Pathfinder Chronicles: Classic Horrors Revisited by Paizo.
Pathfinder Chronicles: Dungeon Denizens Revisited by Paizo.
The ship was empty.
We combed its holds for treasure.
Engineer & eggs.
I admired Classic Monsters Revisited when it came out, & I'm happy to see that the lineage is being proudly carried on. The basic premise of the "Revisited" series is: there are some monsters that are just...sort of silly. Or maybe the monster is played out. Bela Lugosi's Dracula may be a cornerstone to the vampire mythos, but having a Eastern European accent & making double entendres about not drinking...wine are not going to inspire fear & awe in your players, & really, if you are bringing out the big guns, the full capital V vampire...you want them to be afraid. Are your players burnt out on zombie hordes? You might want to consider spicing them up! Similarly, there are things like the Mimic & the Gelatinous Cube that have been the object of ridicule for quite some time. Some monsters, like the humble goblin or ogre, are taken for granted. Well, Paizo isn't having that. They take the icons & reframe them, giving them plausible or colourful back histories & options, as the case may warrant. The best thing I can say about these books is the simple truth: they gave me ideas. You read these books & I'm sure your take-away will be different than mine, & that is the brilliance of it. There are hooks a-plenty. Do the exploding skeletons tickle your fancy? "Tarnished" metallic dragons? Purple worms that gain a horrid form of sentience by consuming one too many magic items? With a little wiggling, a little paradigm tilt, suddenly the "mundane" (if you can call a flying manta ray that looks like a cape mundane) becomes brand new & sparkly. Did I say sparkly? Maybe a poor choice of words, considering I was just talking about the reinvention of the vampire...
The best of the Classic Horrors are the derro, I think. I have always been a derro fan, & unsurprisingly a lot of what I have thought about derro overlaps with what the folks at Paizo whip up. Derro have influenced Oubliette's Demi-- from their portrayal as "knockers" all the way down. I'm not surprised to see "The Shaver Mysteries" referenced, as that was something I found intriguing; nor was it shocking to see them sort of get the "alien abduction" vibe. Heck, it just feels right, & to me too. I was happy not to see one of my thoughts were original-- they don't come out & say "think of them as the caveman version of grey aliens," so at least I have an original bone in my body, yet. I will say too that the brooding flesh golem here is an idea definitely worth thinking on. Of the Dungeon Denizens, colour me a fan of the cloaker. I've always liked the guys, & making them a strange cast off creation of the aboleths is the right way to go-- you may note here that I am a longtime aboleth fan. Making the cloakers a species that find the malevolent disinterest of the Lovecraftian "gods" to be a comfort is a feat, but the book manages it. You know, the glue pit of spores that a mimic lays & the apotheosis of the species into an aberrant humanity-- they're close seconds, too. Shapeshifters always make me think of Gene Wolfe's inhumi-- if you've got shapeshifting aliens, then you don't need anything else. They can run the gamut, for you. You should so very easily just have your dopplegangers & mimics & all that as just one thing. As for the Dragons, well. You know what? All the writing is well & good, but it was Ben Wootten's art that seized my imagination the most-- particularly his black & white dragons. The Manx Loaghtan-like horns on the black & the pinions on the white are just...well, bringing something new to the table, visually.