This supplement clocks in at 38 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Describe adventurers! “Grave-robbing murder-hobos.” The joke’s old, sure, but there is some truth to that, right? Now, taking that into account, it’s surprising once you think about it, that there aren’t many supplements that address that tombs are something wholly different from other dungeons – they are NOT just dungeons where a surprising amount of undead roam the halls – they are solemn places of remembrance, testimony that the interred existed; they are places of worship of sorts, displays of power and so much more. If your inclinations are similar to mine regarding literature, you’ll undoubtedly have stumbled over heart-rending poems and prose about these places. As such, it is fitting and laudable that we begin with a succinct and concise introduction to the subject matter, providing a well-written recap of the various types of tombs and their peculiarities – including, much to my pleasant surprise, several hyperlinks to famous real world tombs for further inspiration and research. It may be a small thing, but it shows an extra level of care by the authors – and a respect for their audience, a belief that the readers actually want to learn about the subject matter, without forcing dry facts down their throat. Commendable!
Now, from here on out, the book becomes more game-related, but in a rather impressive manner: You see, we get a total of 7 d20-tables for tomb dressing next, focused in flavor, as this pdf is part of the Mummy’s Mask plug-ins, on quasi-Egyptian tombs. This presents a huge variety, as the items to be found not only come in two versions (ruined and pristine), they also feature a weight entry AND a detailed, well-crafted explanation of the item. Did you, for example, know what a Naos is? After reading this pdf, you will – and it may well inspire you to write a module around one; the item begs to be the center of an adventure! The ascendance boat, still one of the most iconic things about the epic old-school dungeon in part #1 of the classic Desert of Desolation-saga, as an item can be found next to shabtis, statues – you name it. The tables are, just fyi, governed by the type of person interred, so you’ll have different valuables in religious tombs that in slave quarters. The sometimes impressive weight and dimensions of the treasure can make for interesting logistic problems as well. As a whole, this section manages to evoke a sense of detail and thought that had me reminisce about several classic modules and their tone – in a good way. These tables and details serve perfectly to enhance new-school modules that don’t have the word-count to dive into all those cultural tidbits.
From here on, we move to, how could it be any different, the hazard section, which contains a wide array of different traps, haunts, etc. inspired by popular media, ranging from CR 3 to CR 14. Pedestals inscribed with symbols over an abyss, warded against teleportation and flight? Check! Sarcophagus that tries to mummy you? Check. These are really cool. A big plus: Many have proper bypass notes and go beyond: Spot or take damage, providing actually interesting experiences that can engage more than one PC. The renditions of classics among traps, like the Indy-boulder/Idol-trap, where present, actually feature tight and well-crafted rules-language.
Now, if you’re like me and a big fan of a certain Cimmerian and his exploits in the Sword & Sorcery genre, then you’ll most assuredly appreciate the Cr +2 Grave Warden template, which may be acquired via a major curse – it bind the target to the tomb and makes the being a merciless tracker of that which has vanished from it -even a single coin. This power, alas, does come with a price that most PCs will be unwilling to pay…but if you, as a GM wanted a driven hunter…there you go. Reprinting the mythic version of Craft Construct for your convenience, we take a look at a whole guardian class of monsters next, namely the mythic graven guardians (CR 6/MR 3). No less than 5 (!!!) versions of these guys are provided with full statblocks – and guardian domains. The two domains bestow unique properties on the respective guardian and their list spans more than 3 pages. I kid you not. Remember that legendary Games products do not sport huge margins and achieve a remarkable text-density per page – that is A LOT of content.
In fact, with the vast number of combos possible, it should be possible to make a whole dungeon-level themed around these guys sans things becoming boring. There also, just fyi, would be the CR +1 mummified zombie template in this chapter, which ties in with one of the 5 new feats, namely Bind the Ancient Dead, which allows you to summon them – pretty cool! Sleeper in Dust allows you to conceal/bury yourself in dust/sand/etc. and is a great representation of the ambushing-trope, with additional benefits regarding your ability to hold your breath. Sand Sense nets you low range tremorsense, which becomes better in sand etc. Tombcaster increases the potency of spells in tombs etc. (and makes them harder to dispel and they last longer): Kudos: Can’t be cheesed by casting in a tomb and then moving outside. Trap Spell, finally, would be a metamagic feat, that lets you place, at +2 level increase, spells as traps. Another big two thumbs up for the team here: Most books would have allowed for insane trap-gauntlets (or simply forgotten the potential issues)– this feat, however, thankfully has an abuse-preventing caveat.
The final section of this pdf presents 7 spells/spell variants…and OH BOY. They are AMAZING. I mean it. They *FEEL* magical. It’s been a while since a spell-section had me this stoked. There are two monolith spells, that conjure forth physical, eldritch monoliths with harrowing knowledge – and yes, they can be climbed etc. and have a utility/terrain-control aspect. There is a variant of dimensional anchor that strands you in deserts or wastelands. There is a binding variant that covers canopic jars, being trapped in an eternal hourglass or howling haboob…and beyond the tomb curse, we have a maze variant that sends you to an unnerving tomb. Definitely ends the pdf on the high note I expected.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the interior artwork is neat full-color – fans of LG may be familiar with some pieces, but not all. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Alex Riggs, Anthony Adam, Jason Nelson and Loren Sieg deliver in this pdf BIG TIME. This is a book I frankly didn’t exactly know what to expect of at first; then, it suddenly dawned on me – this is one the glorious book that I like to call “GM-enhancers.” It begins with context and inspiration and then proceeds to deliver details, useful tidbits etc. – this is, in short, a book specifically designed to enhance lackluster modules, to fill in blanks. If you needed a great representation of an evocative concept, if you need a good trap or critter to splice into a module – well, there you go. This book is a veritable treasure trove of fantastic ideas, concisely codified details. And better yet, these aspects are not just fluff; quite the contrary. Delicious crunch, expertly-crafted, married to a wide assortment of cool tricks and tools of the trade, renders this book a must-own recommendation for pretty much any GM who is looking for a means to enliven and enrich tomb exploration, even beyond the confines of Mummy’s Mask. In short: This is amazing. 5 stars + seal of approval for this all killer, no filler tome.
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