Whether your vision of the Headless Horseman is Disney-inspired or Tim Burton-esque, ?(Su) Monsters: The Headless Horseman? will add a decidedly Dungeons & Dragons-flavor to the story of the jack-o-lantern-wielding horseman. This supplement is over 50 pages long and contains several different versions of the headless horseman monster as well as a few magic items and even a short story. There is no single one author of this supplement; this is a group effort from The Le Games.
The supplement begins with the short story, titled ?All For Love? (written by Martin Jenner). As a piece of short fiction, it holds up well (even if it does get a little muddled near the end), and it serves its purpose of combining the mythology of the headless horseman and the Dungeons & Dragons milieu (complete with a character named Crane). It?s a fast read at ten pages so gamers looking for hard-and-fast rules won?t get bogged down or bored with the material.
After an introductory word from The Le Games? Ewan Conradie, the next several pages detail the headless horseman for a fantasy role-playing game. A dark goddess (?Some called her Death. Some called her Vengeance.?) and her followers (?murderers, scorned lovers, sinister necromancers?, etc.) are described as having been the originators of the headless horseman. Rules for summoning a headless horseman are provided. This is a complicated ritual that is described with enough flavor to give the DM some decidedly wicked ideas for their game.
There are several different versions of the headless horseman creature, and they all stem from one base template. The instructions for creating a headless horseman are fairly simple: some spell-like abilities - like ?fog cloud? and ?crushing despair? - are added to the creature?s arsenal; any slashing weapon wielded by the headless horseman becomes a ?keen? weapon; the creature gains damage reduction, as well as the Decapitated Gaze, supernatural ability (which causes a paralysis effect within 30 feet).
Seven pages are devoted to the different types of headless horsemen, and most of these are determined by whether or not they carry their heads with them as they terrorize the land. This section does get a bit heavy and a little difficult to push through. There?s nothing wrong with the writing, it?s just that there?s so much information here that it could have broken up slimmed down into easier-to-digest bites.
Five more pages give examples of headless horseman characters (the headless horseman fighter, sorcerer, blackguard, etc.), ready to drop into a game or campaign as they are.
With all this material, only one page is devoted to actual campaign options. With as much information that?s crammed into this supplement, more material could have been devoted to suggesting just HOW to use this information in a game. There are some good ideas here (as there are in the pages describing the ritual used to summon a headless horseman), but compared to the rest of this supplement, it?s just not enough.
?(Su) Monsters: The Headless Horseman? concludes with six magic items. The ?flute of sorrow? (crafted from the femur of a succubus) which causes despair in those who (failing a Will DC 14 save) hear it and the ?key of the dead,? which can be used as the focus of ?animate dead? and similar spells. While these magic items have that ?spooky? feel, there is no attempt to tie them into the mythos of the headless horseman.
LIKED: This is a hefty book, and there's a lot of information here. The layout is consistently tight, and it's easy to use. The "mood" of the Headless Horseman is present througout the entire supplement. The idea of using a piece of short fiction to introduce some of the concepts in this supplement was a good one.
DISLIKED: Some of this material could have used a little more editing to make portions of this supplement easier to digest and use. Reading this .pdf from front-to-back is a bit numbing, especially with so many different versions of the headless horseman presented.
QUALITY: Very Good