So What's That Shiny Thing Like, Anyway?
By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Raging Swan Press 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 tables, but what kind of table exactly?
Essentially, this pdf includes a lot of tables to customize your treasure and add interesting bits of fluff to your campaign that may very well spark adventures in and of themselves. It first starts with a d20-table of backsides of coins, something I have used to an interesting effect in my own campaign, so I encourage you to check this out! A table of 20 forms of strange, inhuman or simply different forms of currency is also presented, ranging from paper notes to ox-hide-shaped copper ingots. VERY cool!
We also get 4 tables of gems of different values, so you’ll never have to say "You find gems worth 220 GP" ever again – saying instead: "You find a Moss Agate, a Tiger Eye, a Chrysoberyl, a Chrysoparase and a Sardonyx." The gems come with descriptions, appraise-checks and entries on transparency as well as a fluffy side-box on supposedly magic effects of said gems for enchantment purposes.
What about Jewellery? Once again, a plethora of tables, 5 to be specific and, just as with the gems, organized by value, are presented and come with rather interesting forms and shapes, including combs and cloak-clasps.
Not only glittering stuff is valuable, though, and that’s why we also get 3 tables of books and scrolls (including titles and short summaries) and 4 tables of uncommon art objects including Dire tigerskin rugs (Dinner for One with giants, anyone?) and even candlesticks made of mithral!
And then there are the 5 tables of miscellaneous objects – If you’ve read my review of SGG’s Genius Guide to What’s in my Pocket, you can imagine the weirdness that suffuses some of these entries – in contrast to SGG’s book, though, these actually have a value assigned – Take for example the "Orc’s Foot Cheese", sought after many a gourmand or a decadent basilisk hide belt with a monstrous buckle!
This installment of the series goes above and beyond, though, and also provides hooks and complications: A table with 20 entries to modify gems, 20 different entries centring on previous owners, 20 secret messages contained somewhere within the item and finally 20 kinds of complications, from apparent agelessness of an antique relic to being a kind of champion’s belt for a tribe of orcs!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and the pdf is fully bookmarked and features a version optimized for use with e-readers. I’ll make this short in case my jubilatory tones have not made this abundantly clear – this pdf is awesome. The treasure herein enriches and customizes the adventuring experience of just about any group and the care and cool ideas that have flown into the compilation is stellar. The amount of items and loot herein and their unique properties make it possible to craft one or more truly unique dragon’s hoards from these items and the added tables, the complications etc., make for a stellar icing on the cake. Were I to utter any kind of criticism, then it would be that the gems are rather mundane and including some new ones would have been awesome. I would have loved to see more currencies as well, but that is nagging on the top-most level. This is hands-down my favourite installment of the "So what’s.."-series and I encourage every DM who is tired of handing out boring mundane rewards to check this out. While not as far-out as SGG’s file, they complement each other nicely and I hope for a lot of successors to this stellar pdf. My final verdict will be 5 stars + the Endzeitgeist seal of approval – author Richard Green has done an awesome job.
So What’s That Shiny Thing Like, Anyway? is available from: