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Dungeon Dressing: Corpses (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 3 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM's Resource by David Posener

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 corpses in your dungeon. Designed to be used both during preparation or actual play, Dungeon Dressing: Corpses is an invaluable addition to any GM's armoury!

Dungeon Dressing: Corpses presents:

  • Information on the stages of decomposition, corpse properties and so on.
  • One table presenting interesting details to add to monster corpses.
  • One table presenting interesting details to add to humanoid corpses.
  • One table presenting details of six slain adventurers.
  • Three clever corpse-based traps (CRs 8-10).

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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:

***** (based on 3 ratings)

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A very neat little body of work


As with all the dungeon dressing I’ve read so far, once you strip away the cover pages, advertising, OGL etc., what you get is a 7 page product this time about corpses. As I’ve come to expect editing is top notch and the PDF is extremely well bookmarked. Again art is minimal, but this series is not about the artwork. SO how much bang will we get for our buck(s)?

The first page is dedicated to characteristics and appearance of corpses, and it is very well detailed, delivering 6 stages of decomposition with a quick forensics-like breakdown of each stage. It’s remarkably engaging, if somewhat morbid, bit of writing.

After this we get some features for corpses – cause of death based on a heal DC (along with a random table for cause of death), information on preparing a corpse for consumption (I kid you not), intimidate DC’s to simulate the unnerving effects on corpses on the viewer, stench DC’s to avoid the potentially sickening smell of a corpse and finally some advice on the effect a nearby corpse has on those pesky wandering monsters. I found this summary useful and thought provoking. When would I use it? At lower levels when the adventurers start out on the path of adventure – it would give them the feel of genuine rookies in the big bad world of heroic adventuring. Eventually, with the sensible DC’s given, the players would become inured to the corpses much like a morgue attendant or forensics expert does, but they do allow for situation in which a corpse(s) still presents what it should be – a disturbing and sickening sight. If you want to add a little realism to low level encounters and mystery adventures this is for you.

The next three pages detail random tables offering up interesting characteristics of monster, humanoid and adventurer corpses.

The humanoids table mainly helps to add a little cosmetic detail to the corpses but many of the entries add a potential little twist and/or treasure. Quite a few will actually have you thinking of ways to add them to an adventure.

The monsters one is a mixed bag, especially given the huge variety of monster types out there, and so is a little more limited in its applications. However this one also contains the best twists and potential ideas. Some are cosmetic and simplistic - “the corpse has been torn apart by scavengers”, many others are far more interesting – eggs alongside a corpse, one of which survives and could be incubated, a bloated corpse that may explode with devastating consequences. Again a little gem mine of ideas if a DM is willing to work to incorporate them. At the very least an added layer of detail to render the mundane memorable.

The final table on adventures is the best in my mind. It list 6 adventurers corpses complete with description, equipment, levels and class, state of decay and details on how to raise them. Even better is then goes on to describe how the newly raised adventurer can repay the party for their efforts (from money to services and a few little twists). It’s a great idea for the altruistic party and has the potential to lend a real weight to the importance of the resurrection magic.

Finally we get three tricks and traps. Two I like, one just doesn’t work for me, but I can see the potential in there. I’ve spoilers these

An impressive forest of impaled corpses, disturbing in itself, but even more so when you realise each will come to life, writhe and escape its impaling spear and attack. It’s a little more complex than that but I am eagerly awaiting a chance to use this one. It is truly creepy and all in about a half page stat black! A brilliant effort

A magical holy water fountain that can pure and command undead to drink form it, harming them. This one does little for me, but I suppose a creative DMand/or part could use it to lure undead to their undeaths(?)

The cadavalanche. A tumbling wall of piled up corpses that could bury adventurers. Why do I like it – had me thinking “dungeon where the walls are piled corpses that could collapse in at any moment”

My final thoughts. Initially I wasn’t sure how much use I’d get out of this one. So I waited and read it through a few more times. I think it’s a great resource for a GM at low levels who wants to add that element of realism and shock to the starting out hero. It also contains the kernel of ideas that a good GM can use to build up his own memorable situations. I ‘ve grown to like this line more and more with each product, and hope they do a print collection. Initially I wasn’t certain but I think this one has some real body to it.

Dead Purchase in Name Alone


An entire product detailing corpses? How ... sticky.

