“Just what, exactly, is a Tome of Horrors Complete?” you ask. It’s a fair question that bears some consideration and provides a multitude of answers. It’s the continuation of a tradition started by the Open Gaming License and first brought to you by Necromancer Games in 2002. It’s the First Edition feel that Necromancer Games championed so well by bringing back monsters from the classic days of the game and creating new monsters in the same spirit of old-school resurgence. It’s the combination of the classic Tome of Horrors Revised, Tome of Horrors II, and Tome of Horrors III fully updated to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It’s 750 full monster stat blocks, 31 templates, 18 hazards, 62 monster-PC options, 18 monster variants, 24 feats, and 8 planes of existence, plus much, more. In short it’s the Tome of Horrors…Complete.
The result of all that—which is the book that you are now reading—would not have been possible without Bill Webb starting up Frog God Games to pick up where Necromancer Games had left off or Clark Peterson stepping up to once again produce a Necromancer Games product. Frog God Games is printing this book and lines of new adventures, and Clark has gone on to start Legendary Games as a new venture in support of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but rest assured despite the new names and faces that you’ll find on the credits page of this tome, you’ll still see a lot of familiar old stand-bys: names like Scott Greene, Erica Balsley, Casey Christofferson, and the aforementioned tandem of Bill and Clark. Names without whom the heyday of Necromancer Games and Third-Edition rules with First-Edition feel would never have happened.
So The Tome of Horrors Complete is more than just an update of some older books. It’s a revisit to another time, not so long ago and yet sometimes seeming decades gone, when the OGL was a radical new idea that nobody knew for sure would work or not. Thanks to Wizards of the Coast and to people like Ryan Dancey and Clark Peterson the OGL grew and thrived and made books like this possible. Here we are a decade and more later continuing in the grand tradition of the OGL behind a new game derivation brought forth into a new era by Paizo Publishing with their Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. We can look back with satisfaction and see both a game new and exciting yet comfortable and familiar with a decade of use under our belts—and in the tradition of Necromancer Games we can catch a glimpse even decades farther back of people with names like Gygax and Arneson first embarking on the adventure that became RPG gaming when we were college students, or high school players, or elementary school kids on the playground first talking about boxed sets, strangely shaped dice, and Erol Otus artwork while imagining the world of new possibilities that lay before us. I’d like to think The Tome of Horrors Complete is a little bit of that, too.