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So What's the Hoard Like, Anyway? III $3.99 $2.99
Average Rating:5.0 / 5
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So What\'s the Hoard Like, Anyway? III
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So What's the Hoard Like, Anyway? III
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/05/2012 14:04:58
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=24048.

So What’s The Hoard Like, Anyway? III by Ben Kent brings this line to a high-level close, a collection of ready-made and flavorful finds for high-level adventurers (15th through 20th level, in fact) to purvey, appraise and plunder as hard-won spoils of battle. If after a long and glorious campaign you find yourself feeling a bit tired of turning to randomly-rolled baubles and trinkets to hand-wave away at straight gold value, the third and final entry of the Hoard series from Raging Swan Press could be just the ticket to really spice things up and catch your players’ eyes–containing the sorts of treasures which inspire their collection rather than simple sale!

OVERALL

So What’s The Hoard Like, Anyway? III is an imaginative and thorough resource for adding flavor and style to the spoils of higher-level encounters; with each ready-designed to suit mechanically for per-encounter loot at each of the five levels covered herein, every encounter can reap something new and interesting–while the flexibility is also there to tweak or combine hauls for truly memorable hoards after climactic showdowns as well. If you’ve ever tired of trying to inject life and intrigue into randomly rolled finds, you owe it to yourself to check it out–these levels of play are when cool treasure matters more than ever!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Raging Swan rarely disappoints when it comes to editing and formatting–and the final installment of the Hoard series is no exception. Clear two-column layout work is supplemented by nice black and white artwork of treasures along the way in a clean presentation; as well, the PDF is nicely bookmarked for easy reference and the lot should prove very printer-friendly. No complaints here!

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Mechanically, So What’s The Hoard Like, Anyway? III is very straightforward and easy to work with: each of the five levels of loot covered herein are organized into twelve caches of interesting prizes. Every hoard included has been ready-calculated to be of an appropriate overall value for a single encounter at its level (e.g. the 15th level hoards average around the base value of 19,500 gp for a single 15th level appropriate encounter.) This value breaks down between coinage, gems and jewelery, objects of art or magical items in varying measures. A hoard could be selected at random with the roll of a twelve sided die or hand-picked at one’s leisure–and naturally it’s easy to combine sets for larger hauls after a particularly big battle if one is so inclined.

One of my favorite things about the hoard sets is that not only are they packed with evocative flavor–but many boast a cohesive theme among their contents. A great example of this is one of the collections with a draconic artistic direction which includes a platinum brooch of a dragon’s claw, an oil painting depicting a blue and silver dragon locked in mortal combat, an elaborate woven tapestry with near to a dozen dragons battling over a burning city, a set of crystal wineglasses with stems resembling dragon tails, a silver statuette of a dragon and a magical glowing falchion with a hilt of blue hide.

Together, this makes for a very cool set of treasure and just the sort of thing I could see players finding and going ‘Cool! We keep it!’ By the time you’re fifteenth level and beyond, one ought be collecting decor for the forthcoming floating sky-castle the party’s bound to commandeer. The magical items interspersed among the hoards are befitting the level of play they’d be found at as well, of course–and each is presented with descriptive text to make them a bit more than ‘just another ring of protection’ and so on.

I’ll also note that there is great ingenuity in presenting some of the objects of art as particularly challenging to -recover–the sorts of things that could leave adventurers pondering and bringing their cleverness to bear to retrieve their prize (such as a 6′x10′ wall mirror worth a handsome sum intact, but a tenth of its value in pieces.) This is an element I particularly enjoyed throughout the product–and anyone who has experienced one of those gaming moments where the party becomes -determined- to have the giant platinum monkey statue that was never intended to be moved might enjoy this element (and those who haven’t, ought!)

Value Add: 10 out of 10
I very much enjoyed the variety and flavor of the findings throughout the collections presented here–and with 72 hoards to choose from, the challenge in presenting such is appreciable. A few particular examples of treasures that I found quite cool: a crystal pitcher sculpted to resemble a pear tree with crystal goblets fashioned to look like plump peaches. A six-volume collection of leather-bound manuscripts dealing with the very beginnings of magic, as annotated by their original author. An amulet of natural armor which is presented as a small chunk of adamantine ore dangling from a steel chain. A BARREL of holy water bearing a holy symbol (400 pints!)

These are ‘typical’ to the treasures in the book here, a very fine par in my opinion; even beyond utilizing the lot of the findings herein as ready-to-go rewards after encounters, one could just as easily peruse the contents to hand-pick individually interesting goodies to custom-build an evocative hoard, decorate a lair, start plot threads or more.

Overall: 10 out of 10
So What’s The Hoard Like, Anyway? III stands out marvelously as a supplement for adding variety and wonder to any game at high-level play; Ben Kent has done a superb job bringing to life an impressive variety of wondrous treasures for adventurers to covet and cherish–and I could certainly see a great many of the finds throughout this product ending up as permanent fixtures in the homes of those same-such heroes. It would have been easy to make a product of this nature simply churning through random rolls to populate lists as a simple time-saver for GMs–but reading through this supplement it is clear that care was taken to ensure that everything read and felt compelling. In closing, I give the final entry in the hoard line a high recommendation–if you’ve a campaign at these levels of adventuring, it’s a must have for making the prospect of finding what goodies foes have hoarded away an exciting prospect again!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
So What's the Hoard Like, Anyway? III
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/15/2012 12:13:23
This pdf is 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page ToC/foreword (also including information on identifying magic items), 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 12 pages of content for the third installment of the "So what's"-sub series covering sample and ready to use dragon's hoards, this time taking a look at those appropriate for levels 15 to 20 - so let's check them out!

To address the topic of quantity - each of the levels of hoards gets a total of 12 different hoards to choose from and all the valuable objects come with appraise-DCs to adequately evaluate their worth. Among the mundane treasures, we e.g. get gilded sextants, puzzle boxes (Hellraiser anyone?) and even galleys. Pauldrons with epaulettes, full finger-rings, earcuffs and even a gilded iron maiden are among the strange and unusual treasures the Pcs may unearth here.

As is with the best of mundane treasures, the items included in Raging Swan's third installment of ready-made hoards are almost predisposed to being considered adventure-hooks in and of themselves and contain the imaginative ideas and uncommon pieces I've come to appreciate from the series. The magic items are nice and I'm happy to report that there's no one-treasure hoard or similar cop-out herein - each of the hoards contains at least one piece of cool mundane treasure or a nice magical item.

Conclusion:
As I've come to expect from Raging Swan press, this pdf features a flawless editing and formatting. Layout adheres to RSP's two-column standard and the pdf comes with two versions - one optimized for the screen and one to print out. It should also be noted that the pdf is fully bookmarked. Some mini-productlines go with a whimper - the third and final one depicting hoards instead goes with a bang. None of the hoards feel like they're bland or have been done before and generally, especially the mundane treasures (come on, who can't craft a great yarn from a gilded iron maiden?) are awesome and ooze iconicity. That being said, while not all hoards are as awesome, the vast majority of them are winners and I encountered not one I'd consider bad or bland per se. Thus, my final verdict for the third in the "SwHoard"-line will be 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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