EZG reviews Urban Dressing: Alleyways
This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword,1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Alleyways are iconic in more than one way – synonymous with illegal dealings, weird things and the crusty underbelly of a city, alleyways have always fascinated me – especially since I’ve been to Venice and got a glimpse at how cramped streets and alleyways can truly be. ever since that time, these places have fascinated me even more than before and Raging Swan Press has a nice little tool for DMs out there to make them stand out more – kicking off with a massive 100-entry table that features widths from 10 ft to 2 ft. as well as various types of rubble, pavement/floor, light conditions and prevalent smells.
The second table features an array of ready-made alleyway-names that include “Scabbard Passes” and the “Rat’s Passage” – nice! 20 complications are part of the deal and include scribbled runes praising the demon lords, thugs demanding toll and enigmatic fortune-tellers waiting to pronounce their real or imagined insights. 12 sample fluff-only encounters are also there to spice up the experience, including hungry fogs and the obligatory drunken ruffians.
The final 3 pages are what makes this pdf truly shine, imho, and what distinguishes it from its rather ill-conceived direct predecessor – we get an array of 20 personalities, all in the trademark RSP fluff-shorthand, i.e. with mannerisms, appearance, personality and hooks. Nice!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s crisp 2-column b/w-standard and the b/w-artworks are nice indeed. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use and both are fully and extensively bookmarked.
The latest offering of Urban Dressings from the pen of Brian Liberge is a great, solid addition to the series and indeed can be seen as a great addition to a DM’s toolkit – and yet. And yet it falls short at what it could easily have been. Where are the DCs to squeeze through garbage littering alleys? Where is the sewage/barf with its potentially virulent contagions? The windowsill to jump up, the steps that make acrobatics harder? I get that the dressing-line is mostly fluff, but the Dungeon Dressing-line features an extremely useful page of basic rules for the DM and similar DCs collected on one side would have made the good pdf awesome. As provided, it is a solid offering, but one that falls slightly short of what it could have been. My final verdict thus will clock in at 4 stars.
Wanna skulk through the alleys? Here’s the entrance!