By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Raging Swan Pressis 22 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 15 pages of content, so let’s check this out!
Just like the first installment of the series, this pdf provides exactly what you’d expect from the pdf .- i.e. we get fully detailed hoards and treasures. Only this time, we’ll cover the medium experience levels, i.e. the scope from 8 to 14. We get 12 hoards for each level, for a total of 72 hoards herein.
What made the first installment great was the attention to detail given to the individual descriptions of the loot and to be honest, with higher levels and less mundane items, I expected the overall level of detail to sink. Thankfully, the pdf does deliver us cool items – we don’t just get potions, we get potions in specific flasks, wands that look like branches, marble sundials, expensive rugs and tapestries, a portable altar, a nine-branched candelabra and even platinum wire! The pdf also includes a page on identifying and appraising mundane and magical treasure and it should be noted that DCs to appraise the value of the items are provided as well.
Editing and formatting are very good, though not as perfect as I’ve come to expect from Raging Swan: A demon-slayer’s two-bladed-sword (Similar to one character had in my current campaign – one side silver, one cold iron) e.g. always speaks of “iron” instead of “cold iron”. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard, is elegant and printer-friendly and comes with EXTENSIVE bookmarks. The pdf also comes in two versions, one optimized for the screen and one for print.
This pdf delivers its promise of cool hoards, there’s no doubt about that. BUT, I noticed some minor issues: Apart from the glitch already mentioned, I also encountered one hoard that is lame and stood out like a sore thumb: While all the others (71!) are rather cool, I noticed that hoard 10 of level 8 is only a boring wand (not too descriptive/imaginative) and coins. That’s no hoard. I don’t know whether to save space or whatnot, but this one read like something rather disappointing. Note that I only mention this due to the superior quality of the other hoards. If you’re like me and own a lot of “So what’s…”-pdfs, you’ll also notice that e.g. ancient electrum coins and their text have been reprinted, which, while the exception, is also a minor bummer.
Bear with me for a moment: This pdf is great, it really is. However, Raging Swan Press has established a very high standard and one that this pdf does not *quite* reach. While the predecessor also had a one-item-hoard, it was a star-sapphire stuck in a HAND in the floor! That’s iconic, that’s cool. Aforementioned short hoard felt bland in comparison and while the vast majority of these hoards are, great, I feel like the pdf overall can’t reach the predecessor’s level of being close to perfection. Thus I’m going to settle for a final verdict of “only” 4.5 stars, still rounded up to 5, though, as I can’t bring myself to rate this 4 – it’s too good for that.
So What’s the Hoard Like, Anyway? II is available from: