This installment of what I’d tentatively call the “new” Urban Dressing-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin this supplement with vistas both unique and wondrous – in the towns of the dwaves, one may witness a plethora of sights and sounds mundane and wondrous – from chimney stacks that bear witness to the industrious nature of the stout folk to dwarves strumming the lyres (there is in fact a correlation between music and productivity), the life of a busy settlement breathes from the massive 100-entry strong table – and yes, of course miners, cave-ins, smiths and the like can be met as well. Few things will endear the PCs more to the populace than quenching a dwarf’s beard, recently set ablaze or participating in competitions of boulder-throwing – a thoroughly alive place indeed.
The 50 businesses also reflect the industrious nature of the dwarven people – from the obligatory smithies and architects, one can surely learn wondrous feats of engineering, while here, even second-hand equipment adheres to the high quality-standards set by the dwarven folk. Boneminders and etchers offer their services to the discerning clientele and for those PCs looking for something more out of the ordinary – what about ships to travel on lava? This single entry had me come up with essentially a whole culture, a vast set of adventure ideas – “inspired” is indeed the word to use.
Whereas the primary inhabitants of such a town obviously belong to the stout race, from jailed half-orcs (rightfully or due to racial prejudice?) to halfling couriers to half-elven lawyers and pyromaniac elven exiles, the list of 50 notable folk can be described as adhering to the same level of liveliness and diversity one would expect from such a supplement – and yes, fret not -the majority of the entries does cover dwarves!
Finally, 20 hooks provide for ample adventuring material – from dwarven miners lost in the tunnels to dangerous, tunneling worms that destabilize areas to gas explosions and goblin spies, quite an array of diverse options await.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ 2-column b/w-standard and the artwork is thematically fitting b/w-stock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions – one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use.
Josh Vogt’s Urban Dressing pdf have become a continuous source of joy for my table – the amount of life oozing from them, their unfettered creativity and their quite frankly astounding diversity has taken the weakest of the Dressing-series and brought it to a level that can only be considered inspired in all the right ways. Now racial settlements tend to be a difficult topic, mainly because you have to cater to a race’s iconic stereotypes, while still providing a distinct sense of identity. This manages to do just that – in a glorious fashion indeed. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.
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