This installment of the Dungeon Dressing-series is 12 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
So, this time around, we’re in for an unusually crunchy supplement of the dungeon dressing-series, one that provides us with the hard stats of none-too-complex traps. Said traps are grouped by page in various categories: Alarm traps, Harming traps, Boon traps, Impeding traps, Protective traps and wounding traps each get one page of spotlight for various different representations of the respective concepts.
Now let’s take a look at what we get here – if you require alarm-traps, from lights and ghost sounds up to shouts, blasphemies and even earthquakes, from harmless to deadly we get a nice overview of defensive options spanning the CRs 1 to 9.
Boon-traps, should you not be familiar with the term, are essentially anti-traps that provide benefits for select groups – the interesting component among the crunch herein would undoubtedly be the decision to include ways on how to configure these beneficial traps via detect-spells or e.g. locate creature, these traps span the CRs from 2 to 11 and should be considered rather cool – a simple, elegant idea with a lot of cool potential – kudos!
The 4 harming traps are all about inflicting detrimental conditions from curses to negative levels up to duplicating touch of slime or baleful polymorph and the 10 impeding traps, ranging from grease to mage’s disjunction can also be used to devastating effect to further enhance your villain’s hometurfs.
Finally, 10 protective traps with antilife shells, forcecages, spiked pit traps and reverse gravity-traps also offer chances for the PC’s opposition to destroy these impudent adventurers – even if the DM had no chance to meticulously detail a complex’s defenses, especially since the last pages provides a table of traps by CR that also provides information on the category of the respective trap.
Editing and formatting are top-notch as I’ve come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to RSP’s crisp 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two versions, with one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Both pdfs come extensively bookmarked.
Author Julian Neale delivers a pdf I honestly did not want to read – why? Because I’m definitely not the target demographic – stacked with trap-books and years upon years of DMing experience, I honestly don’t need this book. Furthermore, I prefer complex traps over simple ones, especially traps with multiple rounds of effects that offer something for the whole group to do. These traps herein are not like that – they are there to provide an edge to encounters, to improve dungeons that are too easy, to improvise simple traps.
Hence, I was positively surprised that the rather underrepresented category of boon traps has been featured herein – neat. Now whether this pdf is for you depends mostly on whether you can improvise simple traps with concise rules on the fly and juggle DCs etc. in your head. If you can, then this pdf is essentially just an easy reference in case you’re stumped. Where the pdf really shines, though, would be in the hands of novice DMs or those of you out there not that versed in spontaneous improvisation of crunch, who want essentially a guidebook of basic dungeon/structure/hide-out security to spontaneously add to their complexes and increase the challenge for the PCs on the fly – after all, sometimes the dice can make the PCs crush all opposition. For you, this pdf is a godsend and should be considered a must buy. So…how to rate this? It really depends – this is either a must-buy or a book of the “nice to have”-category, depending on the type of DM you are – hence my final verdict will clock in on a middle ground, at a more than respectable 4 stars.