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Bugbears of the Frozen Tears $3.99
Average Rating:4.8 / 5
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Bugbears of the Frozen Tears
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Bugbears of the Frozen Tears
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Derek B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/31/2013 23:42:16
No Tears Shed For These Bugbears

First, I want to put this out there before anything else. Raging Swan Press has their pdfs set up in a way that's always kind of annoyed me. It's both pages on your screen. This makes things rather difficult to read. However, I've learned that if you use Adobe, in the View section, you can make it a single page scroll down by changing it to "Page Display - Single Page View". That helps immensely, and makes it far easier to read on a computer monitor, or certain tablets. The newer tablets seem to be okay with the format though. So kudos to them on having a way to change the layout, it just needs to be better advertised.

Secondly, when I read "Alternate Class and Race Features", my mind immediately thought that this book was going to have their take on the race as a Advanced Player's Guide breakdown. It does not. So if you're thinking of buying the book specifically for that, it doesn't have that there. Incidentally, it's over 20 points for all of the bugbear's abilities, minus the hit dice. I took the time to do it because it was bothering me. Would I have liked to have seen that? Absolutely. Especially with more races coming out all the time, and everyone's growing desire to play a monstrous race. Is it necessary to have had it in the book? No. This book has enough merits on its own.

Now that, that's out of the way, we can do the actual review. Neither of the above will get in the way of my final score.

The pdf opens with description of where this particular tribe of bugbears is located, and describes their home, and a bit of their personality. Called "sadists" and "chasing their prey", only to behead them at the end. This act is what places them in their pecking order.

The next page tells of how Raging Swan deals with errors and where you can find errata if you need any. It also tells us on the designer, John Bennett. It's very reminiscent of the old Dungeon Magazines where they'd describe the author as living in the jungle trees of suburbia, and compile them of skills and stats as if they were a d20 character themself. It was a nice trip down memory lane.

The first thing that really stands out to me about this pdf is the Table of Contents of the screen and print editions. Is it ever detailed. It tells you where exactly you should go, what stat blocks you can find, the new magic items, a brief description of the new spells, the alternate features, the feats, and the new monster. All this given to you on that one page.

This book comes in a pack of three. The package includes a print edition, a screen edition, and a stated pdf. The print and screen editions are exactly as they read. They're the books in question, just in different formats. The stated pdf is all of the NPCs and monsters in one small space so you can drop them in at any time for random encounters, or just because.

One thing I love about print editions is that they don't take up as much toner when I'm in need of having the stats out in front of me my tablet or laptop aren't working all the time. At first look they don't seem all that different, but once you start printing, you immediately recognize the error you've made.

I liked the fact that each NPC had a side bar that described them, and how you could put them into your game, or the type of encounter you'd find them in, and what kind of combat tactics they'd use. Groego stuck out the most to me though because of his personality, mannerisms, and especially his appearance. The guy has mad respect for his gear. It all shines and glows. Seriously, he should have a level or wizard or sorcerer so he can use Prestidigitation at-will. He's doing it the old fashioned way.

I used them for a pre-made evil adventure path that had the party dealing with a lot of bugbears, and a few of them are even going to be key NPCs for later. The PCs like a few of these guys, and are leery of others. Exactly how you want them to be when presenting evil NPCs.

Now, what do you get with the main pdf? Well, you get the location of the White Cliffs, where the bugbears are from, each of the four specific spots within the area, such as The Demon Pit and The Frozen Tears, and descriptions of each locale, and the lore behind the White Cliffs themselves. It's detailed, yet vague enough, that this location can be put into any campaign. The terrain features are wonderful to read, and the players are going to hate it as their character trek along the rockfalls, icy slopes, across the frozen rivers, and even have to go through blizzards.

Some of the things that the players can take from this are the new sorcerer bloodline, Yem's Bloodline (good for witch bugbear descendents), the Fear domain, a snow toad familiar, a few new feats, a couple of spells that are not only for the standard spellcasters, but also for the NPC adept. Who does that? Raging Swan Press, that's who. There's also a few new magic items to add to a character's arsenal. The creepiest of them all for me has to be the shrieking head. It's a disembodied head that's been placed on a pike, and screams if a password isn't given before walking by it. The art is probably what really creeps me out about it though. And while not really for the players, a new monster, the vhen nhar spawn, a frozen corpse undead creature that hungers for warmth. Needless to say, you'll be very surprised as to how these things are created. I won't spoil it. You'll have to buy this pdf in order to find out. I know I sure didn't see it coming.

