Monstrous Lair: Pirates’ Cove (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 the cove, one may find the words “Keep OWT!” painted on planks of scavenged driftwood, skeletal remnants of trading ships, sections of rigging repurposed as makeshift nets, and, really creative, a massive ship’s wheel, set up as a trap to be catapulted at those approaching. As for the daily routine that PCs are likely to interrupt, we have the obvious drunken folks, preparations to whip slaves, horrible smell of fish stew and harpoon-throwing exercises. The notable features of the cove may include a plethora of wooden crates, massive captain#s tables repurposed as cover, hovels using rowboats as roofs, rigging providing access to higher levels and the like. Minor features may include parrots, decking of rotten planks on the floor, rotten fish bucket traps, feral ship cats and the like – nothing too fantastic or weird.
As far as pirate appearances are concerned, we have an anchor-wielder brute, chins stained with red tobacco, tribal paint used to give the impression of a skull, elves with hundreds of ritual scars…etc. –some nice surprises here, including an Amazonian woman with the scalps of male enemies! Treasures feature a barrel of grog that never empties until every one had their share,a hook with an emerald eyed seahorse-design, lustrous pearls topping swordfish-shaped rapiers and the like…and what of a wooden leg made of bonded shark’s spine and driftwood, embedded with sharp teeth? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about! The trinket table includes coral used as paper-weights, tankards with embossed maritime patterns, wooden dolphin charms, sandals from knotted palm-fronds…nice.
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 pirate cove was a pleasant surprise to me; while the cove-angle was subdued, the creativity that went into the tables made up for that. While a couple of classics can be found herein, there is no lame “Wears an eye-patch./Has a wooden leg/Has a parrot”-standard BS herein, instead focusing on some rather cool visuals. My final verdict will be 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.
You can get this cool dressing file here on OBS!
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