Behind the Monsters: Xorn is a 7 page PDF product from Tricky Owlbear Publishing. This is the second release in the ?Behind the Monsters? line of rpg supplements for the d20 system. Each of these PDFs provide you with the history of a particular creature as narrated by Jadrin Nelv ? monk of the Order of the Secret Branch, lore tables for the studied monster, behavioural information and related research. It is patterned to be similar to the popular ?Behind the Spells? line that was created by Bret Boyd and published through Ronin Arts. Tricky Owlbear Publishing is Bret Boyd?s independent company.
The history section of this product covers the xorn race?s first contact with mortals from the prime material plane. It provides a good reason for why the xorn, who each only precious metals and minerals, would leave the elemental plane of earth and travel to the prime (when not a victim of summon nature?s ally). The lore section contains details that a party member with ranks in knowledge (the planes) might have knowledge of. For some the chart starts at DC 16, when the SRD uses 10 + HD (for these checks, technically DC 13 should be the start point). The combat tendencies of the xorn are discussed for the benefit of GMs who wish to use them in their campaign, but the area also includes sidebars which would be helpful to players combating these terrible outsiders. The product ends with a xorn variant called the xeran which is better suited to volcanic environments. It appears to be an slightly more powerful average xorn with an added breath weapon, it also picked up the fire subtype ? which means it should be immune to fire and vulnerable to cold ? but it doesn?t gain that vulnerability. Probably it didn?t need the fire subtype as it was immune to fire already. Additionally, a new magic item shadowstone cloak is presented as a magic item built from the body of the xorn.
Overall, I was pleased by this Behind the Monster offering. The history provides a well-thought out explanation for the xorn?s incursion on the Material plane, the behavioural area provides a couple of neat ideas for making the combat with the xorn be memorable and I like the magic item presented. I have a few mechanical issues with the variant xorn, but I tend to nitpick monster statistics.
I hope that Tricky Owlbear will develop BtM entries for the other three elemental outsiders.
<b>LIKED</b>: Very good explanation of the xorn's migration to the Material plane.
Nice look at Xorn tactics and player tactics for facing the Xorn.
<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The xeran wasn't as much of a variant as I hoped for.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>
[4 of 5 Stars!]