Now, are there any cons to this? Yes, but it's a mild one, and it's something that I've come to notice with all of Raging Swam Press pdfs, aside from what I've listed above, and that is everything being black, white, or grey. It's hard to really immerse yourself into something when there's nothing to really grab your attention. The only colour in the whole pdf is that of the Pathfinder logo. While it's sort of this company's staple to be seen as it is, I'd like to see a little colour here or there to spice things up a bit. Make it a little more dynamic, and give it more of a sense of difference between the screen version and the print version. It's nothing big, just something that could possibly help emphasize things a little bit. A little more art every so often to help break up the bricks of text would be nice to see as well.

Overall, I liked receiving the three pdfs in the bundle. Even if you aren't running this specifically for its own side-trek, which you could very easily do, especially with Reign of Winter coming out, you could put this in any campaign that's going to have the PCs going North into the frozen wastelands.

I give this pdf a 4.5 out of 5. I recommend getting this product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bugbears of the Frozen Tears
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/28/2012 08:25:59
Iron Nugget

If you are like me, one of the most tedious parts to game preparation is designing and statting NPCs. This can get especially difficult when attempting to do so on the fly in those hard to predict situations where the party decides to go right instead of left. Raging Swan Press saw a niche in the Paizo PDF realm and has filled it admirably with their Tribes series of PDFs. These PDFs do a lot more than provide a few measly stat blocks. Each book provides a detailed group of NPCs, fully statted, with mini backgrounds, mechanics and strong descriptions. More importantly, each includes lengthy adventure hooks. Turning the product from a simple collection of NPCs to a possible adventure generator for any situation. And, if you still do not realize you are getting your bang for the book, they include a plethora of web enhancements related to each book that include maps and other encounters.

Bugbears of the Frozen Tears is another strong entry by Raging Swan. I rarely use bugbears in my campaigns. They come off as a fairly boring creature- a poor man’s orc. My prejudice towards bugbears is part of the reason I liked this Tribes entry. It spices up your traditional bugbear tribe by providing a cold oriented bugbear tribe that feeds of the terrible tales told of them. The additional class features, feats, magic items and spells go a long way to adjusting bugbears into the ferocious cold predator tribe presented in the meaty 27 page PDF.

One of the best features of the PDF are the minor and major encounters, which do a strategic job of utilizing a fairly minor spell and turning it into a deadly distraction. The only downfall of this title are the few and brief hiccups with layout. A small price to pay for an a unique perspective of an overused creature.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks very much for the review. I'm delighted your enjoyed it! Could you give me an idea of the layout fails you mentioned so I can make sure to expunge them from future releases? Thanks very much!
Bugbears of the Frozen Tears
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/09/2012 10:38:00
Bugbear's of the Frozen Tears by Raging Swan Press

This product is 27 pages long. It starts with a cover, ToC, and credits. (5 pages)

Bugbear's of the Frozen Tears(4 pages)
We start off with ecology and society of the tribe, with how to use them in your game. Names for the bugbear's, Lair, Combat and Tactics (with locations they like to use including terrain features they use to their advantage near their lair).

Alternate Class and Race Features (4 pages)
Racial changes for the tribe. Yem bloodline for Sorcerers, a new familiar, new domain Fear, 5 new feats, 4 new spells, and 3 new magic items. Along with a alternate adepts spell list for adepts among the bugbear's.

Minor Encounters (4 pages)
Here is a list of possible encounters for encountering the tribe. We have encounters of CR 9, 10, 12, and 13. There is also full stat blocks for all the creatures in the encounters that are not key NPC's detailed later.

Persona (6 pages)
Here we get full stat blocks, backgrounds, personality, appearance, and tactics for each key NPC of the tribe. There is 5 NPC's in this section. CR 12 barbarian Bugbear, CR 9 Cleric bugbear, CR 15 half-fiend witch bugbear, CR 10 Sorceress Bugbear, CR 6 demon.

