This Dungeon Dressing-installment clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
What’s the first thing a noob-group trying their hands at Rappan Athuk will tell you? Yep. “We’ve been TPK’d by the entrance.” The first page makes one thing clear, if you haven’t been aware of it before (or by that anecdote) – a dungeon’s entrance goes a long way making a dungeon memorable. For the truly time-starved DM, 16 ready-made entrances are provided in the first table, several of which sport interaction opportunities for skill-checks, including DCs and all – what about a locked portcullis with an evocation-magic radiating phoenix, for example?
A 50-entry-strong, two pages spanning table of dressings and features can be used to add unique and memorable dressings to the entrances – including illusion magic (including disbelief-DC), graves of adventurers, abandoned campsites – foreshadowing potential galore, once again interspersed with minor crunch even minor treasure to be found.
A total of 6 traps is also part of the deal, spanning CRs from 2 to 6 and coming with variations to amp up the CR, if desired. Fusillades of arrows combined with pit traps and mist and lightning +storm winds + elemental-summoning make for interesting traps indeed, all provided in RSP’s extremely easy to use trap-statblock. While not explicitly multi-round in every trap, the effective results from springing these boils down to the players being occupied for a while…and don’t worry – just because one is called “Death Trap Foyer”, does not mean that these approach Rappan Athuk’s level of lethality…
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s superb, streamlined and printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard with thematically-fitting, neat b/w-stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.
Greg Marks delivers a memorable little tool for effective foreshadowing, with all tables breathing flair and style galore. The traps themselves are detailed and actually explain how they work rather well, making it exceedingly easy to integrate them, even for DMs like yours truly that actually require their players to roleplay disarming of traps… My only gripe with this pdf is admittedly mostly cosmetic – I would have preferred a less conservative trap to be included as well. This is cosmetic, though – the pdf still justly deserves a final verdict of 5 stars, just short of the seal of approval.