Review: Raging Swan Press – So What’s that Shiny Thing, Anyway? (GM’s Resource)


So What’s that Shiny Thing, Anyway?
So What’s that Shiny Thing, Anyway? is an epic fantasy supplement from the GM’s Resource series of supplements for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game written by Richard Green and published by Raging Swan Press.
By Gozuja

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!

CONTENT

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.

OVERALL

So What’s That Shiny Thing, Anyway? further expands upon the growing collection of GM tools in Raging Swan’s repertoire, serving to facilitate evocative and flavorful finds at a glance to spice up a given game’s loot. The content can be utilized quickly and easily and covers a wide variety of cool flavor–while also offering up additional descriptive details, hooks and complications along for the ride.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Raging Swan Press’ two-column standard is shown here crisply and cleanly, continuing to boast a nice professional presentation. Eight pieces of black and white artwork are found herein of a nice quality and 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.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
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 within 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.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
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 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. It’s these little perks that I feel help supplements, such as this, bring lasting value to the table.

Overall: 10 out of 10

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