Supplement Review: So What’s For Sale, Anyway? II by Julian Neale from Raging Swan Press

If I was going to open a store specializing in magic items for D&D, I’d think that inventory would be a continuous problem. Well, unless there was a secret set of “magic item” elves that would, while I was sleeping, create scrolls, magic items and weapons while I slept. Wouldn’t that be nice…

But coming up with the initial inventory might be a bit difficult unless I was either a thief, a wizard skilled in creating magic items, or a retired adventurer selling off my stash… I can see it being a lot like the “Cheese Shop” sketch from Monty Python‘s Flying Circus. (Apologies to the Monty Python alums for slightly altering a few lines of their classic sketch!)

Customer: It’s not much of a cheese magic item shop, is it?
Wenslydale: Finest in the district!
Customer: (annoyed) Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.
Wenslydale: Well, it’s so clean, sir!
Customer: It’s certainly uncontaminated by cheese magic items….

Since I often have the same problem when GMing, I’m thankful that Julian Neale and Raging Swan Press started the great So What’s For Sale, Anyway? series. These supplements pull together collections of magic items that may be available in different sized communities, from thorps and hamlet to cities and even metropolises. GMs can roll some percentile dice, pick one of the collections of items, and run with it – a few scrolls, wands, and more are for sale.

If that’s not enough, So What’s For Sale, Anyway? II has added “Sample Sellers” like Aki Ketola, a balding, middle-aged f ighter who’s selling some of his own equipment so he can purchase a new magical weapon. Or maybe you’d rather buy items from half-elf wizard Senhnin Kythalim, a pompous, boring man who always speaks in monotone, who is selling his collection of magic items to move to a larger city… NPCs like these are scattered throughout the book, with a collection of ten NPCs for each settlement size.

I think adding these NPCs makes a big difference, putting some character into the shopkeepers, peddlers, and independent businessmen and women selling their wares. It addresses a bit of the “item providence” issue I mentioned in my review of the first So What’s For Sale, Anyway?. I’d still like to see something similar to this series except for mundane items like weapons and adventuring gear, but hey… you can’t have everything!

One other thing added to SWFSA II are 42 unique cursed items scattered through the items for sale (at least I don’t remember any cursed items in the first volume). These vary from actually doing the opposite or something different than what they’re supposed to, having drawbacks if certain conditions aren’t met, random activation, and so on. Though I’d probably hate to see one of these pop up in a game if I was a player, they offer some interesting chances for roleplaying so it might be interesting.

The layout in this book is a bit different than in the first, which I think cleaned things up quite a bit. Instead of having all the random tables at the beginning, each section for a particular settlement size has two random tables – one for determining which items are available and one for the table of seller NPCs. This saves the GM from having to do too much page flipping, which is always a good thing.

All the interior artwork was done by artist Marc Radle, who did some great pieces though I’m not always sure which piece is being pictured on a given page. Sometimes it’s obvious, but other times I’m left wondering what the item is and how it is associated with the items on the page or in the section. Perhaps in the next volume we’ll see captions on pictures tying them to a particular entry?

Long story short, So What’s For Sale, Anyway? II is another great resource for D&D and Pathfinder GMs from Raging Swan. And I’ll have to check out the new naming resource out this week from Raging Swan – So What’s It Called, Anyway? – written by the artist Radle! (It only now occurs that I may be slightly addicted to collections of random tables.)

For more about Raging Swan Press, be sure to stop by their website and peruse their ever-growing library of products!

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