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 outside of the caverns of scrags hints at foul proceedings: Rotten fish bones, discarded legs among weeds, half-eaten and then thrown away, macabre fish-head decorations and broken masts used as bridges over slimy ponds – this carries a sense of ickiness, of primal savagery and wrongness I enjoyed…you certainly won’t expect something civilized after this! As for what the scrag may be doing when the PCs invade – they actually are primitive, as expected, but more distinct than I expected: Scarping fat off a porpoise’s corpse? Wedging fishbones in wall prior to coloring them, urinating over a pile of bones while chuckling? Granted, the latter is a bit generic, as is using a femur bone to clean teeth, but it fits. The major lair features include slain fishes with bite marks, crude murals, rusted anchors and discarded nettings…and what about a rowboat containing clothes and weaponry, swarming with insects? The minor lair features table sports deep tracks in the sand, claw marks marring soft sandstone, nervously clucking chicken and anchor used as traps or to hang victims.
As for the scrag’s appearance, we have seal-skin armor, anchor-wielding, wearing the skin of an octopus, barnacles and corals making a weird living armor and more – some creative entries here! The treasure table sports a lavish crown that may turn to dust when exposed to air for too long, a strange dagger that has “Embrace the siren’s call” engraved and treasure boxes of mahogany, wrapped in plain black flags. As for the things that may litter the scrag’s abode, we have pirate’s tri-cornes, tiny ships in bottles, broken figureheads and once resplendent coins, fused with seaweeds, barnacles and similar signs of uncivilized neglect.
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.
Huh. Steve Hood surprised me. I did not expect to see scrags covered in this series. Notoriously underutilized and not exactly blessed with a ton of supplements to distinguish them, this dressing file does an admirable job of setting the scrag apart: Uncivilized and savage, brutal and with just enough smarts for malignant thought, this pdf encapsulates them as distinct better than I thought it would, setting it clearly apart from e.g. the sahuagin installment. All in all, a good offering, well worth 4 stars.
You can get this nice dressing file here on OBS!
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