GM’s Miscellany: Places of Power
This installment of Raging Swan Press’ handy compilation tomes clocks in at 87 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC (also listing the statblocks by CR and page – nice!), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page how-to-use, 1 page author bios (big kudos for their inclusion) leaving us with 79 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, in case you’re not yet familiar with the series – Places of Power represent fully mapped adventuring locales – bases, edifices, environments – from haunted valleys to strange towers, to subterranean black markets dangling atop a cliff, acting as a literal bridge between surface world and underworld, the series features a lot of unique and evocative places for adventurers to visit.
These places, in general, tend to offer intriguing NPCs and adventuring potential galore and rank as some of my favorite drop-in locations, with each featuring really nice b/w-artworks and flavor galore. Whispers, rumours and events help the GM make each of them unique and, as a whole, I thoroughly enjoy the series. Faithful followers of my reviewing will also notice that I have basically covered the whole series (or am in the process of doing so).
Indeed, this compilation includes Dragonmarch keep, godswatch, the monastery of the marble palm, penitent’s rest, the fragrant tower, the amazing M-triptych consisting of the midnight market, the mistfall refuge and the mudded manse (all of which are genius), the prismatic tower, tumblestone inn, the valley of the rocks and visionary’s perch. Now, since I have already covered all of these locations in detail, I will just point you towards my reviews of them. (On my homepage, you can just click the “Places of Power”-tag attached to this review and you’ll have a list of all reviews of the series…)
Now while I have called out three in particular, the valley of rocks, prismatic & fragrant tower also deserve being called out as excellent examples of their craft. From a formal point of view, the compilation is a bit tower-heavy: 5 of the locations are towers. That is just aesthetic, though – what’s NOT aesthetic would be e.g. the monastery’s BROKEN monk archetype that has a variety of glaring issues in the rues-language: The fact that it has not been fixed for the compilation is a big detriment as far as I’m concerned.
From the PFRPG system-specific side of things, the book also shows a shift in focus that the line has underwent – since the inception of the 5e and system-neutral versions of the series, statblocks have become scarce in the respective iterations, regardless of system. Personally, that is something I somewhat bemoan, for the crunchy materials in early PoP-installments rank among the coolest aspects of the series. I very much would have enjoyed a bonus statblock or two here, but that is once again me nitpicking at a compilation that features some of the best locations you can find.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, though not as tight as usual for Raging Swan Press – typos from the individual pdfs and rules-language issues haven’t been fixed, which represents a bit of a blemish regarding this compilation. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf features nice b/w-artworks and amazing b/w-cartography. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use. The pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Gomez, Eric Hindley, Anthony Jennings, Jacob W. Michaels, Jacob Trier, Amber Underwood and Mike Welham have created a compilation here, which sports a significant selection of rather impressive places to visit and adventure in – the majority of the places is excellent and the overall quality of the prose is impressive. This is very much worth getting…however, if you already own the constituent pdfs and don’t absolutely need this in print, then there’s frankly less reason to get this. If you don’t already own most of the pdfs, though, then this is one amazing and flavorful selection of places to visit.
The lack of improvement of the admittedly few, more problematic aspects does drag this down a bit, though, which is why my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.
You can get this cool compilation here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!