Friday, 5 March 2010

Review: Creature Catalog

Normally, when I do reviews, I'm going to review products that are in print, usually ones that have only just been released. Today I'm going to break that rule, and review a book that is long out-of-print (but easily available), and review the Creature Catalog, which I'm going to come out and say is the best B/X supplement that TSR ever put out, and still extremely good today.

What is the Creature Catalog? Well, it aimed to do for B/X what the Fiend Folio did for 1st edition - provide a new book full of monsters, in this case many of which were drawn from some of the early B/X adventures. The first edition of the two makes it clear that this was largely a TSR UK project (this crew gave us Imagine magazine, and a lot of them would end up working on the first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, so two thums up there), and in the first edition, a lot of the artwork has that feel, similar to the artwork in the 'Fighting Fantasy' series (which got me into role-playing in the first place, but that's another story.) The second edition has different artwork, but is more logically laid out, so to be honest, of the two that's probably the one you want at the table, and is the one I have in front of me now.

You have a 128 page book, stuffed to the brim with new monsters, and a lot of them are really very good. The good-to-daft ratio in this book is a lot better than the Fiend Folio, but there are some dodgy ones. (Giant Amoeba standing out as an example...) Looking at some of the high points...

I love the Aranea; who doesn't want a race of intelligent giant spiders menacing the deep forest of their campaign world, and this brand can cast spells. Nasty. I love the idea of having a Ghostly Horde wandering round my next sandbox, guarding the treasures of an ancient battle - this is essentially the ghosts of a defeated band of soldiers, wanting revenge, with an interesting twist. The Gray Philosopher, a long-dead cleric contemplating eternity, is an excellent element for a dungeon. The Hutaakan, from Night's Dark Terror, make an appearance, as do the Lupin, an interesting possiblity for another demi-human race. A Nagpa, which is the embodiment of the phrase 'wise old bird' could be an excellent major NPC, and the Rakasta always make great villains.

I'm really only scratching the surface here. I wouldn't run a B/X game, or a Labyrinth Lord game, without this supplement. There is just too much good stuff here. I wholeheartedly recommend this one.


  1. What was it about TSR UK? They produced two of my favorite monster books, this one and the Fiend Folio.

  2. I agree that this is an excellent book. It's the best overall 'monster book' published by TSR.