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 contrast to the often-depicted, sprawling sunken cities of dread sahuagin, we take a more savage approach here – as the pdf immediately makes clear, when bodies wrapped and weighed down by heavy chains, sway in the waters. Shattered ships, immense whale ribcages and “undulating dystopian” forests of seaweeds stretch to the surface – pretty poetic and cool! As for what’s going on, we have sahuagin teasing large eels, prisoners dragged below from bubble cages and the feeding of sharks – pretty evocative! As for notable features, we have gaping jawbones at the entrance, barnacle-covered statues and shoals of tiny fish and crabs dining on the remains of the vanquished. Minor features of these caves can include diamond-shaped lattices taken from ship’s windows, strategically-placed sharp corals and dull ship’s bells used as impromptu warning signs.
Individual sahuagin may sport patterns drawn to mimic seaweeds, breastplates of bones, using manta-ray skin as a kind of cloak/punching-dagger combo or trophies of elven hair…remember the history of conflict with sea elves, and the propensity for the presence of the like being here. The treasures featured include shark-shaped anti-dream-catchers that bring nightmares, fossilized megalodon teeth and barracuda-skulls turned into weird ceremonial items. The trinkets include jars of rotten food that can taint the water with clouds of muck, shark-tooth necklaces that can scratch the skin, releasing blood into the water, and strange orange anemone skins containing air for the unfortunate captives.
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 delivers in spades here – the sahuagin dressing is well-written, breathes creativity and inspires with its dressing. This is a great example of what the series can achieve. Inspired, fun and creative, this gets 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this inexpensive dressing file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!