The Introduction starts off with a statement about how much of a nusiance drakes can be to a wilderness community... but that some of them can pose an even greater threat, particularly to small parties of adventurers in untamed lands. Without further ado, the product launches into descriptions of a wide range of drakes - herd-drakes, lizardrake swarms, shell drakes, stonemuchers and vermin drakes. Each comes with all you'll need to have them infest your campaign world as monsters - stat blocks, descriptions and sketches, combat tactics and the sort of lore a well-informed character might have about them.
Herd-drakes are quite interesting, as they can be domesticated provided they are caught young enough. Despite the ferocious appearance and vicious bite, they are herbivore (NOT vegetarian as stated here!) and as can be imagined from the name are herd beasts. In combat they typically act to protect their young, with the largest 'bull' animal leading the defence.
Lizardrakes are small flying beasties and come in a vast variety of types. They congregate - or 'swarm' - for mutual protection, with a basic tactic of attacking whatever is closest to their nest site. The shell drake, on the other hand, is a four-legged creature more like a large armadillo with a solid carapace, and they can be trained to act as guard-beasts. Stonemuchers are less intelligent, but can literally eat their way through rock (hence the name).
Vermin drakes are possibly the most dangerous, they are predators in their own right whereas the others generally only fight if attacked or to protect territory or herd members. Again, they come in a fair few sub-types, but all run on two legs or fly and have breath weapons as well as teeth and claws.
The work rounds out with a few drake-related magic items, either made out of drakes or designed to be effective against them. It's a neat niche collection, although falls into the same trap as did the 4e Monster Manual treating drakes as combat opposition rather than living, breathing parts of the ecosystem of your campaign world. Still, they make good low-level pests to annoy adventurers!
Return to A Drake Miscellany page.
Reviewed: 8 August 2009