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Monstrous Lair #25: Scrags' Sunken Cave
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2019 06:41:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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 outside of the caverns of scrags hints at foul proceedings: Rotten fish bones, discarded legs among weeds, half-eaten and then thrown away, macabre fish-head decorations and broken masts used as bridges over slimy ponds – this carries a sense of ickiness, of primal savagery and wrongness I enjoyed…you certainly won’t expect something civilized after this! As for what the scrag may be doing when the PCs invade – they actually are primitive, as expected, but more distinct than I expected: Scarping fat off a porpoise’s corpse? Wedging fishbones in wall prior to coloring them, urinating over a pile of bones while chuckling? Granted, the latter is a bit generic, as is using a femur bone to clean teeth, but it fits. The major lair features include slain fishes with bite marks, crude murals, rusted anchors and discarded nettings…and what about a rowboat containing clothes and weaponry, swarming with insects? The minor lair features table sports deep tracks in the sand, claw marks marring soft sandstone, nervously clucking chicken and anchor used as traps or to hang victims.

As for the scrag’s appearance, we have seal-skin armor, anchor-wielding, wearing the skin of an octopus, barnacles and corals making a weird living armor and more – some creative entries here! The treasure table sports a lavish crown that may turn to dust when exposed to air for too long, a strange dagger that has “Embrace the siren’s call” engraved and treasure boxes of mahogany, wrapped in plain black flags. As for the things that may litter the scrag’s abode, we have pirate’s tri-cornes, tiny ships in bottles, broken figureheads and once resplendent coins, fused with seaweeds, barnacles and similar signs of uncivilized neglect.

Conclusion: 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.

Huh. Steve Hood surprised me. I did not expect to see scrags covered in this series. Notoriously underutilized and not exactly blessed with a ton of supplements to distinguish them, this dressing file does an admirable job of setting the scrag apart: Uncivilized and savage, brutal and with just enough smarts for malignant thought, this pdf encapsulates them as distinct better than I thought it would, setting it clearly apart from e.g. the sahuagin installment. All in all, a good offering, well worth 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #25: Scrags' Sunken Cave
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Monstrous Lair #22: Sahuagins' Sunken Cave
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2019 06:40:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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.

In contrast to the often-depicted, sprawling sunken cities of dread sahuagin, we take a more savage approach here – as the pdf immediately makes clear, when bodies wrapped and weighed down by heavy chains, sway in the waters. Shattered ships, immense whale ribcages and “undulating dystopian” forests of seaweeds stretch to the surface – pretty poetic and cool! As for what’s going on, we have sahuagin teasing large eels, prisoners dragged below from bubble cages and the feeding of sharks – pretty evocative! As for notable features, we have gaping jawbones at the entrance, barnacle-covered statues and shoals of tiny fish and crabs dining on the remains of the vanquished. Minor features of these caves can include diamond-shaped lattices taken from ship’s windows, strategically-placed sharp corals and dull ship’s bells used as impromptu warning signs.

Individual sahuagin may sport patterns drawn to mimic seaweeds, breastplates of bones, using manta-ray skin as a kind of cloak/punching-dagger combo or trophies of elven hair…remember the history of conflict with sea elves, and the propensity for the presence of the like being here. The treasures featured include shark-shaped anti-dream-catchers that bring nightmares, fossilized megalodon teeth and barracuda-skulls turned into weird ceremonial items. The trinkets include jars of rotten food that can taint the water with clouds of muck, shark-tooth necklaces that can scratch the skin, releasing blood into the water, and strange orange anemone skins containing air for the unfortunate captives.

