GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing (PFRPG)

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GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing (PFRPG)
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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM's Resource by Ben Armitage, Alexander Augunas, Aaron Bailey, John Bennett, Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Erwin, James Graham, Brian Gregory, Eric Hindley, Ben Kent, Thomas King, Greg Marks, Andrew J. Martin, Jacob W. Michaels, Julian Neale, Chad Perrin, David Posener, Brian Ratcliff, Pierre van Rooden, Liz Smith, Josh Vogt and Mike Welham

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 GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing is for you! This gigantic compilations comprises all 34 instalments in the line as well as scores of riddles, new material and design essays by Creighton.

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

GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing presents the material originally appearing in:

  • Dungeon Dressing: Altars
  • Dungeon Dressing: Archways
  • Dungeon Dressing: Bridges
  • Dungeon Dressing: Captives
  • Dungeon Dressing: Ceilings
  • Dungeon Dressing: Chests
  • Dungeon Dressing: Corpses
  • Dungeon Dressing: Doom Paintings
  • Dungeon Dressing: Doors
  • Dungeon Dressing: Double Doors
  • Dungeon Dressing: Dungeon Entrances
  • Dungeon Dressing: Dungeon Names
  • Dungeon Dressing: Fiendish Traps I
  • Dungeon Dressing: Fiendish Traps II
  • Dungeon Dressing: Floors
  • Dungeon Dressing: Fountains
  • Dungeon Dressing: Gates & Portals
  • Dungeon Dressing: Goblin’s Pockets
  • Dungeon Dressing: Legends
  • Dungeon Dressing: Legends II
  • Dungeon Dressing: Mundane Chest Contents
  • Dungeon Dressing: Pits
  • Dungeon Dressing: Pools
  • Dungeon Dressing: Portcullises
  • Dungeon Dressing: Sarcophagi
  • Dungeon Dressing: Secret Doors
  • Dungeon Dressing: Simple Magic Traps
  • Dungeon Dressing: Stairs
  • Dungeon Dressing: Statues
  • Dungeon Dressing: Tapestries
  • Dungeon Dressing: Thrones
  • Dungeon Dressing: Trapdoors
  • Dungeon Dressing: Walls
  • Dungeon Dressing: Wells
  • So What’s The Riddle Like, Anyway?
  • So What’s The Riddle Like, Anyway? II
  • So What’s The Riddle Like, Anyway? III

New Material: Three new fiendish traps as well as material focusing on concealed doors, strange growths, illumination, graffiti and loads of miscellaneous dungeon features; also includes nine dungeon design essays by Creighton.

All That Glimmers: Also includes as a free special bonus are treasures hoards 1-20 from All That Glimmers—after all, what’s a dungeon without treasure!

For a free sample head over to ragingswan.com/dungeon

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GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing is the GameMastery Guide to Dungeons!

5/5

I first discovered Raging Swan Press in a sort of reverse engineering sort of way. I was scanning through the third party publisher adventures available on One Book Shelf and spotted something called Shadowed Keep on the Borderland. Being a long time gamer that played through the original Keep on the Borderlands, this instantly caught my eye. Even better, you could download a free version to test run.

This introduced me to the world of Raging Swan Press and their detail oriented supplements and adventures. Time and again, I read "reviews" from what I deem lazy GMs complaining about a lack of detail in a module that requires them to fill in the blanks. Well this massive 339 page PDF is the perfect supplement for those lazy no good GMs because it gives them detail after detail after painstaking detail that can be added to any dungeon encounter.

Little did Creaighton Broadhurst (the mastermind behind Raging Swan Press) know that when he put out a call for reviews for Dungeon Dressing that he would get approached by a GM with this book sitting squarely at the top of his One Book Shelf wishlist of PDFs to purchase on the next go-round. I was offered a free copy in exchange for a review and leapt at the chance.

ENDZEITGEIST pretty much wrote the definitive reviews for the Dungeon Dressing line, so I recommend reading his reviews. For my part, this book is quickly becoming indispensable. I find that whenever I run a dungeon oriented module, that the players constantly ask questions.

"What kind of wall is it?"
"What are the doors made of ?"
"What does the inscription say?"

So on and so forth. Despite the wealth of detail and backstory that is provided in the average Paizo module or adventure path, there are limits to what can be included in a 32 page module, so the details come to an end.

