GM’s Miscellany – Monstrous Lairs II (system neutral)
This compilation of the Monstrous Lairs-series of dressing files clocks in at 56 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 50 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The book begins with an introduction/how to use, as well as a brief introduction, before we dive into the respective Monstrous Lairs entries compiled in this tome.
To give you an idea, the book covers dressing for assassins, basilisks, chimeras, cultists, derro, drow, dryads, duergar, fire giants, frost giants, ghost’s haunted houses, otyughs, hill giants, hydras, sphinxes, ropers, smugglers, scrags, troglodytes, vampires, wyverns, wolves and both sea and green hags. Each of these entries sports 7 d10-entry strong tables, and the respective creatures are organized alphabetically.
One table deals with the area outside of the lair; one nets dressing for the entity, and two deal with lair features – major and minor features. Major features tend to be potentially relevant in-game for combats, etc., while minor lair features are less encounter-defining, though they can well still feature in a relevant manner – or they could just be dressing. The entries also sport a table for what the entity is currently doing when the PCs meet it, and the entries sport a table for 10 sample treasures connected to the leitmotifs of the creatures, and also a table that deals with trash, or less useful materials that may be found.
Now, I have covered every single one of these Monstrous Lairs in their individual installments, so if you’re interested in reading my opinions regarding one of these installments, you can do so quickly – on my homepage, you can, for example, just click on the “Monstrous Lair-series”-tag, and have a massive list at your fingertips. As such, I am not going to repeat myself and go through all of them again; suffice to say, the book is essentially what it says on the tin – a compilation of an extremely useful series.
Editing and formatting are very good; I noticed no serious accumulation of glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant 2-column b/w-standard, with neat b/w-artworks included. The pdf-version comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and in two versions: One optimized for screen.-use, and one optimized for the printer. Very cool! I can’t comment on the PoD-hardcopy version, since I do not own it.
This book was crafted by Steve Hood and Robert Manson, with additional design-work done by Liz Smith, and as a whole, I genuinely consider it to be a useful compilation. By sheer virtue of being a properly-compiled book, we have a collection that is easier to use at the table, at least for me. And while I wasn’t blown away by all entries, there are several defining, truly outstanding ones contained herein. As a whole, the book ranges between being downright brilliant and being “just” good…so is this worth getting? Yes, yes it is. Unless you already own the vast majority of these dressing files, this is the way to get this part of series. And if you want the print version, then this’ll be a boon indeed. So yeah, all in all, a well-wrought compilation, and thus, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up.
You can get these well-crafted monstrous dressings here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!
If you’re enjoying my reviews, consider leaving a donation, or joining my patreon here.