Conclusion: 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 delivers in spades here – the sahuagin dressing is well-written, breathes creativity and inspires with its dressing. This is a great example of what the series can achieve. Inspired, fun and creative, this gets 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #22: Sahuagins' Sunken Cave
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Monstrous Lair #20: Kobold Warren
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/05/2019 05:23:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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 kobold’s warren can feature wind-chimes of bone, and shallow, spiked pits as well as barrels of rotting apples swarmed by flies telegraph the nastiness that awaits – and old rusting chains holding spiked logs speak of traps of old. As for what’s going on, we can find kobolds dribbling paste on thorns, emerging in a panic from crawlspaces to dart away. The PCs can witness kobolds pulling sharp teeth from cat-skull headdresses to add them to tiny darts or witness them painting tiny eyes on pebbles.

Suspended deer skulls that will shatter when falling effigies of roaring dragons, massive banners or skulls, with eyes replaced with painted stones, can be found here. While quite a bunch of entries employ this “paint eyes on pebbles”-angle, I did not consider this to be redundant this time around, as they generate a kind odd cultural tradition here, a semblance of odd cultural identity. Among the minor features, we have a twist on this, as the kobolds have painted spiders is a similar manner and placed them in a skull! Gossamer lines of poisoned darts at above kobold-head-level, cracked and discarded gnome skulls – some neat tidbits here.

As far as kobold appearances are concerned, we can find white-scaled grand poobahs, staves tipped with jars of eyeballs, scales matching armor, mongrel riding dogs, etc. The treasures to be found include shields embellished with boar skulls, lavishly-decoaretd gnome-skulls turned jewelry/ceremonial accessory, wands of bone and similar paraphernalia. The trinkets include pots with stinking paste, jars containing forgotten, dead spiders, or sacks with hidden blades, the poison on it, thankfully, long since dried.

Conclusion: 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 dressing for kobolds includes quite a few cool entries that go beyond the usual trap focus; the tables do feel kobold-like, tapping into the wealth of cultural tidbits established over the years and various games, and it does feature quite a few nice ideas. All in all, worth checking it! My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #20: Kobold Warren
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Monstrous Lair #19: Gnolls' Camp
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/01/2019 15:07:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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.

Outside of a gnoll encampment, one can find large buffalo corpses, bushes stinking of ammonia and the yipping of encaged creatures, fearful of the fate looming for them, as a few examples of the varied approaches features. As for what’s going on, we can find gnolls carefully stripping sinew from bone, crushing berries into a paste that helps style manes and the like into patterns, or defending meals from hungry pet hyenas, which scamper off – I was surprised in a positive manner to see how “gnoll-y” these feel. As for notable features, we can find the corpses of dwarves impaled to the trees, iron chains speaking of slave trade and vast effigy towers. As far as minor features are concerned, we can find stretched antelope hides, spiked logs awaiting future use or walls of thorny brambles. Once more, a diverse array.

As far as gnoll appearances are concerned, we have gnolls meditatively gnawing on human ones, specimen with dyed fur, gnolls with massive hyaenodon skins or armors with bison horns – cool. The treasures include frayed leather whips, shields with horse trails and fangs, its fittings of pure gold, hide coats embellished in the style of lion’s manes and more. The trinket table, finally, include hippopotamus tusks, pestles and mortars that contain crushed bones, but which oddly emits a pleasant smell, batons with still-a-(u)nlive-ghoul-hands attached – some gems here!

Conclusion: 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 did a great job on gnoll dressing here. The entries are distinct, diverse and establish a cultural identity. The tables make the gnolls stand out from other humanoids and, as a whole, this should be considered to be a definite winner. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #19: Gnolls' Camp
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Monstrous Lair #21: Pirates' Cove
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/27/2019 05:13:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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.

Outside of the cove, one may find the words “Keep OWT!” painted on planks of scavenged driftwood, skeletal remnants of trading ships, sections of rigging repurposed as makeshift nets, and, really creative, a massive ship’s wheel, set up as a trap to be catapulted at those approaching. As for the daily routine that PCs are likely to interrupt, we have the obvious drunken folks, preparations to whip slaves, horrible smell of fish stew and harpoon-throwing exercises. The notable features of the cove may include a plethora of wooden crates, massive captain#s tables repurposed as cover, hovels using rowboats as roofs, rigging providing access to higher levels and the like. Minor features may include parrots, decking of rotten planks on the floor, rotten fish bucket traps, feral ship cats and the like – nothing too fantastic or weird.

