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Mystic Marketplaces: The Brass Drake €2,79
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Mystic Marketplaces: The Brass Drake
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Mystic Marketplaces: The Brass Drake
Publisher: Flying Pincushion Games
by Elexious C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/06/2016 16:58:32

Another new product from Flying Pincushion covers a new subject for them; shops. The ole' Magic Mart is a strange place. Usually players just roll into town and roll some dice to see if what they want to buy is in the town. This series seems to want to make a store front that the players will want to come back to and interact with more than just picking up their supplies.

The marketplace in question has some crunch for the purchase limit and what they generally sell but also puts in a few other mechanics in there as well. You can barter unusual items, making for interesting quest material. You can also gain discounts and better sell prices for being a regular customer giving players incentive to come back. There are even a few quests to go on and an encounter that can kick off some events. It also includes a new magic item.

There are some points of this product that do throw me off despite liking the concepts as a whole. The owner of the Brass Dragon takes bartering and gives goofy quests that have odd implications that to me make me assume that he's a Time Lord but stats-wise is just a terrible rogue . As a source of boons or unique items the whole thing is a little lackluster. One thing about the Player Companion Magical Marketplace was that you could get a number of exclusive items and class features. Here the main resource is discounts and quests. Although, to be fair, my criticisms mostly stem from this product having the potential to be more impactful from an equipment perspective when in reality it's more of a fluff piece but even on the fluff front I get a lot of flavor out of the owner of the shop that doesn't feel like it pays out in regards to the quests he has lined up. I just have the feeling that it could have done or been more. It's there to give a bit more description to a shop and give reasons to come back and excuses to go on quests, although that leads to my biggest criticism that the quests feel like they describe mini enclosed events rather than things that lead into adventures your own adventures. There are typos here and there but nothing terrible or anything that ruins the whole product.

All that aside the product succeeds in a lot of ways. It does present a item shop with a reason to return and means to extend into quests that make the place more of an adventurer hub than something that isn't even role played out. My sense that it could probably need more fluff or more crunch is easily dismissed as irrational because it is a very similar to another product I love, Dire Rugrat's Tangible Taverns line. It does it's job and I can see myself using it as a jumping point for adventures.

In the end I want to give it 4 out of 5 stars. Its a good and functional product but I think that if it had more crunch or more fluff I would be way more satisfied with it, but for now I'll use it but I won't be jumping to use it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Mystic Marketplaces: The Brass Drake
Publisher: Flying Pincushion Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/25/2016 11:13:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved up my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patrons.

So, what is the Brass Drake? Well, the simple response would be that it's an adventurer's shop/tavern crossover. The more accurate sentiment would point out the owner Maurice's unique position - you see, the Brass Drake does not exist in a stable timeline - while visitors do not need to fear falling by the wayside of the time-stream - thus, you can benefit from some rather unique options in the Brass Drake. Similarly, Maurice has his own gold limit, which means that if you're taking careful tabs on the like, this is something to be aware of. As a collector of memorabilia related to time, sample items and their gold value to Maurice is provided.

However, the pdf also introduces two particular subsystems: Number one would be the patronage system. Unless otherwise noted by the shop in question, buying or selling an item nets you 1 point of patronage per visit and the more you have, the better the prices and perks you receive will be: Selling/Buying bargain tables based on percentile values. Additionally, unique benefits can be gained for patrons with a high patronage - like free meals or the option to get a magic item now that you'd find later, capitalizing on the unique nature of the Brass Drake's time-distortion. The pdf also provides a bartering system based on Appraise and Knowledge (local) - these items can be used as currency, but with a limit of one item per transaction. The systems both work relatively well and are not too complicated - which is particularly important for the bartering system. the patronage system imho should have a shop-based minimum-value caveat for patronage point gain, to avoid PCs selling paltry items all the time and then expecting patronage gains - which RAW works. Still, the pdf at least acknowledges that some shops have limits, minimum values.

Now back to the Brass Drake itself - conveniently, we get a short selection of magical goods for sale (though no menus or lists of beverages) and the place also unlocks a unique magic item for its most faithful patrons - a doorknob-like amulet that allows you to create a door to the Brass Drake in any alley or teleport to the original door. The most compelling aspects of this shop, though, lie in the small details - there are some basic shop-tasks that specialized adventurers can fulfill to gain further patronage points and additionally, no less than 5 sample quests provide for interesting hooks - Maurice, for example, asks the PCs to check in with his supplier of ogre moonshine...

