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Random Woodland Encounters II $3.99
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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Random Woodland Encounters II
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Random Woodland Encounters II
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2011 21:11:04
Random Woodland Encounters 2 by Raging Swan

This product is 32 pages long. It starts with a cover, credits, toc, and Intro. (5 pages)

Encounters (14 pages)
There is 8 encounters in this section. Each section has the stat blocks for the creatures and NPC's in them.
A Fate Worse than Death – CR5, a interesting little side trek, where the PC's can save some NPC's from monsters and more.
Broken Road – CR2, No combat in this one but a rescue against the environment.
Hunters Hunted – CR7, a pretty basic encounter.
Master of the Yellow Cavern – CR6, a simple encounter with a lot of ways to use it effectively.
Riderless Horse – CR3, more of a RP encounter.
Sir Valio Ilmonen – CR2, another RP encounter.
Spiders - CR3, A little side encounter with a surprise all wrapped up with in.
The Blades and Staves – CR5, A group of adventures, this could be a combat or RP encounter depending what the PC's do.

Stat Blocks (10 pages)
Here is the stat blocks again with just plain text. Each encounter has it's own page. I assume it is for ease of printing out the stat blocks if you wanted to. But since one would likely print the whole encounter I am not completely sure why they are listed again. In the notes it says this was done by request and to help create a NPC library. I suppose I could see it, nothing wrong with it. Just not something that appeals to me.

It ends with a OGL, ad, and back cover. (3 page)

Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white and ranges from meh to good in the case of the owlbear. Editing and layout was good, I didn't notice any errors. There is a screen and print friendly version, as well as a ereader version. The encounters where mostly interesting and well done, they tended to be inventive. But I also wasn't blown away either, they are good even very good but not great. What I would have liked for a example is on the Broken Road. There is a man trapped a ways off the road down the side of the cliff. It has been raining and still is, having washed out part of the road to cause the fall. I would have liked something like a small random table of possible mishaps with DC checks/saves that the PC's might face while climbing down to get him and bringing him back up. It was a neat idea but I felt it could have been better with something like that added. So what's my rating? I am giving it a 4 star rating. I think it is good but could have been better.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Random Woodland Encounters II
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/14/2011 10:52:02
This pdf is 32 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside of the front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (including the foreword), 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 25 pages of content, so let's check out these ready-to-drop in encounters for the woods!

The basic concept is simple - provide a random encounter with environments, stats etc. that goes beyond PC fighting some creature in a undefined location. Instead, we get information of e.g. fallen trees to provide cover etc as well as information on how scale the respective encounters up and/or down..

The first encounter (EL 5) already provides a rather smart encounter - 2 poor nfortunates are caught on the upper floor of a derelict building, beseiged by vargouilles (and slowly transforming themselves) as well as a fiendish melancholic ooze swarm (which has paralyzing/entangling quality). The encounter sets the mood for this second installment of Random Woodland Encounters - the encounter not only has neat monsters, but also provides a neat moral conundrum (if they can't be saved)/rp-follow-up (if they can be saved) when talking to the survivors of the vargouille-attack.

The second encounter (EL 2) has the PCs travel a broken road to find Raine Eronen, a wizard whose horse fell from a cliff, fracturing his leg. Rescuing the wizard might provide a nice ally for the PCs - provided they manage to carry him up and succeed at the risky endeavor of climbing down to him and carrying him to the next village.

The next encounter has the PCs square off against some wlbears currently feasting on the corpses of some unfortunate adventurers. Simple, easy to drop in and features a GORGEOUS artwork of the owlbear.

The fourth encounter is probably the most uncommon one in more than one way - it comes with a nice, key-less map of the cavern in which it is set. The entry of said cavern is guarded by a yellow musk creeper as well as 3 of its victims turned musk zombies. These sentries function as the guards of the master of the cavern, a quickling ranger called Zerath. Very cool little encounter.

Next up is a small encounter (EL 3) that has the PCs meet a riderless horse, providing for a neat piece of foreshadowing for other encounters. The horse, when tamed, might also provide a replacement mount for some PCs.

Thus armed with a warhorse, the encounter (EL 2) with cavalier Vario Ilmonen of the order of the cockatrice might result in friendly jousting, all-out hostility or even a permanent alliance.
Perhaps the PCs and cavalier join forces to save the Dwarven scout, Yurval Wersten (EL 3) from his predicament - webbed up to a tree by a spider swarm and a giant spider, the weakened dwarf might make for another potential ally or provide reconnaissance/maps to the PCs.

The final encounter of the pdf (El 5) has the PCs meet the 3 survivors of an unfortunate group of adventurers that has recently lost some of their members. Whether they'll be allies or rivlas, the survivors make for a nice roleplaying-heavy encounter.

After this, we get an innovation of Raging Swan, the statblock-library. Essentially, from now on we'll get the statblocks (with headers like "fey" etc.) at the end of the book and may thus, over time, develop a library of NPC statblocks to use when spontaneously in need of one during play.

Conclusion:

Editing and layout are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard and the artworks are neat. The pdf comes with bookmarks as well as a special version optimized for use with e-readers. Content-wise, I preferred this installment of Random Woodland Encounters over its predecessors in that none of the encounters are downright one-dimensional slogfests and feature often social encounters or at least the option to have some non roll-playing elements. However, there are some minor gripes I have with this pdf: While I love the NPC-library-idea, you should be aware of it - I printed out all the stats as well. I think that presenting them in a separate pdf might be a better option, especially as it would enable one to collect the library-pdfs in a separate folder Content-wise, I did prefer the encounters herein to the predecessor, but there is still room for improvement in that none of the encounters has this je-ne-sais-quoi, this iconic characteristic that lets your jaw hit the floor. While I realize that special encounters are harder to fit into a woodland, I would have loved for more ideas like the melancholic ooze swarm - it's minor modifications of creatures that make random encounters feel more unique. The series is on a good way and thus my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, unfortunately rounded down to 4 stars, as this simply doesn't feel like a full 5-stars to me.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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