By Thilo Graf
The first in Raging Swan Press’ supplements to help DMs flesh out urban environments is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The pdf wastes no time and kicks right in with a table of market stall appearances, providing a total of 100 (!!!) different appearances that range from mules carrying rickety carts to a slavemaster with his living stall, a bugbear slave to stalls with secret warehouses, warnings against halfling thieves etc. Overall, a VERY useful collection of first look impressions! Of course there are also goods on sale and yet another cohesive table of 100 types of goods, from dried fruit to banners, taxidermy, religious guidance and messenger services awaits the PCs.
Following some other RSP-publications, we also get complications to serve as mini-hooks or add a sense of life to the market via 20 different problems ranging from stalls collapsing into the sewers, starcrossed lovers of feuding merchants, loose mules, mysterious locked boxes, orphan thieves and even a box with animate zombie heads – now this is a cool mix of classic and innovative!
Of course, we also need people to actually sell the wares and via the 20 associated NPcs also provided, we have a nice roster of them ready. True to Raging Swan’s standard, each of the NPCs gets a short summary of appearance, personality, a distinct mannerism when playing him/her and also a hook to craft an adventure or at least a side-trek from. Nice!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches, as I’ve come to expect from the superbly edited RSP-products. Layout adheres to RSP’s 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf has extensive nested bookmarks to help navigation as well and comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use.
Author Brian Liberge can feel a justified pride: His first product in my opinion ranks among the finest Raging Swan has released so far in the “… Dressing”-lines and marries both classic and mundane details with the weird and fantastical in just the right manner. The complications especially and the amount of sample vendors, though, are what makes this pdf in my opinion not only stand out in the overall excellent context of the product-line, but increase its usefulness to maximum levels. My only gripe with this pdf is that I want more stalls and I hope we’ll see a direct sequel in due time. There are more exotic goods still to be covered. And were I to dream, what would completely blow me away would be a market stall dressing for the tarnished souk in Rite Publishing’s Coliseum Morpheuon. Hey, raging Swan press and Rite Publishing work together quite often (Creighton contributes e.g. to Pathways and Adventure Quarterly), so a reviewer may dream…
I forgot my verdict: 5 stars, seal of approval. Get this!
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