EZG reviews Dungeon Denizens EL 4
The fourth installment in the dungeon denizens-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page foreword/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
All right, by now the formula of the series should be established, so just in brevity – we get 3 d12 tables that list a creature/NPC and feature an extensive fluff note that doubles as set-up/encounter-hook – one for dungeon areas, one for cavern areas and one for wanderers. These tables take established bestiaries into account as well as providing the necessary notes if e.g. a simple template was used.
One thing you’ll notice in this particular installment from the get-go of the first table would be that several of the entries sport a thematic link – the enigmatic construct-crafter/necromancer dubbed “The Maker”. While optional and left for the DM to ignore or develop, I really applaud this optional cohesion between the creatures presented. For the dungeon-section, we actually get 3 new statblocks as well, including a skeletal champion, an ogre and an universalist wizard, who can be the Maker’s traitorous apprentice.
Regarding the cavern-section, we get a focus on duergar – including a barbarian 5 and a cleric 3 with statblocks to represent the organized slaving incursion into these caverns. The third statblock is a very young white dragon, who is the true mastermind behind the duergar’s incursion.
The third section features a collection of relatively interesting wanderers, coming with a halfing druid 5, an orc warrior 6 and an elven ranger with 5 levels represented as statblocks and featuring e.g. a dire wolf mother with her pups, a hydra in search of a mate or a satyr who has lost his way should provide for interesting encounters.
Editing and formatting are per se top-notch, though I noticed an annoying glitch -none of the “See page X”-notes work – layout seems to have changed, since those that supposedly can be found on page 5 feature on page 7 as per the product’s counting. When going by the gross page count, you’d have to add another +2 pages – thus, no matter how you count, they’re just wrong. Minor? Yes, but annoying. Layout adheres to RSP’s two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in 2 versions, one optimized to be printed out and one optimized for screen-use.
Author Alex Connell once again delivers a neat, detailed generator for short encounters to populate your dungeons – and the stories within the linked encounters make for a great way to create a sense of cohesion between them. I have to admit, though, that the focus of duergar in the second table is slightly too pronounced for my tastes – one or two less would have been the sweet spot imho. Add to that the page-glitch and we get a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform to 4.