This pdf clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content in the regular version of the pdf. The file also comes with a second version with landscape layout that is more suitable for e-readers etc. – in that format, it clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content.
It should be noted that this is the first installment of the And Then….Trouble-series, which focuses o spicing up encounters. Beyond the mechanical modifications, the respective entries within contains a bit of read-aloud text for GMs not that comfortable with improvising, as well as a rather detailed adventure hook. As I will be commenting on these adventure hooks in the following review, I hereby pronounce a SPOILER-warning. Players should probably skip ahead to the conclusion.
All righty, only GMs around? Great! That out of the way, the first encounter-modification clocks in at CR+2 and has the PCs stumble unwittingly over a mass grave. The read aloud text has a character grappled by a zombie from beneath the soil (no save or CMD here – and for once, I’m good with that!) and every round +1d4 new zombies will climb out of the mass grave, until there’s a zombie for each character. Zombies after the first have the proper CMB-value noted. After having tumbled over this dark edifice, PCs are bound to ask what has happened here – three sample solutions, from a necromantic cult, to raiders, the first two suggestions are pretty much expected: Having magically-preserved ancient dead, with magic reactivated? Now that is interesting!
The second encounter suggestion is titled “Don’t Stay Dead” and clocks in at CR 1+; after an encounter with a living creature that ended in the being’s demise, the PCs hear shuffling, as the opponent has risen once more…oh, and all corpses in the vicinity as well! Here’s the thing – it’s not the location. It’s the PCs. Nothing they kill stays dead. Finding out what the reason for this is, the exact parameters of the animating effect – some cool adventuring potential here that turns a classic premise much more interesting. From cursed items to unwittingly being a carrier for a magical plague to being the first portent of the realm of the dead closing – the hooks are intriguing and well-crafted.
The third encounter presented herein would be “Dead All Along”, at CR 4: The PCs are beset by brigands in the wild – who happen to have been juju-zombified, retaining some smarts…though not much. They weren’t the sharpest tools in the shed to begin with, you see. The explanation posited by the adventure hooks for undead criminals encompass a juju disease, a crimeboss offering Discount resurrections” (genius!), an unholy relic and a vampire’s doing.
Editing and formatting are very good; apart from the juju-disease not being perfectly formatted, I noticed no relevant glitches. Layout adheres to a solid two-column standard. The pdf sports no interior artwork, but doesn’t really need it. Same goes for bookmarks at this level of brevity.
Michael McCarthy’s encounter-modifications herein elicited, when I skimmed over them, a yawn from me. They’re classics, right? Well, a well-executed classic is wort something and that these most assuredly are. There are some nice tweaks in the set-up, the presentation is pretty user-friendly, and all of that costs you a whopping $0.99. This pdf is most assuredly worth its low and fair asking price. Some angles are really creative and the complications presented are diverse and interesting. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars – well done!
You can get this nice pdf here on OBS!