The Genius Guide to What's in My Pocket? (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Super Genius Games
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It’s fairly common for randomly generated treasure to include a few mundane or low-value items. While these may be appreciated and hoarded for the few coins they can raise at low-levels, fairly early in most campaigns players stop caring much about items taken from the standard equipment tables (players only appreciate so many sunrods). However, sometimes a GM wants to spark some interest and mystery without handing out a major magic item, or at least make a world seem more in-depth by providing some colorful items that suggest they have a backstory behind them. To assist in such efforts, this product provides 110 odd little items, none of which will be of great use to players, but all of which might pique their interest.
To be on the list, an item had to be small enough to fit in a pocket, belt pouch, or backpack. Its weight had to be negligible, and its value low. None of these items give bonuses to rolls or checks. Rather, the items were designed to encourage players to ask questions and to act as starting points for GMs who wanted to introduce some new story hooks. These are creative motes and ideas rather than specific story elements, and they are best used by GMs who like creating stories and rumors on the fly. Even if one of these items didn’t encourage further investigation when found, it may provide another great opportunity for a GM to create a colorful background when characters attempt to sell it.
Unless an item gives a specific value, these items are worthless (or if the GM prefers worth 1 cp) or valued at 10 gp. While in most cases it should be obvious whether an item is a minor valuable or essentially junk, ultimately it’s left as an exercise for the GM to decide which is which – while mithral shards may be valuable in one campaign and a rat jawbone worthless, it would not be difficult to conceive of an economy that reverses those valuations.
This pdf is 8 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 6 1/3 pages of content, so what exactly do we get?
This pdf provides us with 110 different oddities you might put into the loot of your monsters. But why would you do it? Well, because most of the items provided herein have no intrinsic value, but are ODD.
For example, you might find phosphorescent pine splinters. A rattle filled with children's teeth. An acorn carved from a lacquered stair or bed-post and even an empty picture frame that can light itself up. All the items have in common that they can feel rather out of place when used for diverse critters and that they may all inspire an adventure or provide a lead and a bit of detail and intrigue to a fantasy setting.
In addition to the vast amount of cool items herein, we also get a page of advice for the Dm to deal with item fixation and help one use the items presented herein.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. The pdf adheres to SGG's classic 3-column layout and features some neat pieces of artworks. The pdf has no bookmarks. Designer Rich Redman provides us with an extremely usable, cool and imaginative array of odd items, strange contents and thus potential hooks that is sufficiently different from e.g. Raging Swan's "So what's..."-line to be useful when used in combination with it. The items herein are cool and feature weird ones along more common items, which also brings me to my only and rather minor gripe with this file - not all of the items are as imaginative as I would have liked - a vial of blood or a brass ring don't constitute interesting items in my book. While the vast majority of items ROCKS, it is these minor hick-ups that make me go a bit lower than I would have liked to - thus, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4. I hope for a sequel with more of these wacky seeds!
Who knew so much story could be stowed away in someone's pocket?
Previously Super Genius Games has provided a broad plethora of resources from across a range of supplements. After guides to feats, archetypes, classes, spells, magic items and more--here we have a most curious offering of inspirations in the form of the quirky 'What's in my Pocket?' It's the sort of supplement one might look at and sort of tilt their head, arch an eyebrow--and perhaps muse about what -is- in one's pocket. Once you've finished taking personal stock yourself, let's see what SGG has in theirs!
I'll start by saying that when I first read about this product it brought essentially the reaction described above before curiosity was sparked; as the second entry in SGG's 'items' category of material following 'Rune Staves and Wyrd Wands' (which is itself a rather interesting offering,) my interest was piqued. At first blush, a passerby might take a look at 'What's in my Pocket?' and figure it to be a random chart or two and move on--but after taking a peek at the contents, I can affirm that there is much more to be found herein!
'What's in my Pocket' begins with a brief preamble on qualifiers for its contents--objects and entries with essentially negligible value and little actual 'functionality' when in the hands of a character. As presented, the intention is instead focused on inspiration rather than a random chart for reference any time a character goes rummaging in said pockets; a GM is encouraged to peruse the entries for ideas--that discovery of these articles might provide story hooks, subtle clues or spark other avenues of interest for aspiring adventurers.
There are 110 entries present and each of them gets at least a sentence description--while many get much more than this. A means of rolling the objects randomly is provided, with those on the tail-end of the chart having an extra rolling method. The majority of the 'oddities' presented are quirky mundane items, but periodically an entry has just a touch of magic--again, nothing which affects mechanics per se, but enough to spark curiosity.
In addition to their general flavor, a number of the entries have prompts for skill checks to glean more from them--while the product suggests masking these rolls from the players. This in particular is part of a section at the end of the product with GM advice on its usage--providing a number of suggestions for the implementation of these odd objects. As well, there is a column on targeting 'fixation' which I found a nice touch; it certainly bears consideration once these interesting findings hit the table!
All of the entries are at fairly inventive and range from relatively straightforward to bizarre or at times even a touch creepy; I feel it's a bit of a disservice to refer to them as 'mundane' objects if but for the sheer charm that they present. Very few are 'simple' (e.g. A vial of blood or A brass ring.) Here are a few examples which I found particularly interesting, to give you an idea of what's inside:
-A drinking cup fashioned from a monster's horn--with suggestion that said monster is looking for it!
-The wooden heel of a boot complete with secret compartment for storing items, perception for discovery, etc.
-A glass tube with a magical blue flame that illuminates as a candle
-A small maroon felt beret
-A magic shard of ice which never melts and can cool beverages. Nice!
-A small notebook full of bizarre poetry about pottery
-A crystal jar containing dust that is the remnants of an evil deity, but is essentially an artifact that doesn't do anything--complete with a hook of obsessed cultists looking for it!
Note that these aren't verbatim, but should just give a notion of the sorts of quirky things herein. There's a lot of variety here and many could serve as a springboard for broader plots (a collection of military badges from different companies, for instance--or a list of names and addresses for various nobles with unknown purposes and so on.) Under the premise of providing inspiration for a GM, these are quite neat!
Overall: 8 pages, one dedicated to the intro and cover and one licensing page, with five pages of objects and oddities and one page of GM advice. There's six pieces of color art in the mix with nice flavor which you may have seen in similar product. Format adheres to the SGG three-column style standard and is clean.
I enjoyed 'What's in my Pocket?' and found it to be both entertaining and to provide a number of surprisingly evocative entries; perusing the more than one hundred offerings here, ideas already began to percolate. In general I'm a fan of supplements which provide flavorful inspiration for a GM and these did not disappoint; I'll admit that at first blush I had expected a 'table of random stuff'--which is what most material in this vein tend to be--but was pleasantly surprised. Not that I'd reason to expect SGG would go light on the content--it just tends to be the nature of this particular flavor of supplement.
At this price point, one may be wary given that this is 'just' a collection of mundane objects--but really the majority of the entries here are detailed, inventive and out of the ordinary enough to really warrant perusal. There's plenty of potential inspiration for a prospective GM to glean from this supplement's contents, some very good flavor and the possibility of spinning short or even long-term story hooks off of any given one of the 110 'oddities' inside.
Frankly, even the 'mundane magic' items with entries like the mug that warms your drink or the panes of glass that transpose conversation over a short distance are worth a buck or two by themselves--they're the sorts of little things I could see players getting a real kick out of and making something memorable out of mere 'pocket loot'. I was very pleased with the collection on the whole and can see its implementation across all sorts of campaigns; I'm going to go with five stars for this one--if you're on the hunt for story hooks or simply spicing up your campaign, this meets that value nicely!