Elder Evils



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Elder Evils

Author: Robert J. Schwalb
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publish Date: 12/2007
ISBN: 978-0-7869-4733-1
Pages: 159
Rating: 9 out of 10
Retail Price: $29.95

 

I didn’t notice Elder Evils on the shelf at my local bookstore until the release of 4th edition D&D had been announced.I suspect that it was the last book that Wizards of the Coast published using the v3.5 ruleset.So far as physical quality goes, they couldn’t have ended better.The binding is superb and the paper is top-notch.The book’s cover has a picture that just reaches out and grabs for attention.I wish other WotC publications could have had the same level of shelf character that this book has.

 

The premise of this book is fitting, given that the v3.5 ruleset was about to be retired.It concerns using powerful evil forces as a means of ending a campaign, for better or worse.These elder evils are so world-shaking that either the campaign ends on a good note when the PCs defeat the threat or it ends on a bad note when the entire world ceases to exist anymore.The first chapter is a primer that is used to introduce this idea.It has a few new feats and the like to help the DM build worshippers and collaborators of these ancient evil beings, but it primarily lays down the law on how to handle such evils.Each of the elder evils in this book are prophesied in some way, and the lion’s share of this chapter describes how the world changes as the threat of these evils increases.For example, healing magic might increase in power until the dead even begin to walk out of their graves or the sun might get more and more dim until in eventually winks out completely.Events like these herald the coming of the elder evils.

 

Each of the subsequent nine chapters details an individual elder evil.A general timeline is suggested that begins with mere rumors heard whispered when the PCs are low-level and progresses to an actual head-to-head confrontation at the highest levels.Each elder evil has no shortage of beings that work towards its arrival, whether it’s a fanatic worshipper or a helpless thrall.In many cases, the challenge rating of these beings may only be a little bit lower than the elder evil itself.Each contains a series of encounter maps dealing with the final encounter, and even includes stat blocks on the elder evils themselves.

 

It’s obvious that the rules found in Epic Level Handbook were not used in the creation of the elder evils.In a way this makes sense, since those rules allow the PCs to continue their level progression to infinity and 81st-level characters ought to have very little trouble taking out an elder evil or two before breakfast.However, it’s also strange in a way because so many of WotC’s other books were directly referenced by this one.While all of the relevant stat blocks for the important monsters were included, knowledge of some of WotC’s other books is a virtual necessity due to the use of some feats, classes and monsters.

 

I’d be willing to say than anyone that plans on using only a 1-20 level progression and not including material from Epic Level Handbook could easily find this book useful, not only for ending a campaign, but for planning it from beginning to end.It’s an interesting read, and I think it’s well worth the cost, since it could potentially be used to create nine different campaign stories.