And this is where the GameMastery Guide to Dungeons, I mean the GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing comes into play. The wealth of information contained within this tome extends beyond mere dungeon dressing or contents to understanding why a dungeon would have been created in the first place, or explaining how to develop a megadungeon of your own.

This tome contains tables and suggestions to further develop anything your PCs find within a dungeon such as the doors, portcullises, ceilings, traps, chests, paintings, corpses, sarcophagi, treasure hoards, statues, thrones, walls, wells and even riddles!

The sheer wealth of details and information offered in this one product is nothing less than mind-boggling!

So lazy GM's rejoice! Never again will you have to leave one of your lazy whiny reviews complaining that a module didn't have enough detail for you and that you heaven forbid had to fill in the blanks, because Raging Swan Press' GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing has all the details that you need to add to your dungeon and make you a GM worth a darn.

Believe it or not, but Dungeon Dressing is still at the top of my wishlist - because I want the hardback physical copy to go on my shelf.

Highly recommended. Buy it today.


Useful in more ways than one.

4/5

This book is great, even if you don't use tables to randomly generate the features of your dungeon. Just reading through the different tables and possible features, one of them catches your eye and you end up forming a dungeon, encounter or even an adventure around it. I mostly play online nowadays, so besides having this as a reference when prepping, I plan on having the pdf version of this book handy in my desktop as a quick reference for inspiration if I need to compose or describe something on the fly.


5/5

This product is a massive product with 339 pages and a $19.95 pricepoint which equals about 6 cents a page which when compared to the average $2 product with 10-15 pages is a real value. So 5 stars for value.

So on to the content.

Back in the day when I first discovered RPG's I owned a little well known book called the Dungeon Masters Guide. (Back then we didn't know about editions. But for those that don't know it was for the 1st edition D&D game). Anyway this book had lots of cool info on DM'ing and it had the ever popular magic items. But... It also had a really cool section in the back of the book called the appendix. The Appendix was filled with page after wonderful page of charts for dressing a dungeon. I loved it, I used it, I needed it to make my dungeon rooms their very best or at least more interesting than I could have made them myself. Years later when the next edition of that same titled book came out it was much thinner and to my shock and horror that wonderful appendix was missing. And worse yet it never did come out for that edition or any other edition to date those wonderful charts were forgotten.

So enter GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing so many years later. It takes the concepts introduced so long ago and amplifies it X100. It is the DMG appendix on super steroids as much as I liked the original this is sooooo much better.

The first section or chapter talks about dungeons in general. Why they exist, and how to make them better more realistic mini enviornments. What it says really makes sense and I would recommend all dungeon creating GM's to read before starting their new dungeon creations.

Next up is a long list of items that are found in dungeons starting with alters and ending with wells with dozens of item in between. Each item is given charts with 20-100 choices to make the item unique and special.

So if a GM is describing seeing an alter to his players instead of saying "you see an alter covered in blood", this book allows a GM to make the description much more exciting.

So using the charts in the alters section I roll on the first chart which is a basic description of the alter. So I roll d100 and I get 16 I look on the chart and it says "Drainage channels criss-cross the alter's upper surface and run to two small fonts, one at either end of the alter." So next I roll on the next chart about interesting features I roll a 91 on a d100 and the text says "A single lit Candle set in the absolute centre of the alter dimly illuminates a blank sheet of parchment" Ok then now we have an interesting description of an alter than stimulates the imagination when you put the two together. An that's not all the alter section has several new traps and other informative bits.
These charts continue for literally dozens of items. Some of the more interesting subjects are captives, goblin pockets, and legends.

The next section is riddles dozens of ready made riddle's for a GM to stump their players with. And Finally their is a section on treasure hoards what dungeon worth its salt doesn't have a treasure hoard or two. The riddles even have a multiple categories.

Over all this book is a fun read not like so many that are just too boring to hold your interest I enjoyed reading this word for word as the descriptions were fun and sparked the imagination. I am not an expert on grammar but I didn't see any typo's or examples of poor grammar. So for content I also give this 5 stars.

Over all this book is a must have for any GM's looking for a fast easy way to create fun usable dungeons. I rate this a 5 star product I'd give it a 6 if they let me.


