20 Things #4: Smuggler’s Lair (system-neutral)
This installment of Raging Swan Press’ system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
All right, so we begin this installment of the 20-Things-series with things that can be found in a smuggler’s storeroom – and they are sufficiently diverse: From quality brandy to scrolls of animate dead (may annoy purists who want total system neutrality) to barrels filled with sand and strange eggs, the good are pretty cool. However, there is something slightly inconsistent here: Some of the entries feature gold values, while others don’t – which makes sense: The aforementioned eggs, for example, could be anything the GM desires. However, I am irked somewhat by some entries featuring a sample weight while others, though ostensibly “heavy” don’t. I would have loved weights for all. Granted, that was an issue with the entry in its original iteration in the excellent GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things, but that book was LONG; here, in such a small pdf, it stands out more.
The pdf does pretty much immediately remedy that by quoting one of the gems from aforementioned book next – 20 Things that can happen in a rowboat have been properly cleansed of PFRPG-relics and 12 things you can find in such a boat provide nice, complementary bits of information for the experience.
The third array of dressing, things that you can find on the beach, similarly was featured before in the 20-Things-compilation, though its now system-neutral iteration certainly has its raison d’être – no Pathfinder remnants to be found here and 10 pieces of flotsam and jetsam make certainly for intriguing finds while wandering the wind-tossed beaches of the fantasy world you’re playing in though they, much like the 20 things to be found in a sea cave-entry, also have originally appeared in the compilation.
That does not mean there is no new content herein, mind you – the pdf does feature 20 things to find in a smuggler’s lair, from discarded sacks of now rotten grain to barrels containing salt water and crabs for stew, piles of driftwood or strange acoustic flukes, the entries are nice and are supplemented via 12 portable goods – all of which have proper value and weight. Kudos!
Alas, all lives must end and smuggling is a dangerous profession and thus, on their bodies, erstwhile fine clothes, torn maps, thigh-high leather boots with concealed daggers and more can be found. Finally, 6 things to be found in a cargo hold are similarly neat.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use – kudos for going the extra mile there!
Creighton Broadhurst knows how to write great dressing and formally, apart from aforementioned weight inconsistency, the pdf does not leave much to be desired. In fact, if you do not already have the big dressing-book, this delivers a thematically concise and dense, fun selection. The system-neutral entries work well…but if you already have the big book, this only sports 2 new pages, which, if you already have the big book, makes it only desirable for completionists…or those that really want no remains of PFRPG on the pages. Personally, I would have preferred more new content…but that’s just me as a long-time fan of Raging Swan Press. For those that already have the big book and don’t mind a bit PFRPG here and there, this is an okay, if skippable release; for people who do not yet have said book, this becomes more compelling immediately. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform due to in dubio pro reo.
You can get this installment here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!