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So What's That Shiny Thing, Anyway? (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 2 ratings)

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GM’S RESOURCE by Richard Green

Deep in the dungeon, the PCs have finally bested the foul ogre after an epic struggle and with glee loot their fallen enemy’s chambers. With excitement in their eyes, they ask “So what treasure did the ogre have, anyway?” An answer such as “300 gp in gems, three pieces of jewellery worth 200 gp each and a large rug” is somewhat of an anticlimax, but who has the time to prepared detailed treasure descriptions these days?

So What’s That Shiny Thing, Anyway? banishes these problems by providing 28 pre-generated, ready-to-use lists containing hundreds of detailed items for the busy GM to immediately use in his campaign.

This product is a Dual Format PDF. The downloadable ZIP file contains two versions, one optimised for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimised for use on a mobile device such as an iPad.

Download a free sample at ragingswan.com/shiny

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 2 ratings)

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Make the mundane marvelous and sow stories with these curios and curiosities!

*****

In this continuation of the ongoing Raging Swan Press series of 'So What' supplements, author Richard Green provides a collection of ready references for GMs to utilize for inspiration--this time making what might ordinarily be mundane gems and goods a more interesting and flavorful find. Whether put on the spot unexpectedly or pondered up during prep, 'So What's That Shiny Thing, Anyway?' sets out to add spice to a session's sweet rewards--so let's take a look and see how this twist on mundane treasures measures up!

Given the nature of this product, the main meat to make or break it is in the tables themselves--and those presented do not disappoint. While the title denotes all things shiny, there are more goodies included than just gems and coins--and the full gamut breaks down to coins, gems, jewellery, books & scrolls, art objects and miscellaneous objects. Each of these categories is presented with multiple tables with individual entries providing their cash value and a distinct description for flavor. The range of value spans as little as a few copper pieces and as grand as twenty-thousand gold--which needless to say, ought to satisfy mundane finds at all levels of play.

Beyond the tables themselves--which are quite thoroughly chock full of evocative details--two sections of goods include additional layers to further tailor these findings. The coins include a table for what is printed on their reverse side, while the gems section provides reference tables both for appraising and identifying their value and for assessing the magical properties of gemstones (an especially neat table.) A few of the entries include minor mechanical effects, such as a bowl with mushrooms which provide a fortitude bonus versus disease for an hour if eaten--a nice extra inclusion among the mix.

Finally, at the tail end of the product is the Hooks & Complications section, which is really quite neat; here a table provides 'looks and hooks' (quite catchy) for gemstones, such as being marked by a wizard's sigil or being the missing eye from a statue of a demon, while another table denotes 'previous owners' for the goods found herein, boasting a nice collection of potentially quirky or precarious encounters to be had should said owners cross paths with a party of adventurers. From start to finish, all of the tables presented include plenty of detailed information about the entries.

I make no secret that I am a fan of supplements which provide a GM tools with which to spice up their adventures--and one which helps bring more memorable finds among mundane treasures certainly satisfies this calling. 'So What's That Shiny Thing, Anyway?' goes a long way in regard to providing plenty of alternatives to simply waving a hand and announcing the discovery of fifty gold of this and seventy gold of that--which in and of itself suits nicely for mechanical purposes.

Beyond just flavor however is another underlying element: these descriptions could also just as well serve as inspiration for adding additional hooks to a given story and its characters--and that is really where the 'shiny' begin to shine. Many of the entries provide enough of a curiosity that they have the potential to spark a given player's interest--and an attentive GM could certainly feed off of these piqued regards to further flesh out a particular find into something more meaningful still. It's these little perks that I feel help supplements such as this to bring lasting value to the table.

Overall: 'So What's That Shiny Thing, Anyway?' is 21 pages, with 6 occupied by the cover, credits, OGL and an advertisement; this leaves us with 15 pages purveying descriptive tables of precious goodies and a plentiful variety therein. Raging Swan Press' two-column standard is shown here crisply and cleanly, continuing to boast a nicely professional presentation. Eight pieces of black and white artwork are found herein of a nice quality and suit to flavor the material well. Layout and spacing are handled consistently--and given that much of the product is presented in reference tables, that these are found to be neatly formatted is apt. I did not find any editing glitches--everything appears ship-shape! The PDF is thoroughly bookmarked and broken down to individual tables underneath each category of goods, making it a fine electronic reference as well.

This is a very straightforward supplement, but one which is swift to seize its purpose well. One needn't necessarily be exhaustive in utilizing its contents--and whether you're apt to toss a few dice to quickly pitch parcels of loot or are keen to construct hooks from curios and curiosities, the supplement suits such a spectrum neatly. Frankly, for simply having come up with such an exhaustive collection of distinctly different finds and providing each with an interesting description as well warrants kudos and a tip of the hat. It would be one thing is this were merely varying degrees of differently colored collectibles, but Richard Green has flexed a lot of creativity in providing a considerable variety here.

On the whole, whether you're a GM seeking a swift solution for mixing it up with your players' mundane finds for sake of a change of pace or keen to ply stories from snake-skin scabbards, creepy porcelain dolls and mysteriously flickering gems--there's ample material herein for all manner of inspiration which could serve for a great many adventures without running scarce on your supply. Given the great amount of well-written material both practical and inspiring, I found this to be a nicely satisfying supplement--high marks to Richard Green and Raging Swan Press! 5 stars.


The most useful "So what's..."-pdf so far, at least for me

*****

This pdf 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 Jewelry? 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 centering 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!

Conclusion:
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 favorite 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.

Endzeitgeist out.


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