types.

The second half of the book contains the creature stats. One nice feature is the 'slaughter margin' - ie how a standard average fighter would find a fight against the creature in question. Easy against a goblin, impossible against a proper dragon - creature combats become easier to scale depending on the player party.

Also included are a summary of mounts, some new chaos mutations, 2 new careers (apprentice shaman, shaman) and a new lore (lore of spirits to go with shaman careers).

Overall the book's a joy to read, and it's easy to see how it won an award at GenCon in 2005. It's a tad on the thin side but generally is worth checking out as an 'ideas' book alone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 15 April 2007
By 
Mr. Stephen J. Dutton (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) (Hardcover)
Given the rather limited bestiary presented in the core rule book this is pretty much an essential if you want to run a WFRP campaign, of even unlinked adventures that involve more than the handful of races given in that book.

The content is well laid out, with related creatures being grouped in their own sections instead of a pure A-Z of monsters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very WFRPish Bestiary, 12 Mar 2009
This review is from: Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) (Hardcover)
The Old World Bestiary is a remarkable book quite unlike any other RPG bestiary you will have encountered. It presents a by-no-means comprehensive list of monsters of the Warhammer world, but it does so in such a rich and original way that the reader can overlook it's limited scope.

The book is divided into two sections - the first, and most interesting, is framed as a collection of accounts, rumours and myths about each monster taken from the inhabitants of the Old World themselves. These are intended to give objective views of the monsters and give us an idea of how they are perceived in Warhammer's unique setting.

This presentation allows monsters to remain cloaked in the ignorance, misconceptions and superstitions of each reporter. Most monsters are also given their own chance to describe themselves, which gives the GM an insight into their racial or social motivations, their character and beliefs about themselves. Given the bias of each account, though, these insights are more like clues to stimulate the GMs imagination. Areas are still left in shadow and perhaps that is for the best, since it allows us to incorporate the monsters into his own interpretation of the Old World as we see fit.

In a game like Dungeons & Dragons where the general object of a given encounter is tactical combat this first section would be interesting, but not entirely useful. In Warhammer, where atmosphere and social interaction is stressed, and where combat is fast, brutal and bloody, it is most suitable. Warhammer's very specific and individual setting demands a book like this, where nothing is as it seems and not every word can be trusted.

The second section of the book is reserved for the GM and lists the technical profiles of the monsters themselves, in alphabetical order. It's disappointing after the genius of the first section, but that's inevitable. It might have been more ergonomically pleasing if the two sections were combined, with monster stats immediately following the accounts about them.

Actual game information about the monsters is brief - a few generic careers are listed and each monster is given a 'slaughter margin' indicative of how an averagely trained soldier might cope in a fight against them.

Where the WFRP system falls apart, however, (and this is no fault of this particular publication) is when dealing with some of the larger and mightier foes. WFRP is not an open-ended system like D&D and cracks show when a dragon or giant proves to be only slightly tougher than an Imperial Knight. Once you reach a certain level, there is no more room for granularity in the system. Adding more Wounds or Talents does not neccesarily make the threat more interesting, it just makes the combat either tedious or impossible. This, though, is a fault of the game system and given the fact that we play Warhammer mostly for its rich setting, simple mechanics and focus on 'normal' life, it is also forgiveable.

Information on daemons and the undead is sparse, but this is probably deliberate, since there are now two excellent resources on these foes - Tome of Corruption and Nights Dark Masters.

Overall I recommend this book - given the nature of WFRP, it is not as indispensable as D&D's Monster Manual, but it manages to justify it's existence by the genius of its conception.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just creatures and rules, 21 Nov 2007
By 
This review is from: Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) (Hardcover)
Why is a bestiary worth 5 stars? Quite simply, it is probably the best supplement I have ever read, for any system. It has a perfect balance of rules and background fluff.
The book is divided in two - at the back we have the alphabetical list of creatures, more than enough for games of Warhammer Roleplay. All the usual suspects are included, including animals, and there are useful sections on expanded chaos mutations and a 'monster' magic career (the Shaman) which addds some handy extra elements to your games. This part of the book is absolutley fine as a stand-alone rules-only bestiary as it gives you everything you need, exactly what you want when playing or writing an adventure.

However, the first section is where this book really shines. Here we are presented with different viewpoints on all the creatures, all grouped together under more general titles, such as Greenskins and Undead. Each creature has observations from peasant farmers (often humourous) to scholars (generally more thoughtful) and, most interestingly, themselves - which can sometimes be suprisingly insightful. In its pages you can read what ignorant villagers think of Werewolves and what professional soldiers think of Demons, not to mention what Dragons think of themselves.
This is very useful from a gaming point of view, giving the thoughts, opinions and experiences of different people across the Empire.

Overall, this book gives you exactly what you want and expect from a bestiary - and then it gives a great deal more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quality over quantity, 21 April 2012
By 
A. Stimpson "Rabid Consumer" (Hullborea) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) (Hardcover)
The trend for role-playing games and supplements to feel and look like coffee table books was taken up a notch with the release of the Old World Bestiary. Up until the release of Kenzer's Hacklopedia of Beasts in 2011 it held the title as the best designed and presented 'monster book' the hobby has seen and it still wipes the floor with most competitors. The authors eschewed the traditional D&D Monster Manual approach of crowbarring as many ridiculous and unusable creatures in between a handful of well-trodden fantasy favourites (bookended by 14 varieties of dragon and some real world animals) and pitched instead for a much smaller field of well-reasoned and fully fleshed out villainous species and other-worldly horrors. A combination of imaginative writing, evocative art and great production values elevate this product way above most of the rest of the field and I heartily recommend it to lovers of the hobby in general, and not just WFRPers.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great read, but not the best sourcebook, 14 Jan 2009
By 
T. Brown (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) (Hardcover)
The warhammer world is one that has been around for more than 25 years now, and as picked up its fair share of ghouls and goblins along the way. This bestiary is the tome that collects the information on this.

The first major thing to note is the seperation betweens a players perspective and the GM's perspective. This is great in two ways. The first is that the players segment, written from the POV of various random warhammer characters, is fun to read. It should also give a character an idea about how much they know of various beasties. This combats the main problem i find with warhammer roleplay, in that players who have played the tabletop game know that lizardmen are ruled by slann, and that tzeentchian sorcerers have the power to call up may colours of fire. This books shows that not everything is common knowledge even to learned scholars.

The GM section is as you would expect, with the rules of the creatures, and in some places hints on how to play them.

The reason i rate this book averagely however, is its actual lack of creatures. Most common evil races in warhammer are covered fairly well, indeed animals and monsters are included also, but if somebody wanted to play a campaign dedicated to being against a certain type of enemy then this book would not be enough. It also doesnt have many of the specialist weapons other races might use.

This book is essential to a wfrp GM, make no mistake. It is entertaining and being one of the only books still available that was published by green ronin it is certainly worth the cash, just dont expect everything.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay), 19 July 2005
This review is from: Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) (Hardcover)
Excellent book with lots of information for the PC's. The illustrations are excellent althought more are needed. It could do with more monsters as I feel the book was a bit short but content was first class. I hope there bringing out Vol II. To all you GM's, you must get this book!!
Well done to Black Industries.
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Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay)
Old World Bestiary (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) by Green Ronin (Hardcover - 26 April 2005)
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