Figurines of wonderous power have been around since the earliest days of role-playing, but seem to feature far more often in game books than in actual games. They are basically quite simple in concept, being a small statue of an animal which can be commanded to activate, to become that animal. But simple things can be the hardest to cope with in terms of game mechanics, and these are no exception, requiring careful preparation to understand how they operate and what their full capabilities are... until now. This product lays out detailed information about each of the nine varieties known, with separate descriptions and stat blocks for each one, no fumbling your way through tables and lists of exceptions to find out what the one you (or one of your players if you're the GM) is trying to use can actually do.
But this is not a dry collection of statistics, it's replete with neat embellishments such as quirks the GM may assign to the figurine - such as being flatulent or always hungry when in animal form to having a maker's mark on its backside in statue form - and suggested command words for causing the transformation. There are even several lists of alternates to the standard figurines depending on what part of the world you happen to find one. Desert dwellers, after all, are familiar with different animals than people who live underground or underwater, and when a craftsman settles down to make a figurine it's likely that he will craft a creature with which he is familiar. Even if you are content to stick with the basic figurine types you can ring the changes by using a broadly-similar yet different animal as a basis - just pick one of the same CR and eqivalent capabilities and you will not need to make much effort to have a figurine distinctly different from those that even the most knowledgeable player can recall.
Normally, the animal form of a figurine of wonderous power is not sentient, having merely the intellect of a normal animal of that species... but there are exceptions. Rules are thus presented to enable figurines to have at least a modicum of consciousness above the animal - perhaps, as is suggested, the figurine was constructed to house the spirit of a wizard's familiar or druid's companion. A few rare specimens may actually contain the essence of a druid seeking to retain his connection with nature after death or something else of that kind, and you will have to determine how much of his past he recalls, and how reconciled he is to his present state. And of course, you occasionally encounter a cursed figurine, by malicious intent or merely due to a botched creation. Perhaps the figurine does not function underground, or it only obeys if commanded by an individual of a certain class or race...
All these suggestions and variations discussed, we move on to to the complete write-ups of the standard figurines in a form suitable to print out and tuck into the folder of the character possessing the figurine as a handy ready-reference each time he wishes to use it. This section rounds off with notes on saddles and other equipment which you will need to have if you want to ride your figurine when it's in animal form.
This is a handy product to have if you have found - or purchased - a figurine of wonderous power or if, as GM, you want to introduce one into your game. Reading it might well spawn ideas that might prompt you to use one as treasure or even as the focal point of an adventure. It even just about serves as a scholarly tome for a character wishing to research this particular magic item preparatory to making one or out of general interest!
Return to Figurines of Wondrous Power page.
Reviewed: 6 February 2011