This installment of the wilderness dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The pdf immediately kicks off with a massive table – shipboard events. Starting with petty thefts, strange signs burnt into the wood, crumbling steps on ladders (sabotage?) up to multiple entries featuring varied capricious weather peculiarities, we get a nice basic list. Now we all know sailors are a suspicious lot and hence the second table covers 50 omens – with entries spelling whether the omens bode weal or woe. Whale corpses, accompanying dolphins, cormorants and albatrosses – the gamut of delightfully superstitious signs should make sure that keeping morale high is not to easy…
50 minor encounters, whether with wreckages of other ships, giant clams, fins on usually humpbacked creatures or mysterious singing voices – quite a bunch of instances that should help make the travels less tedious.
We also get a table of 12 entries with more developed random encounters, in the format we know from the Dungeon Denizens-line: Though this time around sans statblocks. The creatures covered, from sea hags to kraken and sea serpents run the gamut of iconic beings and even include a globster!
The final page of the pdf is devoted to an immensely useful DM-cheat-sheet for running combat on a ship – whether regarding deck, hatches, hull, mast, sails or rigging or steep steps – all hardness-values, ACs, possibility for cover and climbing etc. are given and even different weather is featured in e.g. the deck write-up. VERY useful indeed!
Editing and formatting, as I’ve come to expect from raging Swan press, are top-notch – I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s concise 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf features some neat little b/w-artworks. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Brian Gregory has delivered an excellent product that complements well RSP’s “So what’s the Pirate Ship like, anyways?” and should serve as a great way of making long, dreary aquatic journeys much more exciting. As a toolkit to enhance random encounters and long treks, this works superbly, though honestly, I wish that the specific encounter table had some kind of creature that is a tad more uncommon – the encounters are pretty standard fare with an exception in the globster. This, however, remains my only gripe and hence I will still gladly settle for a verdict of 5 stars, but sans my seal of approval.