Guide Review: Malar: The Beastlord Compendium (James Welch): 5 Stars
Would you fight a hurricane, or strive to block a tidal wave? No more can you fight your own savage nature! Feel the power of bloodlust – the thrill of the hunt!”
Malar: The Beastlord Compendium is an ambitious first release by author James Welch. With a professional quality Print on Demand option, and over 100 pages of packed content, this product is THE definitive, go-to guide for all things Malar in Forgotten Realms. While a relatively niche product filled with lore, there’s enough player options and new creatures to make it worth it even if you’re not using exclusively for it’s abundance of lore and setting information.
Lore. At over 50 pages of in-depth lore, roughly half this books serves as a source for nearly every piece of information you’d ever need about the God of the Hunt. Welch uses his space wisely, making the information both deep and wide, while avoiding a crowded layout. His writing style, and R P Davis’s expert editing, make an easy-to-read and engaging style that will have you flying through lore at an unexpected pace. Topics are literally all-inclusive, ranging from leaders, allies, enemies, celebrations, important historical events, important places, scriptures, prophecies, and even how to roleplay a follower of Malar. There is nothing the author hasn’t though to of, and it’s only HALF the book!
Character Options. Character options included in this product are backgrounds, a cleric domain, druid circle, feats, spells, and “blessings” and “blood sacrifices”. All such mechanics are balanced and narratively engaging. While the options are limited to be thematically congruent with Malarites, they could be inserted into just about any campaign. They are especially appropriate for groups who want to incorporate balanced Lycanthrope elements into their sessions.
Items and Equipment. Both the items and equipment are centered, predominantly, around the themes of lycanthrope. The equipment includes animal calls, incense, and various ingredients. The magic items range in rarity from uncommon to artifacts, but are weighted toward the more powerful side of rarity. Most of the items are mechanically focused, but still provide decent roleplay value, especially considering their lycanthropic focus.
Monsters. The first half of the monsters focus on Malarite “champions”, clergy, and other warriors. CR ranges in this section are mostly CR 2-8. The second half has more variety, ranging from CR 3-27, with a bunch of creatures right around the CR 11 area. This section also provides a few sample encounters as well as Lycanthrope templates to apply to other creatures.
Other Rules. Author James Welch also provides additional rules sets for a few diseases as well as some drugs and poisons. They function much the same as those in the Malady Codex, but are tailored to the specific thematics of Malarites. This is a small section, but could provide entire subplots for DMs who wish to use them.
Hooks. The last appendix includes nearly a dozen plot hooks the DM can use to introduce Malar and his followers into any campaign. The plot hooks are simple yet engaging, and have enough variety for any type of preference or style different tables may prefer.
Niche. The only downside to this product is that it is very niche. If you’re not looking for Malarite lore or flexible Lycanthrope player options, this product isn’t going to be widely useful for you. Still, their lore and mechanics are widely applicable enough, and the product reasonable price, that just about any DM or Player could find use for it.
Malar: The Beastlord Compendium is packed from cover to cover with high quality lore and mechanics. We’re giving it 5 Stars and Highly Recommended for players and DMs who love Lycanthrope. It’s a Must Have for lovers of Forgotten Realms lore. If you plan on picking it up, consider how lovely it will be sitting on your bookshelf, and click the picture below to get to the product page.