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    Urban Dressing: Alleyways $2.45
    Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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    Urban Dressing: Alleyways
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    Urban Dressing: Alleyways
    Publisher: Raging Swan Press
    by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 04/18/2013 07:23:23

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword,1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

    Alleyways are iconic in more than one way - synonymous with illegal dealings, weird things and the crusty underbelly of a city, alleyways have always fascinated me - especially since I've been to Venice and got a glimpse at how cramped streets and alleyways can truly be. ever since that time, these places have fascinated me even more than before and Raging Swan Press has a nice little tool for DMs out there to make them stand out more - kicking off with a massive 100-entry table that features widths from 10 ft to 2 ft. as well as various types of rubble, pavement/floor, light conditions and prevalent smells.

    The second table features an array of ready-made alleyway-names that include "Scabbard Passes" and the "Rat's Passage" - nice! 20 complications are part of the deal and include scribbled runes praising the demon lords, thugs demanding toll and enigmatic fortune-tellers waiting to pronounce their real or imagined insights. 12 sample fluff-only encounters are also there to spice up the experience, including hungry fogs and the obligatory drunken ruffians.

    The final 3 pages are what makes this pdf truly shine, imho, and what distinguishes it from its rather ill-conceived direct predecessor - we get an array of 20 personalities, all in the trademark RSP fluff-shorthand, i.e. with mannerisms, appearance, personality and hooks. Nice!

    Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's crisp 2-column b/w-standard and the b/w-artworks are nice indeed. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use and both are fully and extensively bookmarked. The latest offering of Urban Dressings from the pen of Brian Liberge is a great, solid addition to the series and indeed can be seen as a great addition to a DM's toolkit - and yet. And yet it falls short at what it could easily have been. Where are the DCs to squeeze through garbage littering alleys? Where is the sewage/barf with its potentially virulent contagions? The windowsill to jump up, the steps that make acrobatics harder? I get that the dressing-line is mostly fluff, but the Dungeon Dressing-line features an extremely useful page of basic rules for the DM and similar DCs collected on one side would have made the good pdf awesome. As provided, it is a solid offering, but one that falls slightly short of what it could have been. My final verdict thus will clock in at 4 stars.

    Endzeitgeist out.

    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Urban Dressing: Alleyways
    Publisher: Raging Swan Press
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 03/19/2013 11:15:35

    Those adventurers lucky enough to have mothers ought to have been warned to avoid alleyways... but for those who never got or fail to heed such warnings, here is a fine resource to enable them to get into trouble at the drop of the GM's hat.

    As usual the information is provided as a series of tables. If you like randomicity or are in a hurry (mid-game even, with the players staring at you over your screen waiting for the scene to be set) you can roll on them, while if you have a little more time you can read through and select whichever descriptions and features appeal.

    First up is some basic descriptive text detailing width, what's underfoot and other salient features - slanting sunlight, perhaps, or a few piles of crates cluttering the place up... even the odd snoozing dog or a 'No Trespassing' sign. Next, if you decide your alley warrants one, there is a list of names.

    Scene set, there's a table of 'Hooks, Complications and Opportunities' - these are things that are going on, but which don't affect the characters directly, unless they decide to stick their noses in, of course. We ARE talking about player-characters, after all! It's suggested that you roll a D20 on this table, and you don't really want to get a 20: "Without any warning, a slum dweller throws a bucket of night soil into the alley from an upstairs window."

    Assuming you avoid this, next comes a table of actual encounters. There are 12 of these, ranging from wandering monsters to strange plants or some guards out to meet their arrest targets by making false accusations against whoever is unlucky enough to bump into them...

    Finally there are 20 detailed NPCs who may be somewhere to hand, each with a hook that could be used to spark off all manner of thing, should you so wish.

    This will make characters think twice about ducking down a 'backsie'...

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
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