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    Random Encounters: Wilderness II $3.99
    Average Rating:5.0 / 5
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    Random Encounters: Wilderness II
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    Random Encounters: Wilderness II
    Publisher: Raging Swan Press
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 12/10/2014 03:42:36

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This pdf clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (with statblocks by CR), 1 page author bios (nice!), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

    Now this is a collection of encounters that resulted from Raging Swan Press' open call for freelancers by various authors and come with +/- 1 EL scaling information. The encounters herein can easily be plugged into a given campaign, so from here on SPOILERS will show up. If you're a player, please jump to the conclusion.

    The first encounter fits perfectly into the desolation of a desert with a minor dressing table, providing one nasty adversary for low levels PCs - a were-vulture ranger and his raptor companions. While only CR 4, be assured that this guy can be lethal - I once killed off 3(!!!) PCs with a harpy-sniper and that did not have the buff-suite and smart tactics of the ranger - a challenging encounter, especially nice for experienced groups and mostly remarkable for the damn fine NPC-build!

    The next encounter has a cool idea at its base - what do the small elementals do? Well, they may gather in harmless schools, extinguishing flames and harassing PCs...and if you turn hostile, you may well have to face the enraged caretakers! I really like that concept and the escalating conditions in the encounter.

    "Creeping Coins" is about the final resting place of a notorious thief, now a ghost, and his animated treasure hoard - generally nice, though also a lost chance - the encounter mentions a fascination with riddles, an illusory sphinx...but no riddle to actually ask. While RSP has enough riddle-pdfs, a sample would have been nice.

    "Desert Rose" is interesting - the pdfs are crossing a wadi, a dry riverbed and the onset of rain has them flee towards a ravine (and yes, flashfloods are a thing in the desert) - alas, the influx of water also revives the dry shrubbery and reactivates the deadly assassin vines - neat, especially due to the helpful, damn cool round-by-round breakdown! Realistic, cool, two thumbs up!

    "Lenate's Love" is a damn cool encounter as well - a fiendish gargoyle in love with an animated statue may be too much for the PCs to handle - unless they deduce a way to use the statue's programming to their advantage and have it help destroy the gargoyle. Tragic and still, fun and smart.

    "Mojepe's Grove" can be a social or combat encounter, depending on your preference - a tribe of xenophobic, desert-dwelling halflings and their awakened cactus master. Diplomacy and combat - all possible, damn cool, two thumbs up!

    "The Sting of Sun and Sand" has the PCs encounter a barbarian driven mad by sun and dehydration -they can kill the man or save him and find the remnants of his caravan - where a sandstorm and giant scorpions await...nice, if a bit conservative.

    The final encounter, the "Vulture King" has the PCs face the remnants of a tengu-caravan turned ghasts/ghouls/etc., who, surprisingly, don't immediately attack those stumbling into their oasis, offering to accept sacrifices for water. Grim and strange, a cool encounter especially suited for shades of grey sword and sorcery, but I wished the encounter was more of a settlement, less of a fire and forget affair.


    Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one for the printer. Both are fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks and the pdf sports multiple gorgeous b/w-artworks.

    Mikael Berg, Fabian Fehrs, Mark Hoover, Kiel Howell, Jacob W. Michaels, Jens Demandt Mouritsen, Christopher Wasko, Nick Wasko, Daron Woodson - congratulations, gentlemen - there is not a single boring encounter herein. While not all blew me away, the vast majority of encounters herein have something utterly unique going for them. Idea-wise, this is definitely an inspired supplement and showcases well the talent of those involved. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5, with a special shout-out to Desert Rose, Lenate the Lovesick, Children of the Sky and Mojepe's Grove - I'll be sure to use these!

    Endzeitgeist out.

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Random Encounters: Wilderness II
    Publisher: Raging Swan Press
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 07/18/2014 09:05:45

    If you are planning a desert-based plotline this could be useful to mine for ideas or indeed lift one or more encounters complete for your adventures... or you may even find that reading them inspire further adventures.

    Each of the eight encounters presented here, written by a different author (or in one case, a pair of authors), is quite detailed, which allows the GM to expand it readily if the party takes an interest in what they've encountered. Of course, the party might decide to ignore what you present them with... but that, of course, is no guarantee that it will ignore them!

    It's difficult to give many details without giving the substance of each encounter away but consider the plight of a gargoyle madly in love with an animated statue or various plantlife that only flourishes when there's a flash flood in the desert and you'll get some idea of the sheer inventiveness within these pages.

    Most of the encounters will involve combat, although there are opportunities to interact with what you've encountered in at least some of them. For each, there is plenty of detail to facilitate running the encounter including notes on tactics, game mechanical hints and advice on scaling the encounter if you really fancy one that has a wildly inappropriate CR for the party.

    Definitely something to keep to hand if there are desert regions in your campaign world...

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
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