Twisted Menagerie Manual: An Umerican Post Apocalyptic Bestiary Review

Twisted Menagerie Manual: an Umerican Post Apocalyptic Bestiary

Author: Reid San Filippo & Bob Brinkman
Publisher: Shield of Faith Studios
Page Count: 276
Available Formats: PDF and print
PDF (DTRPG) – $9.99
Print (other options available) – $30.00 – $45.00

Not all gamemasters have the time or the creativity to produce their own monsters to spring on their players. There are lots of monster books and create-your-own resources available in the marketplace to choose from. What makes Twisted Menagerie Manual: an Umerican Post Apocalyptic Bestiary any different? The creators of these creatures are insane, twisted, warped or on powerful hallucinogens. This collection has the most unusual and twisted bestial adversaries I’ve ever seen. I’d like to take a moment and share some of the weirdest and my favorites from the book.

Dinosaurs are a favorite for anyone who cut their teeth with X1 Isle of Dread. The Twisted Menagerie Manual features normal adversarial dinosaurs for the gamemaster to use but that’s not twisted enough. The Augmented Dinosaurs listed in the book takes these large lizards to the next level. Some have strange mutations or outrageous weaponry grafted on to them, like the Chainataurus a chainsaw fingered Carnotaurus, Laserraptor a Raptor with a head-mounted laser, and a lobster-clawed Tri-Lobstaraptors to name a few. There are seven twisted Augmented Dinosaurs in all.

What’s hairy, has long arms, orange, and hangs in trees on Halloween? Jack-O-rang-utan! These devolved want-to-be Icabod Crane nemeses are orangutans with Jack-o-Lantern for heads. Their frightful face can cause characters to flee into the night screaming for their mommas. If that’s not enough to make the characters want to avoid them, piss them off and they will start flinging flaming poo at the party. Someone, please pass the Purell.

For something sweeter, the Cake Horror is by far the tastiest of the twisted adversaries in this book. It’s a cross between the genus Panthera (Big Cat) and a frosted Hostess snack cake. When the beast sustains a wounded, this large man-eating predator topped with delicious frosting spews forth sweet cream filling from the incision. A character whose flesh comes into contact with its filling will find the area smelling sweet and quite tasty. The urge to consume will be difficult to resist for not only the victim but for others around them as well. Bon appetite.

This next twisted monster will give your players a brain freeze if the slushie that they brought with them didn’t. Out of the 24/7 convenience stores of ancient time the Fruiti-Slush Ooze was born. Through the twists of time and strange evolutionary adaptations, the Fruiti-Slush Ooze became self-aware. Similar to other oozes it tries to envelop its prey to absorb the moisture it requires for life. The Fruiti-Slush Ooze comes in many colors and flavors. A roll on a chart within the monster listing will help you decide which to choose. I rolled up a Blue Blackberry Fruiti-Slush Ooze overflowing out of a 128oz. Super Mega Triple Gulp cup (cup size not included in the chart).

If you’re not using Mr. Clean, Future, or Mop and Glo on your floors you might be left with a dull finish. But having a Linolemoeba on them will give them a high gloss waxy shine. This waxy sentient cleaning product adds a nice shine to all your surfaces but also has a taste for more than just dust mites and dirt. Like the Fruiti-Slush Ooze above it likes to envelop its prey but this ooze won’t leave your armor stained. Survive the suffocating hug of the Linoleumoeba and all your wares will be super clean and look like new but your skin will sting like hell from the acidic enzymes. Clearly omitted from the monster description is the clean scent it leaves behind; an easy chart to create.

Finally, this last creature that I’m highlighting is bound to make your player shift in their seats and pucker their sphincters. The Bowel Tyrant is a highly intelligent parasite that enters the body through the anal cavity when a character goes to powder their nose. Once inside it will root itself in and seek to take control of the host, eventually gaining total control over a series of weeks. The infection sickens the character, warning them that something is not right. If the gamemaster is at a loss for goals of the creature once it takes possession of the host, a handy chart accompanies the listing.

These are just a few of the many twisted creatures found in this bizarre folio. Among the twisted ones mentioned, there are other less radically altered monsters to use. The monsters in Twisted Menagerie Manual are for the American world setting described in Umerica Survival Guide, but all the creatures within are Dungeon Crawl Classics compatible. A slight conversion is necessary to use these monsters in DCC. Umerica uses a variant rule for armor class, but a quick conversion at the front of the book quickly explains how to convert, which is easy enough to do on the fly. Only a couple of monster entries reference the Umerica Survival Guide, all other callouts in the book reference the DCC rulebook.

Twisted Menagerie Manual has three sections. The basic monster section which houses all the twisted monsters and quick conversions on the variant armor rules. Each monster’s writeup starts with a brief description and a history of the creature, followed by DCC styled stat blocks. The next item listed are any special abilities the creature might have followed by adventure hooks to help the gamemaster introduce the creature to the game. Also, at the end of the book, there’s a special crit chart for alien and robot creatures.

The second section of the book “Bosses” features named big bosses for gamemasters to use in their games. Each boss listing comes with a section about their followers (monsters within the book that could be used), ambitions, and resources at their disposal. There are fifteen bosses total to choose from.

The third section has brainstormed ideas for adventures called scenario sketches. The nine scenario sketches are more than your traditional plot seeds. These scenario sketches take it a step farther by providing ways to get the party involved, a location, a rough timeline of events, what opposition the players might face, and possible twists to the story. Combined elements with all three sections and you have your next adventure.

I picked up this book to use in my DCC, MCC, or Xcrawl game. Twisted Menagerie Manual has exactly what I was looking for and things I didn’t know I wanted. I’m sure to get strange looks from my players as they scratch their heads wondering what I’ve smoked to come up with such twisted adversaries. Thankfully I’ll be able to hold up this tome and prove my mind is sound and the creators are most-likely locked away, dressed in restraint attire thinking up new twisted creatures for the sequel. If you want to surprise your players Twisted Menagerie Manual: an Umerican Post Apocalyptic Bestiary has what you need.

~Stephen “Blue Stained Tongue” Pennisi

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