Random Hill Encounters
By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Raging Swan Press is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The first encounter is actually a 4-room-micro-dungeon (including a map): Grave robbers have intruded into a cairn and now a cairn wight and a minor skeletal champion are rather disgruntled.
The second encounter provides for more intriguing challenges: A centipede-infested shambling mound and its basilisk-pet guard, among other things, Chandry, an intelligent handy haversack
Not long ago, Kyrim pain, hobgoblin mercenary, has created his own band and the PCs may actually encounter them and either fight or parlay with them – the hobgoblin comes with full NPC-information like distinguishing features etc.
The next encounter provides a sample orc-tribe, including 5 sample stats – nothing to write home about, though. Especially when compared to the orcs of the eternal zenith.
A patrol of dwarves also make for an interesting social encounter and provides extensive NPC-information for the members of the group.
The next encounter in the pdf provides for a rather grotesque, yet lethal encounter – an inter-species relationship between an ogress (clr 8) and a hill giant (brb 2/ftr 2) has bloomed into a meat-grinding toll-operation that could make for an interesting and strangely romantic encounter.
Ulwen and Phara, a merchant and his almost dead soldier companion Phara survived a raid, but only barely – the PCs will have to act quick and smart to save Phara and repair their wagon, hopefully guiding the traumatized merchant to safety.
The final encounter has the PCs face off against wyverns with red dragon blood, which is guaranteed to be a challenge indeed.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. layout adheres to Raging Swan’s 2-column standard and the b/w-artworks and little map are nice. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, with a version optimized for use with e-readers and a file of collated statblocks for your Raging Swan statblock-library. While 2 encounters (the ogress and her mate and the shambling mound) make for far-out, cool critters, the rest of the encounters left me rather cold and didn’t excite me – perhaps I’m spoiled by the absolute STELLAR Random Marsh Encounters, but in direct comparison, this installment by Ben Kent, while still a good offering for the low price, falls flat. my final verdict will thus be 4 stars – still an interesting purchase that shows a lot of promise.
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