we all know and dread the question when PCs want to shop – until Raging Swan press set out to change it, that is! To commemorate their efforts, I figured, I’d provide a nice batch-review of the first 5 installments of the concept that sparked a whole line of products!
This pdf is 26 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 blank page inside the front cover, 2 pages editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisements, 1 page back cover, leaving 19 pages of content, so let’s check this pdf out!
How many times have you as a DM despaired at a sudden return of the PCs to civilization to restock? How annoying is it to have to ad-hoc cobble together lists of magic items for the PCs to buy? For DMs like yours truly, who seek to evoke a concise and coherent world, creating tables upon damn effin’ tables of items to buy in each individual fleck has been a painful, annoying bane.
This is where this pdf comes in – we get tables for settlements of all sizes, appropriate for the respective sizes. A lot of tables. They respective entries are ordered by item categories and in the beginning of the pdf, you get 2 pages of d%-tables to randomly determine which of them to use for your settlement.
We get 41 lists for thorps, 35 for hamlets, 21 for villages, 16 for small towns, 13 for large towns, 10 for small cities, 10 for large cities and 11 to illustrate what can be found in a metropolis. 2 pages of lists are provided for each settlement size and none of the items felt really out of place in their settlements.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the printer-friendly b/w-two-column-standard by RSP, artworks are b/w-stock and ok. The pdf is extensively bookmarked and comes with an additional screen-version, optimized for use e-readers.
*sigh* This is one of these pdfs that are hard to review: Essentially, you take up your books and scan through lists, comparing list-prices in the pdf with the book, looking for any inappropriate item. Thankfully, this pdf does not have any, but nevertheless, you don’t want to know how long it took me to double-check.
Back to the conclusion: This pdf is one of these immensely useful little tools that make any DM’s life significantly easier, providing needed crunch and content that you just don’t want to put together yourself. Even better, the stories how the items got to the respective places are great occasions to drop in your own story, making your campaign feel more organic and coherent.
If I had to nitpick anything, then I’d complain about the fact that I would have loved to see descriptions for at least some of the items – how they look different from the standard, lore-sections, the like. As this is clearly not the intended design goal of this pdf, it would be unfair to hold the lack of unique item descriptions against it, though. Me being at a loss to say anything detrimental to the pdfs quality, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars – well done!
There is scarcely a situation as annoying as the PCs unexpectedly retracking to a town to purchase supplies and spending loot. Raging Swan’s first “So what’s for sale, anyway” remedied that by providing a plethora of lists sorted by settlement-size. This sequel to said pdf provides more of these item-lists, which essentially means that as a reviewer you have to look up the items and make sure they’re appropriate for the settlement-size.
There are some changes, though, which are readily apparent when checking out the 21 thorp-lists – namely 4 curses for minor items as well as a list of 10 sample sellers with short fluff-write-ups (but, of course, sans statblocks). These sample sellers are an AWESOME idea, helping with a simulationalist’s approach to a campaign world or simply offering names and personal quirks for merchant xyz. Even better, the merchants may provide minor and major hooks and can easily be expanded upon. Neat!
Hamlets also get 21 lists and 10 sellers, but no curses.
Villages get 11 lists, 10 sellers and 6 curses, small towns get 8 lists, 10 sellers and 6 curses, large towns get 8 lists, 10 sellers and 5 curses, small cities get 6 lists, 10 sellers, 8 curses, large cities get 6 lists, 3 curses and 10 sellers and finally, there are 6 lists for Metropolis-class settlements, 10 sellers and 6 curses. It’s also rather interesting to see that the sellers of larger settlements tend to be more powerful, corresponding to the items they own, sell, etc., keeping the in-game logic intact.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, as I’ve come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to the clear and printer-friendly two-column standard and comes with extensive bookmarks. The pdf also comes with a special version optimized for use with e-readers. Content-wise, there is nothing to complain about, the inclusion of sample sellers and curses help to further customize the individual shopping experiences. That being said, we do get a lot of lists that really help customize individual shopping experiences and the pdf goes above and beyond its predecessor by providing more than necessary. Were I to voice any kind of criticism, then that I would have loved to see more complex curses or one or two specific, unique items. Seeing that this is not enough to rate this pdf down, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars – a very useful, nice little pdf.
This pdf is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 14 pages of content in this latest installment of the line.
So, what do we get in this product? In contrast to the first two installments, this one focuses on what would be for sale in Dwarven settlements, lending a unique touch of culture/necessity to the respective items.
Additionally, sample towns are provided for your convenience in sideboxes. We get 25 lists for thorps, 3 cursed items for sale there and 2 sample thorps. 21 village-lists, 2 sample villages and 4 more curses are next and after that, 14 village-lists, 2 sample villages and 4 more cursed items appropriate for the size of the settlement. Small towns come with 6 curses, 2 sample towns and 11 lists, while their large brethren get 6 curses, 9 lists and one sample settlement. Small cities feature 8 potential curses, 1 sample town and 7 lists and finally, large cities get 7 lists, 8 curses and 1 sample settlement.
An entry for dwarven Metropolises has been added, eliminating one of my concerns.
