Supplement Review: Monsters of Sin 4: Lust by Ryan Costello, Jr. for Open Design

Each of the seven sins unlocks one of the doors most members of the civilized world try to keep closed. Sometimes all it takes is a taste, a glance, or a touch however and the rational mind flies out any open window, leaving behind our baser, animal natures. Though a little sin may make a life more interesting, a life lost to one is never as pretty as it may seem.

Lust is one of the seven that seems to get invoked every day in our society. You’ll see marriage vows and promises broken for a bit of carnal pleasure, whether in real life or in fictional worlds. People willing to throw it all away on an impulse, giving in to those baser desires for a moment, a lifetime, or sometimes even longer… Ryan Costello, Jr. presents a glimpse into this world in Monsters of Sin 4: Lust from Open Design. He uses two sides of the equation – those who promise a way to sate those desires; and those who aren’t satisfied with promises and instead go in full speed ahead to get what those physical needs fulfilled.

It starts small… With a template that could be applied to any creature – the “Lust Slave.” Infatuated with some other creature, it can bolster morale when that creature is present (+1 morale bonus to attacks and damage; 1 temporary HP per HD)… but things go bad when the object of that infatuation is out of sight. Confusion afflicts the slave any time that other creature is gone for more than a minute or isn’t the recipient of attention from that creature. I would imagine that Lust could be used with some of the other sins to create some truly nasty creatures who do horrific things when they don’t get what they want.

Then there’s the “Inbred Orc” (CR2). Remember Cersei and Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones? Though beautiful themselves, the fruits of their lust for one another isn’t the most pleasant person to be around behavior-wise. If Joffrey had a magical picture painted that showed his true nature (The Picture of Dorian Gray), I’m sure it would be one of these mutated orcs. Inbreeding is never a good idea and these poor orcs look like they get the rotten end of the stick, ending up “dimwitted and prone to health issues” and “unpredictable.” Though they may end up with a few fortunate mutations, there’s two unfortunate ones for every fortunate one so they really pay for their parents indiscretions.

As sexual situations are definitely more adult fare for gaming than may be comfortable, I was happy to see “A Warning About Sex” talking about the dangers of introducing such concepts at the game table. There are some solid suggestions on watching for player distress and giving the PCs every possible opportunity to save vs. some of the more dangerous lustful effects – such as stripping naked and charging into battle, which isn’t the wisest decision in the middle of combat (and something not every player might be all that comfortable with).

Beyond those poor orcs, you get a few other new toys for your Pathfinder toolbox. The “Lovelorn” (CR 11) is a ghost who really wants to get close to you. Whether she moans, stares at you with bleeding eyes, claws you, or plants a wet one on you (draining Charisma), I bet she leaves her mark. The “Truffle” (CR 3) is tiny, fey, looks all cute and innocent, but is very curious about the differences between genders. It literally charms the pants off people to get them to demonstrate… um… the birds and the bees.

Ultimately it’s the “Embodiment of Lust” (CR 21) you have to watch out for. This large outsider must be a hit at parties with a 60 foot “Aura of Lust” that has those affected doing the wild thing with anything that’s not nailed down. And stay too long, you’ll become a permanent slave.

I can’t see myself using much from this book beyond the “Inbred Orc” for the potential uniqueness of each creature and possibly the “Truffle” just to mess with a group if they were mature enough to see it as funny. I suspect it’s a slippery slope to use this sort of thing in a campaign. I was a little surprised not to see any mention of succubi, since they were on the curvy cover by artist Cory Trego-Erdner.

If you’re looking for some interesting ways to mix it up in your campaign, you might check out Monsters of Sin 4: Lust to do just that… But use those new tools carefully or you may hurt someone’s feelings.

For more about this series…

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