Check out my RPG blog at http://www.usandacat.com/thelair!
Work hard, play hard!
-== What is it? ==-
The Book Of Dragons is a supplement for Fantasy Hero (5th Edition) by Hero Games. It was penned by the illustrious Steve Long. The Book Of Dragons was released in January 2009.
The book has a color cover and an entirely black and white interior. It is 8.5” x 11” and is 144 pages in length. I am reviewing a print copy that I bought. I have not used the material in my campaign…YET! :}
-== What I Like ==-
I really enjoyed the more exotic and esoteric entries in the book. Making up stats for your run of the mill fire breathing dragon is not that tough. It gets a bit more interesting when you introduce things like undead dragons or dragons based on various animal crosses. For example the Dragon-Bear is a cross between a Dragon and a Bear.
One section of The Book Of Dragons is dedicated to dragons from international cultures and myths. This section includes entries from Aztec, China, India, Norse, and Vietnam to name just a few. I really enjoyed these entries as they are often very different than the standard “fire lizard”. Steve Long’s infamous research library really shines here.
There is also a few pages dedicated to dragon personalities. Although some of this information is new a portion of it is pretty standard stuff.
There is a section of The Book Of Dragons which is dedicated to dragon related weapons and armor. I thought this section was a really nice touch…I actually wanted to see a few more entries in this section.
The Book Of Dragons is not only about dragons. It actually has entries for several large baddies for Fantasy Hero. In this vein there is a section of the book on combating gigantic monsters. This section is really fun. It gives rules for climbing on gigantic creatures and how they can be beaten. It really reminds me of the PS2 console game Shadow of the Colossus. Awesome!
The wrap around color cover by Anthony Cournoyer is a bit dark but it is VERY well done. The style is vaguely reminiscent of the work done by Last Unicorn. Sweet cover.
-== What I Don’t Like ==-
Early on in the book many of the dragons are extremely similar with something like 25% of the text at most being different. When I read these entries I felt it might have been nicer to see some type of shorter notation which could have been used to save space or to potentially combine entries. For example, the various dragon ages could be combined into a single smaller entry. It is not a big issue and is more complete in it’s current form.
With some of the extra monsters in The Book Of Dragons it sometimes seems like the author is trying to stat out a god where maybe the stats should simply be left out. One of these entries is a giant castle creature. Do you really need the stats for a castle that is really a creature? (Note that I could not find a map for the throne room for this entry even though it is mentioned several times in the text and is critical to the encounter.)
The interior art in The Book Of Dragons is a mixed bag. It is VERY hit or miss. I really enjoy the pieces by “CNS” which I think must be Christian N St. Pierre. He did the killer Mummy Dragon picture and one at the end that shows a group of characters taking down a flying dragon.
-== Summary ==-
I was pleasantly surprised by The Book Of Dragons. When I first started reading the book I felt it was not that interesting. As the book progresses it gets more and more esoteric and quite fun. If you are looking for some big beasts for your Fantasy Hero campaign look no farther.
You can pickup the supplement at Noble Knight Games at this URL for $22.95. Amazon has The Book Of Dragons for $26.99 at this URL. You can get a PDF copy at DriveThruRPG for $18.99 at this URL.
I give it 8 out of 10 paws.