A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Alternate Dungeons: Mystic Groves

Alternate Dungeons: Mystic Groves by Alexander Augunas is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, it is covered by the Open Game License with some parts being considered Open Game Content as a result. This supplement in one of a series on alternate dungeons, which provide material for fleshing out locations other than the standard dungeon.

This is a twelve page PDF which is available from RPGNow at the regular price of $2.45 but which was purchased at the greatly reduced price of $0.21 as part of a special bundle. The PDF comes in two versions, one intended for printing and more powerful devices and the other for screen and mobile.

Alternate Dungeons: Mystic GrovesTwo pages are the publisher’s standard plain front and rear covers and there is a third similar page, one page is the Contents and front matter and one page is the Open Game License.

The first two pages are Mystic Groves: An Alternate Dungeon. This considers what mystic groves are – small parts of a forest, around an acre in size, strongly associated with the fey and druids – how to design them as a dungeon – they are in the open are so standard dungeon restrictions don’t apply – how to run them and what might be found from sacking them – alchemical ingredients and rare woods are the main examples of treasure that could be found.

Mystic Groves: Dressing considers why a mystic grove might exist and how dressings might be harvested (with an adjustable difficulty) and what they might be worth. There is a d100 table of 40 dressings to find. This section can be found in the free GM’s Monthly Miscellany: June 2014.

Mystic Groves: Denizens gives examples of the type of creatures that might be found in them, most of which are quite logical.

Mystic Groves: Traps & Hazards is on the various dangers that can be encountered. Mundane and magical traps and hazards are considered, using already existing ones, followed by two new traps.

Finally, Mystic Groves: Adventure Hooks provides three different adventure seeds – including one that sounds rather like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Alternate Dungeons: Mystic Groves in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked with major and minor sections linked. The Contents only covers the major sections, but is also hyperlinked, making navigation above average for a small supplement.

The text maintains a two column format and a couple of minor errors were noted. There are also a few pieces of suitable black and white stock art. Presentation is on the whole decent.

The introductory part on how to run such a ‘dungeon’ usefully considers that a grove of trees tends to be easier to move through in many ways than underground tunnels – less solid rock – and can even be flown over, which would make it easier for players to avoid areas. Ways of getting around this are covered.

The harvesting of dressings isn’t as illogical as it was in Alternate Dungeons: Haunted House; there are definitely items that could be harvested, but perhaps it could have been done a bit better.

The denizens are pretty logical and the traps have been modified so as to work in a forest – falling blocks are falling trees here, as stone blocks do not often fall out of the sky in a wooded area. The three adventure hooks are also interesting.

Alternate Dungeons: Mystic Groves is a decently covered example of running an outdoor ‘dungeon’ and it can be found by clicking here.


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