Bizarre creatures and strange new races populate this collection of monster ecologies from Kobold Quarterly, a magazine that is the spiritual successor to Dragon. Why does a derro’s hair stick up like that? What do cloakers think of us? How is a fungal horror related to a mi-go? Your thirst for knowledge will soon be slaked.
Kobold Ecologies collects all the monster ecologies published in Kobold Quarterly, along with a few new ones. It’s not a book about kobolds – the title can be mildly confusing if you’re not aware that Kobold Quarterly and the Open Design group have adopted the kobold as their mascot. It does carry on the grand tradition of expanding and explaining all kinds of anatomical, sociological and mythological details about various monsters.
For the most part, the entries have 3.5 edition D&D stats, although a few have stats for Paizo’s Pathfinder 3.5 variant. There’s a slightly uneven mix of fourth edition stat blocks as well, which reflects that fact that Kobold Quarterly has evolved from a “3rd edition only” magazine to 3/4 hybrid. Thus, you get maenads statted out as a playable race for both Pathfinder and 4E, while centaurs get the full 4E treatment, with racial stats and Monster Manual style stat blocks.
As important as monster statistics may be, the focus of ecologies has always been on fleshing out the monster’s story. Where did they come from? Why do they do what they do? What are their mating cycles and migration patterns like? What strange organs allow them to create their weird abilities? Kobold Ecologies really comes through in this regard. From the cloaker’s reverbatrix organ, which generates its hateful moan attacks, to the derro’s horrifying coming of age rituals, you’ll learn the answers to questions you were probably quite literally afraid to ask. That kind of flavor is awesome regardless of what edition you’re playing.
If you’re looking for a little more detail in your monster descriptions than what the Monster Manual provides, Kobold Ecologies certainly has a place on your shelf. All the entries are skillfully written, the stats are clear and useful, and excellent full-color art depicts each creature. You can order a print copy at Kobold Quarterly for $14.95, or get the pdf from DriveThruRPG for $9.95.
The complete list of monsters ecologized: barghest, centaur, derro, lich, golem, cloaker, half-giant, retriever, revenant, phantom fungus, maenad, and homonculus.