Finally, the pdf also features a more detailed encounter, basically either the end of the Brass Drake's storyline or the beginning of a larger quest - in this encounter/adventure, the shop's unique nature draws the attention of dread hounds of Tindalos - defending Maurice from them can also earn patronage, 1 - 5, depending on how hurt Maurice is during teh fight. Still, more precise guidelines here would have been nice, though the encounter, on the plus-side, comes with scaling advice to increase the CR to 12, 17 or decrease it to 7. The pdf also provides the stats of Maurice - capable, yet old and fragile, he is a Knife Master/Scout 10.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are rather good, I noticed no glaring mistakes, though organization could have been smarter - putting the rules for the new systems at the end of the pdf creates some initial confusion and makes the content seem a bit opaque in the beginning. Similarly, the wording of them could be a tad bit more nuanced and precise. Layout adheres to a full-color 1-column standard with a nice selection of fitting stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Taylor Hubler's and Dylan Brooks' Brass Drake is a nifty place to shop and hang out with: The patronage system and its unique perks have potential galore and the Brass Drake's unique concept is captivating and evocative -fluff-wise, this is great, though it perhaps could have used a bit more descriptive text to shine...particularly since the place sports no map. This is perhaps my biggest gripe with this book - while interesting and concept-wise awesome, the lack of description on what the store truly looks like, its layout etc. made it more opaque to me than it should have been. Granted, this may be by design, but at least a general array of features and/or dressing would have catapulted this up in the rating scale. My second gripe with this book is that I really would have liked to see a sample menu, a more detailed list of goods available...or at least goods pertaining more to the topic of time.

If that sounds overly negative, then rest assured, it shouldn't be - the Brass Drake offers an evocative place for a fair price-point. It can be considered an interesting first offering in the series, one that I hope will spawn future installments. My final verdict for it will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Mystic Marketplaces: The Brass Drake
Publisher: Flying Pincushion Games
by N. J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/26/2016 17:47:28

We're looking at a pretty slim tome here clocking in at 13 pages with 1 for cover, 1 for information, 1 for art (the hound are was pretty nice), and one for OGL information, giving us 9 pages here.

What I liked: The idea here is on an alternative market place, and that's something I can get behind. Originally I was curious as to how you could make any marketplace reoccurring in some games (as not all games have a singular location), but the method done in this book works for me without feeling shoehorned in. The description is quite nice for the place, and you get a solid feel for the location.

The patronage system was also another nice touch (although slightly too vague for me in places) that encourages the party to continue using the location. Solidly defined benefits as well as a way to continue utilizing the location should help anyone who wants to keep visiting easily make their way back, even if the requirements to do so are rather high. For my sake, if your players are far more mobile in which locations they visit, I'd suggest lowering the patronage points needed to get the Amulet of the Brass Drake to whatever seems appropriate seeing as raising one's patronage score can be a slow (but rewarding) experience.

The book also comes with a few minor story hooks and an encounter which fit with the theme of the establishment, and most story hooks are vague enough where you can pitch them into any game, making them more universally useful to GMs looking to include more into their games.

As for the the owner, Maurice, there both is and isn't enough information on them. There's enough where your players should know everything they need to know, but not too much as to lay out their life story instantly, making them an NPC that can be built on however needed.

The item now for 1 later was a pretty interesting and thematic addition too, although it's something I hope wasn't supposed to be a 1 time boon, as it feels like the most interesting part of the patronage system.

The shop task are overall flavorful, but feel a bit unbalanced next to each other, their scope somewhat inconsistent. But they do make for a more immersive experience, and help the overall tone of the shop.

What I was indifferent towards: The barter system, while somewhat interesting, feels like it's more of an add in rather than a fully integrated part of the location. I don't dislike it by any means, but it feels limited in use, and it'll probably be one of the lesser used functions of the book.

The layout of the book is pretty standard, it looks nice enough, but there's nothing here that will wow you. It's readable and presents the information easily though, and the bookmark system helps you keep your place, so points for that.

What I didn't like: For having an encounter in the establishment, the lack of map is going to hinder the value of this quite a bit. It falls to the GM to create a more exacting map of the location which isn't something I'm hoping to do with a product like this. Also, the produce uses a template that's only found in a soft cover (the counterpoised template found in Champions of Balance), which prompted me to have to look this up myself. Given that the template is only to make the encounter harder, I'm not going to be too hard, but even referencing the book in the template's mention (the hounds of tindalos were referenced as bestiary 2) would have helped out a lot.

Overall, I'd say this encounter is probably the weakest part of the book, and while I wouldn't say it should be removed, the issues above make it more difficult to run than it should be for your average GM.

Also Maurice's art feels very out of place given the other art on the book, and I really feel like it should have been a better picture. The image given feels too much like stock art and doesn't help the character stick in your mind. While their backstory might, the given image does little to help one remember an interesting individual like this. And the fact that they require a consumable magic item to use all of their feats, while interesting, makes their stat block slightly more annoying to use.

Final opinion: Nothing here is revolutionary, but I don't think it needs to be. What I see here is more the groundwork for other books to take what this one has done and expand upon it. A lot of the mechanics are solid and you probably will have a more engaging shopping experience with this book, which is the point of it.

Overall, I'd probably give it a 3.75 myself, but that rounds up to a 4. It's a good first book in something that I'd like to see more of with a bit more polish to really help the ideas presented shine.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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