As far as pirate appearances are concerned, we have an anchor-wielder brute, chins stained with red tobacco, tribal paint used to give the impression of a skull, elves with hundreds of ritual scars…etc. –some nice surprises here, including an Amazonian woman with the scalps of male enemies! Treasures feature a barrel of grog that never empties until every one had their share,a hook with an emerald eyed seahorse-design, lustrous pearls topping swordfish-shaped rapiers and the like…and what of a wooden leg made of bonded shark’s spine and driftwood, embedded with sharp teeth? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about! The trinket table includes coral used as paper-weights, tankards with embossed maritime patterns, wooden dolphin charms, sandals from knotted palm-fronds…nice.

Conclusion: 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 pirate cove was a pleasant surprise to me; while the cove-angle was subdued, the creativity that went into the tables made up for that. While a couple of classics can be found herein, there is no lame “Wears an eye-patch./Has a wooden leg/Has a parrot”-standard BS herein, instead focusing on some rather cool visuals. My final verdict will be 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #21: Pirates' Cove
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Monstrous Lair #17: Witch's Hovel
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/26/2019 04:00:27

An ENdzietgeist.com review

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 witch’s hovel may be lined with flowers and buzzing insects…but why can’t you shake the feeling that…something’s…off?? Straw dolls with mouse-skull faces, broken cauldrons rusting in the bushes and huge, single, bird-like footprints – from Baba Yaga to more subdued dressing hints, this table has some great entries. As for what’s up? The witch may be muttering to herself as she’s tending fungi and plants, and her singing from inside may be accompanied by the cawing of crows. Snipping plants on the window box, talking to birds – from the weird to the intriguing, another nice table. As far as major features of the hovel are concerned, we can see strange scarecrows with knife-hands dipped in gore, crows eyeing intruders intently, human heads in jars, herbs, knives and more. The minor features include notes to not touch that big knife over there, desiccated human hands acting as door-handles, necklaces of ears next to windows…some really creepy bits here!

As for the appearance of the witch, we have the classic bent back + bony hands, leaning on hawthorne staves, wide-brimmed hats…but she may just as well wear flowers of red and yellow in a cheerful peasant’s garb…were it not for the openly-worn necklace of bones…What about witches dressed in ragged burial shrouds, the face masked by a massive bird’s skull? Heck yes! Treasure include wands made from formerly mummified human forearms, brooms with carved, leering goblin faces, charm and trinket-studded hats and books identifying animals, plants and herbs…wrapped in human skin. Trinkets include boxes of fingernails, sticks that are maps in disguise, bowls that include both dried apples and eyeballs…amazing.

Conclusion: 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 knocks it out of the park with his witch-dressing. The tables are evocative, inspired and cool; they provide a couple of classics and novel ones, and offer some immediately gameable ideas; the tables are strongly geared towards feeling witch-like, so yeah – pretty awesome and definitely worth the asking price. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #17: Witch's Hovel
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Monstrous Lair #16: Thieves' Hideout
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2019 02:21:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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 approaches to a thieves’ hideout may be covered in strange sigils and symbols, painted roughly on nearby structures; the approach may be hidden behind piles of rubble, or nearby beggars may make for bribable, but unreliable sources of information…or be the thief in disguise…or an ally…I actually got a chuckle out of one of them: A large sign reading “THIEVES ONLY” on the door leading to a trapped room. I am so going to use that one! As for what’s going on, we have guards perched in alcoves, waiting for the chance to signal allies; we have faked repairs that are an ambush, close-quarters knife-fighting training and planning heists over maps.