When we talk about crunch, we're talking about the product's game mechanics and rules content. As you might guess from a product in the 'Dungeon Dressings' line, there isn't much game mechanics in this product, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you're buying a product because you want to be able to add detail to your game, then you're probably not looking for content, are you? That said, the content that is in this particular product is ... okay. There are some very clever rules tied into corpses, such as giving them the stench special ability based on how decayed they are. Continuing down that route, there are rules for corpse decay and Heal skill check rules for identify the cause of death in a corpse, which is also very neat. There are a few very neat, inventive traps in this product and there's a rather chilling set of rules for being buried alive. The only thing I was disappointed in is that several entries in the random description tables mention specific types of creatures (such as violet fungus and centipede swarms) and it would have been nice to have references to the Bestiary book that those creatures are from to help the GM. All in all, I found myself really liking what little bit of crunch this product had. 5 / 5 Stars.

When we talk about a product's flavor, we're discussing its style, its fiction, and overall what sort of tone the product is trying to give us. And man, I have to say, this product is literally oozing flavor. David Posner, the author, clearly put a ridiculous amount of time in researching exactly what happens to a body after death; at least, I HOPE he had to research this stuff! The random rolling tables for the different types of corpses are nifty, but man, its the descriptions included in the decay rules that really sells this topic. You think you're getting a small little product focused on describing dead people and BAM! Out of nowhere you're getting these amazing little tidbits of rules. 5 / 5 Stars.

When we talk about a product's texture, we're talking about its grammar, editing, and overall layout. This product is fairly standard for what I've seen from Raging Swan Press. It starts with a forward, it jumps into the rules about decay, and then it gives us tables followed by a few traps. Overall, its very well-organized and I like this about the Dungeon Dressings line; it manages to take its layout style and fit it simply into whatever the product is talking about. 5 / 5 Stars.

Final Score & Thoughts
Crunch: 5 / 5
Flavor: 5 / 5
Texture: 5 / 5
Final Score: 5 / 5

This is an amazing product for its cost, especially considering that the topic is one that the author could have very easily gotten lazy with. Personally, I think this product is worth $2 for the traps and the decomposition rules alone; the creative descriptions and rules for these descriptions are just violet fungus on the maggot-ridden corpse. Which in this case, is a good thing.

— Alexander "Alex" Augunas

The best in the series so far! (And in Dungeon Dressing, that's quite a feat!)


This pdf is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with6 pages for content, so let's check this out!

Like with all Dungeon Dressing-pdfs, this one kicks off with characteristics and appearances, in the case of corpses, states of decomposition - from fresh to bloated, from dry to preserved, two pages are devoted to stench-DCs, DCs to determine the causes of death, the time since death, intimidate-DCs and even feature DCs to prepare them for consumption by humanoids - disturbing, cool - awesome. In all Dungeon Dressings so far, this is my favorite section A, especially when taking into account how the information could be used to add flavor to undead foes as well!

The second table in here is devoted to 20 monster-carcasses and remains general, thus featuring no individual monster properties. Instead, we get e.g. one entry that provides information based on type, e.g. putting an aberration into a state of regenerative metamorphosis or putting a living baby in the body of animals, magical beasts or vermin. Again, very cool!

Table C provides us with 50 generic properties for humanoid corpses that range from being hairless to tattooed passphrases and even a spell engraved in eldritch symbols into the skin of the dead, complete with DCs to recognize the diagrams for what they are. Beyond generic humanoids, we also get 6 corpses of adventurers with all information from chapter A applied for a kind of corpse statblock (very cool!) as well as suggestions for speaking with the respective dead or for raising the person in question.

As with all installments of Dungeon Dressing, the final section (this time just one page, though, as the rest took up more space) is devoted to traps, this time around ranging from CR: - to CR 10 and feature a fountain of holy water that ends undead, a collection of impaled dead and an avalanche of cadavers. rather ool! Though I would have loved to see either more traps or some haunts, the lack thereof does not hurt this pdf.

Editing and formatting, as almost always with raging Swan press, are top-notch: I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's elegant printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes in a screen-version and a printer-friendly version, both of which are fully bookmarked.

Wow! Even in the excellent Dungeon Dressing-line, this pdf goes above and beyond by providing easily usable rules for nasty corpses (especially cool if your campaign's like mine and features a lot of investigation and thus also autopsies) along the extremely usable tables. I feared initially the pdf would either provide too specific corpses (rendering most impractical/hard to use) or too generic (rendering the content bland). I'm happy to inform you that author David Posener not only managed to maintain the precarious balance between both, but gracefully succeeds at the task, much to my (metaphoric) applause - this is, at least for me, the best installment in the excellent line and a joy to behold. Even if you usually don't like/need the dungeon dressing-line, I wholeheartedly encourage you to check this out - it's that good and the corpse-stats, albeit simple, alone are worth the low price of admission. Final verdict? Nor surprising! 5 stars + seal of approval!

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