Monstrous Lair: Aboleth’s Sunken Lair (system neutral)
This installment of the Monstrous Lairs-pdfs clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Sometimes, you just need a bit of dressing for a wayside encounter – or something specific to a monster type. Finding appropriate entries can be rough, and so, this series attempts to remedy this shortcoming on 2 pages, with a total of 7 d10-tables.
The approach towards the aboleth’s cavern may be covered in acidic slime, and a body, wrists cut, skin sodden and translucent, speaks of the horror of the aboleth’s mucus as a nice telegraph for PCs, with several murals things, and scenes of pain and madness telegraphing the threat ahead. As far as for what’s going on: The by now pretty much obligatory “Asleep”-angle is included; the aboleth may also be focusing its three-eyed gaze at scratches remaining of an ancient map. Perhaps it’s swaying its tentacles, humming oddly…or it’s making art/engaging in a kind of weird haruspex by splattering a repitilian man on the rocks, intently staring at the blood-spatters generated. Really cool!
As far as notable features for the cavern are concerned, we can find the strange notation of ancient songs laid into the walls, grisly reminders of the aboleth’s wrath (like bodyparts or broken tridents impaling the remainders of unfortunates trying to challenge this beast); among the minor features, we can find patches of slime surrounded by white residue, large shadows in the water darting around, scrawled warnings and the like. The aboleth’s appearance cam sport mauve undersides suffused with black veins, a blinded eye and copious scars…or the creature can wear golden bracelets, or what about orange/purple tentacles standing apart? Nice one! The treasures to be found include cloaks of rubbery skin, obsidian-pronged tridents…or what about bronze medallions depicting doors held shut by tentacles? Some nice ones here. Finally, the trinket table includes polished shells that have mysterious words engraved, gloves with silken webbing, etc. – some really nice ones here!
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and we get a nice piece of b/w-artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its brevity (kudos!) and is included in two versions – one optimized for screen-use, and one for the printer.
Steve Hood provides a rather nice little selection of dressing-entries for aboleths, with the entries providing a nice array of foreshadowing and tension-building. All in all, a fun and worthwhile dressing file. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down.
You can get this neat dressing file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!