For notable features, the tables include nasty pickpocketing-training mannequins (with razor-lined pockets…), practice locks, hidden chutes for quick escapes and the like – pretty cool ones! The minor features of such a hideout include thick carpets covering creaky floorboards, desks set to topple noisily, makeshift caltrops and more – once again, some interesting choices here!

As for the thief’s appearance, we have imitations fine clothes and jewelry, climbing kits and leather over fine silk. A solid table, but weak compared to the ones before. The treasure section is more interesting, including specialized purse-cutting daggers, light-absorbant leather armor or weird keys that can strangely fit multiple locks…Finally, as far as trinkets are concerned, we can find containers that hold (hilariously) misspelled “poison”, which could serve as an indicator of the lowly upbringing of that dapple gent over there, ankle-high boots shredded by caltrops and similar bit and pieces of paraphernalia.

Conclusion: 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 thieves’ hideouts is cool: Apart from the comparably weak appearance table, the others brim with diverse creativity and set this clearly apart from other dressing files. Many tables have genuinely cool entries, and as such, I consider this to be worthwhile purchase, with my final verdict clocking in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #16: Thieves' Hideout
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Monstrous Lair #15: Bandit Camp
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/22/2019 07:24:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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 approaches to a bandit camp may sport sharpened stakes nigh half-dug pits, small wooden palisades, crosses of sticks marking areas for unknown purposes (treasure? traps? guard post?), and blood mixing with water under a fallen log speaks violence, and the remains of bark shows that there may have been a battle… Once the PCs find the camp, they may interrupt archery practice, bandits struggling with a deer’s carcass, repairs being undertaken for a damaged shelter, instructions in spear repair, and the like – it’s odd, but in spite of the generic nature of bandits, this one managed to still evoke a pretty focused image.

As far as notable features of the camp, we may find haphazardly-fortified perimeters, a mockery of a skeleton called “king” atop a rough log throne (or is it an undead bandit king?), shredded flags speaking of disgruntled feelings towards the authority…and the minor features include offal being gathered for application to spikes; pulped berries may be used for bandit cloaks, and blunted swords rest on tables, awaiting repairs. Bandit appearances may include being covered in blood and muck, smelling of stale beer; ruined uniforms of once proud mercenary units, attempting to hide grievous wounds and some indicators for success (or lack thereof) complement this section. As far as the treasures are concerned, we can find rune-emblazoned braziers, fletcher’s tools, or the beautiful and obviously cherished banner of a forgotten lord – some cool ones here! Finally, the trinket-table features once fine and now threadbare footstools, felt hats decorated with feathers (obviously green!) and other tools of the trade.

Conclusion: 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 bandit dressing could have been utterly generic and lame, but in contrast to my expectations, the pdf took the time and think about why folks choose to become bandits, and how that may be reflected in the dressing of their camps, in what they hold dear. Considering that this actually manages to instill them with a sense of identity, in spite of the wide-open banditry angle, my final verdict will round up from 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #15: Bandit Camp
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Monstrous Lair #18: Bugbears' lair
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/22/2019 07:23:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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.

Recently, Pathfinder has recontextualized bugbears as distinct humanoids that have transcended the original use of yet-another-evil goblinoid race, emphasizing fear as their weapon of choice. Personally, I really enjoy this thematic differentiation from the other goblinoid races, and as such, I liked the focus of approaches noted: From embedded skulls on stakes to grisly fetishes and catapults firing pans of offal and bones, this section is pretty nice, though a bit more versatility would have been nice – the first three entries all feature stakes, not counting bodyparts impaled on spikes instead. As for what’s going on, we have bugbears in the process of killing goblinoids, skinning, discussions on captured females and the like – this table further emphasizes the horrific nature of these humanoids, and it is more versatile than the first table.

