Dark Heresy - Creatures Anathema Review

I have had the Dark Heresy RPG: Creatures Anathema book sitting on my shelf for quite a while now. When it first came out I gave it a quick read through and threw a few of the gribblies within at my gaming group, but haven't done much with it sense then. This week I was thumbing through my books and decided to do a review of it here on the website.

For those of you who don't know, this book is like a monster manual for Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader. The book is about 150 pages long and has over 50 monsters, aliens, mutants, and adversaries included. The book is broken up into seven chapters -

  1. Mutation
  2. Forbidden Science
  3. Death Worlds
  4. Vermin and Predators
  5. Xenos
  6. The Forces of Chaos
  7. Adversaries

Each chapter has a group of creatures and foes that are linked to the chapter theme. Each chapter has tons more than just a few monster entries. You get history, tactics, locations, planets, new rules, and a whole bunch of inspiration. Each chapter reads almost like a mini adventure - there will usually be a big bad type entry - the mutations chapter has Archimedes Noxt for example.

Noxt has a terrible mutation that casues his skin to rot off at an alarming rate. But he also is able to graft skin onto his body to keep it functioning. You get a whole page of info on him before it even gives you his stats. You could base an entire session on this one character alone.

In addition to the creature entries you also get all kinds of goodies scattered throughout the chapter - pictures of data-slates, hand written notes, transmission logs, and photos. These all relate to the chapter they appear in and can be used as player hand outs.

The monsters and creatures get more and more bizarre as you move through the book (which is kind of hard to do when you start with mutants.) In the Vermin and Predators chapter we run into one of my absolute favorite creatures from pretty much any RPG game that I have come across - the Sinophian Boreworm.

This dastardly little guy doesn't have much in the way or raw stats. A good stomp would put him down. It is his special rules that make him so ... interesting. If this little guy manages to hit you he burrows into your skin and starts eating. You then have precious little time to deal with this guy or you are done for. You see, like any good worm, once he gets inside you he starts to fragment himself and grows new worms out of these segments. Needless to say you don't want things to get to this stage (unless you are the GM!)

Something that was noticeably missing from the entire Dark Heresy setting so far has been Xenos. This book takes a step in the direction of fixing it. In this chapter you get rules for -

  • Dire Avengers
  • Eldar Rangers
  • Enoulians ( some minore Xenos race)
  • Enslavers (Oh yeah! These are nasty!)
  • Genestealers
  • Lictors
  • And a whole host of Orks - Boyz, Nobz, Gretchin, and even Squigs
Also in this chapter is a fair amount of Eldar and Ork equipment (like you would want any Ork equipment, but hey - its always nice to have options.)

The forces of Chaos section adds a few of the missing main Chaos Beasts - Nurglings, Juggernaughts, Flamers of Tzeentch, as well as a good amount of lesser known Chaos creatures.

The last chapter of the book wraps everything up with a nice list of Adversaries. Instead of putting in concrete stats for these entries they give you a big overview of the adversary and let you come up with the stats - this way you can incorporate them into any campaign regardless of power level. It goes into a pretty good amount of detail on each and a few of them are really cool.

Overall this is a sold book and I am glad I picked it up. If you are looking for some more interesting foes to throw at your group, or just some good campaign ideas you wont go wrong here.