I’ll be among the first to admit they’re something of a purist when it comes to their games. When I play Warmachine, I like to play pure faction, sans mercenaries. When I played VS System, my favourite decks were single team (with one or two notable exceptions). When it comes to RPGs, I like to lean on official resources. Part of it is simply acknowledging that if anyone ever let me come up with my own rules for things, they’d likely be imbalanced as heck. When I started DM’ing D&D again, after over 20 years of, well, not, I picked up the PH, the DMG, the MM, so on and so forth, but when I found Metal Weave’s Baby Bestiaries on Kickstarter I couldn’t resist backing them. Two absolutely stunning hardcover volumes written as guides to raising infant versions of all sorts of stereotypical fantasy gribblies. We alway see grown Owlbears, what about the cubs? Nascent shambling mounds? Diminutive Umber Hulks, not yet grown into their carapaces? The idea fascinated me, and I was thrilled to add the books to my library. Likewise, when they announced Atlas Animalia, it was a no-brainer for me to click the link.
Metal Weave’s books – at least, the ones I own – are supplements to help breathe life into your fantasy campaigns. The Baby Bestiaries asked where all the baby monsters were, and provided all sorts of information on the care and feeding of Hydra Snakelets, freshly hatched Dragon Turtles, and more, giving you a wonderful resource for that druid in the party that’s super keen to raise their own pet Bulette, or the ranger that really wants to establish ties with a local Harpy nest. With Atlas Animalia they take it another step further.
Everyone with a grounding in fantasy RPGs knows about Owlbears, but what if your game is set in a polar climate? How about an Asiatic setting? Atlas Animalia introduces owlbear variants tapping into Great Horned Owls, Sun Bears, Pandas and Polar Bear. Our own natural world has astounding subspecies of animals, why shouldn’t your fantasy setting?