Another must have miscellany from Raging Swan Press

5/5

Raging Swan Press specializes in releasing books that assist the beleaguered and time-shy GM. To that end GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing is a massive tome that will help breathe life into any GM’s dungeon forays.

Following the table of contents and author bios, the book begins with a series of articles on dungeon design culled from RSP mastermind Creighton Broadhurst’s blog (which is always entertaining and well worth a visit). As someone who has always struggled with dungeon design, despite my many years in the GM seat, these concise, well written short essays are appreciated and act as a wonderful primer for dungeon creation.

Chapter two deals with this book’s namesake: dungeon dressing. This chapter consumes most of the page count and provides a plethora of random tables that offer details on virtually everything one might find in a dungeon, from walls, ceilings and illumination to altars, gates and corpses to traps, legends and goblin’s pockets. The options and details provided are sundry and varied; often they provide hooks that could be fleshed out into quests and adventures should the players pick up on them. A GM needing a bit of motivation during prep could really just flip through this chapter and find plenty of inspiration.

Chapter three is all about riddles, about twenty pages of them, ranging from the very simple to the more complex. Anyone wanting to match wits rather than swords with their antagonists will find plenty of ammunition here.

The book closes with a chapter detailing treasure hoards for every level of play. In an ideal world I would personalize treasure for the characters in every instance. As the world isn’t always ideal, I appreciate having these at my fingertips when the need arises.

I opted to get this book in softcover (I prefer my black and white books in softcover for some reason) and, like all the other RSP softcovers on my shelf, it is sturdily constructed and looks to stand up to years of use and abuse. The two column layout is easy to read and the illustrations are appealing to my old school sensibilities. The white text on solid black cover looks great on my shelf. I’m a big fan of RSP’s trade dress; it’s very classy.

Like its sibling miscellanies dealing with urban and wilderness dressing, GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing is a must have book for anyone that wants to create a living, immersive world of adventure. As someone that misses the amount of detail found in 1st & 2nd edition modules, I use it extensively while I’m preparing my sessions, but also keep it on hand at the table for those frequent occasions that unexpected details might be required. I also love that despite the Pathfinder Compatible logo the book sports on the cover, most of the book is devoid of mechanics and can easily be used with any fantasy game system with no conversion required.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This massive tome clocks in at 399 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 3 pages of short author bios (which should be included in any roleplaying game supplement - seriously, help the talented folk that craft these books get all the recognition they can!), 1 page advice on how to read statblocks, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with no less than 388 (!!!) pages of content, making this one of the longest books I've ever reviewed, so let's take a look, shall we?

When I reviewed "Shadowed Keep of the Borderlands" and similar adventures by Raging Swan Press (if you haven't checked these out - get them!), the one thing that caught my eye the most was the sheer brutal amount of details - you know, terrain features, things to actually do, that rendered them so...alive. Concise. Believable. The details mostly absent from many new-school modules, the level of detail lost in many a module since the 3.X days in favor of long statblocks. Well, the series that spawned from the genius realization that details are important would be the Dressing-lines, which contain some of the most ridiculously useful information for any DM you can find - not only for Pathfinder, but for any system.

This is not all that made Raging Swan press modules stand out - remember those dungeons where monsters were placed with neither rhyme, nor reason, wondering how the dragon got into the dungeon etc. - and the annoying rationale "MAGIC!"? Well, this book can be considered the ultimate rebuttal to this type of sloppy design - providing concise information on how to craft intricate dungeons that actually make sense. Basic observations from "Who amde the dungeon?" and "For what purpose?" to former roles it may have had to who actually knows about these tidbits of lore are only the tip of the ice-berg: Considering food and water, access, predators and the like, making good unoccupied rooms that tell stories. Every DM and especially any worldsmith should check these out. Advice on handling a dungeon's physicality (vertical shafts, terrain threats etc.) are provided alongside special considerations for mega-dungeon design and even alternate dungeon designs (of which one can now find a new series by RSP...) - the advice provided here is presented so concisely, it could be deemed a proper checklist for making good dungeons, one that any DM should take a long, hard look at.

