A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Dwellers Amid Bones

Dwellers Amid Bones by Creighton Broadhurst is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, the supplement is covered by the Open Game License with some parts being considered Open Game Content as a result. This is an adventure for 5th level characters; an updated version, Dwellers Amid Bones Collector’s Edition, is also available in both PDF and print on demand softcover.

The PDF is available from RPGNow for $3.99 but was purchased at the greatly reduced price of $0.18 as part of a special bundle. This is a 21 page bookmarked PDF of which two pages are Raging Swan’s standard plain front and rear covers, one page is an ad for other supplements, three pages are front matter, Contents, Stat Blocks by CR and Foreword, two pages are standard ones, Using this Adventure and Reading Stat Blocks and one page is another ad and the Open Game License.

Dwellers Amid BonesThe adventure itself opens with a full page title. This is quite a short adventure; basically a mini-dungeon that functions as a side-trek according to the author.

One page is given over to the adventure background; the small dungeon is a tomb, one of many that were created by an almost-civilised tribe of orcs (remembering that “civilised” and “nice” are not the same thing). The dungeon is the home to an undead orc warrior, but two forest drakes have also taken up residence. Neither party is happy about the other occupants.

One page provides lore on the cairn and a couple of possible adventure hooks. Characters may also try and interpret what they are told about the drakes; they may mistake them for the, rather more deadly, green dragon.

The next page provides an overview of the dungeon features, assuming that these are not overwritten ion specific areas, namely illumination, ceiling, floor, walls and wall carvings as well as bones. There is also a short five result d20 table of details for unkeyed areas. Combined with the specific area features, this is one extremely detailed dungeon.

There are only two sets of monsters. The first encountered is the undead orc – who will ask the party to kill the drakes for him, rather than immediately attack. Neither party has been able to eradicate the other (characters who trust the orc to keep his word will get what’s coming to them).

Next is the drakes, who will probably meet and confront the party near to the orc and, should they get hammered in the fight – flee. Showing rather more intelligence than the majority of dragons. The party will then have to find the drakes in passages, most of which are full of water, fighting against a foe who can survive indefinitely underwater; a rather tricky proposition.

Once the adventure is concluded, there are several more hooks, including surviving orcs from the tribe who object to tomb raiders, and a sidebar for GMs to use the adventure in their own campaign.

The final section consists of two pages on water and movement and water and combat, which will be necessary and are useful to have at hand.

Dwellers Amid Bones in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked, with everything but sidebars linked. The Contents are not quite as thorough, but are also hyperlinked. Combined with the Stat Blocks by CR, navigation is exceptionally good.

The text maintains a two column format and no errors were noticed. Apart from the map of the dungeon, there are a few black and white illustrations which look as if they might be stock art. Presentation is good.

The dungeon is not only extremely well detailed, the encounters are unusual. An undead orc that is willing to negotiate and forest drakes who flee rather than being massacred and then fight using their strengths are both different. There are also instructions on scaling the encounters, making the adventure more flexible.

This may be quite a short adventure that could be run through in a session or two, but it is a really good one and can be dropped into many settings without too much trouble, perhaps breaking up one of Pathfinder’s sometimes rather linear adventure paths. Dwellers Amid Bones can be bought by clicking here.

 

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