This installment of the Dungeon Dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover,1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword,1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let us take a look, shall we?
As with many installments of the dungeon dressing-series, we kick this one off with an array of basic stats that provide us with hardness, AC, HP etc. of varying types of portcullises, covering this time around even adamantine, mithril, stone and similar exotic materials as well as the more common wooden versions. Oh, and necromancers will want to take a look at those made of bone. Further modification of these basic characteristics is possible via 5 conditions and 3 mechanisms,rope/chain pulleys, the winch and the weight-based mechanism to lower and raise them.
So far, so good, let’s look at the tables! Unless I miscounted, we get 46 entries on the first table and includes basic twinned portcullises, surrounding dressings in the shape of demonic maws and even being made of magnetic ore (which is twisted and a VERY cool idea) – there are also portcullises made from mildly poisonous tropical wood and some additionally secured with bolts. While some of the dressings are cosmetic, e.g. said bolts actually modify the portcullises rules and thus make them more versatile also on a mechanic side.
The second table of the pdf provides us with a full array of 100 different entries that cover being half open, dripping with ooze-like substances or being rusted into place. Again, the massive amount of entries here and there features entries that influence the respective rules.
The final two pages are devoted to 3 sample traps involving portcullises – from teh CR 4 basic falling portcullis to ones that also topple (whether by intention or neglect) as well as a deadly CR 15 portcullis that has the spirit of a banshee (!!) bound to it – with deadly consequences. It should be noted that we get these via multi-rounds effects, variants and an extremely handy sidebar that covers being attacked by a portcullis depending on size – can the hardy dfwarf survive being squashed by it?
Editing and formatting are top-notch as we’ve come to expect from RSP, I didn’t notice a single glitch. Layout adheres to RSP’s elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for screen use and one to be printed out.
Portcullises are one of the most underused features in any roleplaying-game fortress and dungeon – they are iconic and foreboding and provide some nasty tactical advantages when used properly. Hence, I was rather glad to see this particular installment of the line come out and what can I say – author Aaron Bailey delivers with a great installment that should have you all covered regarding teh defenses of your structures. One of the finest installments before RSP made it free – and even FOR FREE NOW??? An easy, no-brainer candidate for 5 stars + seal of approval – congrats to the author!