On a roll, Margret Weiss productions has released another book for the SPN:RPG. The “monster manual” so to say.
The SPN Adventure book I ranked as pretty good and necessary if you’re not too used to the SPN play style or game mastering. The monster manual is a bit more… limited as to how useful it is.
Let me say one very important thing first: the book itself is written in the style of the Ghost-facers, and it’s very funny and pretty nifty. It’s not too different from the “Dean” style of the core book but does have a bit of its own flavor, especially the jokes at the Winchesters’ expense (which is nearly worth the book price alone). They even have their own entry in here which is… great.
Another note will be for lore-whores like myself: how canon is this book? I’d say quite though it is funny at times watching the authors trying to smooth over some of the flaws that were plaguing the later season, particularly with the rules etc as far as angels are concerned. I did notice 1, maybe 2 places where the book went against expressed continuity but otherwise, not too bad. A few monsters here and there really pushed the boundary of what works and doesn’t in SPN, but none that are really upsetting. One gets pretty close to an alien (a big no no in the SPN universe) but skirts it just barely…
The book proper is divided into 6 sections: Spirits/Ghosts, Angels/Demons, Monsters/gods, Curses/Magic, Appendix 1 (GM help), Appendix 2 (player help). The first appendix is a more in depth how to guide for creating threats against your players. The second appendix, is more about how to create player character monsters. By far my biggest complaint is that each monster has a detailed background section as well as a lore or clue section at the end of their stats, and sometimes these two bits of info contradict each other. I kept getting really confused. Are these supposed to be hints at two different interpretations to the character, is the lore section supposed to be misleading to the players, or did the editor just mess up and not notice that some entries don’t even fit under their own background info?
But the real question is: should you pick up this book? Well… who are you?
- If you’re a group that really wants to see if you guys can do a better job than Sam & Dean – maybe even take their places as players in the Apocalypse – this book is a must. It has everything in it up to around Abandon All Hope (no wraiths in it). Otherwise, this and the core book will give you everything you need to do every episode.
- If you’re a group looking for something new… this book won’t profit you as well as the previous one, but it does have a lot of “new” bits in it, my favorite being Sasquatch. If none of the premade monsters grab your fancy though…
- If you’re a player, I’d advise against picking this up – or if you do, don’t open it. A big part of the SPN:RPG is puzzle solving – EARNING the battles in the game. Memorizing this book gives you a spoiler for everything you might play in the future… and that’s no fun. If you’re dying to make a vampire or werewolf or killer rabbit hunter, just borrow the GM’s copy for the 2nd appendix.
- If you’re a GM, this isn’t a bad purchase, the cursed/magical items probably being the biggest draw as there wasn’t much of it in the core book. If you’re a very skilled and experienced GM, then you won’t need this book at all. If however, you’re a bit of a “klutzy” GM (like me), this is a worthwhile purchase.
So… I’m going middle of the road on my score.
That score might drop or climb depending on your needs and taste, but there are worse books to spend your money on. In fact, I’m hoping Kripke & Co will take some of the new, invented monsters from this book and show them off in season 6. I really want to see the boys fight Sasquatch.