This installment of Raging Swan Press‘ Dungeon Dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
This is a first in some ways for the Dungeon Dressing-series – Gates & Portals are all about magical means of transportation in/egress and as such a more magical component – so can the format work as well as for its mundane counterparts? Well, first of all, these things are EXPENSIVE, as the first page shows and need some consideration – what are portal keys, if any? Are there passphrases or traps? What about their destination? Are they one-way? Do they vary? Any Dm who had experiences with Sigil knows what to consider, but seeing Planescape becoming a distant entity and planar gaming not supported as much as I’d like, the advice is rather appropriate.
Hereafter, we start the pdf’s collection of tables with the appearances of the portals in question: 25 sample appearances are there for your perusal – from faux doors leading to portals to the dreaded invisible ones to miasmas of flame and smoke and faerie circle-like rings of toadstools, a significant and varied assortment awaits the opportunity to be dropped in your game.
Via an additional table, these portals can be modified further – whether by requiring a certain amount of force to pass through, malfunctioning, sporting the gruesome remains of a past user of the portal – a LOT of different dressings provide hints to the destination, danger levels or means of operation – without being restrictive and sporting a variety that is both commendable and proof of a vivid imagination – standard stargate-like portals would be too simple here.
25 entries make up the final table, which details locations – from quick escape routes to treasure vaults antimagic stonespheres as nasty cells etc. are possible destinations, as are gateways to bookstores led by bespectacled tieflings in what could be a planar marketplace, portals close to the site of battles, to graveyards in the middle of swamps…the possibilities are rather astounding and varied and should provide nice adventure-hooks.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two versions, with one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Greg Marks delivers a more than solid offering – fluff-only, yes, but oh so glorious, with so many different, cool dressings at your disposal, adventure-sites will become much more varied – courtesy of different, iconic portals now awaiting you at a mere step through those flickering doors or mushroom circles. Imagery-wise varied, full of cool ideas, this is a killer installment of the series and well worth 5 stars plus seal of approval.