Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/02/2-
INTRODUCTION: Random Marsh Encounters is a twenty-three page Pathfinder compatible supplement for GameMasters to implement within their campaign. Even though it is compatible for the Pathfinder RPG, this supplement can be easily inserted into D20 fantasy based game systems with little to no conversion and with some conversion, to other earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons.
CONTENTS: Within this wonderful supplement are eight separate random encounters found in and around swamps and/or marsh areas. Each of these encounters are detailed enough to provide the GM enough information to run an interesting and lengthy encounter for those players who happen to stumble upon them as they adventure through a marsh region. The encounters include but not limited to are a group of shamanistic lizardmen on a religious pilgrimage with their “messiah”, a band of savage kobolds with a unique weapon, a distraught woman with pleas to the adventurers to save her child who was kidnaped by a “swamp witch,” a long forgotten battlefield that serves as a lair of two creatures who work together to feed on those who search it, a camp of swamp “children” with an interesting loving mother who cares for them, and so on. Each of the encounters are basically formatted in such a way that give maximum information without added fluff. That is a total plus for those GM’s who wish to run a simple encounter and not having to research multiple pages. In this case, each encounter is fully detailed on two full pages. The encounters come in various CR’s(challenge ratings) for different levels of adventuring parties. A basic but short description of the encounter is either read to the players or via the GM’s personal description and from there the encounter begins. There is a portion of the encounter that is titled “What’s going on here?” that explains to the GM the whole purpose of the scenario. There is a section with a multitude of options on what can occur based on the adventurers actions. Another section also covers the terrain features of the swamp, marsh, and bog in the event the players have a combat scenario. Options to scale the adventure for higher or lower adventurers is given as well. Last but not least, there is the stat block for the creature(s) encountered.
PRACTICAL USE: A GM who is in need of short scenarios for random encounters in a swamp should really look into this specific supplement. The information provided for each of the scenarios will bring at the minimum of at least one hour to two hours of fun per each scenario provided. The diverse nature of the encounter with the option to scale back encounters makes this a very flexible supplement for a wide variety of levels as far as the characters are concerned. Included with this supplement was a Random Marsh Encounters companion that contained all the stat blocks of all of the creatures that can be encountered. This made it real easy to handle all encounters without having to go back and forth each time looking through the PDF on the computer.
POSITIVE NOTES: This supplement is twenty-three pages of total enjoyment. Unfortunately, I did not run all of the encounters contained within but I am certain to use this supplement again in the event that my players wander around through swamps and marshes as shortcuts. Special thanks to Shawn Herly, John Ewves, Chris Jones, Victor Locque, and Mary St.Johns for participating in three of the scenarios this past two weekends. Easy adaptability and compatibility to D20 fantasy games and earlier editions is a total plus. The scenarios are far from boring and added a lot of new ideas when it comes to random encounters. The art contained was minimal and made room for additional information on each scenario. The publisher of this specific module provides an “ERRATA” feature on his site that will detail any issues found within this supplement and others they have released in PDF format.
NEGATIVE NOTES: Unless there was an issue with Adobe Acrobat, my only negative note was how the supplement was presented in PDF format. I personally prefer to read one page at a time when reading documents on PDF and in this case, the setup was in a way where both pages were visible. In order to read the document, I had to read the 1st page then slide over to the right to read page two. As one delves deeper into the supplement, there was some difficulty going back to earlier pages without losing your place. The reviewer did not print this document but will do so in the event to present the scenarios in a better attempt to read them otherwise this supplement is highly recommended.
OVERALL REVIEW: I find this supplement excellent in the fact that I used three of the scenarios in a weekend to a group of friends. The scenarios are easy to read and well structured to the point that there was little need to research a lot of information from any other books. All information required to run these scenarios are contained within this supplement.
[4 of 5 Stars!]