Supplement Review: Dungeon Dressing: Mundane Chest Contents by Josh Vogt from Raging Swan Press

Stocking a dungeon, castle, or other map with all the creature comforts can be tough. After you’ve stocked the main chest with the goodies the PCs will win after defeating the big baddie in an epic battle, all other caches of treasure somehow seem less important. And, probably more important, they seem less inspired. Why? Because it’s tough to think of all the things that an entire mapful of bad guys (or good guys, long vacated) may leave behind.

Dungeon Dressing: Mundane Chest ContentsThankfully the Dungeon Dressing series from Raging Swan Press takes care of all that. Though these products handle all the big things like traps, doors, pits, and more, I was happy to see that there’s one out there now that focuses on the second string of dungeon chests… Not every chest is going to have gold, jewels, weapons, and magic items! That’s where Dungeon Dressing: Mundane Chest Contents comes in from designer Josh Vogt.

In a collection of five different tables of 50 to 100 items spread across 6 pages of an 11 page PDF, Vogt covers everything from clothes and possessions to specific lists for wizard and cleric chest contents, food, and miscellany. It’s simple to randomly grab a table, roll d100 and take a stab at whatever might show up. It would be easy to pick a room, randomly select some chest contents, and design an entire encounter around whatever came to mind. I found everything from lingerie (rawr!) and rope (not in the same chest, but THAT certainly is suggestive) to anatomical diagrams, religious vestments, fruit pies, and rusted scrap metal.

That said, I think I would have liked to have seen some suggestions on how to address aging chest contents. What happens if the chest is in a ruin hundreds of years old? Many items might simply dissolve into dust and debris, becoming completely unusable. A random table dealing with how to “age” the contents appropriately would be a great addition.

Even so, I can see I’ll be using Mundane Chest Contents soon as I do more dungeon design in the future! After all, I need to find a reason to have a chest with “A hundred eyes, each kept afloat in its own liquid‐filled bottle” bobbing about. It’s too creepy NOT to include somewhere!

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