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How can you go wrong with sharkmen? Silver Gryphon Games released Shark-blood as a freebie for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons. I immediately downloaded the file.

Mechanically my knowledge of fifth edition is too limited to give a good analysis. I do see some concerns with the race. Locking jaw suggests that a bite grabs the opponent or at least has that option since the bite can't be released involuntarily. In a world of giants and dragons, the unbreakable hold of the bite seems unrealistic to me. They are described as having a magical skeletal structure instead of bones or cartilage which could be used as rational. The bite is additionally unusual as it is listed as +4 to hit. Is that a fixed bonus to hit value or is proficiency bonus added to it?

The designer gives them a plus two to Wisdom. No explanation for that choice is provided. Tenacious Focus gives the Shark-blood a significant bonus for a spellcaster that seems a little out of place. Sharks may have a stubborn determination but that is for a physical task not casting magic or other complex thought. Some rational is found in the description of the race. They store a nutrient rich oil which allows them to go without food for sustained periods. I'm not found of the Bull Shark-blood's Bullish Intimidation. Training in intimidation seems like a more reasonable trait.

More problematic than the rules if the failure to sell me on the concept. The Shark-blood were created by Lochivar to be water-borne hit-and-run soldiers. The author describes them as relentless and single-minded. Yet for alignment they are described as chaotic-good. Armies strive for order not chaos. Good also seem to contradict people's impressions of sharks. Going against the expectations can be done but Shark-blood doesn't really accomplish that for me.

It seems there numbers grew until the archmage had enough of them. The additional Shark-bloods got bored and wondered off. There is no mention of religion. Even their feelings towards the archmage are not delved into. Since the majority stay to serve him, perhaps that means they approve of him. Do they disapprove of magic because you shouldn't try to out do their creator? A few sample adventurers with their motivations would be something with more character than what is included.

The product uses the Open Game License but no declaration of Open Game Content nor Product Identity is provided. Hopefully Silver Gryphon Games will update the product with that information so that others may use the open material if they choose.


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Last modified: 2015-03-31, 20:32

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