Review: Raging Swan Press – Caves & Caverns (Pathfinder)

Caves & Caverns
Caves & Caverns is an epic fantasy supplement from the GM’s Resource series of supplements for Pathfinder written by Creighton Broadhurst and David Posener and published by Raging Swan Press.
By Aaron T. Huss

Have you ever wanted to let the player characters run rampant through a cave or cavern but didn’t have the time to prep the possible adventure? Caves & Caverns is here to save the day! As another supplement in the GM’s Resource line of Pathfinder supplements, Caves & Caverns contains everything a Game Master needs for a dive into a series of caves and caverns without all the prep work. The only thing you need to do is draw the map and apply the options available within. It is the ultimate tool for the GM who wants to be ready for any decision the characters make.


Caves & Caverns Features is the ultimate flavoring for your cave and cavern delves. It contains a massive number of mechanics for making those delves more interesting, difficult, and 3-dimensional. It addresses several areas which include: air, ceilings, lighting, floors, obstructions, walls, and water. It also details the Ebon Realm, the cave and cavern location, along with presenting a sample cavern and hand-drawn map.


Encounters contains a HUGE number of fleshed out encounters and racial stat blocks for what lurks within the Ebon Realm. The encounters include all the applicable descriptions and details, along with scaling and explanations of the environment and applicable denizens. The racial stat blocks give a number of warrior and mage types for drow, duergar, svirfneblin, and troglodytes. Each one also contains encounter groupings with applicable scaling.


The GM’s Resource series is the perfect set of supplements for the GM that doesn’t have enough prep time, whose player’s like to make unexpected decisions, or is simply too lazy. Caves & Caverns is the ultimate addition to that line, giving you a single focal point for those adventures that reach the depths of the dark places. With Caves & Caverns, you can take many of those other GM’s Resource supplements and create an even larger setting (in and around the caves and caverns) along with add interesting, 3-dimensional creature characters and warriors. If you ever suspect your players will decide to take their characters into the Ebon Realm, you need Caves & Caverns, or at least you really should get it because it could make your job that much easier.


Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Raging Swan Press is known for their simple yet effective  publications that exhibit very high quality. While there are a couple “gotchas” here and there, overall Caves & Caverns follows the same quality level as previous products. Stats are always extremely easy to read, the content is presented in an easy-to-understand format, and excellent illustrations are contained within. For this particular product, layout is very critical considering the high amount of mechanics being provided and it definitely does not let down.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Caves & Caverns is stuffed with mechanics. While the stat blocks are beautiful and crunchy, it’s the Features section that really stands out. Combat is just combat, and to battle your foes in a boring, plain “white” scene does not make for memorable games. The Features section alleviates this by presenting a number of mechanics to flavor the character’s delve in a number of ways from the floor to the ceiling and everything in-between.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
Caves & Caverns is filled with value for creating those memorable adventures through the Ebon Realm. The one small issue I found is that the span of Encounter Levels is too great. Ranging from 4 – 12 is a great variety, but almost too great. Characters of higher level may get bored with lower encounters while lower characters will be caught fleeing too often. It may have been better to focus more on one or two encounter level ranges, such as 4 – 6 and 10 – 12, by dividing the encounters for each range instead of spreading them throughout the entire range of 4 – 12. One thing to note is that lower level encounters can be scaled up by adding certain features, but it may become a bit overwhelming. Scaling is provided for each encounter +/- 1, but to go further than that will require more GM interaction.

With that in mind, Caves & Caverns is filled with value and lots of encounters and stat blocks for the GM to use for virtually any adventure. It ultimately becomes how far the characters want to go and how many times you decide to roll on the Random Encounters table, that’s what will define the adventure.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Caves & Caverns has a very focused purpose: to help quickly generate adventures through a series of caves and caverns with detail and flavor. It does this very well and if that’s the type of adventure you want to run, there’s little reason to look elsewhere. While it may not be a key part of your storyline, it could make for an excellent side quest.

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