The book of Monstrous Kennings: A Norse Bestiary is, you guessed it, a bestiary of creatures from Norse mythology and culture.
Created by Thieves’ Cant Games, this is a pretty big work at 65 pages long, and I’ve got to say that the quality is frankly amazing. Let’s take a look at what we have.
The supplement contains 40 new creatures, all of them originating in Norse mythology. Each of them has of course its stat block, but also an explanation of the creature’s place in the mythology – how it came to be, and what its role is. There is a very wide variety of creatures presented:
There are various undead, like the Draugr, including an explanation for why they might return to unlife and how to handle them – as well as a legendary Draugr lord named Thráin. We also have the Álfar, Norse elves, and their two distinct subraces: the ljósálfr, and the dökkálfr. We get an overview of how their society is organized, what their values are, and of course how their warriors fight. Valkyries are also of course included, along with various other creatures like merfolk, shapeshifters, lindwyrms, jötnar, and more. However, the crown jewels are undoubtedly the truly mythical creatures.
We get some of the monsters involved the the apocalyptic events of Ragnarok, such as Fenrir, Jörmungandr and Níðhöggr, as well as various other legends like Fafnir, Hafgufa, and more. Each of them has of course their lore behind it, which is appropriately represented in their mechanics as well. For quite a few of them, we get additional options like mythic actions and lair actions, just to make things a bit more challenging if your players think a CR 26 creature is going to be an easy encounter. Considering the fact that most of them go toe-to-toe with actual gods and kill them, your players might need some help.
Anyway, I could sing praises for the creatures for quite a while, but I think you get the idea – this is some good stuff. Beyond that however, the Álfar have also been included as a player race, with their ljósálfr and dökkálfr subraces, as well as two new magic items for Norse mythology – Gleipnir, the chains that bind Fenrir, and Mistilteinn, a sentient sword.
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The editing and layout are both excellently done, with no errors i could see. As for the art, every single creature has an associated art piece, all of them quite evocative and beautiful. It is obvious there was a lot of care put into selecting it.
To conclude, I give this supplement my wholehearted approval and recommendation. This is a very high quality product, and at a quite low price for how much content it has – so at least go and check out The Book of Monstrous Kennings.
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