Malar: The Beastlord Compendium
Writer(s): James Welch
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 116 pages
Available Format(s): PDF and/or Hardcover
Malar’s followers are sadists. They exist for violence and death. Actually, that’s not quite true. They exist to serve Malar and further his glory. To do so, they relish the hunt that ends in a violent, bloody kill. Even if they themselves die in the process. The Malarites are no cowards and while they are rarely, if ever, lawful, they adhere to the tenets of the Beastlord strictly. In Malar: The Beastlord Compendium, James Welch establishes himself as an authority on the subject of Malar in general.
James communicates to us early on that he has consolidated several works over various editions of Dungeons & Dragons to provide a coherent, and consistent, work. He acknowledges contradictions across some editions and that he’s done his best to mitigate those disparities. He freely tells us that he’s created new parts of the lore as well as a trove of monsters, magic items and spells, as well as mundane equipment and backgrounds. The great thing about his efforts from the perspective of someone who knew little about the subject before going in is I cannot tell where cannon meets innovation.
The information presented in this compendium is thorough and well-written. James has sourced his information from various sourcebooks and works of fiction and even lists them all in the Bibliography, like any good authority would do. The layout and editing is nearly perfectly executed and the fact that he consulted JVC Parry for the mechanics gives me a lot of faith that things are well-balanced even before I try them out.
The upside to this resource is that it most likely has everything you’d need to give Malar a lot of significance in your campaign, for PCs and NPCs alike. The downside, if you want to think of it that way, is that it’s got a very specific target audience: people who want more Malar. I believe it is for that reason that this product is currently only a Copper Best Seller and not Platinum or better. It’s niche within a niche. Nonetheless, it is a great resource and I hope it inspires other similar works. Chapters 1 through 5 are exhaustive. But this is a case where it needs to be. Otherwise all we have is another character options type of product. The context is everything.
- thorough, detailed, and meticulous
- professional layout with bookmarks, legible font, and nice art selection
- several hooks related to Malar and/or Malarites
- narrow target audience means it won’t get wide readership