Places of Power: The Midnight Market
This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
In fantasy worlds, particularly in those set as the default environments of our games, there is a curious phenomenon – namely that there exists this absolutely gorgeous and dangerous place beneath the world: Whether you call it underdark, underworld…it doesn’t matter. There is a whole subterranean world awaiting exploration that has fascinated me ever since I got my claws on the amazing 1st edition Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide. Before that, the realms below where just dungeons to me; that book changed it. Anyways, you may know from my reviews that I tend to gravitate to a pretty simulationalist style of gaming -internal logic and consistency are pretty important to me.
At one moment, I was struck by something – namely the realization that there is no trade to speak off in most realms between the lands above and those below…which makes no sense to me. Well, insert the Midnight Market, accessible to those with the coin to gain access to gaseous form…and the willingness to be indebted to the mysterious mistress of this lightless place, this neutral ground situated atop a vast chasm, acting, quite literally, as a kind of bridge. Ruled over by Amelya Van Fersker (full CR 11 stats provided alongside a detailed take on mannerisms and personality), this is where you can buy trinkets from weird fey or the undead, where you (probably) won’t be eaten by that illithid peddling psionic artifacts, where you can get the good hallucinugenic spores from the fungus folk…if you have the coin and guts to get it. As such, the lore-section delivers the basics about the place, but it is in the rumors and events that the full-blown strangeness of the place comes to the front. 5 fluff-only merchants in the regular market and 3 in the so-called “elite market” add further depth and color to this wondrous place – and yes, daily life is covered. What’s being sold in the elite market? trust me…you don’t want to know… (Yes, you do, but I’m not gonna spoil that in the review!)
Editing and formatting are top-notch. Layout adheres to RSP’s elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf features some nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes in two iterations, one optimized for screen-use and one made for the printer – kudos there! The cartography by Simon Butler and Dyson Logos is excellent and includes a side-view look at how the market’s situated in the chasm. I think by joining Raging Swan Press’ patreon, you can actually get the high-res map for the evocative place, but I am not 100% sure. The map provided is cool, but sports keyed rooms.
Eric Hindley’s Midnight Market is glorious: Unconventional, fun and seeded with a vast array of adventuring potential, from heists to explorations to and fro to trade, information brokering or as a stepping stone into the realms below, this acts as a fantastic hub, as a unique environment and as a captivating, fun offering. Just reading this made me come up with a metric ton of different ideas to use it in my games – and what more can you ask of such a nice little offering? Exactly. My final verdict is, obviously, 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this cool pdf here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!