Editing and formatting are top-notch. The layout adheres to RSP’s 2-column standard and provides a lot of lists to make a GM’s life easier. The pdf is fully bookmarked and comes with an additional, especially printer-friendly version. I enjoy the option of 40 cursed items being included in the deal, but by now, I’m somehow not that excited about them – less would have probably been more. Curses take a lot of their excitement from being unique and less, but more mechanically complex curses would have been nice. I like the focus on “dwarven” weapons like crossbows, picks, hammers and axes and enjoyed the odd urgosh, but, honestly, I would have loved to see some more urgoshs, perhaps even a couple of meteor hammers or other weapons that would fit with dwarves. As written, the oomphteenth crossbow starts to get wearying. I’m a bit disappointed in this installment, but with the addition of the final settlement-type, that has been reduced. As a consequence, I’ll add another half star to the pdf for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, still rounded down to 4, though.
The fourth installment of the “Swfsa”-line is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 16 pages of content, so let’s check this one out!
Whereas the third in the series presented stuff for sale in dwarven communities, this one is focused on elven settlements. It should be noted that each type of village comes with a “spellcaster for hire”-entry that notices the highest level of spell available. Among the items to be purchased are a total of 48 cursed items and it is here that a distinction from the former installment can be seen – the curses no longer do only “standard” things, but include e.g. hair changing color permanently, growth and shrinking etc. Seeing how scarce space for these curses is, I applaud author Julian Neale for the effort.
We also get sample towns, 2 from thorps up to small towns and 1 per larger settlement. In total, we get 25 lists for thorps, 22 for hamlets, 15 for villages, 12 for small towns, 9 for large towns and small cities respectively, 7 for large cities and then we thankfully get 8 sample lists for communities of metropolis-size.
Editing and formatting are very good, I only noticed an awkward wording in one of the sample towns. Layout adheres to RSP’s tried and true, elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with a version optimized for the screen as well as one for printing. The pdf is fully bookmarked. In contrast to the last installment, this one felt a bit more brave and unique in its curses and the sample towns rock. However, I still can’t help but feel a certain fatigue of reading through these – where e.g. “So what’s that hoard like, anyway” provided strange and uncommon treasures and “So what’s that shiny thing, anyway” was downright brilliant, this one is more conservative. You won’t find any enchanted garter-belts or the like in these lists, which mostly contain rather conservative magic items. Don’t get me wrong, the lists are great and the focus on elven items is nice, I just wished that the pdf would go a step beyond, introduce a new weapons class, a new item, something more out of the magic “ordinary”. If you e.g. took an Iron flask and reskin it as a flute, you could still write “flute xyz (works like the Iron flask)”. But perhaps that’s only me. The pdf per se does what it sets out to do and I don’t really have anything to hold against it and in fact enjoyed the curses of this one more than those of the predecessors. Thus, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars.
The fifth installment of Raging Swan’s „So what’s for sale…“-Series is 20 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 13 pages of content, so let’s check out what exactly we get here!
The pdf kicks off with two tables of the items herein, the first being organized by price and settlement size, while the second is organized by slot of the intelligent items contained herein. Yep, intelligent items – which implies uniqueness, so are these items up to their supposedly iconic roles?
Immediately, the difference from other installments of the series becomes apparent – instead of a variety of lists, we get rather complex rite-ups of the respective magic items. These notes contain not only descriptions, the true names of the items and lore-sections, but also often at least some kind of idea/plot-seed to introduce them to your campaign. The items range from catankerous/annoying to truly benign and have their own abilities – which they of course can use at their own discretion. Some of the prompts for the abilities are neat – a particular glaive, for example, wants to be stroked, while a rod of wonders turns out to be truly malicious and adept at calming emotions.
The magic items run the gamut of alignments and several of them actually have the power to conceal their magical nature. Even better, they tend to provide interesting angles and come in unconventional forms – there’s e.g. a sapphire, a socialite’s handband and even a gruesome corset made from the remains of good humanoids.
Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect, as I’ve come to expect from RSP: There’s e.g. a typo „wickeT“ which should read „wicked“ and I noticed some similar glitches. While not enough to impede my enjoyment of the pdf, it still is something I feel I had to share. Layout adheres to RSP’s classic two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with two fully bookmarked versions – one intended for the printer and one for screen-usage. I really like the direction the series takes with this pdf – going from simply providing lists of magic items for communities, this one is actually a magic item book in disguise, that, while still providing information on where they can be bought, does so as almost an afterthought in favor of all the original content herein. The items are smart, come with interesting abilities and form and a lot of cool details.
However, you should be aware that e.g. no sample settlements are included in this particular installment, as the focus is simply a different one. If you’re aware that you’re in for a book of interesting magic items with their own intelligence, this pdf will definitely suit your tastes. However, I’m not sure whether it can be truly considered a part of the core-line of „So what’s for sale…“-pdfs and instead should be considered to be „So what’s that intelligent magical item like?“. Apart from that and the very scarce glitch, I have nothing to complain, though. Overall, I love how this installment is brave, expands the focus and provides quality content and thus will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.