Do you ever feel like your players aren’t quite filled with enough dread? Do you need some horror to quell the light-hearted adventurous mood? Fancy dabbling in necromancy? Look no further, for I bestow unto you a community-created monster manual that serves exactly that purpose.
Whether you need a CR 1/8 Carrion Crow to give your rookie adventurers a fright or a CR 30 Lord of the Crypt for one hell of a final fight, this book has everything you need to Revivify your campaign and make the theme Turn Undead. So, pull up a chair, light some candles, and make a prayer to whichever God of Death you choose to worship; the Creatures of the Tomb are upon you.
Produced by The Grim Press, Creatures of the Tomb is presented in a professional and easy-to-follow manner that mimics official books of a similar theme, such as the Monster Manual or Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Fully equipped with gorgeous artwork from a talented team of eight different artists and some fantastically detailed passages on the lore and background of various beasts by the two authors, this exanimate encyclopaedia is, at the very least, an interesting read and at most, your new best friend when it comes to forging your story. That being said, there are quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes within the pages which prove to be a little distracting and do take away from the overall professional feel. Most, however, are inconsequential and do not impede understanding and coherence too dramatically.
I don’t want to give away all the secrets of this book, so I’ll give you just a little taster of what you can find inside. Bear in mind, each and every enemy or section has a substantial amount of flavour text regarding appearance, origins, habitats and more, providing plenty of context and ideas when it comes to implementing these foes into your campaign. To give a simplified example, the Necrophagi are a large, humanoid species of intelligent insect, thought to have been brought into existence by the botched necromantic ritual of a corpse long into the decomposition process. Ranging from CR:0 to CR:2 across five different statblocks, the Necrophagi can prove to be a deadly match for a new adventuring party and can even fight toe-to-toe with some of the most adept combatants. I am speaking from experience here, as my current party of level 5 adventurers had some nerve-racking moments when a horde of nearly twenty Necrophagi descended upon them in the woods.
Stuck on the mortal plain long after death with a hunger for revenge, a Half-Dragon Revenant seeks nothing but for their killer to suffer the same fate as they did. The natural magical lineage of the Half-Dragon proves too powerful to simply let them pass from the material world before their time, reanimating them until their new task has been completed, at which point their soul leaves this world and their body crumbles to ash. The given lore for the Half-Dragon Revenant allows for some versatile usage as a DM. Perhaps your party had previously killed a half-dragon for whatever reason, but their spirit was not willing to give up just yet. Or perhaps the party stumble across the individual who asks for their assistance in silencing the one who tried to do the same to them. With the ability to swear vengeance upon a target creature, permanently revealing the location of they who must perish, and the ability to rejuvenate itself inside the body of another mortal once destroyed, this CR:7 Half-Dragon could prove to be either a valuable ally or a relentless foe.
Every DM loves a good Legendary Action, so why not have three? According to the book, the Undying is a CR:17 “manifestation of pure negative energy arising from the collapse of the Plane of Death.” Now that sounds evil enough to me that I don’t know if I really need to expand on that description, but I will anyway. Three useful legendary actions in tow, the Undying not only looks stunning (in a creepy kind of way,) but also seems incredibly fun to play. With multiple unique attacks and spells up to level 9, nearly every damage resistance under the sun (excluding only the sun itself in the form of radiant damage) and a vicious looking magical scythe that drops as a gift to those who slay it, the Undying is absolutely one of my favourite enemies included in this book. That being said, I won’t actually be able to use it for many, many months…
Now that you’ve plucked your favourite undead horrors from the book, perhaps you feel there’s something missing. Maybe a battlemap in which these encounters can take place, or an NPC to assist (or betray, your choice) the party when deep-diving decrepit dungeons. Luckily for you, this book has a selection of both, appropriately associated with the terrifying theme portrayed through the pages. From a humanoid who has learned to commune with the nightmares of this world to the twisting corridors of the Dreadknight’s Abyssal Gateway, this book provides you with almost anything you need to weave a thrilling tale from the dark and twisted depths.
Remember, all of the above represents only a small portion of what’s available in this supplement so if you haven’t found something that catches your eye yet, I’m sure that you’ll discover something different to excite you.
If you would like to see some additional sample pages or would like to get the book yourself, Creatures of the Tomb is currently available here on the DM’s Guild for $14.95 (approximately £11.50) and I can personally say that I had a lot of fun using it.