20 Things: Blue Dragon’s Lair (system neutral)
This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
On the first page, we get 8 names for male and female blue dragons, as well as a table of 12 blue dragon lair features – from fine shifting sands covering deep drift to rippled dunes blocking passage, the entries here present some rather cool details that can add genuine depth to the exploration: Sinkholes, veritable scorpion swarms and yes, even a pool that is fed by underground springs make for plausible and cool features to add to the lairs of the masters of deserts.
Beyond these features, which can have a more pronounced impact on lair exploration, we also get 12 entries of dressing that are more cosmetic: Vanquished gnoll raiders, mangled shields that tell, by their presence of the failures of those that came before, faded words pronouncing doom – if you need to add a bit of character to a complex, there you go. Speaking of which: There also is a table that lets you cosmetically customize your dragons: Vivid scars of malformed scales, horns missing their top, wings pierced by holes and curved fangs – these tell the tales of previous altercations and could well result in monikers for the respective draconic foe.
A further 8-entry table on the next page expands on that, providing suggestions for what the dragon may be doing: You could witness a dragon rolling on its back, scratching an itch, finishing a snack of camel plus rider, or, if you’re lucky, it may be out there, hunting…for now. A table of 12 entries may be found on the same page, providing a plethora of sights and sounds that may be encountered. The least perceptive PC may be stricken by a kind of paranoia, and the floor may be crossed by cracks, from which steam emerges. Thunderous roars echo, and the heavy stench of ozone seems to emanate from the floor.
Of course, you do brave a dragon’s lair due to their fabled treasures, right? Well, no less than 20 different trinkets and 8 additional worn trinkets may be found, including ourouboros-like rings, a silk rope interwoven with silver as a kind of necklace – great means of showing, not telling, how vain dragons can be. Oh, and smart PCs may well find a map to Gloamhold here – nice little easter-egg/cross-reference there.
The final page, then, would be devoted to hoard dressing – from the splintered remains of whole wagons to ornately-carved statues of half-nude warriors buried half in sand to packages filled with sawdust containing chandeliers, this section provides quite a lot of evocative entries.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.
Creighton Broadhurst’s dressing for blue dragon lairs is a great little file: The entries do feel like they have a strong blue dragon theme going and don’t fall into the trap of being generic dragon dressing. The lair features in particular made me smile more than once, and as a whole, this supplement provides a great, well-written array of entries that can enhance the experience here. A minor complaint could be fielded in that the electricity/lightning-angle of blue dragons could have featured a bit more prominently. Lightning bolts can create glass (look that up if you haven’t seen the like!), so that could have also featured and added some surreal, majestic shapes and forms…but that may be me. As a whole, this is certainly worth the low asking price. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.
You can get this cool dressing-file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!