Hacklopedia of Beasts - Volume VIII: Tiger Horse, Albino to Zygom
Hacklopedia of Beasts - Volume VIII: Tiger Horse, Albino to Zygom Capsule Review by Anthony Roberson on 27/05/02
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 4 (Meaty)
With this volume's release, HackMaster GMs have a total of more than 3,200 ravening creatures at their disposal. Players should beat the rush and start stocking up on blank character sheets now.
Product: Hacklopedia of Beasts - Volume VIII: Tiger Horse, Albino to Zygom
Author: Tony DiGerolamo
Company/Publisher: Kenzer and Company
Page count: 144
Year published: 2002
Comp copy?: yes
Capsule Review by Anthony Roberson on 27/05/02
Genre tags: Fantasy
The circle is now complete. Volume VIII of the Hacklopedia of Beasts has been released. With this volume's release, HackMaster GMs have a total of more than 3,200 ravening creatures at their disposal. Players should beat the rush and start stocking up on blank character sheets now
Like previous volumes, HoB VIII has black-and-white interior art and a color cover. The cover painting depicts a hapless halfling torchbearer being chased by seven zombies, the former members of his adventuring party that were killed on the covers of the previous seven volumes. HoB VIII is 144 pages long and so it has room for a comprehensive index to all eight volumes of the Hacklopedia. The index includes each monster's name and the volume/page number where it can be found. This volume's illustrations are of about the same quality as previous volumes, which as far as I am concerned means that there are some excellent illustrations, quite a few averages ones and a few clunkers.
Every volume of the HoB has included several of what I like to call 'featured creatures' (sorry for the bad pun). Featured creatures are classic or common monsters that have been divided into a multitude of subtypes. This volume's featured creatures include troll, vampire, wyrm (gargantuan) and zombie. These were good choices and there are plenty of interesting critters in the bunch like the executioner vampire and the blood wyrm. A bonus for this volume, besides the aforementioned mentioned index, is a section devoted to undead. This section provides valuable introductory information about undead, including their general types and immunities. It also includes a separate undead index that includes the same information as the comprehensive index, with the addition of the appropriate undead type for turning purposes.
My gripes with this volume also generally apply to the previous volumes. The quality of the writing is uneven. I realize this was a big project and there were a LOT of creatures to write up, but a couple of extra editing passes to clear up ambiguities and awkward sentences would have been nice. I would also have appreciated more original and unique creatures like the giant virusentient (silly as it is) and fewer simply derivative creatures (like the zebrataur).
If you haven't bought any previous volumes of the Haclopedia of Beasts, HoB VIII might actually be the best place to start. The comprehensive index and information about undead make it particularly useful. Of course, if you disliked previous volumes of the HoB or hate the whole idea of HackMaster, HoB VIII is not going to change your mind. There will be a distinct thrill for many HackMaster GMs, however, when they finally slide this book into place on their game shelf and realize their collection is complete.