The Dungeon Dressing line continues with the latest offering, Pools. Taking the design reigns for this PDF is John Bennett, with a forward from Raging Swans own Creighton Broadhurst. Following the standard dual column approach with a few pieces of embedded artwork, this PDF weighs in at 13 pages. After covers,OGL,credits and forward, we are left with eight pages for the material. The PDF is also comes bookmarked, as well as the Table of Contents being fully linked as well (always a nice touch!).
If you are familiar at all with the Dressing series, feel free to skip the next few lines, otherwise my friends, pull up a spot and listen up. The Dressing line seeks to give Gms an easy to use method of fleshing out the details that help really immerse your players into settings...filled with tips and advice on the visual and physical aspects of a specific feature, this time being pools, or small bodies of water. As is the case with each offering in this line, there are d100 lists, for when you just need something fast, or on the fly. Taken alone, these lists are invaluable, and a great time saver for Gms, and here they are just a part of this entire product.
But wait, lists and tips on differing types of pools, random lists to help generate in record time...what else could this treasure of a PDF possibly have to offer you say? Well, how about traps? Yes, traps. Not all pools in a dungeon are just waiting for you to find and take advantage of, no, some of them are being used as bait by those who want to take advantage of you, lol. Two traps are detailed here, one an instant vortex pulling characters to an underground chamber where in the characters face a potential drowning. The other pulls the old “I fool you” scenario, with a modified tentacle spell used to impersonate a large aquatic monstrosity. Very cool, and a very good way to get your players to kick your cat on their way out of the door, lol.
The last section of this PDF details two magical pools with a full physical description, backstory, effects and skill checks to learn information. Of the two, one is pretty dark and evil, the other struck me as a souvenir stand of sorts...let me explain. The Necrotic Pool is a magical pool used by necromancers to aid in the creation of undead, take a guess why you don't want to be drinking this water lol. The other pool, The Pool of the Forgotten Gods literally allows your characters to “buy” a bonus within game mechanics as their characters ranging from pretty paltry to a full attribute point to be applied as they choose. Now, they can only do this once per year, and it it possible to get a pretty hefty negative if they offer up to small of an amount of wealth, and they have no mechanism to know price ranges other than experience through trial and error. But, in a group dynamic of 4-5 players, if they each take a turn upping the last guy enough (well, there's only 6 possible rewards for the offering) you could have players quickly realizing the potential of this pool. I would be very careful about allowing this pool into a campaign that also allows chronomancy on any level.
Ok, that cover everything...OK, so, those already familiar with the series, time to come back, ready? Ok, buy this. There, all you need to know. Seriously.
The one pool strikes me as exactly what it is, trade in your money, get an in game bonus, beyond that, this entire PDF is solid, and a welcome addition to anyone's library of material. So, excellent random lists, fantastic breakdown of varying pools and options, two cool traps, and one really cool magical pool, with one not so much so pool. I noticed no errors jumping out and screaming for attention, and formatting looked to be error free as well. Am going to go with a technical 4.5 as I'm just not on board with the Pool of the Forgotten Gods, but I will round up to a 5 for the purposes of these forums.