Well, it doesn’t literally bring them to life. That would make for a pretty terrifying book. There are things in here you absolutely do not want to ever encounter in real life. You’ll want to encounter a lot of them in your Pathfinder campaign, though!
The Midgard Bestiary can be a little confusing, because they use the same cover illustration for all different editions of the book. It’s a great image, so I can see why! But this version of the book, designed for the Pathfinder RPG, looks really similar to the AGE System bestiary. If you’re looking to buy some Midgard monsters, take an extra second to make sure you’re grabbing the right book.
So is this just a revision of the AGE bestiary, with Pathfinder stats? Not at all. This is a totally different monster book. It shares a few of the same monsters because both books draw from published adventures in the Midgard campaign world, which itself draws from various European folk legends. However, the Pathfinder Bestiary has roughly twice as many monsters, and the “duplicate” monsters are obviously extensively different, stats-wise.
This monster collection does have a very European flavor — you won’t find any Asian-themed monsters, no Aztec monsters either. There are some dragon variants and a smattering of demons and devils. There’s a whole sub-theme of “subtly creepy” creatures sewn through the pages. Death butterflies, drowned maidens, and weird haunted trees may seem fairly innocuous at first. They are not, in fact, innocuous.
The strongest recurrent theme, though, is utterly insane terrifying bizarre creatures from beyond your most twisted imaginings. Let’s start with the strangling watcher, a worm on four tentacle legs, with one giant eye and weird feather antennae. The doppelrat is just a rat. A rat that splits into two rats, each of which split into two more, each of which…yeah, get it? Lots of rats.
The derro fetal savant is an infant creature carried around in a cage that will attempt to swap souls with you. A child of the briar is a hybrid fae infant/plant, covered in thorns. And we can’t forget the bukavac, a six-legged, vaguely humanoid horror that leaps out of swamps and yells at you.
With good art, bizarre monsters, and Open Design’s solid track record, this Bestiary undoubtedly has a place on your creature catalog shelf.