Monstrous Lair: Green Hag’s Swamp (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.
Green hags are one of those color-coded critters that can use an infusion of good dressing, so what does this one offer? Well, first of all, I felt reminded of the Thronebreaker game, as the vicinity of green hags is signaled by blood-red water, an abundance of insects, warning signs and the like…and what about the wind whispering the names of fallen friends and lost loves? The table for indicators of hag presence are suitably dark fairy-tale-esque and disquieting without giving the entire ploy away, so kudos there. As for what’s going on, here, the table features hale and hearty washerwomen inviting folks for dinner, naked maidens flaunting their bodies as a lure or e.g. hags in the process of removing entrails from a boar or tending poisonous gardens. On the VERY dark side, what about a hag growing flowers on the corpses of children? Ouch! Here at the very latest there will be no question as to how vile these hags truly are.
The table for major lair features includes large patches of poisonous plantlife, clawing hands grabbing at a pond’s surface from a body wedged in willow roots, walkways of rotten logs – these all are potentially relevant for combat – and diverse! Kudos! Minor lair features include the skeleton of a giant alligator serving as a bridge (which any Gm half worth their salt will make haunted, a potential animate-target or lair action), sharp bones in pits – once more a diverse array that left my mind pondering tricks and encounter design. Nice!
As for the hag’s appearance, here, we have huge bird skull helmets, pitch-black skin, leeches covering warty skin and cloaks made of former lover’s skins, among other things. Love it! As far as treasures are concerned, what about a crown of fish skulls and deer antlers that increases your persuasive prowess at the cost of being, well, super obviously a black magic item? Fungus-filled skull bombs? Human skin sheaves detailed how to animate a hut, Baba Yaga-style? Yeah, aweome! As for miscellanea – what about jars of human ears? A fetish made from a horse’s genitals? A lyre with human hair? Heck yeah!
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.
This is Steve Hood doing masterclass work. Usually, green hags are the less-evocative annis hags, and this pdf really helps set them apart. The dressing dives deeply into dark fantasy, and is better off for it, offering a thoroughly inspiring glance at wicked hags. I’d use this with the Witcher RPG, for example, or with other fantasy RPGs when I want to highlight how dastardly and magical these beings are. I loved this dressing file, and for the low asking price? Heck yeah, no-brainer! 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this delightfully wicked dressing-file here on OBS!
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