First off I was given the book by Dave to review. Second I am partial to Dave. He’s done excellent artwork for my Hubris campaign setting, and he’s from Mon-fucking-tana!
Anyways- I digress… I’m not here to explain or examine how sexy Dave is…
We’re here to talk about Dave’s recent release of Grandpappy Cromdar’s Whizbang Zoo! Summary- I recommend this book. A) It’s only $5! B) It’s a happy addition to the DIY RPG community! C) It’s chock-full of tasty and fun monsters! D) There’s an awesome adventure at the end of the book!
First thing I’ll get out of the way is this is not a “serious” monster manual… Dave states right on the first page that this is a beer and pretzel RPG book. In this book you’ll find monsters that sling insults and warn adventurers of their presence by playing kick the can, another monster that has the favorite pastime of digesting whole sharks and turn offs include mammals, music, and waking up, or another that sounds like Winston Churchill on autotune… If you want a serious monster manual that is also awesome, I recommend Teratic Tome by R. Chandler. That’s not to say you can’t use this book seriously, but I think that would be missing the point and joy of Grandpappy Cromdar’s Whizbang Zoo.
The format of the book is easy to understand and follow. I really dig Dave’s humor and it shows throughout this book. His artwork is top notch and fun! I love that his has a “as big as” in the monster info- that is PERFECT for a descriptor of a monster and gets the point across to your players quickly. The favorite pastime and turnoffs are hilarious and, again, something that makes this book a delight and fun!
All in all there are 21 monsters in this book, all illustrated, and follow the same 1 page format (which I love).
After monsters you will find a HUGE 3 level dungeon with over 100 rooms! The dungeon has a straight forward format familiar to anyone who has ever ran a dungeoncrawl before. Level 1 has a 1 page map and then 6 pages of information, the same is said for level 2. Level 3 has a 1 page map and 4 pages of information.
One really cool thing is that Dave includes the stats of monsters mentioned in the rooms in a single line format, which saves you from having to flip back and forth in the book (unless you want to, so you can show your players the picture). I really appreciate this. It’s such a small thing, but it’s a nice touch and makes me happy. I know many modules/adventures do the same thing, but there are also many that have the “well we mentioned this creature elsewhere and now we’ll just give a page number to refer to” attitude, and that doesn’t make the book user-friendly at the table. Dave didn’t have to do this, but he did and it shows that he has that keep shit simple, keep shit moving at the table attitude!
This book is awesome and I can’t recommend it enough, especially for the price point! I will definitely insert this dungeon into either my Hubris campaign or my 5e mini-campaign I’ve just started running. Seriously, get the book, run it, hack it, hug it!