As for notable features, we have makeshift arenas, traces of the consumption of sentient humanoids, and dead or bound bugbears, subjected to the tender mercies of their own sadistic kind. As far as minor features are concerned, we can find even more skulls, bones and traps and torture devices. The pdf also features bugbear appearances, which include oversized dresses covered in bits and gore, human skin wrapped around large shields…or limping on a sharp-spiked staff. The pdf also features 10 treasures that include barbed morning stars that scream when an opponent is hit, strange sacks that muffle screams and can carry whole humanoids, and more – this table is pretty cool and easily the strongest within. The trinkets include broken swords attached to a rope, finger-bones half-threaded to sinew and worse.

Conclusion: 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 bugbears makes them grisly, nasty and dangerous. Their dressing emphasizes how vile they can be, and the notes on torture-devices, stuff made from the living and remains make them rather creepy indeed. All in all, a fun and well-wrought dressing file with a couple of highlights. My final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #18: Bugbears' lair
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Monstrous Lair #13: Aboleth's Sunken Lair
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2019 02:59:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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 towards the aboleth’s cavern may be covered in acidic slime, and a body, wrists cut, skin sodden and translucent, speaks of the horror of the aboleth’s mucus as a nice telegraph for PCs, with several murals things, and scenes of pain and madness telegraphing the threat ahead. As far as for what’s going on: The by now pretty much obligatory “Asleep”-angle is included; the aboleth may also be focusing its three-eyed gaze at scratches remaining of an ancient map. Perhaps it’s swaying its tentacles, humming oddly…or it’s making art/engaging in a kind of weird haruspex by splattering a repitilian man on the rocks, intently staring at the blood-spatters generated. Really cool!

As far as notable features for the cavern are concerned, we can find the strange notation of ancient songs laid into the walls, grisly reminders of the aboleth’s wrath (like bodyparts or broken tridents impaling the remainders of unfortunates trying to challenge this beast); among the minor features, we can find patches of slime surrounded by white residue, large shadows in the water darting around, scrawled warnings and the like. The aboleth’s appearance cam sport mauve undersides suffused with black veins, a blinded eye and copious scars…or the creature can wear golden bracelets, or what about orange/purple tentacles standing apart? Nice one! The treasures to be found include cloaks of rubbery skin, obsidian-pronged tridents…or what about bronze medallions depicting doors held shut by tentacles? Some nice ones here. Finally, the trinket table includes polished shells that have mysterious words engraved, gloves with silken webbing, etc. – some really nice ones here!

Conclusion: 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 provides a rather nice little selection of dressing-entries for aboleths, with the entries providing a nice array of foreshadowing and tension-building. All in all, a fun and worthwhile dressing file. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #13: Aboleth's Sunken Lair
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Monstrous Lair #14: Lizardfolk Village
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2019 02:58:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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.

So, the good ole’ lizardfolk…well, approaches to their lair can show hummocks of reeds and moss, with puddles of stagnant water in-between, thick mires and skull totems. This table is per se nice, though it could be a bit more versatile – a couple of pools and trails carved into the reeds are pretty dominant here, considering the brevity of the table. As far as things going on, we have lizardfolk consulting with one another over tracks in the mud, being covered in blood from a boar its gutting, and several scenes one would associate with the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, with the one where a lizardfolk puts a frog from its spear into a pouch perhaps the most distinct.

As far as notable features are concerned, we can see hollow bonetubes emitting a wailing sound, barricades of sharpened sticks, arches made from trees and reeds, or alligator skins, draped over wooden frames as though some kind of trophy. I did like the notion of wrapping snake skeletons around torches. The minor features includes peat being dried, fish being smoked, and baskets of animal teeth awaiting being hammered into clubs.

Lizardfolk appearances feature, among other things, turtle-shell shields, bright crests on head and back, strange war-painting or primitive armor of turtle shells topped with a boar skull. The treasures include, once more, turtle shells, this time with esoteric paintings on them, well-oiled daggers venerated as relics, smooth pieces of glass, perhaps used to focus sunlight and similar odds and ends. The trinket table, finally, includes unfinished spears, bird skulls topping reed-dolls and fans made of heron feathers – here, I liked the trinkets more than the treasures!

