|Crossbreeding is all about using the power of arcane magic to literally create new forms of life – this is, essentially, where creatures such as the hydra, owlbear and chimera once came from. Now, wizards have all the rules and tools they need to create these creatures for themselves, or devise their own hideous monsters to inflict upon the world.
The book kicks off with an Overview of magical crossbreeding, looking at the ways arcane energies can be harnessed to recreate various magical creatures or entirely new species. There are many differences between this practice and that of polymorphing spells, and the types of practitioners who delve into this magical field are also covered.
Designing Magical Crossbreeds gives all the basic rules required to create new creatures – however, rules summaries placed on the inside front and rear covers will reduce the need to constantly thumb through this chapter! Complete rules and tables are given to allow players to specify the ability scores and special traits of their creations, as well as determining the resultant creature type. After all, if you combine an ooze with a monstrous humanoid, what are you going to be left with (answer, in this case – aberration)? Every aspect of the new creature’s statistic block is detailed here, including attacks and face/reach, and Johnathan has literally left no stone unturned, allowing the creations to be placed within campaigns of the most exacting Games Masters.
Once the player has designed his new creature, it is up to his character to actually accomplish the task, a process that is rarely easy. Transmutation Rituals covers everything such characters will need including laboratories and the acquisition of test ‘subjects’, as well as methods of pacifying them during the ritual. Several different rituals are provided for players to try, each with their own prerequisites and benefits, allowing players to customise these rules to reflect the nature and capabilities of their character, rather than forcing them to learn entirely new skills and feats
that may be unrelated to their other arcane pursuits.
Having decided upon the ritual and acquired the ‘base’ creatures, the player may then use the rules in Creating Magical Crossbreeds to bring his new creation to life, bringing his arcane knowledge to bear along with any required materials. Once done, the player will have a new ally to take adventuring!
Advanced Procedures follows next, providing accomplished practitioners with a wide range of new options to further enhance their understanding of this art. Self-hybridisation may be distasteful to some, but it makes for a superb NPC. Reverse crossbreeding and multistage crossbreeding are also covered in detail.
The next chapter, Magic Items, provides practitioners with new objects of arcane power designed to enhance their transmutation rituals and increase the capabilities of the species they create. Such items include the Cauldron of Essences, Focussing Mirrors, Hoops of Holding (_very_ useful!) and Stasis Rugs.
The last chapter Provides many Sample Hybrids for players to base their new designs on, or for Games Masters to quickly insert into their scenarios – and there are going to be many that get the creative juices flowing immediately. The Barbazaur, for example, is a Barbazu crossed with a Nightmare to create a hellish Centaur-like creature. However, there are many more to whet the appetite of those looking to practice this arcane field – Electrohydras, Gorgotaurs (think about that one!), Haemovorids (pixies crossed with stirges), Magma Worms, Skysharks and many more. The book wraps up with a few words from Johnathan in the Designer’s Notes and a full Crossbreeding Worksheet which will be available as a free download on our web site by the end of this week.
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