Monstrous Lair: Dark Creeper Village (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.
Approaches to a dark creeper village may include patches of smelly toadstools that show signs of harvesting, stinking paste smeared on walls or thin ropes hanging them up to dry. Smelly paste and toadstools are a bit dominant in this table. As for what’s going on, we have creepers slicing carefully toadstool skin from one, applying shrooms to clothes to fix them, or, more interestingly, dipping sharpened stones and bits of glass into black paste, constructing a trap.
As far as notable features are concerned, we have smashed lanterns, candles and broken torches…but why are these in the dark creeper village in the first place?? We also have, you guessed it, more sharp knives embedded in more mushrooms. And some rope tethers, left behind of an evaporated body – which is a nice entry, acknowledging a peculiarity of dark folk. How manacles attached to a wall are a major feature, though? Minor features include shoddily constructed wood, wooden sticks, iron doors thrown with a lot of force…I don’t see much correlation with dark folk here.
The appearance table features kilts of human skin, pale, clawed hands as only visible bodyparts, staring eyes and jabbering in battle or throwing knives from left to right hand. Okay. The treasure section features…you guessed it. Black grease covers sharp knives…but also severed boots with skeletal feet inside, plaits of blonde hair, etc. The trinket table sports whetstones, maps of sewers and pouches with stinking food and sharp stones.
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 is usually better at these files. This dressing file has a puzzling focus on knives and mushrooms, to the point where it becomes redundant and not very helpful. The dressing here could have helped make dark folk stand out more; instead, it is, for the most part, a dud. Inexpensive, sure, but still a dud. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down.
You can get this pdf here on OBS.
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