Monstrous Lair: Chimera’s Den (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.
Outside of a chimera’s lair, one might find oddly-mixed tracks, splintered bones in rotten manure, shed snake skins, fire-blasted trees, etc. – the author does a great job here. Why? Because the individual entries can be used to expertly foreshadow chimeras. As for the table dealing with what’s currently going on, we have the chimera trying to get a bone out of the goat-head’s mouth, an instance where said head is grazing while the others stare into the distance, lion and dragon heads fighting over food – pretty neat array.
As far as major lair features are concerned, we have three skulls set near broken skeletal remains, ceiling scored with bloody marks, piles of bodies and manure, a strange parody of a dragon’s hoard…or what about fire-blasted shadows of victims? Nice one. Minor lair features include bones and viscera/remnants of previous feasts/hunts., horns embedded in trunks and the like…solid array.
As for chimera appearances, we have pitch-black chimera, tiger-striped hides, spiraling horns, lumps of molten metal embedded in the dragon head and the like – these are very distinct and cool. The treasure table includes torcs that allow you to turn into a chimera, but which also drive you mad. Barbed swords, chimera-themed flails, sets of daggers – these actually made me stat a couple of the items! The trash table includes scorched spear-remnants, odd charms of feathers and sticks, boiled wine, mismatched boots containing skulls and similar odds and ends.
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’s chimera dressing is a very good little file – the treasure table in particular is inspired, and while I wasn’t as enamored with the lair features tables, as a whole, this is certainly worth the fair asking price. 5 stars.
You can get this great little dressing-file for less than a buck here!
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