Monstrous Lair: Wight’s Barrow (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.
In this installment, we take a look at wights and their barrows, with the outside of the barrow featuring confused footprints, moss-covered and weed-wreathed stones, holes speaking of grave-robbing attempts and the like. Inside, the wight may be sleeping, or pretending to be sleeping. Considering that undead are immune to sleep in most D&D-based games, an odd choice. Stasis or inactivity would make more sense. The wight skinning a small rat, gnawing on bones and sharpening claws and teeth are valid entries for what’s going one, but could be theoretically applied to plenty of undead. Here, using the dressing to make wights stand out more represents a bit of a lost chance.
The notable features include pools of stagnant waters that may hide the wight (cool), foul miasmic odors or clattering piles of bones. Minor features include carefully piled up treasure, and faded murals that have been partially defaced. The wight’s appearance may include glowing eyes,and an entry that hints a bit at what this pdf could/should have provided more of: Matted, black hair that snakes like a medusa’s? Now that is not something that e.g. a ghoul would have. Chiming cocker necklaces may make for unnerving foreboding, etc. As far as treasure is concerned, we can find old leather pouches, blasphemous religious texts or scrolls containing explicit details of death and torture. The trinket table features broken and fragmented pots and pottery, crystallized honey (cool!) or heaped piles of moldering clothes.
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.
Creighton Broadhurst’s take on wights suffers from the fact that they have a less distinct identity, something that proper dressing could have helped – their power and unearthly nature could have been easily enhanced here, and while a few entries help distinguish them, the pdf also sports a couple of entries that are more generically undead. As such, my final verdict can’t exceed 3.5 stars, rounded down.
You can get this dressing file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon.