Deadly Gardens: Blood Rose Swarm (PFRPG) PDF

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Deadly Gardens is a series of short PDF documents that each feature a brand new plant monster to use in your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or OGL campaigns. In addition to a new monster, each volume will also feature supplemental material based around the natural wilderness theme.

In this volume:

  • Blood Rose Swarm CR 2
  • 2 Magic Items: Cloak of Fallen Leaves and Quickgrow Beans
  • 4 Alchemical Items: Calming Pollen, Clearwater Drops, Tough-husk Oil, Vita-Grow
  • 2 Natural Hazards: Rockslide and Sinkhole
  • 5 Terrain Types: Kudzu, Scree, Steep Scree, Thicket and Dense Thicket
  • 1 Natural Poison: Blood Rose Oil

Author: Russ Brown
Artist: Becca Bean
Pages: 5

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4.80/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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This is a short and cheap PDF from Rusted Irons games. They haven't put up much that I've seen but I previously reviewed a Witch title that brings a lot of variability to one of the classes that I find boring as a whole.

In here is The Blood Rose Swarm, a CR 2 creature that is a swarm of angry roses. If they have some other vegetation to crawl over they can move fast for a plant and can fascinate creatures with it's scent. Overall its a nice little creepy critter but this product is a bit deceptive in that it offers a bit more than the monster. It also comes with four alchemical items where three of them interact with plants, so if you have a plant companion somehow they are pretty handy. disappointingly they aren't specified as coming from the blood rose swarm or at least crafted from it's remains, which would have made this pdf ten times more interesting. There is a new poison that specifically does come from the swarm but it's not that terribly interesting because poisons rarely are.

There are two natural hazards which look handy. an easy Sinkhole and a Rockslide. Also some terrain types, a think I think should be more common in a lot of products. Lastly there are two magic items, one of which I don't understand why it hasn't been done before; Its magic beans that instantly grow into a climbable beanstalk.

Overall it packs quite a punch for such a small product. I've seen similar products with the same price tag do so much less and still be really good so I will say this is a 5 out of 5 stars. Its not something I will say is super necessary but having it in you folder of monsters isn't bad to have as a GM and if you have a plant theme something to run you'll probably come running to this for material.

You can find this review and more here on my blog.

An review of the revised edition


The second installment in Rusted Iron Games' Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 page SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this supplement with supplemental alchemical items, the first of which renders plant creatures dormant for a time - nice one!

Clearwater Drops can be used to purify water - I like those. I have gone on record time and again, stating that DR is overvalued in PFRPG - thus, the 40 gp Tough-skin Oil, which nets you DR 2/slashing for 10 minutes for 40 gp may be a powerful item which I'd personally price at twice or thrice that, depending on your campaign's power-level, is still a nice notion - underpriced though it may be in my book. Finally, we get a fertilizer that nets a plant creature fast healing 2 for 10 minutes. On a nitpicky side, the wording here implies that it takes a different action to apply the Vita Grow fertilizer if you're applying it not to yourself, but that's just nitpicking - much like the fact that I would have enjoyed a guideline for what intelligence is required for plants to apply items to themselves - per default, I assume the trick-guidelines for Handle Animal, but a slight clarification would still have been nice.

The Blood Rose Swarm itself comes with an impressive, hand-drawn b/w-artwork and clocks in as a CR 2 plant swarm. Blood Roses emit an alluring scent that can fascinate targets and their attacks carry with them a poisonous blood thinner. The swarm is also naturally camouflaged and may move faster through vegetation, offsetting the usual problem plant creatures have regarding mobility. It should be noted that the toxin is also depicted as a refined poison for your convenience.

Now hereafter is easily my favorite section in this pdf - as much as I enjoyed the critter -we get rules for low level sinkholes and rockslides as hazards and no less than 5 different terrain types - from scree to kudzu and dense thickets, these can neatly enhance many an encounter beyond the scope of this pdf - neat!

The final page covers two magical items, the first of which would be the Cloak of Fallen Leaves - made from autumnal leaves, it grants the wearer concealment versus AoOs incurred by movement, while Quickgrow Beans generate easily scalable beanstalks 40 ft. high - the spell duplicated by this Jack-inspired item has not been italicized.


Editing and formatting, while not perfect, can still be considered good. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games' two-column full-color standard and the piece of original artwork is sweet indeed for such an inexpensive pdf. The pdf now even has bookmarks!

Russ Brown's second Deadly Garden is in many ways more experimental than the first - the creature is more complex and the items are a bit more far out. While personally, I bemoan the lack of power components herein, the hazards and terrain-types provided can be considered absolutely worthwhile - as far as supplemental material goes, this delivers more than its asking price. Indeed, at this point, I find myself intrigued regarding more installments in the series: There is quite some potential here, particularly for fans of the Witcher games and those of us that prefer a more down-to-earth, organic, low-magic type of gameplay. My final verdict, in spite of the minor rough edges, will, again, clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval - definitely a well-invested buck here!

Endzeitgeist out.

By any other name


For disclosure, I received a free copy of this pdf.

This product continues the excellent level of quality that I expect from Rusted Iron Games.

First off, the alchemical items are awesome. I love the purification drops, as they are handy, and have a neat effect. I would use this as a player. The Tough Husk oil is great, I'd love to see if it could affect trees or large plant-based walls, maybe even used as an arcane component, and likewise with the vita-grow.

The creature itself is suitably creepy and effective for its CR, and I can tell that a lot of care was put into its design. The description was a good match for the creep factor, and a nice touch. I could see a swarm or two making low level parties worry, if even for the lingering poison effects.

The terrains and hazards were interesting, but I didn't see a tie in for some of the terrains types, but that's a minor quibble. I say that because Pathfinder seems to have a dearth of rules for these effects, and I enjoy seeing well done examples.

The magic items were interesting, and well balanced, as well as thematically appropriate. I do especially like the quickgrow beans, though I wished that there were rules for creating larger stalks with multiple beans used at once.

Overall, this product gets 5 stars from me. It's short, sweet, and to the point.

A flower swarm and more


This is a review for 'Deadly Gardens Volume 2: Blood Rose Swarm', a supplement by Rusty Iron Games. I'm not a native speaker (I'm German), so I may have fumbled my language skill checks from time to time. Give me a note if I wrote something wrong and I'll try to make myself more clear.

Deadly Gardens Volume 2 has a 3.5 pages with a nice pics (and a cover, OGL and so on).

First of all, while this supplement is supposedly about a Blood Rose Swarm, said monster is just a page long, while we get on two and a half more pages 4 alchemical items, 2 natural hazards, 1 new poison, 5 terrain types and 2 magical items, most of which have nothing to do with a Blood Rose Swarm and sometimes even the connection with a garden theme seems a bit stretched, with steep screes, rockslides and sinkholes for instance. Now the ideas presented here are good, but the title is a bit of a misnomer and may not fullfill the expectation of buyers.

On we go toward a detailed look at the contents.

First we start with 4 alchemical items which fill the first page. Those four are Calming Pollen (plants go dormant for a time), Clearwater Drops (unsurprisingly they clears water), Tough-Husk Oil (gives plants DR/Slashing for a time) and Vita Growth (gives plants fast healing for a time). All 4 are good and I especially like some details like Clearwater Drops changing the taste of the water they cleared. Whats odd, though, is the time it takes to apply Tough-Husk oil and Vita-Grow to the plant crature: A full round action regardless of size. So I can oil up a huge tree creature in a full round and need the same time for a small flower? The mammoth treant will like this. Further, its a SA 'if the creature is intelligent enough to apply the oil itself'. Okay, aside of the fact that an intelligence score would be helpful here (Int 3? Int 5?), I see problems for handless plants doing this and I assume even if drunk somehow the oil would take more time to reach every single twig in a few seconds by natural ways. Also, since the featured monster of this supplement is a swarm ,no clues to apply the goodies to swarm, creatures are included, though I'd assume you can't apply anything of the given alchemical items to enhance or combat the Blood Roses, which is odd.

Next we get to the title monster itself, the Blood Rose Swarm. This is a well done creature, which has solved the speed problem plants usually have in a nice way and has well explained camouflage and alluring scent combined with a blood thinning poison to overwhelm its prey. All well thought of, though I'd have liked a line or two how the distraction ability works with flowers or if the fascination coming with the alluring scent is ended automatically when the swarm does damage to the victim. Those are minor things though. I like how the Blood Rose oil can be harvested and used as a poison, but since most poisons are medicine in small quantities I'd have loved to see a line about this also. But all in all the title-monster is very well done and will be used against my unsuspecting players.

Natural Hazards are the next topic, and here we get two. Both Sinkhole and Rockslide are well done, though I'd probably limiting Sinkhole to creatures size S and upwards, but that's just me. About these hazards fitting in a garden I did comment above already.

Next are 5 terrain types, and they all shine. We get Kudzu, a vine growing everywhere and thus giving difficult terrain, but also concealment for small creatures. You'll want to climb both Scree and Deep Scree first, for the pebbles you lose will affect those coming behind you in unkind ways. Nice idea. Thicket and Deep Thicket both provide concealment, hamper movement and do damage, but armor reduces this damage. Again, well done.

Last but not least are two new magic items, the Cloak of Fallen Leaves gives concealment for movement-AoOs and the Quickgrow Beans straight out of a fairy tale are a spell-in-a-can.

All in all this is a supplement well done, with some clarifications missing but good and useful ideas. The title is a bit misleading as I pointed out above. I'd have liked the items, hazards and so on tied more to the title of the product, the Cloak of Fallen Leaves could easily have worked but with Blood Rose Petals or something like this. I'll settle for 4 out of 5 stars, but the gaps I did find are easily fillable.

Have fun!

Community Manager

Now available!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Thanks Liz!

If anyone has questions I would be happy to answer them.

I have added a new cover to the product.

Reviewed. Have fun!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Hi Oliver,
Thank you for taking the time to provide such a detailed review!

I will go ahead and provide a clarification on what I intended for plant creatures being "intellgent enough" to apply the alchemical items themselves. Many plant creatures have no intelligence score at all just a "–". I intended that as long as the creature had an intelligence score, even a 1, then it should be able to apply the item itself. Sorry that I did not make that clear in the document.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Here is a quick preview of Deadly Gardens, volume 3: Scorpion Cactus which is under development now.

Sovereign Court

Review up.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Thanks for the review Lorathorn! I am glad you enjoyed the pdf. :)

Reviewed first on, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and's shop.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the review EZG!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

The PDF has been updated to clarify the actions needed for two of the alchemical items. Bookmarks were also added.

Update posted as usual in all the shops.

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