Growing up in the 80s with older brothers meant I got exposure to things that maybe a typical child my age wouldn’t have. I got to watch ridiculous movies like Creepshow, The Curse, Pumpkinhead, and Halloween. Of course, my favorite was probably Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddy Krueger wasn’t just a menacing terror. He reveled in his sadism and that made him all the more monstrous to me. Sliding into the 90s meant watching Tales from the Crypt every Friday night. I guess I’ve always been fond of monsters. That penchant has stuck with me all these years later and with Jeremy Hart’s Creature Feature Quarterly Volume 1 I can continue to scratch a familiar itch.
Creature Feature Quarterly Volume 1
The Creature Feature Quarterly is a compendium of thirteen unique creatures developed by Jeremy Hart. Each creature has a full two-page spread with an inked drawing and stat block on the first page. The second page has a description, lore, ecology, adventure seeds/hooks, and a size comparison. With thirteen entries you can essentially include a new and interesting creature in your weekly game without using one twice. All but one is evil (lawful, neutral, and chaotic are all represented). Only the arboreal stalker is neutral.
Similar to the horror comics Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror, the art in the Creature Feature Quarterly is heavy on inks and grotesque features. It’s a distinctive style that you either appreciate or you don’t. I fall into the former camp. But regardless, it’s not the art that sets this product apart. My favorite part of Jeremy’s work is all the background information he’s created.
One of my favorite entries is the Blade Wraith, a chaotic evil undead creature with a challenge rating of 6. The sword it carries is absurdly large and serrated to the point of impracticality. But, wow, is it menacing! No PC in his right mind would try to wield it, despite its near weightlessness. But it’s still a great plot element. You could tone down its sinister looks and make it the perfect MacGuffin or cursed item. The background lore for this creature is detailed enough to develop a multi-session campaign. The provided seeds are just additional arrows in the quiver. With this much ammo your sure to have a lot of opportunity to provide some great gaming experiences. Indeed, it is much the same for each of the entries.
A Note on the PDF Version of the Creature Feature Quarterly Volume 1
I used a complimentary copy of this file to create this review. However, it should be noted that Jeremy also offers this file in a print version as well. He recently sent notice that he revised the file for A4 setup for printing as the formatting was not great on letter setup. I’ve watched the videos of the physical version of his CFQs (he currently has 2) and while I can’t say definitively, I think this is where his product shines the most. The layout is optimized for the DM to show just the creature without giving away the stat block or the creature name. You can print the file off (I’d recommend a laser printer that uses toner instead of a printer that uses ink cartridges…these files are heavy on the black) and get a passable copy. But the quality of what Jeremy sells in print looks really nice!
Like I said though, $3 for thirteen creatures is an amazing price. If you go back to my earlier comment of one creature per weekly session then you’re talking less than a quarter per game. Be sure to check it out from DriveThruRPG here!
I give it 5 stars for its inexpensive cost, nostalgic art style, unique creatures, and usefulness. It’s a great tool for your kit!