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Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations (3.5)
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Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations (3.5)

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Unnatural Creatures of Unspeakable Evil
Trembling hands have recorded horrifying stories of encounters with aboleths, beholders, mind flayers, and other aberrations. The victims of these alien creatures are quickly overwhelmed by mind-numbing terror - their only comfort is the hope for a quick death.
This supplement for the D&D game presents a comprehensive look at some of the most bizarre creatures ever to invade the world of fantasy roleplaying. Along with information about the physiology, psychology, society, and schemes of these strange beings, you’ll find spells, feats, tactics, and tools commonly employed by those who hunt them.
Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations also provides new rules, prestige classes, monsters, sample encounters, and fully developed NPCs ready to instill fear in any hero.
Product History

Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations (2005) is a 3.5 edition sourcebook about everyone's favorite monster type, designed by Richard Baker, James Jacobs, and Steve Winter. This is one case when you can tell a book by the (gorgeous) cover: the demonic mindflayer, tentacles wriggling as it contemplates its cerebellum dinner, perfectly captures the look and feel of this book. It's a gorgeous and eminently useful look at aboleths, beholders, and all of the other aberrations that make adventuring so darn dangerous for fledgling and experienced heroes alike.

The Monstrosities. After a brief chapter exploring "what is an aberration?" and laying out the structure and advice for an aberration-focused campaign, Lords of Madness jumps right into the monsters. One entire chapter is dedicated to each of the major types of aberrations:
  • The Deep Masters: Aboleths
  • The Eye Tyrants: Beholders
  • The Mind Flayers: Illithids
  • The Slave Takers: Neogi 
  • The Eaters: Grell
  • The Wearers of Flesh: Tsochar
Each chapter exhausively examines that monstrous race's anatomy, life, death, monstrous variants, prestige classes, regular classes, feats, unique magic, society, religion, languages, and goals. Each chapter also focuses on an encounter area or sample lair to use in an adventure. Whether that's the neogi wreck of the Mindspider or an illithid sept, beautiful maps and well-designed encounters provide useful adventure hooks.

Wait, the Who? Most longtime D&D fans know the neogi, a slave-taking race of spider-eels originally from Spelljammer. The tsochar are less well known. They are utterly inhuman, shapechanging infiltrators who come from a cold and distant world to our own in order to steal magic. They rarely pass through their world-spanning black gates, and that's a good thing, as they're difficult to detect and utterly revolting to behold. If you're looking for tentacular infiltrators who remind you of crossing a doppelganger with a Lovecraftian elder god, these are a good choice.

New Monsters from the Old World. Want more? The new monster chapter gives us beholderkin, cloakers, elder brains, gas spores, gibbering mouthers, half-farspawn, new illithids, psurlons, pseudonatural creatures, and more. In fact, there are 20 new monsters (or converted old monsters) detailed here. And the art is fantastic throughout.

Fight Back. The "aberration hunter" role is introduced here, with six new prestige classes, new feats, new magic items, and plenty of unique spells. The chapter on aberration hunters also gives the details and descriptions for a number of new secret societies and guilds that band together to fight their mutable, unnatural foes. If your campaign focuses or even leans heavily on aberrations, your players are going to want to read this chapter.

Lords of Madness remains one of the best and most fun books in Wizards' series of prestige monster supplements. The examination of its topic is intelligent and interesting, the monsters and plot hooks are horrifying, and the new rules are well-balanced and make the game more fun. Picking up this book is a no-brainer - especially if you ask an illithid.

About the Creators. Richard Baker is an author and senior designer whose work includes Red Hand of Doom, Complete Arcane, and the novel Condemnation.
James Jacobs wrote his first published D&D adventure at the age of 14, and is now Creative Director of Pathfinder.
Steve Winter is a game design and editing legend: co-creator of the seminal Marvel Super Heroes game, editor of Star Frontiers, Gangbusters, Top Secret, Oriental Adventures, and many more.

About the Product Historian

History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to
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Reviews (1)
Discussions (1)
Customer avatar
Aaron L November 30, 2013 9:16 pm UTC
Excellent review, Piratecat! Lords of Madness is one of my absolute favorite books for D&D v3.5. The details of the life-cycle of the illithid just fascinated me, and the handling of the aboleth finally made me recognize the Lovecraftian potential the creatures had.

The inclusion of the Elder Evils, especially the way each was equated with an actual Outer God or Great Old One, really got my attention and gave me many, many ideas.

Reading this book also gives a fair bit of insight into James Jacobs' home campaign, which eventually developed into Golarion, the base setting of Pathfinder. The treatment of the Aboleth, and the Elder Evils/Outer Gods/Great Old Ones, is especially interesting and useful (with the Outer Gods and Great Old Ones having the aliases dropped and being known by their original Lovecraft names in Pathfinder.) I woud recommend this book for any player of Pathfinder as well as those who play D&D v3.5, especially those who set their games in Golarion, as a view...See more
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File Last Updated:
February 15, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on September 24, 2013.