A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Minotaurs of the Black Hills

Minotaurs of the Black Hills by Creighton Broadhurst is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, the supplement is covered by the Open Game License and therefore some is considered to be Open Game Content. This is one in a series of supplements detailing nonhuman tribes, and a preview of it can be found in the free GM’s Monthly Miscellany: June 2014. Although not specifically stated to be in the mini-setting The Lonely Coast, the area of the Black Hills borders the Tangled Wood from that setting.

Minotaurs of the Black HillsThis is a twenty six page bookmarked PDF that is available from RPGNow at a regular price of $3.99, although it was purchased at the much reduced price of $0.18 as part of a special bundle. The detailed tribe is also one of those that is included in the compilation supplement TRIBES Anthology II.

Two pages of the supplement are Raging Swan’s standard plain front and rear covers, one page is blank, three pages are the front matter and Contents, which includes lists of new feats, new spells, new magic items, alternate class features, stat blocks by CR and a poem, one page is a standard page Reading Stat Blocks which explains how these are laid out, one page is the Open Game License and an ad for another product and one page is a set of ads for other supplements. The supplement comes in two formats, one optimised for print and the other for screen.

Minotaurs of the Black Hills opens with a full page title. There are then two pages which follow a fairly standard format for tribe supplements; there is an overview of the tribe, their ecology and society, lairs. combat and tactics, notable individuals and sidebars on using them in your campaign and tribal lore. The minotaurs themselves are in continuous fights with a tribe of centaurs, which are detailed in Centaurs of the Bleak Moor.

There are then two pages on The Black Hills, with a full page map of the hills and the Bleak Moor that they surround and information on their fauna, flora and caves. The Black Hills are a largely impassable region.

Black Hills Locales is another page and gives an overview of three locations.

Black Hills Random Encounters has a brief wandering monster table and a more extensive sidebar on various, some potentially dangerous, terrain features.

Alternate Class Features is another page and provides details on a new sorcerer bloodline and the Hill Stalker, an alternative ranger.

New Feats covers four new battle feats, some related to arrows.

New Sorcerer Spells has four new spells.

New Magic Items has two new magic items, a pair of boots and an quiver.

Encounters is two pages and has stat blocks for four minotaurs plus three encounters at different ELs.

There are two pages of Persona, each page detailing a single NPC.

Finally, there are two pages on The Yith. The Yith are a species of bat-winged humanoids whose civilisation originally ruled this area and who originally defeated the minotaurs when they entered the region and made them serve the Yith. The Yith are now much in decline but this section covers their ecology and society, lairs, combat and tactics, lore and where else they can be found, as well as a stat block for a Yith and alternate spell lists for different members of the species.

The supplement is very well bookmarked for its length with major and minor sections linked. The Contents, although not as detailed, are hyperlinked. The supplement is therefore one of the best to navigate for its size. The text maintains a two column format with no errors noted. There are a number of illustrations, some of them probably custom but others, including the map, duplicated from Centaurs of the Bleak Moor.

The minotaurs are a potentially dangerous foe, as the terrain they inhabit is less than friendly as well. In particular, the tribe’s ongoing feud with the neighbouring centaurs will make them less likely to be friendly towards anyone seen in their company. The minotaurs have a fairly specific culture, and are definitely connected to the Yith; without them they lose their reason for existence and some of their unique features. The minotaurs do not have to be used with the Lonely Coast, as they are peripheral to that setting, but they will be far more difficult to use without Centaurs of the Bleak Moor, given the locations and relations between the two tribes.

The Yith themselves are quite an interesting race. It’s a shame that they are only detailed on two pages; they could probably have done with a supplement of their very own – certainly more detail than the brief coverage here. Who they are, where they came from and how any why they declined are all points that could have been covered. The minotaurs are an interesting tribe covered in a good level of detail, although they are perhaps not as flexible as other supplements in this series. Minotaurs of the Black Hills can be found by clicking here.

 

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