This installment of the Wilderness Dressing-series is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Few locales capture the eye of adventurers as much as ruins – with the promise of old secrets buried, of treasure and a sense of historicity bleeding from them and telling indirect supplemental stories, ruins are an integral part of the roleplaying-tropes. Making, and more importantly, keeping them interesting over the years, though, would be a challenge – and it’s here this pdf comes in.
If you’re like me, you had this happen – you put a pure dressing ruin somewhere to liven up the scenery and your PCs go all out for it, spinning theories and allowing you to weave a yarn spontaneously from their theories – so yes, dressing is important and at first, we get a list of small ruins with a total of 50 entries that cover neglected shrines, charred beams remaining from burned down inns, copper mash tuns in exposed basements and rectangular, moss-covered stones.
Where small ones are, so do large ones loom – 50 of them, with obsidian blocks engraved with weird iconography, cracked glass domes and half-buried stone pyramids, we get quite an array of uncommon, evocative locales – which can be further modified via a massive 100-entry-dressing table: From muffled crying suffusing a building to a stench of blood and decay or tracks of large predators – with and without skill-DCs, we get quite a lot of cool things to jog one’s imagination.
Now the final page offers crunchy bits appropriate for ruins – 6 new haunts, spanning the CRs from 2 to 8 and while the parenthesization of the CRs and Xp is not uniform, the haunts per se walk a tight line – without being too specific and remaining rather generic, they manage to evoke their own style – Take for example a pit which requires sprinkled potions of feather fall to lay those that perished to rest – it’s small ideas like that, which shine brightest to me.
Editing and formatting are very good, but not as perfect as usual for Raging Swan Press – I noticed some almost imperceptible minor glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with fitting b/w-artworks as well as in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Author John Bennett has yet to disappoint me with his offerings and this is no different – oozing flair and style, these ruins are evocative indeed and should enrich your campaign. However, I still feel that there’s something missing here – if I had one wish, it would probably be to know potential information to rebuild these ruins once cleared with the Downtime-rules. That’s a minor thing, though, and hence I’ll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars.