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Dark Sun Creature Catalog (4e)
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Dark Sun Creature Catalog (4e)

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Monsters and other threats from the world of Athas.

This supplement for the Dark Sun Campaign Setting collects the most iconic and dangerous monsters of the Dark Sun campaign setting into one handy tome. It also contains other hazards and threats found in the desert wastelands and dungeon tombs of Athas.

The creatures and threats presented herein make worthy encounters for Athasian heroes or the heroes in your "homebrew" D&D campaign.

Product History

Dark Sun Creature Catalog (2010), by Richard Baker with Ari Marmell and Chris Sims, was a monster manual for 4e's Dark Sun line. It was released in August 2010.

About the Cover. The Creature Catalog was advertised and priced as a softcover release, but was mistakenly printed as a hardcover. Despite the higher quality, Wizards left it at the softcover price of $19.95.

Continuing the Dark Sun Revival. 2010 saw a bonanza of Dark Sun releases, beginning with previews at Winter Fantasy 34 (2010) and Pax East (2010). It all culminated in the Gen Con Indy 2010 release of the three core books for the setting.

In previous years, Wizards had released a "Campaign Guide", a "Player's Guide", and a standalone adventure for each setting, but by 2010 things were changing for the 4e line. One of those changes impacted the schedule for setting releases. Though Dark Sun still got three books, the "Campaign Guide" and "Player's Guide" were combined into the Dark Sun Campaign Setting. This made room for a standalone Creature Catalog — something that was particularly important for the unique world of Athas. The adventure Marauders of the Dune Sea (2010) closed out the trilogy.

The Creature Catalog actually isn't just an Athasian monster manual. It also includes NPC stats for major personages of Athas, terrains, hazards, and a section on building encounters in the setting.

Graphical Design Tropes. Creature Catalog shows off D&D 4e's graphic design at its best. Many of the monsters are laid out as two-page spreads, providing lots of room for details and for variants.

Expanding D&D. Dungeons & Dragons 4e (2008) was a unique iteration of the world's premiere FRPG — and its design continued to expand and innovate even after the initial release. Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 (2009) introduced the idea of monster themes, which gave related monsters common features; while Monster Manual 3 (2010) revamped stat blocks to make them more readable and simpler to use, while also upping the power level of monsters. Creature Catalog takes advantage of both of these improvements.

Expanding Athas. Creature Catalog doesn't add much to the world of Athas, but it is respectful of the setting's long history, and it updates that for D&D 4e.

Monsters of Note. Creature Catalog features many monsters from MC12: "Monstrous Compendium Dark Sun Appendix: Terrors of the Desert" (1992) and Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium Appendix II: Terrors beyond Tyr (1995) — the original two collections of Dark Sun monsters. You can thus find many classic monsters from both major eras of 2e Dark Sun publication, such as: the aarakocra; the cilops; the crodlu; the elemental drakes; the dray (now dragonborn); the beast and shadow giants; the dune, salt, and obsidian golems; the silt horror; and the silt runner.

Following in the footsteps of Dark Sun Monstrous Compendium Appendix II: Terrors beyond Tyr, this new Catalog also includes monster stats for PC races such as dwarves, eladrin, elves, goliaths, halflings, humans, mul, and thri-kreen. This was once more a well-received idea that helped to convey the evocative feel of the setting.

Finally, Creature Catalog also details most of the sorcerer-kings of Athas, giving goals for high-level characters to shoot for.

About the Creators. Baker was a long-serving D&D writer who headed the Dark Sun design team for 4e and so coauthored the Dark Sun Campaign Setting. That same year, he also coauthored D&D Gamma World (2010).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Thanks to Robert Adducci for Dark Sun advice. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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December 18th, 2014
When you need something new, whether it is set in Athas or not, this is full of new creatures, with some excellent twists on old favourites. I use it all the time to generate opponents. Be afraid, be very afraid... Very nice artwork too. My players all [...]
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Product Information
Rules Edition(s)
Pages
144
ISBN
978-0-7869-5494-0
File Size:
11.98 MB
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File Last Updated:
August 18, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on August 19, 2014.