20 Things: Dark Caverns (system neutral)
This installment of Raging Swan Press’ system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
All right, we begin this pdf with 10 different types of atypical caverns – these include massive stalactites generating the sound of rain atop pools, cracks from which unwholesome odors rise or rubble-covered collapses for an overall very evocative start, but there is more: A total of 10 uncommon encounters can be found as well: With e.g. the daemon Blight’s Kiss, whose lair contains a thinning of the veil to the Abyss, where rotting souls spew forth in a vile, brown sludge…and the PCs may notice a purple worm ambushing them with a DC 25…wait a second! Yep, there are some remnants here, as this table represents the fluff-only version of the phenomenal encounters from Raging Swan Press’ by now classic “Caves & Caverns“-supplement – which is btw. one of the best books the company released, even considering the impressive quality of RSP’s canon! Still, avoidable glitch there.
Next up would be a collection of 10 legendary caves, which include Saldonator, the wandering cave, the legendary Deephold of the ylanic puzzle stone – and yes, these are truly inspiring and easily my favorite part of this pdf. A couple of the entries actually inspired me to use them ASAP! 12 natural hazards/terrain features, from crumbling escarpments to thick mud, can also be found within this pdf, providing several considerations to ponder regarding the precise make-up of your caves.
The 20 Pieces of Cavern Dressing & 10 notable cavern features table has been taken from “GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I” and reproduced here – but is has also been stripped of the rules-relevant material in the original version, which means that those of you who want it system-neutral, get just that! The 20 Things to find in a purple worm’s stomach table has similarly been reproduced here and stripped of errant crunch – kudos, in particular regarding the partial rewrites shown here!
The final page provides once again completely new content – 20 things to find in a subterranean river makes for a cool little table: From very low ceilings to precariously-balanced stepping stones and mineral-based discolorations, we get a rather cool collection of entries here.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use – kudos for going the extra mile there!
Creighton Broadhurst, David Posener and Alex Riggs know how to write great dressing, that’s for sure. That being said, whether and how much of the material herein you’ll consider useful is ultimately dependent on whether you already have the phenomenal “Caves & Caverns” and the similarly great “GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I” – if you do own these two already, you’ll have some duplicated content. Which would be less irksome, if all aspects had been purged of rules. While MOST have been properly converted, I nonetheless found the DC-reference in the encounters a bit annoying. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars – round up if you want system-neutral or don’t have aforementioned books, round down otherwise. My official verdict will round up due to in dubio pro reo.
You can get this dressing-file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!