The Encountered Gives Alpha Omega a Trove of Freaky Creatures

May 5th, 2009 by Ed Grabianowski
"Hello...animal control? I don't know if this is the right number to call, but there's a robot with gun arms running loose in my front yard."

"Hello...animal control? I don't know if this is the right number to call, but there's a robot with gun arms running loose in my front yard."

What’s an RPG without a creature catalog? A few slices short of a loaf, I say. My favorite sourcebooks have always been the bestiaries, and The Encountered serves up a healthy dose of weird to mix into your post-apocalyptic Alpha Omega campaign.

It’s a few hundred years in the future, humankind has warped and splintered, society has devolved into walled city-states glaring at each other through their bristling defenses, and cosmic aliens walk the Earth alongside demons. Yeah, it was that kind of apocalypse. What does this world desperately need? I’ll tell you one thing, it probably doesn’t need zombies or hostile robotic children, but it’s getting them anyway.

I’ve already raved effusively about the gorgeous graphic design and color art in Alpha Omega’s Core Rulebook, and the creature catalog doesn’t drop the ball by any means. Each creature in the book gets a full-color image. Not some little pencil drawing, either – a big, evocative, awe-inspiring image like the Augmented Sentience Killer above. Major creatures get a two-page spread. Once again, Mind Storm has hit it out of the park in this regard.

The mechanics of the book are pretty nuts and bolts, exactly what you want out of a creature catalog. Each monster page is well-organized, and all the relevant stats are clearly displayed in one large vertical chart. A few paragraphs are given regarding each creature’s origin and behavior. Some GMs might prefer a bit more background material – this book leans toward crunchy stat blocks rather than a lot of fluff. The Encountered is not deficient in this regard – there’s good, often creepy info (including far more than you’d probably care to learn about the way reanimated corpses smell), just not pages and pages of it.

The creatures themselves are really quite weird (and I mean that as a compliment of the highest order). You’ve got the aforementioned AI kid-bots; freaky little mutants that are part living Cabbage Patch Kids, part post-apocalyptic cannibal hobbits; giant alien warbeasts; demon dogs; super-zombies and hideously mutated abominations that look like a casting call for a Tool video.

When released, The Encountered will contain 200 creatures within its 300 pages. PDF versions have already been sent to those who pre-ordered. Once all the kinks have been worked out, the hard copy will be released (it’s on the way to the presses and should be out in June). In the meantime, you can head over to the NWSEC Collaborative Workspace. NWSEC (New World Science and Engineering Commission) is the organization that catalogs critters in the Alpha Omega game world, and the workspace is a wiki where players and GMs can work together to develop their own monsters (as well as equipment and other useful items) to unleash on unsuspecting PCs. Don’t forget about the official Alpha Omega site, or the Mind Storm Labs official site.

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7 Responses to “The Encountered Gives Alpha Omega a Trove of Freaky Creatures”

  1. Comment by ggodo

    This art is SOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo COOL! If I was more of an RPG player I’d be all over this.

  2. Comment by Ed Grabianowski

    Seriously. When I say these books are awesome looking, I’m not blowing smoke.

  3. Comment by ggodo

    I poked around the site, it’s beautiful, I want posters of this stuff.

  4. Comment by mordicai

    Off topic, re: your comment on “Marvel Divas”: Oh man, TRUE.

  5. Comment by Ed Grabianowski

    Don’t even get me started. I could go on and on about Joe Quesada representing everything that’s wrong with Marvel these days. Good thing this isn’t a comic book blog.

  6. Comment by ggodo

    Who do I bury in emails to get posters of this game’s art?

  7. Comment by silentstriderm

    Joe Q. should stick to what he does best, that fancy pencil work.

    oh, and I’m with you on the art ggodo, Zam! That’s good looking stuff!