Shadowrun: Parazoology 2
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
Page Count: 41
Release Date: 08/28/2013
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com
I know, I know. I still haven’t gotten around to reviewing the core rulebook for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, but that’s because I’ve been kind of swamped with all these other requests. Rest assured I will get to it, but this and Firing Line are first up as they’re brand new and it’s easier to write two short reviews than one mammoth one. So stop asking/whining for it already.
Parazoology 2 surprised me, as it’s a release for Fourth Edition/20th Anniversary Edition instead of the recently released Fifth Edition product. I’m actually glad to see CGL still supporting 4e/20AE as it gives the people who are still in EDITION WARS mode or who haven’t had the chance or funds (or who are waiting for the physical version of the game) to pick up the PDF of 5e yet. Diehard to Fifth Edition can easily convert the stats to these creatures in Parazoology 2 with little to no effort, so everyone wins here with this supplement. I’ll admit I’m a big fan of all the “Para” releases for Fourth Edition as they’ve really showcased imagination, originality and a willingness to go outside the usual box of corporate espionage. Things like Parageology and Parabotany really showcase how unique, weird and vast the Sixth World is and these types of supplements should help GMs realize just how much they can do beyond the typical run.
Parazoology is a fun guide to thirty new creatures to populate your Shadowrun campaign with, along with a page of new rules for abilities some of these creatures have manifested. All creatures are sorts by type (Awakened, Toxic, Mutant) and then by alphabetical order, making the entire PDF easy to read through. This listing order also makes things exceptionally easy to find when you’re looking for a stats block or description. The layout and art simply add to the overall appeal of this product and make it a joy to read.
Of course, substance is far more important than style when we talk about an RPG supplement and I’m happy to say that I really loved Parazoology 2. There are so many fun and bizarre creatures here that I don’t know where to begin. There’s more than just a regular creature feature going on here through From Jackpointer Am-Mut weighing in on the Awakened Ammit to the return (and potential vindication of) Plan 9, the metaplot is still in full effect here. It’s interesting to note that perhaps FastJack was wrong about Plan 9 in Storm Front. Either that or “Plan 9″ is a far better manipulator and actor than anyone gave him (it?) credit for. I also noticed they turned my long running in-joke with my wife of Grandmaster P, the Awakened Parrot who only speaks in rap lyrics into a canon creature….although they did it via Slamm-O (My least favorite Jackpointer). Ah well, still hilarious and awesome.
So let’s talk a bit about the animals you’ll find in this digital menagerie. There’s an Awakened Manatee that can turn into a Metahuman and is carnivorous. Holy crap, look out Florida! There are adorable Awakened Flying Squirrels that are excellent little urban thieves. You can find a freshwater octopi, a Fiji Mermaid (which may be my favorite entry in the collection), an aquatic monkey (a literal sea monkey….groan), a giant badger, and perhaps a nod to the Vampire: The Requiem reboot, an owl known as the Strix. There are also some really interesting sidebars about an expedition to find the Napoleon Rex (mini T-rex!) and an essay about whether animals Goblinize at a certain age or are born that way. The creepiest are the Awakened diseases though. Can you imagine if Ares developed an Awakened Leprosy or Dysentery launcher? Eek. There’s a lot more to Parazoology 2 than just this snippet, so if your intrigued by any of this, well go ahead and purchase it already!
With a price tag of almost eight dollars, Parazoology 2 might seem a bit spendy for the forty-one pages it contains, but I feel it is a worthwhile purchase you will get your money’s worth out of. With some incredible full colour art of various creatures, some great stat blocks and thirty new beasties to add to your version of the Sixth World, if you don’t come away from Parazoology 2 with a bunch of new ideas for adventures, subquests or general scenarios, then I don’t know what to tell you. I love this thing and here’s hoping the Fifth Edition of Shadowrun continues to get Para supplements of the same quality that 4e has received.