This pdf is 36 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 31 pages of content – quite a massive bunch!
It’s been a long time since David Nicholas Ross (the mastermind behind my favorite PFRPG-class EVER in Legendary Classes: Covenant Magic, btw.!) has graced us with an installment of his ridiculously useful Random Encounters Remastered-series. Originally spanning 3 pdfs, this series is essentially devoted to providing a DM a way to create random encounters depending on terrain-type: Essentially, you get basic terrain-features and a table of appropriate clues. And a MASSIVE table of encounters – with usually about 400 -500 entries. You choose a CR, multiply it by 20 and then add a d% for an appropriate encounter for your group’s level range.
Of course, encounters do not need to be combat-only and hence, dispositions are included to modify the creatures – from being on the run to looking for a fight, CR-modifications galore are provided. Speaking of CR-modifications: Every DM knows that terrain is important (if you didn’t – it is!): Fighting spiders in a tunnel is ok. Fighting spiders while crawling on all 4s through a tunnel is something the players will remember -and that huge chasm just made things more interesting. Hence, these random encounters also come with a massive array of different terrain features to add to your random encounters – and said features contain slopes as well as planar vortexes, coming with all the CR-modification and rules-information you’d require.
Oh, and since we’re going to the realms beyond, what about three deadly fey traps oozing iconicity – spanning CR 13 to CR 18, these high-level threats codify some of the iconic, sadistic things fey do in myth into Pathfinder-rules language – the Lost Time Trap ranking among the most sadistic I’ve seen in a while.
Of course by now you’ll want to know what terrain-types are covered – so there you go: We venture into an Abyssal Rift (also appropriate for Slumbering Tsar, btw.!), into Beshadowed Woods (Margreve meets planar threats and things from the stars), settle down (and immediately regret this decision) in an elemental oasis, traverse misty moors and historic battlefields and finally visit a summer otherworld that could be home to the summer court. All of these not only come with their own massive tables for encounters, but also with their own disposition tables.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to PDG’s 2-column, printer-friendly standard and the pdf comes with appropriate b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Okay, let’s get one thing out of the way right now – ignore the humble, unassuming cover. This series is a godsend. Seriously. It takes a bit of time to get how it works, but as soon as you do, this series starts pulling its weight. These pdfs are not meant to only be read, they demand to be used – and after some time since the original 3 have been released, I can say that they WORK. Exceedingly well. The crowning achievement of this series is essentially that it makes any wilderness encounter NOT feel random – they feel like they belong into the respective module. And there are scarcely pdfs out there I’ve used this much and to this efficiency – this is a great toolkit.
I did complain about some of the older installments in the series regarding a lack of “weirdness” – well, the weirdness is here – while not pervading everything and remaining appropriate for a variety of environments, the tables this time around come with this peculiar edge of originality one cannot help but enjoy. Furthermore, neither the author nor Purple Duck Games have stopped in their tracks – since the original 3 pdfs, the release of the Bestiary 3 and NPC Codex have changed the game – and have been included in these tables. Not so that you won’t get any use out of this product when not owning either, but enough so to put a smile on your face for the support if you do.
The one thing this installment has left me with would then be a desire – for a collection of all of the pdfs, the old ones updated and in print: And for more installments. Do yourself a favor and get this collection of extremely useful toolkits and enhance your random encounters so they no longer feel like a waste of time – and if I may, dressing-wise, Raging Swan Press Wilderness Dressing-series constitutes great complimentary pdfs to this pdf’s offerings. My final verdict? Unsurprising 5 stars + seal of approval.