As a GM I’m always on the lookout for new ideas to make my games feel more magical, more alive. There is plenty of amazing content on the web, but when it comes to any genre (especially fantasy), it’s easy for content to fall into familiar clichés. Magical swords. Quests for revenge. It makes it that much more refreshing to find content like “Imaginary Friends” by Flaming Crab Games as a truly unique addition to any game.
The PDF itself reads like a Bestiary, page after page filled with ‘monsters’ of various CRs in alphabetical order. While this may seem a bit dry, each creation is accompanied by child-drawn art and descriptions which add to the whimsy of the entire piece. It explains how the Imaginary Friends are not monsters intended to terrify adults, instead guardians of children who exist to help protect them from harm. The creatures and descriptions will not only serve to provide you with new allies to add to your game, but re-awaken a spark of pure child-like creativity that will make you want to bring your own childhood friends into a new world.
The challenge of this book is that the creatures within range in alignments from lawful good to chaotic evil. If you are looking for powerful enemies for your players to vanquish to save the children of trade town, you will be disappointed. Instead you will find more wholesome creatures who look to prevent bullying, teach lessons about using words and not fists, or keep their ward company after losing a loved one. While creating an adventure based around defeating a rogue imaginary friend who is corrupting a child is very possible with the base stats provided, it also takes away from the spirit of the creatures in this book. One redeeming quality is, however, that tucked away in the final pages of the book are rules and options for how to allow characters or all ages (and of course NPCs) the option to take on one of these fantastic creatures as magical familiars. This becomes the simplest way to immediately bring the content in this book into any campaign out there.
Currently the PDF is available for only $3.51 on Drivethru RPG which is more than fair for the quality of this content. Each creature is well thought out and intriguing and the PDF is well composed and professional. While there may be difficulties immediately getting use out of the content provided, it is something I was happy to add to my library of material as it has also provided inspiration for unique adventures to provide my players, and that is more than worth the three bucks.
This book is imaginative, fun, and a nice break from the norm but is ultimately pretty niche. Even with the 16 new creatures and 2 new feats created by this book I found myself wanting more information about the origins of these mysterious creatures. Templates which allow you the ability to help create your own imaginary friend would be amazing or random encounter tables with story ideas for how to integrate into an already running adventure would have done wonders.
Despite this criticism, I’m happy to have this in my collection, and just based off its creativity alone I would rate this content a solid A-.