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Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead

Authors: Rucht Lilavivat and Ryan Naylor
Type: Accessory - Undead
Format: 128 pages, paperback
Release date: February 2003

Summary of content: The Weathermay-Foxgrove twins continue in the tradition of the well-known Van Richten's Guides, this time covering animated corpses and other lesser undead, including skeletons, zombies, ghouls, wights and more.

Chapter One: Necrology (undead psychology, physiology, states of Preservation)
Chapter Two: The Obedient Dead(skeletons, zombies and other minions; creation, salient abilities)
Chapter Three: The Hungry Dead (ghouls, ghasts and other undying predators; creation, salient abilities)
Chapter Four: The Restless Dead (wights, revenants and sleepless sentinels; creation, salient abilities)
Chapter Five: Weaknesses (allergens, aversion, healing)
Chapter Six: Necromancers (new spells - Army of Darkness, Create Greater Undead, Create Undead, Major Salience, Minor Salience
New Feats: see the list of feats in the Mausoleum)
Chapter Seven: Hunting the Walking Dead (how to plan investigation and battles)
DMs Appendix: Creature Creation Laboratory
Whos Doomed - Ratik Ubel, Toben the Many
New monsters Stitched; Ravyanatha; Porcelain Lady; Bony Hands; Revenant, Dread

Reviews:

Jol Paquin

I was thrilled and disappointed when that book was announced. Thrilled, because I was working hard for a year and a half on a huge USS article on a similar theme, the 'VRG to the lower undead' (released in the USS netbook 2002). And disappointed for the same reason :), as I feared my article could be obsolete when it came out. That said, both are quite different and I still stand proud of my 'lower undead' article today!

The intro of the VRGttWD was quite surprising for me: I had lost my grandmother in the week before, so a story on a creepy grandmother-turned-undead was, ahem, unexpected

The salient abilities are amazingly good and creative. Just plain amazement! Low hit dice undead will never be boring again. The accompanying text is great read, and can be served almost directly to players as monster hunter conversation.

A high point of the guide was the return of Ratik Ubel and Alanik Ray. Two new evil villains are introduced in the book: one of them being Toben the Many - what a genius NPC concept! In section seven (Hunting the Walking Dead), the Glutton of Gehena is another good idea, and the description of the hunt can easily be inserted in a campaign.

4,5 on 5 for the whole book, and 6 on 5 for usefulness! Strongly recommend it to DMs in any setting.

Andrew "Alhoon" Pavlides

One of the best Ravenloft Books I have ever read. 5 out of 5 stars!

Tons of Salient abilities to make this 7th level wizard and his 20 - 30 zombies and skeletons memorable.

Not to mention that for the "academic" people that want to talk about undead with their friends (not just variations, but habits, nature etc.) this book has much to offer.

I loved this book.

  • You want your 4th level characters fight something memorable but not as overpowering as a 2nd magnitude mummy? This book is for you!
  • You want your 11th level characters stop yawing when you describe the scuffling sounds of about 10 Zombies approaching? This book is for you!
  • You want a 5th level evil cleric with a few memorable bodyguards? This book is for you!
  • You want the deranged/totally mad necromancer that wants to make the ultimate zombie horror? And want to provide the PCs with all the stages of his experiments from the usual slow "Why-in-earth-somebody-would-use-this-as-a-guard?" zombie to the "Oh-My-God-not-this!" zombie? This book is for you!
  • You just like skeletons and would know what they think and IF they think? This book is for you!
  • Want to know what motivates a ghoul? This book is for you!
  • Never thought that wights were a real menace or special? This book is for you!
  • The name "Toben the Many" doesn't mean anything to you, but you loved the ability of the Ex-agent Smith of Matrix to imprint his personality on others? This book is for you!

I have used this book extensively in all my campaigns with great success. I recommend it to anyone even remotely interested about the undead.

 

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