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 first 10-entry table within this pdf notes approaches to a giant spider’s web, which includes rats loudly squeaking that might alert the spider, shadows clinging to the net, with horrible stench as silent testimony to the horrible fate of folks before and desiccated bodies hinting at the things to come. I liked this table’s subtle nods towards the threats to be encountered. When reaching the spider, the PCs may find it hunting rats, in the process o subduing struggling prey in its netsm suspended from the ceiling, as it’s feeding, being covered in fist-sized young – some really nice ones in this one!
As far as notable features are concerned, we have ginormous spider’s eggs, partially consumed rats sending waves of trembling panic through the web; we have the sense and smell of decay and death,. Heavy in the air, and various webbed things hanging and dangling – from strange shapes to threads to macabre remains of previous food, these are surprisingly distinct. The next table, 10 entry-strong, which does contain minor features, includes web-choked cracks, ribcages of victims containing egg-sacs, and similarly striking visuals. The spider itself can have a broken leg, a non-standard eye-amount, strange patterns or particularly camouflaged chitin – surprisingly diverse entries may be found.
As far as treasures are concerned, the 10-entry table features an ironic leather armor with a spider web-like piping, perfect silver arrows, face masks with silver mandibles and ebony legs – surprisingly spider-centric, this table proved to be a fun addition that I did not expect to carry this much potential. The presence of the mask, for example, hints at cultists, probably ones from a highborn house! Cool! The trinket table is similarly inspired: I can basically see some entries in front of my mind’s eye, with my favorite being one, wherein the spider’s venom has crystallized blood drops into gemlike shapes that now dot the spider webs. Come on, that is amazing! I can see the dangling, gleaming and macabre jewelry, and if that’s not a potential power component for a spell/ritual, what is?
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 trip into the webs of giant spiders is amazing: the respective tables all have strong, often thoroughly inspiring consequences, hinting at things beyond. They maintain a strong leitmotif associated with spiders, and provide some truly memorable and creative dressing. Easily one of my favorites in the series so far, this gets 5 stars + seal of approval, no doubts! Excellent job, sir!
You can get this cool little dressing file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!