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100% Crunch: Skeletons $5.99 $3.59
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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100% Crunch: Skeletons
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100% Crunch: Skeletons
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by aaron b. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/16/2012 15:59:12
This is a fantastic supplement to give your skeletons more bang and make these RPG favourites a little different :-)

I am looking forward to using these ideas and interesting mechanics in my next upcoming adventure.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100% Crunch: Skeletons
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2012 04:48:48
Julian Neale opens the 100% Crunch series for Raging Swan with Skeletons. Now, we all know these walking bone piles, and for a great deal of game tables out there the skeleton has for many years been a go to for cannon fodder. But they can be so much more. Ponder this, when you think of the word skeleton, the image of a human, or at least humanoid skeleton comes to mind, doesn't it? Not hard to understand why, as they are the easiest and most basic of the creature when it comes to a statblock write up, hence forth they are the creature most of us have faced or used. But what if it wasn't an issue of time and difficulty in applying the skeleton template to a mass variety of races? What if there were a repository of pre-built, ready to go statblocks of skeletons that defy the norm?

That my friends is exactly what the 100% Crunch series is all about. Giving the GMs of the world a resource of statblocks with options, lots and lots of options...97 of them to be exact. With creatures ranging from merfolk to T-rexs, rats and orcs, dolphins and fire giants...if you can't find a new and cool skeleton in here to keep your stories fresh I'll be surprised. But, just in case you cant, and you have an idea not covered there are hints in the book on how to handle that easily, and with minimal effort.

A full CR breakdown listing of all the statblocks included, a listing of skeleton worthy creatures from the three bestiaries, the full skeleton template provided here for the sake of ease and completeness. A handful of various templates including many we have seen before like the bloody and burning. A great deal of what is here is in fact material one could glean from “official” sources, that is very true. But, I know I don't have the hours it must have taken to put this listing together, and I doubt you do either. And that is where a product of this nature excels. By providing in one source one specific theme, with a large amount of options and potentials.

Could there have been some new and interesting twists thrown in? Sure. But adding a great deal of new stuff without any fluff could get rather boring if you think about it, and that in the end is detrimental to the new material. This series promises 100% Crunch, and provides just that.

Editing and formatting follow the high standards I have come to expect from Raging Swan, with a dual column layout and a few pieces of art that invoke an old school feel. Now, I feel the need to state, for the record, that I didn't think I was going to like this product. Heck, I didn't think I was going to like anything in this series. I am primarily not a crunch kind of GM. I understand its importance, but I prefer the story element to the rules element. I always have. So I went into this book with a halfhearted reluctance, feeling more an obligation to review it than a desire to. It didn't take me long to begin to not only see the value of a product of this nature, but to find myself enjoying the read through.

My point being this, I am not a huge fan of Crunch only material, and I liked this product...I liked it enough that I am looking forward to the next in the series. It made me realize how underused the skeleton really is when it comes to various racial options for the base creature. It brought to light the immense amount of time one could put into designing various skeletons to use, and why so many people stick to just the basics. This product belongs in your collection folks, as I guarantee it will save you an immense amount of time, as well as inspire you with ideas...(skeletal merfolk??? Seriously???)

Stamping this with a golden 5 star rating, and labeling it well worth the price of admission!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100% Crunch: Skeletons
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/30/2012 05:43:20
The first supplement of Raging Swan Press' new line "100% Crunch" is 38 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page advertisement, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 30 pages of content for this installment, so let's check this out!

We kick off this pdf with a table of skeletons by CR before we delve into a one-page step-by-step guideline on how to create skeletons with damage, XP, natural armor bonus etc. all neatly calculated for your easy use - with this, creating your own bony undead will probably take considerable less time - which you can use to ponder new options, like the 8 simple skeleton variants, which provide easy on the fly modification for your skeletons via the most basic of simple templates, ranging from under-equipped (CR -1) skeletons over those oozing acidic sludge (CR 1) to skeletons bearing a curse and even mudra skeletons, i.e. many-armed ones - 4 arms equaling CR 1, while 6 arms mean CR 2. Two more complex, classic variants of skeletons are also covered: The Bloody Skeleton, which regenerates unless destroyed by positive energy and the burning skeleton, which comes with a fiery aura and additional fire damage.

The next 4 pages will be a godsend for any DM looking for some base-creatures: Organized by CR of the final skeleton creature (including racial HD-information) and Bestiary in which they're found, they also provide information on whether e.g. such a creature would be aquatic.

Well, after that, though, we're off to CRUNCH. A lot of it. Organized by CR, we get a vast array of different pregenerated skeletons for your perusal that range from dire rats and drow (at CR 1/3) over Bloody Goblin Skeletons, Grave Chill Skeletons (essentially the cold brothers of their burning brethren), dolphin skeletons, exploding 4-armed ogre skeletons to those of elephants, elasmosauruses, siyokoy, ghaeles, giants, sea serpents and even dragons and a statblock for the remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. And if you don't realize how cool a skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus is, you have to start reading Dresden Files...

If I haven't miscounted, you'll find a total of 99 statblocks spanning CRs from 1/3 to 8 in this book - quite an array!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are as top-notch as I've come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to their elegant no-frills, two-column standard and the pdf comes with extensive, nested bookmarks, while also providing 2 basic versions of the pdf: One optimized to be printed and one for screen-use. Much like the "So what's..."-series, this pdf is definitely a godsend for DMs in that it takes a lot of unpleasant work off one's shoulders. by providing the easy step-by-step process, lists for the bestiaries and a vast array of sample statblocks, the pdf ensures its usability almost from the get-go and can be definitely considered a time-saver par excellence when you're currently creating some skeletal minions for necromancer, priests of Orcus or similar villains. The simple mini-templates/variants included are also nice, though I would have loved to see at least one that hasn't been done before - multiplying, bloody and burning skeletons are nice, yeah, but could we perchance have a some more customization tools?
Bone-splinter breath-weapons? Hollow bones filled with alchemical essences? Something like that? That being said, this is nagging at a high level. While not particularly cheap, the maximum usability and concise presentation of this book will, I am sure of that, ensure its value for almost any DM out there apart from those who so routinely modify monsters that they can apply templates on the fly. Due to the aforementioned lack of a truly new piece of content, though, I can't really rate this at the absolute peak - My final verdict will thus be 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 stars for the purpose of this platform. I hope to see more variants/modifications to go with the excellent statblocks provided by the series in future releases.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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