Conclusion: 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 little dressing file on lizardfolk isn’t bad – it captures their swamp-bound, primitive lifestyle well…but it doesn’t do much beyond that. One could just as easily replace lizardfolk with any other swamp-dwelling humanoid and there we go. While not bad, the pdf could have used a stronger focus on the intended type of critter. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #14: Lizardfolk Village
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Monstrous Lair #12: Medusa's Lair
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/19/2019 04:20:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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 approaches to a medusa’s lair may be lined by shattered statues and rubble, strange collections of them aligned as intricately entwined fountains or hands of stone placed on the wall – pointing further inside. Amazing! As for what’s going on, the medusa may be dancing around a statue, stringing a bow…or she’s spitting in a bowl, poisoning arrows by dipping them inside. Perhaps, she is in the middle of a breakdown, screaming at a statue before slumping to the ground…some seriously cool entries here.

While the minor features this time around are, well, minor (snake fang embedded in a door frame), they do their job and make room for the massively-detailed notable feature table, which unsurprisingly, focuses on a surprising variety of statues of unfortunates meeting their petrifying doom. While the singular focus may put off some, I did enjoy these…though some mirrors, tactically placed, or similar features would have been interesting as well.

As for the appearance of the medusa, we have hooded and blindfolded old women, amazons with high leather boots and braided snake hair, oracles in ragged clothing or insanely beautiful maidens with heads topped by hissing, crimson serpents. What about the girl medusa with her snake-headed doll and dried flower-bouquet? Definite winner here. As far as treasure is concerned,we have stone hands that feature ruby-studdd gold rings, bands inscribed with heroic tales, a severed snake head grasping small eggs of gold in its jaws and more. the trinkets include broken mirrors, snapped daggers partially embedded in statues and even broken, highly polished frying pans that have been scratched!

Conclusion: 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 delivers this time around – in contrast to his uninspired take on dark folk, his dressing file on medusas offers a great variety between the serious and odd, between the quaint and unusual. A well-wrought dressing file, this gets a final verdict of 5 stars, missing my seal only by a margin.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #12: Medusa's Lair
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Monstrous Lair #11: Dark Creeper Village
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/19/2019 04:18:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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.

Approaches to a dark creeper village may include patches of smelly toadstools that show signs of harvesting, stinking paste smeared on walls or thin ropes hanging them up to dry. Smelly paste and toadstools are a bit dominant in this table. As for what’s going on, we have creepers slicing carefully toadstool skin from one, applying shrooms to clothes to fix them, or, more interestingly, dipping sharpened stones and bits of glass into black paste, constructing a trap.

As far as notable features are concerned, we have smashed lanterns, candles and broken torches…but why are these in the dark creeper village in the first place?? We also have, you guessed it, more sharp knives embedded in more mushrooms. And some rope tethers, left behind of an evaporated body – which is a nice entry, acknowledging a peculiarity of dark folk. How manacles attached to a wall are a major feature, though? Minor features include shoddily constructed wood, wooden sticks, iron doors thrown with a lot of force…I don’t see much correlation with dark folk here.

The appearance table features kilts of human skin, pale, clawed hands as only visible bodyparts, staring eyes and jabbering in battle or throwing knives from left to right hand. Okay. The treasure section features…you guessed it. Black grease covers sharp knives…but also severed boots with skeletal feet inside, plaits of blonde hair, etc. The trinket table sports whetstones, maps of sewers and pouches with stinking food and sharp stones.

Conclusion: 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 is usually better at these files. This dressing file has a puzzling focus on knives and mushrooms, to the point where it becomes redundant and not very helpful. The dressing here could have helped make dark folk stand out more; instead, it is, for the most part, a dud. Inexpensive, sure, but still a dud. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #11: Dark Creeper Village
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Monstrous Lair #9: Wights' Barrow
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/18/2019 03:38:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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.

