Monstrous Lairs: Smugglers’ Hidden Den (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 smuggler’s den may show a ramshackle, shuttered and boarded building; it may be concealed by bushes and crates, ready to be collapsed to be escape, or perhaps a wooden jetty holds it aloft. As for what’s going on, there may be a crew forming a beeline to pass crates, the smugglers may be nervously waiting for their contact, or they may be in the process of swapping goods. Solid diversity here!
As far as major lair features are concerned, we can find discarded nets and crates forming barricades, coils of thick ropes left to slow down intruders, heavy gates set to crash, or sails draped like tapestries, concealing passages or other things. Nice. The minor features include split tapestries acting as doors, piles of broken crates, hooks and blades embedded in doorframes and boats propped against the wall, rigged to fall. Nice array, and once more, often potentially relevant to busts. The smuggler appearances include openly-worn gang symbols, watchman uniforms concealed in baggy clothing, bone-handled canes, greasy makeup…solid.
The treasure section includes calf-skin gloves, ships in bottles rumored to trap the souls of one’s enemies, cloaks that ostensibly enforce the wearer against the effects of roiling waves and sea sickness and the like. The final table covers trash – cheap imitation goods, wire cages containing rotten chicken corpses or heavy boxes of rusted swords.
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 take on smugglers is a return to form. The entries are diverse and interesting and cover a fun diversity of topics. The goods, the defense measures – they are interesting, with particularly the lair features lending themselves well to chases and infiltrations. All in all, a well-wrought little dressing file, well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up.
You can get this nice little dressing file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!