Monstrous Lair: Witch’s Hovel (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.
The approach to a witch’s hovel may be lined with flowers and buzzing insects…but why can’t you shake the feeling that…something’s…off?? Straw dolls with mouse-skull faces, broken cauldrons rusting in the bushes and huge, single, bird-like footprints – from Baba Yaga to more subdued dressing hints, this table has some great entries. As for what’s up? The witch may be muttering to herself as she’s tending fungi and plants, and her singing from inside may be accompanied by the cawing of crows. Snipping plants on the window box, talking to birds – from the weird to the intriguing, another nice table. As far as major features of the hovel are concerned, we can see strange scarecrows with knife-hands dipped in gore, crows eyeing intruders intently, human heads in jars, herbs, knives and more. The minor features include notes to not touch that big knife over there, desiccated human hands acting as door-handles, necklaces of ears next to windows…some really creepy bits here!
As for the appearance of the witch, we have the classic bent back + bony hands, leaning on hawthorne staves, wide-brimmed hats…but she may just as well wear flowers of red and yellow in a cheerful peasant’s garb…were it not for the openly-worn necklace of bones…What about witches dressed in ragged burial shrouds, the face masked by a massive bird’s skull? Heck yes! Treasure include wands made from formerly mummified human forearms, brooms with carved, leering goblin faces, charm and trinket-studded hats and books identifying animals, plants and herbs…wrapped in human skin. Trinkets include boxes of fingernails, sticks that are maps in disguise, bowls that include both dried apples and eyeballs…amazing.
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 knocks it out of the park with his witch-dressing. The tables are evocative, inspired and cool; they provide a couple of classics and novel ones, and offer some immediately gameable ideas; the tables are strongly geared towards feeling witch-like, so yeah – pretty awesome and definitely worth the asking price. 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this cool dressing file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!