In this installment, we take a look at wights and their barrows, with the outside of the barrow featuring confused footprints, moss-covered and weed-wreathed stones, holes speaking of grave-robbing attempts and the like. Inside, the wight may be sleeping, or pretending to be sleeping. Considering that undead are immune to sleep in most D&D-based games, an odd choice. Stasis or inactivity would make more sense. The wight skinning a small rat, gnawing on bones and sharpening claws and teeth are valid entries for what’s going one, but could be theoretically applied to plenty of undead. Here, using the dressing to make wights stand out more represents a bit of a lost chance.

The notable features include pools of stagnant waters that may hide the wight (cool), foul miasmic odors or clattering piles of bones. Minor features include carefully piled up treasure, and faded murals that have been partially defaced. The wight’s appearance may include glowing eyes,and an entry that hints a bit at what this pdf could/should have provided more of: Matted, black hair that snakes like a medusa’s? Now that is not something that e.g. a ghoul would have. Chiming cocker necklaces may make for unnerving foreboding, etc. As far as treasure is concerned, we can find old leather pouches, blasphemous religious texts or scrolls containing explicit details of death and torture. The trinket table features broken and fragmented pots and pottery, crystallized honey (cool!) or heaped piles of moldering clothes.

Conclusion: 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.

Creighton Broadhurst’s take on wights suffers from the fact that they have a less distinct identity, something that proper dressing could have helped – their power and unearthly nature could have been easily enhanced here, and while a few entries help distinguish them, the pdf also sports a couple of entries that are more generically undead. As such, my final verdict can’t exceed 3.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #9: Wights' Barrow
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Monstrous Lair #6: Minotaur Den
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/13/2019 05:52:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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 approaches of a minotaur’s den, of which there are 10 provided, may sport shards of destroyed shields and faded chalk crosses, as well as hoofed tracks in the mud. When actually entering the den, there are 10 things that can be going on. The minotaur may not be there, be snoring loudly, or the minotaur may be sharpening its weapons or in the throes of a homicidal rage. The latter is one of the entries, alongside an initial sluggishness, that first really drives home minotaur-like peculiarities.

Among the notable features, we have a red-dotted mushroom garden, spears nailing once mighty warriors to the wall, tapestries sporting mazes…some nice components here. The minotaur comes with 10 minor features to customize the den, with fresh breezes and cobwebs adding some dressing. Once more, though, these feel less specific and might well work for a more generic dressing file just as well.

The minotaur appearances include being one-horned, having burn marks (perhaps from branding?) or strange spiral patterns on the chest – here, we once more have a stronger table that is more specific. The treasures are lost letters professing fool’s dream to offer luxury to their partner, a pouch of spell components and e.g. a cast-iron cauldron, the remains of the meal still smears. As far as the 10 trinket entries are concerned, we have bone shards for spell use, a brass incense burner missing a leg or a crude birch walking stick.

Conclusion: 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.

Huh. Creighton Braodhurst’s dressing files are usually better than this. Don’t get me wrong – the pdf does offer some fun and well-crafted tables…but in many an instance, I’d have wished for a stronger tie-in to the minotaur leitmotifs. As a huge fan of Borges, I had hoped for emphasis beyond being a big, violent brute – as written, this pdf could just as well be used for trolls or ogres, at least for the most part. A deviation from the core-series formula to represent labyrinth-markings and the juxtaposition of the concept of man-in-animal, animal-in-man, a crucial leitmotif of the minotaur myth, would have really helped this come into its own. As a whole, this entry in the series left me rather disappointed and with a distinct sense of it simply missing the mark in a couple of the tables. While not bad, I thus consider this to be a mixed bag. My final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #6: Minotaur Den
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