Runequest Monsters II - A Quick Review



I haven't seen any reviews of this product yet, so I thought I would post a quick one.

From the outside.
Okay, first things first, I bought this in PDF so cannot comment on binding, cover quality or printing. The cover image is the slightly jaded "Runequest Core Books, with Rune" effect, which is a shame, but fits in the with the rest of the series and the layout is RQ standard, although the text does seem to fill the pages better than in some older products. The art is extremelly variable, from light and humourous cartoon style to overly dark and hard to see images. The quality is mixed, and in some cases just does feel Gloranthan in nature. However there are also some really nice images included, I loved the Bison Rider, Nightflyer and Ouori for example. Thye book is 152 pages long.

The book is divided into four sections, although I wouldn't beleive the page division listed in the horrendously editted contents page, the editor doesn't even seem to be able to count in order, let alone get the numbers right.

The introduction is short and sweet, as it says this book has a lot of Gloranthan content, but most of it would be useable in other game settings and the book is a must for any RQ fan, even a sci-fi fan could get mileage out of the Mechazombies, Clockworks and Zap Rats!

The Campaign Information is a little strange, it lists the creatures that can be played as characters. Several of the races in book are not listed, for example the Fox Women and Elves are not covered on this list and it goes on to suggest playing broos at far too much length. I strongly disagree with the authors suggestion that "It can be intelligently assumed that there are honest or hardworking broo in the vast reaches of Glorantha, although they are extremelly rare and not exactly trustworthy". I have witnessed gamers playing broo, it was one of the most shocking games I have ever seen, sometimes the monsters should be monsters. There is a section on the training of different animals and a list of expanded traits for animals.
The Legendary Abilities for animals is a good inclusion, although I am not sure for example if a bison rider could use his heropoints to give his Bison the Thick Headed ability for example. Lick wounds is a great one for Morokanth, Telmori and Baboons.

The rest of the book as you would expect is an expanded bestiary for the RQ system. It covers 142 monsters ranging from Alticamelus to Zap Rats. As you can see by the page count that equates to roughly a monster per page, and each is given plenty of background, including myths, habitat and behaviour.

Many of the monsters are familiar to old runequests, such as the Bison, Herd Men and Dream Dragons. Some are derived from the Avalon Hill Gloranthan Bestiary, others are based on rewrites of the creatures encountered in Anaxial's Roster. There are also several new beasts to suprise us. It appears that all the creatures have been given a lot of attention and I was pleased with array of beasts at hand. However once again there was too much space dedicated to Broo and Skeletons, which was unneccessary and I would like to have seen the inclusion of some other creatures in these wasted pages such as the Giant Cranes of the Rightarm Islands or some information on Keets, Andrins and other more exotic eastern beasts (although I think Glorantha has enough monsters left to do a third book!).

Also included in the book are Elven creatures from the Aldryami sourcebook, Zistorite creatures from the Clanking City sourcebook and some insects from the Uz sourcebook. Despite this repetition of text, I welcomed the creatures being brought together in one place.
I must confess that when I first saw the presence of the Gloranthan Mongoose, a sentient dragon hating mammal I groaned, but actually the more I thought about him, the more I felt he deserved his place amongst the baboons, ducks and newtlings of out beloved world. However the Runehunter felt a little contrived to make the new Runecasting system fit into the world of Glorantha more.

The final section of the book is dedicated to some Legendary Creatures. It follows the same format as the rest of the book. It includes the Luatha, a race of demigods from the far west, the Eskaval the ultimate hunters game and the legendary but comical Hoolar.

In conclusion
Overall the book is great, very pleasing and well written. It suffers from a few writer indulgences and editorial cock-ups, but is suprisingly pleasurable to read. I think Mongoose needs to be checking their credits, many of these beasts were created by Jamie Revell and Sandy Petersen, both of whom have not even received a special thanks. Its only a token I know, but it should be done. A plea to Mongoose, credit your sources will you? As I said before I would be able to use this book for a number of settings, the Mecha-Animals would work for Hawkmoon, some of the monsters are almost Vancian, there are old friends such as the Chimaera for the D&D fans, I think it is a very useable product. Well done to the authors.

Content and Text: A (dropped to a B+ for too many broos and skeletons)
Editting and Layout:B
Overall: B+

Cheers Simon Bray

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
I also wrote a quick review on this forum shortly after the book was released and we come to the same conclusion in the end. My sole critic was there was nothing about the Agimori.


Thank you for the review...I was very pleased with how this turned out, too.

A side note before I get started working today, keep your eyes open for the upcoming Duck book. There is a BUNCH of stuff on Keets in there. :)



Hi Bryan,

Just a quickie, where are the stats for Bolo Lizards? I am sure I have seen them somewhere, but god help me if I can remember where.