Deadly Gardens: Blood Rose Swarm (5e)
The 5th edition conversion of the Blood Rose Swarm Deadly Gardens-installment clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin this installment with 4 different alchemical items: Calming pollen that can render plant creatures dormant for short periods, water purification drops and an oil that causes plant creatures to gain resistance to bludgeoning and piercing damage. (Erroneously called “damage resistance” in a minor nomenclature nitpick.) As something to keep in mind for GMs – with only a base price of 40 gp, this oil should not be available for campaigns featuring plant PCs – in the hands of such a character, it is very strong. Finally, vita grow nets a plant creature regeneration of 1 hit point on each of its turns for 10 minutes. Once again, the aforementioned caveat applies – imho, plant PCs should not get this one.
The build of the swarm of blood roses clocks in at challenge 2 and is a dangerous build, considering the significant array of resistances it has. In a minor nitpick, the camouflage uses a lower-case mentioning of Stealth. The critter also gets a variant of climb speed that also ignores plant-based movement modifiers etc. With an alluring scent and deadly thorns, the critter, apart from the minor cosmetic hiccups mentioned, is neat – kudos for the creature-translation to 5e here!
The pdf also features two types of hazard, sinkholes and rockslides, which strangely have a CR-rating – I like that these are pretty dangerous…but e.g. references to a Reflex save are avoidable conversion-relics. A total of 5 terrain types, from kudzu-thicket to scree and thickets is nice – that being said, I would have liked the entries to denote their damage types – while generally, they are apparent from context, in 5e’s rock-paper-scissor-y type of design, properly denoted damage types are pretty important. That being said, the terrain-dangers they pose are pretty awesome.
The pdf closes with two magic items – the cloak of fallen leaves that nets opponents disadvantage when you move (oddly not requiring attunement). Personally, I think that specifying the duration of this effect would have made the item easier to understand. Quickgrow Beans suffer no issues – they can generate easily-scalable bean stalks. Damn cool!
Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect -as mentioned above, there are some minor hiccups and ambiguities to be found here. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked in spite of its brevity. The artwork is great, as has become the tradition for the series.
Russ Brown and Ismael Alavarez’ second Deadly Garden conversion is more refined than the first, with a somewhat more precise grasp on the peculiarities of 5e. The terrain features in particular were enjoyable to me, if not always perfect. The presence of conversion relics herein isn’t that pleasing, though, and the cloak could have used a teeny bit more precision. That being said, the critter’s build is pretty neat and the pdf is an inexpensive purchase. hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to the fair, low asking price to 4.