It ends with a OGL, reading stat blocks, ad, and back cover. (4 page)

Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white and ranges from meh to very good. Editing and layout is very good. I didn't notice any errors at all. If you are a fan of the series you will like this one. This is one of the best if not the best of the series so far. My one complaint is, I wish they all came with maps of their lairs. The NPC's are well done and interesting, the tribe is very well done and I especially liked the sections on local terrain. So what's my rating? Well other than the map this product is outstanding. So for the price I will give it a 5 star review.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bugbears of the Frozen Tears
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by thomas c. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/23/2011 14:46:20
This was one of the best pdf's I have ever purchased. Very imaginative and interesting. Fit perfectly with the current Jade regent AP that I'm running. Great job for the Raging Swan boys.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bugbears of the Frozen Tears
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2011 08:54:32
The latest installment of the TRIBES-line is 27 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside the front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC (containing a nice rhyme about the TRIBE), 1 page back cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page information on how to read statblocks for novice DMs and 1 page SRD, leaving 18 pages of content for the bugbear-tribe, so let's check out whether they can hold up to the awesome predecessors, the Orcs of eternal Zenith!

On the fluff-side, the bugbear has perhaps apart from the goblin, been one of the most innovative re-imaginations of classic goblinoid foes in PFRPG. Their association with bogeymen and fear makes them feel more distinct and this particular TRIBE uses said theme of fear to its advantage and gives it a twisted direction: The arctic bugbears of the frozen tears have taken to hunting enemies not simply to kill them, but to make them experience the maximum amount of terror before they die. Fear is the name of the game and thus we get a new sorceror bloodline, a new fear domain and 4 new feats centered on terror and mounted combat. Wait, what? Mounted combat? Yep, the bugbears of the frozen tears ride on terrible arctic toads that emit a deadly chill, hence also their variant racial traits that set them apart. The favored weapon of the bugbears is by the way the rather interesting double-bladed throwing kukri. Another example of their artifice being the power to enchant the severed heads of their victims and crafting cloaks from the hides of their glacier toads. The magic items come with top-notch pieces of artwork, only Yem's Kukri, the claws of Vhen Nhar has no artwork. The 4 new spells feature enchantments to frighten hit creatures, a variant of gentle repose and demonic black flames that do quite a neat amount of attribute damage.

Wait, where are the demonic flames coming from? Well, the frozen tears (which come with quite a neat assortment of terrain features and descriptions) actually are the resting place of a dread demon lord Vhen Nhar who feeds on fear to slowly thaw his icy prison. Yem, the immortal crone and brood-mother of the incestuous Bugbears of the Frozen Tears has paid for her significant sorcerous powers with the souls of her offspring, lording over her deadly hunters while plotting her own ascension to demon-lord-hood.
The stats for the bugbears are rock solid and we get quite a bunch - better yet, we get sample personalities for the statblocks and even alternate spell-lists for the adepts of the tribe. Of course, their glacier toads get full stats as well. The demonic sons and daughters of Yem are included in the selection of stats, along the decapitated undead victims of the tribe, seeking forever the warmth of hearth and hearts... Among the NPCs, we get a bully-cleric, an over-ambitious daughter, Yem (who is a neat witch and has her own sidebar explaining her hexes) and BOEG. Boeg is a plain awesome idea - favored son of Yem, the bugbear almost killed his perpetually pregnant mother when she gave birth to him. Infused with When Nhars demonic essence, he grew to gigantic proportions and rides a huge glacier toad into battle. Solitary, he is the terror that comes with the snow-storms and perhaps the lynchpin to destroy the bugbears of the Frozen tears once and for all.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the elegant, classic 2-column b/w-standard and the artworks by Will McAusland and Matt Morrow are neat. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks, a version optimized for use with e-readers and a separate pdf collecting all the statblocks so you can establish your own statblock-library. Author John Bennett has created a distinct, disturbing, cool and iconic TRIBE that ranks among the best of the series so far. While personally, I preferred the Orcs of the eternal Zenith, I do so only by the slightest margin - both tribes are very distinct, evocatively-written and twist tropes enough to make them good purchases indeed. Additionally, the Bubgears essentially have their adventure written out for and take only the barest minimum of DM-creativity to weave into a tale of ice-cold horror. I do have a minor gripe with this installment, though: I would have loved to get a map of the frozen tears, similar to the one we got in the centaur/minotaur-installments. The absence of this map constitutes my only gripe with this pdf, though, and thus my final verdict will be 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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