Now you may already know that this book collects the numerous Dungeon Dressing-pdfs in one handy tome - but do you realize the extent of what is in here? The following installments are collected herein: Altars, Archways, Bridges, Captives, Ceilings, Chests, Corpses, Doom Paintings, Doors, Double Doors, Dungeon Entrances, Dungeon names, Fiendish Traps I + II, Floors, Fountains, Gates & Portals, Goblin's Pockets, Legends I + II, Mundane Chest Contents, Pits, Pools, Portcullises, Sarcophagi, Secret Doors, Simple Magic Traps, Stair, Statues, Tapestries, Thrones, Trapdoors, Walls and Wells. Additionally, the 3 "So what's the Riddle like, anyways?" are part of the deal and an extensive excerpt from the immensely useful "All that Glimemrs"-compilation has also been provided, sporting a total of 20 treasure hoards at your disposal - after all, dungeons need treasure!

Now you probably have seen that one coming - but I have written reviews for ALL OF THE ABOVE. Yeah. Looking at it from my current vantage point, I feel somewhat OCD...be that as it may, you can easily look up all those reviews, so no, I won't repeat myself and cover all of these again. Even if I did, the resulting review would probably clock in at more than 20 pages, so yeah.

What I *do* focus on here would be the new content provided - let's begin with new Fiendish Traps, shall we? A total of 3 new ones of these nasty, complex traps are provided, making essentially "Fiendish Traps III" a part of the deal here. The first here makes for an exceedingly smart trapped puzzle-lock for an undead (or similar creature's) lair: Different alcoves contain different skulls, with each skull representing one of the bare necessities of life - hunger, thirst, etc. - in order to open the vault door, all traps have to be triggered at the same time, resulting in magic-induced thirst, famine, suffocation and an attack by an animate dream...Ouch and oh so iconic and cool! The defense-hallway sporting poisonous gas and fetchling snipers is nasty as well, as is the traps that is a variant of the classic endless falls, which also adds a temporal distortion to the whole deal - awesome!

Now one of the most overlooked and easiest way to make a dungeon not work is to not get the illumination/sight-question of the inhabitants right. Sans darkvision, inhabitants better have some sort of way to provide for sight - and since this one is also combat-relevant, it will come up - I guaranteed it. Hence, we have one of the most useful DM-cheat-sheets of the whole series in this new chapter, providing everything you need to know in that regard rules-wise at one glance. Want to know how this goes even faster - whether braziers, candelabras (1 page each), fireplaces (2 pages), lanterns, magical lights, torch sconces (all 1 page) - the book actually provides so much variation, you'll never need to reply with "ehem...there are torches." ever again - detailed, versatile and downright brilliant, this chapter is glorious in its evocative details, even before the 2 new light-based traps.

Now of course, one can note that the topics of the book mentioned above do not cover every potentiality of dungeon exploration or design - hence, the book also covers carpets and rugs, evidence left by previous explorers (foreshadow those hostile NPC-groups!), grafitti,, junk and rubbish, mirrors, eeerie atmospheres (!!!), clothes and possessions, strange magical affects, strange smells, strange sounds, specialized priest's and wizard's chests, provisions, mirrors, odds and sundries, clothes and miscellaneous possessions and YES! LOCKS! The oversight of all door-pdfs now receive their own table! Each of these new tables is at least one page strong, with several covering 2 pages and the locks coming with DC/cost/quality-cheat-sheet mini-table. Wow. Just wow.

It should be noted that, for your convenience, the book also provides 2 pages of index for traps by CR ( with the CR covering the range from None to 15 and providing page numbers) and statblocks by CR (ranging from 1/2 to 9, also with page numbers) for easier navigation.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are thoroughly impressive - I have seldom seen a book of this size with this high quality in these two regards - top-notch and awesome. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf can be considered printer-friendly. Artwork is fitting b/w and the pdf comes in two versions, one to be printed out and one for screen use. But unless you went full-blown tablet, I'd suggest you get the gorgeous hardcover - I have it and its binding is professional and both paper and glossy cover make this tome a beauty of elegance indeed.

The authors Ben Armitage, Alexander Augunas, Aaron Bailey, John Bennett, Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Erwin, James Graham, Brian Gregory, Eric Hindley, Ben Kent, Thomas King, Greg Marks, Andrew J. Martin, Jacob W. Michaels, Julian Neale, Chad Perrin, David Posener, Brian Ratcliff, Pierre van Rooden, Liz Smith, Josh Vogt, Mike Welham can be proud indeed - why? Because this book is a milestone.

