This installment of the Wilderness Dressing-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
This time, we go to the windswept dunes of the desert – where circling vultures, breezes carrying the aroma of exotic spices and strange carpets in the middle of nowhere await discovery by intrepid adventurers, with and without skill-checks, while enigmatic edifices loom half-buried in the sand – in case you haven’t noticed – I consider the 100-entry strong first table of the supplement well-crafted and diverse enough to fulfill my by now rather strict criteria and high standards for the line.
In the second table, concerned with dressings, we are no less pampered by unique sights and sounds – sinkholes containing dead dust diggers, half-buried tablets of hieroglyphs, scenes of carnage that bespeak the cruelty of the gnoll instigators behind them – once again, 100 entries in which only scarcely a filler like “Black smoke on the horizon” can be found. Better yet – scorpions taking refuge in boots (including poison!) make for some nice mini-challenges herein – as far as I’m concerned, we could have more of these!
As in the snow & ice-installment, we get 12 sample random encounters, which, while not fully statted, come with rather extensive sidenotes and utilize the young and advanced simple creature templates. That being said, these feel a tad bit more versatile -while they do offer the usual suspects with scorpions and dire hyena and a blue dragon, we also get a lich, a janni, some death worms and yes, even a jackalwere – so enough versatility for me to keep my trap shut – nice diversity in ELs from 1 to 13.
As always, the final page is devoted to the DM-cheat-sheet, this time covering stealth and perception in the desert, rubble and sand dunes and sandstorms. As with the last installment, we get a nice piece of artwork here, though, again, I would have loved to see more environmental rules here: A summary of heat-dangers to avoid skipping books, quicksand- the like. If only because I love RSP’s concise way of collecting this data and consider these pages extremely useful.
Editing and formatting, as usual in offerings of Raging Swan Press, is superb – I did not notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two version, one optimized for screen-use and one for the printer. Both are fully bookmarked for your convenience.
So this is author Brian Wiborg Mønster’s first offering for Raging Swan Press -let me say without a doubt that I look forward to seeing more: The distinct flair of cinnamon seems to emit from these pages (which is interesting, considering his name points towards a Norwegian, Danish or Faroese ancestry) and speaks of an attention to detail, versatility and modularity – while here and there slightly less intriguing entries can be found, the majority of entries herein actually is fun, well-written and diverse, with all points of criticism I could muster being only me nitpicking an otherwise great supplement. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval – looking forward to seeing more from the author!