Classic ideas never really go out of style. The Seven Deadly Sins – Avarice, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Pride, Sloth, and Wrath – have been in the collective consciousness in one form or another for two millenia or so depending on what source you find. But the new series, Monsters of Sin from Open Design, is the first time I can recall seeing them appear explicitly called out in a supplement written for a role-playing game. Honestly, I’m shocked we haven’t seen them before now!
Designer Ryan Costello, Jr. has come up with a great pattern for this series of supplements. Each book contains a template you can apply to NPCs or monsters, three new monsters and a high-CR outsider to really drive the sin home. None of the ones I’ve seen so far have been pushovers in Avarice, Envy, or Gluttony. in fact I think most of the groups I’ve played with would be hard pressed to beat one of these big uglies. For this review I’ll focus on Avarice, which includes some delightfully creepy ideas.
So let’s say you have a critter and you really want to ratchet up the “freak” factor a bit. Why not give it the “Avaricious Creature” template? That gives your critter the option of ingesting an item (something worth 10 gp or more) to heal some HP once a day? How much would that freak out a party to see a critter snack on a nice piece of jewelry? I’m not sure if templates can be applied to NPCs or not, but that would freak me out even more to see a greedy person consume something expensive…
Then you get to meet the Hoard Golem, the Map Mimic, and the Midasite. These three monsters present very different opportunities for GMs to mess with their players. The Hoard Golem would be at home with Smaug and his hoard in the Lonely Mountain. The Map Mimic will be haunting players for years to come like its big brother (the Mimic) has forever. And the Midasite is something very unique. He looks a bit like a medieval Jiminy Cricket but has the Midas Touch and dang if that won’t ruin a player’s day watching their PC turn into a gold statue.
And finally you have the “Embodiment of Avarice,” which looks like something out of a nightmare with the terrific artwork from Aaron J. Riley. A humanoid rat with 1,000 compound eyes like a spider and a big damn scythe. My favorite special ability of this giant freaky rat (and I read this to my daughters who said “Ewwwwwww”) is the “Eye for Value” where the can “hatch” one of his eyes to release a swarm of rat spiders to go steal an item, return to the creature, and crawl down his throat. I have to agree with my daughters on this one. Eww!
Though this PDF is 10 pages, you get 6 solid pages of content to freak out your players a bit. Monsters of Sin 1: Avarice sets a great standard for the rest of the sins to be explored!