By Thilo Graf
This pdf is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s check this out!
This pdf, as the introduction explains, is a collection of 20 ready-made taverns, all set to be dropped into your campaign. In order to guarantee maximum usability, the taverns have been listed with star-rating s regarding the quality of their services and prices as well as a note on which clients can be found lodging there, collecting all necessary information to choose the right one on the fly on the first page. Nice! They also feature information on the availability of accommodations and the locale in which they’re set.
The respective taverns not only comes with descriptions of the building, but also short mentionings of the staff, the notable patrons, accommodations where available, price-lists for drinks and specialties and adventure hooks and events. Awesome and rather cool, extremely easy to use and cool! Ranging from noble taverns held by mysterious owner and catering to a high-class clientele to truly seedy gambling halls (including a sample card game) and one already pointing with a nice easter-egg towards Marc Radle’s long-anticipated “Sunken Pyramid” adventure. Indeed, here and there throughout the supplement, one can find unobtrusive optional pointers towards other RSP publications that lend a nice sense of identity and cohesion to the taverns.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and adheres to RSP’s slick and elegant b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized to be printed out, one for the screen-use. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.
This is essentially a collection of ready-made taverns, all set to be introduced to your campaign, with interesting fluff, a nice variety of staff and regulars and some neat ideas indeed – and yes, there is a bugbear bouncer, a tavern for a pilgrimage and a pipe-smoke-hung wizard’s hang-out. From ale-sabotage to other hijinxs, the hooks are also mostly interesting – and yet, a feeling that something is missing pervaded me while writing these lines – and it took me some time to realize what it was. The taverns herein are nice, ready to be dropped in a campaign. But my unconscious frame of reference was Necromancer Games’ classic “Book of Taverns” – and this is what is missing from these pages: A truly unique, evocative tavern. Yes, these are essentially tavern-templates and are designed to fit easily into your campaign, but there’s no oddball here, not one truly far out tavern. While a minor flaw (or none at all, depending on your perspective/preference), it still, for me at least, detracts a bit from the appeal of what would otherwise be a great pdf. My final verdict will thus be 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 with the caveat that if you’re looking for the uncommon/weird, this is not the place that will satisfy your craving.
So What’s The Tavern Like, Anyway? II is available from: