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    Dungeon Denizens: EL 1 $1.99
    Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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    Dungeon Denizens: EL 1
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    Dungeon Denizens: EL 1
    Publisher: Raging Swan Press
    by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 03/13/2013 04:57:21

    This pdf is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/introduction, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

    First: Read the introduction. It's essentially the product in a nutshell - what you get is a table to roll on for random encounters, the first one with 11 entries - all these entries feature where the creature can be found (e.g. in which Bestiary) and generally, all creatures in here fall in one of three categories - basic creatures you can take straight from the respective bestiary, modified creatures that have e.g. the young template applied and unique creatures that are provided as statblocks on the adjacent page -take e.g. an animated candelabra, a sample necromancer, a wererat-rouge etc. The interesting thing about these tables, though, is the fact that the respective tables include massive chunks of text for each entry in the tables: The text for aforementioned candelabras could work as a sample read-aloud text straight from this pdf - awesome. In the instance of intelligent adversaries, we get instead a short write-up of the motivation of the respective creature.

    We get one table for the dungeon-environment, one for caverns and one for wandering denizens - and yes, these include also a paladin, a tiefling rogue or a ghost commoner. Interesting would also be the fact that the modified creatures also get names - fire beetles with the advanced template are called mining beetles - adding, just, via a name, more depth to the critters. Very nice!

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's elegant 2-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The pdfs both come fully bookmarked.

    This is a grand opening for the new product-line - mixing fluff with inclusive tables (amoeba swarm, baby!) as well as some ready-made statblocks should provide maximum usefulness and appeal for anybody checking this out. What I'm a bit concerned about in future releases would be that the stats necessarily get more complex in higher ELs and mixed, so I'm hoping that the future installments won't suffer content/page-count-wise from the required added complexity. For the inauguration issue, I remain with a glowing recommendation of 5 stars plus seal of approval.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Dungeon Denizens: EL 1
    Publisher: Raging Swan Press
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 03/07/2013 06:03:57

    Back when I was a graduate student, there was one undergraduate DM who gained the nickname 'Neon Bruce' because if you ventured into an area of his dungeon that he didn't want you to visit yet, you encountered a large neon sign that said 'No Entry'!

    Perhaps this work would have enabled him to cope with straying characters, as it is intended to empower the GM to create encounters on the fly, selecting and slotting in appropriate monsters as and when you need them. This, the first of (we hope) many products, deals with providing you with stacks of ready-made EL1 encounters worth 400 XP to those who defeat them successfully.

    It is based around three big tables, on which you can roll percentage dice (or just pick an encounter if you prefer to do so). One is for dungeon areas, one for cavern areas and one for the classic 'wandering monster.' The dungeon area ones are most suitable if you are delving a constructed dungeon, and the cavern ones for more natural underground places (the two, of course, may intersect). Wandering monsters, by their very nature, can turn up just about anywhere, provided you can reason out a route for them to get there.

    Some of the encounters involve regular monsters from the Pathfinder RPG 'Bestiary' books. Some involve variants which have the advanced, giant or young templates applied to them, and some are unique monsters whose details are given here.

    So, let's get the bones out and see what's here... OK, an 89 gives me a wererat! But there's more, I'm provided with his name and a bit of background as to why he's here in the dungeon - apparently he's ugly even as wererats go so was happy to accept a job from whoever-it-is that constructed this dungeon to keep this area clear of intruders. By and large he does a good job, but he's not above stopping for a chat! So in a couple of short sentences the encounter is transformed from 'Here is a monster to brawl with' to a whole opportunity to make a true encounter of it. Are the characters perpared to chat or will they just lay into him? What will be the outcome of a conversation? Quite delightful, isn't it. Because this is a named specific wererat, not just any old wererat, he's got a complete stat block provided on the next page so we have all the details necessary to play him - in conversation or in combat, as the need arises.

    Even when your roll selects a 'standard' by-the-book monster, there are still additional snippets to make the encounter more interesting. In the caverns table, for example, your roll might result in two mites and a giant cockroach... only the cockroach is the mites' pet and they are trying to teach it to jump through a hoop. Poor 'roach isn't very good at that, but it's a loyal pet and will attack anyone who goes for the mites!

    The whole book is full of stuff like this: pure genius. Worth using when planning dungeons, never mind when caught out by pesky players wandering off where you hadn't expected them to go!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
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