This is the fourth issue that is devoted to Dungeon Fantasy. No surprise – it’s the most popular sub-line, having spawned at least 16 or 17 books, and of course, since it occupies the same turf as the most popular game today (D&D in all its flavors, be it D&D5, Pathfinder, or the various OSR or D&Derived versions).
This issue is quite eclectic in its coverage, and some of the articles are downright . . . well, somewhere between odd and squicky, but in a *I have to put that in my game* kind of way.
So, let’s delve in . . . but remember you’re descending from an upper level, where psychic freakin’ Jedi can be found . . . or slighty below that, where books and mighty spells can’t be found. Nope. Nothing to see there.
But what’s this we see here? And why does the floor . . . move?
Eidetic Memory – Living Rooms (+David Pulver )
In this installment of Eidetic Memory, David pulls out all the stops in making delving as awful, gross, and cringe-inducingly squicky as possible. And I mean this in the best possible way. The article covers some of the history of having part of your dungeon be actually alive, as well as what various viscera and giblets can be found within. Living rooms (a phrase I will simply never hear correctly again) as traps, as rooms, as diversions . . . and monsters. It’s all here. Including making chili out of the dungeon floor. I mean, yuck.
Style, Writing, Execution [-2 to 2 points]: I have to admit it, despite repeatedly cringing at the text, I couldn’t stop reading. I mean, ewwwww. But it really drew me in. Now I have to bathe. 2 points.
Background, Inspiration, Epiphany [0 to 4 points]: The article is strongest in this category. Between the history of living rooms, lots of ideas to make them either gross or spectacularly gross, stats as a monster, or advice on using them as traps, you’re covered. 4 points.
Drop-in Gaming Utility [0 to 4 points]: You can always populate a room with this stuff, but you may need to design a special location to properly host it. There’s lots of generic advice, and a few drop-in statblocks, but again, this is a how-to guide, not a “do this immediately” style of article. 2 points.
Overall: 8/10. Very, very strong offering from David this round. It’s simultaneously disgusting and useful.
Would I use it? Yes. I might need to wash thoroughly after planning an adventure with this advice, or maybe not eat for a day or three. But overall, this is great fodder for a DF alternate mission, as well as any horror adventure.
Biases Aside: An alternate scoring if you’re approaching the article as not-me.
I don’t have much to say here. Drop-in utility could be lower if you don’t like the overall concept. Higher if you want to do this as a level of your existing megadungeon. Likewise, I think that at worst you’re in the 3 zone for Inspiration because of the cross-over possibilities for horror and maybe even sci-fi.
Upper-Lower bound Rating: If you stop reading because you’re grossed out, well, I guess that’s a tough one. So if you despise the concept and aren’t willing to read through, you could wind up with as low as a 4. If you have an existing megadungeon you can drop this into, its probably as high as a 3, which makes the range 4-9, but probably clustering in the 7-8 range.
But I still need to get some mental floss and clean up.