I'm not engaging in hyperbole when I say that this belongs in the arsenal of every DM - period. I had the individual pdfs before and I used them - quite extensively, mind you, but this is something different. Sit down with it and start rolling - in less than 30 minutes you'll have an extremely detailed dungeon at your fingertips, with players not realizing that the complex you created not stemming from a professional module, but from your pen. That is, they may realize it, since this book renders your dungeons memorable, awesome and makes SENSE.

Much like the superb "Wilderness Dressing"-book, the organization in this tome is one of the subtle, yet downright brilliant components - the arrangement of the components may be neat - but there's something apart from that which makes this work so much better than its component pdfs. Beyond collecting all in one handy tome, this book eliminates the small blank spaces left by the component pdfs - the small odds and ends, the carpets, the locks - what has been missing before now is simply there.

Another scenario - you've bought a module and like the dungeon, but it feels sterile, perhaps due to page-count not sufficing? Use this book and in less than 10 minutes, you'll potentially have a dungeons your players will talk about for years to come.

I've beaten around the bush long enough - not only for Pathfinder, but for just about any fantasy-system, this massive book is a godsend. If you have a dungeon, you need this book - it's simple as that. I've been using it in my game ever since I got my greedy hands on it and the sheer massive amount of content and awesomeness in this book is enough to make dungeons feel alive once again. Yes, not all components are super-duper-mega-awesome, but that fact remains that the majority *is* just that - and that the sum here is so much more than its component parts.

This is one of those very few mile-stone supplements that simply offer no reason not to get them - the extremely fair, low price point (for this amount of content!) adding a significant, further dimension to the awesomeness that is this book. I wouldn't ever want to miss this glorious tome and

I'm running out of superlatives fast - so let's end this -this book is a must-have.

An instant classic.

One of the most useful books I've ever had the pleasure to review.

If you don't have this book, it's high time you'll add it to your library. I guarantee that you'll love this - and if that's not enough, Raging Swan Press does have a money back guarantee if you're not satisfied.

This book is a hot contender for the number 1 spot of my Top Ten of 2014. My final verdict is 5 stars + seal of approval - the maximum of my scale and had I any other scale, it would score that high still. This book henceforth also is part of the books I consider essential for any campaign - hence, it receives the "EZG Essential"-descriptor.

ENdzeitgeist out.


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Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks Liz!

If you want to learn more about GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing you can access 34 free samples via the product's webpage.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There is so much good stuff in here!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I complete agree and endorse wholeheartedly Mike's comment!


I second the motion.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks so much for posting this review, UncleRiotous. I'm delighted you enjoyed the book so much!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and Lou Agresta's RPGaggression and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Awesome review from EZG! Cheers! :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Man I got a little swell of pride at seeing the OMG LOCKS part =D

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

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Blimey. I'm beyond proud and chuffed at your review Endzeitgeist. I'm sorry you had to read such a massive book to do it! As always, thanks so much for taking the time to do this.

(I'm also glad you are using the book in your own campaign - that's jolly marvellous!)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Brian, I felt the same way about the lighting/illumination section comments. That's the first one of these I've done and I'm thrilled that Endz liked it so much. Thanks again for the opportunity, Creighton!


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I have been hesitant to purchase the Miscellany options (Dungeon, Wilderness, Urban) because I already have a majority of the PDFs, but ENDZ's reviews (as usual) have begun to persuade me to obtain the book versions.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks very much, Elorebaen! I much appreciate it. I hope you find them useful. At the very least, should should be able to beat misbehaving players with GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing - it's heavy enough.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks very much, Ken, for the review. I'm delighted you enjoyed the book so much. I hope it gives you many happy hours of gaming!


Since I fully intend to coerce some pdfs from you via your amazing free pdf offer, I feel it's only fair to leave a review! Especially since the book is so good!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thank you Ken for leaving such a nice review. Thank you also to Lisa who also just posted up her thoughts. You are both a top chap/chapess.


Reviewed!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thank you, necromental, for the review! I'm grateful for the time you spent with GM: DD and I hope it gives you many hours of happy gaming!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thank you for the review, Mark. It's jolly decent of you, and I'm glad your players enjoyed the book!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks so much for the review, El Ronza! It's much appreciated and I'm glad you enjoyed the book so much!

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