Monstrous Lair: Derro Outpost (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.
All right, this time around, we’ll take a look at an outpost of the loathsome, insane derro, and considering their madness, it should come as no surprise that their presence is hinted at by cave paintings, hollows dug into stalagmite tops containing weird offerings, stacked bones and the like – these do hint properly at the presence of the insane dwarves; there’s a method to the madness that might be misinterpreted as the presence of savage beings. Like it! As for what’s going on, we have obsessive ordering of stones, derro hopping around while listening to insanely babbling sorcerers, insane dwarves hurling spears at a wall before running and similarly puzzling happenstances – I’m happy to report that these all feel very derro-esque and unique.
The same holds true for the major lair features, which include fungal sticks with hooks, stone bowls polished to mirror sheen containing insects and similarly puzzling things…including a corpse-dump, just to drive home that these dwarves are not the harmless kind of insane. Minor lair features also emphasize this, with stacks of skulls held together by orange paste, stinking mashes of fungus and feces in low dips and similar indicators that these dwarves are not well. What about footprints painted on a tunnel wall? Yeah, cool!
With huge, bushy moustaches and shocks of white hair, derro may be both comical and terrifying; they might be wearing weird armor woven of leather and fungus, and e.g. having meaningless gibberish tattooed all over? Yep, can see that. The appearance-table does not disappoint. The treasures found include strange holy symbols, flensing knives, shotgun-style repeating crossbows and unstable wands. Did I mention the shrunken heads with their madness-inducing fumes? The miscellanea table includes anti-slug salt laced with quartz (probably not wise to use it for seasoning), grub-cheese, picture books of imaginary creatures and the like – I like these.
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.
We have a return to form here for Steve Hood. After obviously struggling slightly with the previous two outposts, he manages to once more deliver a truly exciting little dressing file here, one that is chock-full with evocative and novel dressing that oozes with the derro’s delightful and twisted insanity. 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this great little dressing file here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!
Please consider leaving a donation or joining my patreon. Thank you.