||Dept. 7 Technology Update: Synthetic Lycanthropy is a book of templates and classes from Skorched Urf? Studios. The zipped file is 1.78 megabytes in size, and contains a single PDF file that is slightly larger. The PDF file is fourteen pages long, including a page for the cover, one for the credits, and a half-a-page of ads at the end of the book. Oddly, the OGL is nowhere to be found in the product.
The book has very sparse artwork. Other than the full-color cover (and the ads at the end, which also show covers of other books) the only piece of artwork in here is a black-and-white version of the image on the cover. No printer-friendly version comes with the book.
The product begins by talking about the background for how synthetic lycanthropes were created, before moving on to a description of what they are, and how a person can become that way. Note that becoming a synthetic lycanthrope is no small feat, as its both prohibitively expensive (for an individual) and the procedure is very lethal (unless you?re given a cocktail of painkillers during the process, and even then, death is still a very real possibility). It?s also worth noting that synthetic lycanthropes can?t change back; they?re always in ?hybrid? form unless they use a special serum that can make them human again for a few hours.
After a short sidebar with an adventure hook, the product then moves into the synthetic lycanthrope templates themselves. Three are given, synthetic versions of werewolves, wereleopards, and werebears. These are similar to the standard lycanthrope templates, but with minor differences, such as their damage reduction (silver doesn?t hurt them), their looks (since they can?t change back), etc.
After this, transformation classes of these synthetic lycanthropes are given. Transformation classes essentially break the templates into three levels, and are meant for PCs who want to become a synthetic lycanthrope (whereas NPCs should just use the template). Rather oddly, two pages get fully reprinted in this section; you?ll notice how the second- and third-to-last pages are each given twice, which can be jarring if you aren?t prepared for it. Clearly, something went wrong there.
After all is said and done, the synthetic lycanthrope idea is a good one, but seems to be already done with the Moreau creatures. While using these as templates, and as transformation classes, does offer some more options, it doesn?t seem to truly push the envelope on the idea of part-human part-animal creatures. Still, players who want to run one will probably enjoy running a character with Synthetic Lycanthropy.
LIKED: This book offers good options for synthetic lycanthropes, having not only templates and transformation classes, but also a catalyst to revert back to being human for a few hours.
DISLIKED: This book doesn't see to truly go beyond simply having a character who is a moreau (or even a standard lycanthrope with a few changes). Moreover, the two repeated pages, and the missing OGL, don't help the book's presentation.
[3 of 5 Stars!]