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Dungeon Dressing: Altars (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

Our Price: $1.99

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible supplement by Creighton Broadhurst

Tired of dungeons lacking in verisimilitude? Want to add cool little features of interest to your creations but don't have the time to come up with nonessential details? Want to make your dungeons feel more realistic?

Then Dungeon Dressing is for you! Each instalment in the line focuses on a different common dungeon fixture such as stairs, pillars or pools and gives the harried GM the tools to bring such features to life with interesting and cool noteworthy features.

This instalment of Dungeon Dressing presents loads of great features to add to the altars in your dungeon. Designed to be used both during preparation or actual play, Dungeon Dressing: Altars is an invaluable addition to any GM's armoury!

Dungeon Dressing: Altars presents:

  • One table providing detailed descriptions of an altar’s characteristics.
  • One table presenting additional altar features such as hidden compartments, fungal growths, discarded equipment and more!
  • Three clever altar-based traps (CRs 3-6) along with two additional variant traps.

This product is a Dual Format PDF. The downloadable ZIP file contains two versions, one optimised for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimised for use on a mobile device such as an iPad.

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Product Reviews (3)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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Excellent Product for a Niche Consumer

****( )

So this is my first time looking at a Dungeon Dressing product, or a Raging Swan product for that matter. This is normally the sort of thing I shy away from, because I am never at a loss for over-winded explanations for my players. But $2 is tempting, so let's see what you get for your money.

When we talk about crunch, we're referring to game mechanics, and as you might expect for a product called "Dungeon Dressing," there's not a whole lot here in that regard. The final three pages of the product are devoted to traps that can be affixed to an alter. There's a table that lists quick-and-easy spell traps, but let's face it; we all want the nasties that Raging Swan has cooked up for us. There are three custom traps in this book, and I must say that they are all very inventive. I'm not usually a traps sort of guy, but I could see myself using the amazingly awesome spiked roof trap, which is exactly what it sounds like. The other two traps are less interesting in my opinion because they are basically dressed up spell effects while the ceiling trap was actually something new and inventive. I'm not a fan of the Cursed Idol trap, mainly because it includes an alignment change as part of its effect and I loathe anything that unwillingly changes a character's alignment (that's why you don't see any alignment change in spirit influences in Pact Magic Unbound, Vol. 1 anymore). While I suppose I knew what I was getting into with a product called "Dressings," I felt like the crunch that was in this book wasn't very new or exciting. Except for the spiked ceiling, of course. 3 / 5 Stars.

You wouldn't think a product completely devoted to describing an alter would be very interesting, but by god Raging Swan does an excellent job of making it interesting. The product starts with a little bit of background on what an alter is, basically setting up the stage for the rest of the product. I basically rolled my eyes and said, "Well DUH," during this entire intro, but its important to establish what you're talking about when you do a product like this, so I don't fault it for that. There are some handy little charts and tables for giving some extra character to your alters, and I was very impressed personally with all of the different ways Raging Swan figured out how to customized and add functionality to an alter. Overall, the flavor of this product is very, very strong and just reading those tables can set your mind up for some very interesting encounters. 5 / 5 Stars.

When we talk about texture, we're talking about layout, formatting, art, and editing. The art in this book is almost non-existent, but at a little over a dozen pages I'm willing to let that slide. After all, omitting art is an awesome way to keep prices down so its a necessary evil. The product has a very minimalist approach to it, from its all-black front cover to its equally all-black back cover. Despite its appearance, it really works for the document. I'd imagine this would be extremely printer-friendly as well, which is a mega bonus for a PDF product in my book. There are several wonky grammar mistakes, such as improper use of plurals throughout the document but they're scarce enough that they don't affect the reading experience much; even for a grammar-crazed teacher like myself. 5 / 5 Stars.

Final Score & Thoughts
Crunch: 3 / 5
Flavor: 5 / 5
Texture: 5 / 5
Final Score: 4 /5 Stars

When I purchase products, I personally prefer a bit of meat on its bones. I like new ideas mechanically because I'm not the type to run out of ideas creatively. However, I am well aware that I am in the minority in this regard and I honestly think that this product is worth your money if you need inspiration on creating and detailing your game world's alters and if you're like me, you might find a little bit of . This is a niche product that is not going to appeal to everyone, but if the other Dungeon Dressings are half as good as this one, I'd definitely pick up another the next time I'm running into designer's block.

Great installment of a great line


The latest installment of Raging Swan's Dungeon Dressing-line is 13 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 us with a total of 6 pages of content for the information on altars!

Following the format of the series, we first are introduced to basic characteristics and appearances of altars, providing 5 base materials ranging from stone to bone including base harness, hit points and break DCs, a list of common protective spells and things that can be found on altars as well as a summary of rules for e.g. higher ground when jumping on the altars before getting 47 different entries for basic appearances that include height, manacles and even the inclusion of symbol-spells.

After that, we're on to a list of 100 different forms of dressings and features, including luminescent fungus, candles, ground bones, pentagram carvings, acid scars, gongs and even a magically-induced cold/warm feeling.

Of course, no good altar would come without some kind of security/defense and thus, we are also introduced to 11 different and rather deadly spell traps alongside some more conventional ones (3 to be precise) - in the broadest sense: From a cool, multi-round crushing ceiling trap to a cursed idol and even a battery of skulls emitting fire and enfeebling death, the different traps are pure gold and make for a fitting final element for this pdf.

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP'S b/w-2-column standard and the pdf comes in 2 versions, one for screen use and one optimized to be printed out. Both pdfs come fully bookmarked. Concisely presented with a lot of great content, imaginative traps and some cool coverings, this pdf can be considered not only a worthy addition to the excellent Dungeon Dressing line, it is also one of my favorites so far. Lacking any gripes and having enjoyed this that much, my final verdict will clock in at an unsurprising 5 stars + endzeitgeist seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


Dungeon Dressing: Altars weighs in at 13 pages, with roughly half of those pages being taken up with covers, TOC, OGL credits and intro. Fully bookmarked (always a plus), the TOC is even linked (which is a double plus!). Follows the standard dual column approach to format, with no horrible editing mishaps jumping out and making themselves known that I saw.

OK, so the Dressing series...each installment tackles one particular thing, and strives to give us enough material to make that thing easier to make better within our games. This time out it is the altar, that center point for sacrifices, evil bad guy lairs, final show down know, the altar!!! OK, so maybe there can be good ones also, lol. This pdf is filled with lists and options covering everything from construction material to interesting features, making sure that with just a few quick decisions from a handful of lists you can design a unique altar on the fly.

So, after consulting the charts, and rolling my dice I have my altar....

The altar is 6 ft. high; ceremonial steps behind it enable the priest to carry out services. The steps are narrow and steep; a landing at the top provides a modicum of comfort for the officiating priest. A small gong stands atop the altar; it is tarnished and battered. An unholy symbol is inscribed into its center. Of its hammer, there is no sign.

So, not to shabby for a whopping 2 dice rolls, no? But it needs something...something...oh yeah, a trap. Well, luckily the very next chapter deals with altar traps...From crushing ceilings to spell traps, to skulls with eyebeam attacks, this chapter has got you covered with making sure your altar isn't just sitting there waiting to be abused by them do-gooder types.

As I have stated many times before, if you are designing without Creighton in your corner, and his series of insanely valuable time saving pdfs...well you must have more time than any GM I have ever met, period. Another excellent addition to the collection, the only thing I can even think to say in negative here is that I would have loved to have seen a few fully designed example altars, but that's just me being picky. An easy 5 star rating, and well worth the price of admission folks. Gift Certificates
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