Pathfinder Player Companion: Black Markets Paperback – Illustrated, November 10, 2015
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- Item Weight : 9.3 ounces
- Paperback : 32 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1601257899
- ISBN-13 : 978-1601257895
- Product Dimensions : 8.4 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
- Reading level : 16 and up
- Publisher : Paizo Inc.; Illustrated Edition (November 10, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #887,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Like every entry in the Player Companion line, Black Markets is a 32-page full-colour book. The cover art is great, and gives a good feel for what's inside. The art is reused, sans logo, as the inside back cover. The inside front cover notes seven places of "Illicit Trade in the Inner Sea Region", and each place receives a brief description of what can be found there along with a little flavour. Some of these places are described in further detail in the interior of the book, but not all of them are.
The first four pages of the book include a summary of what's inside for particular classes, a rules option index, and an introduction that contains a brief but good overview of how different nations in Golarion feel about black markets. They're everything from an "unavoidable fact of life" in the River Kingdoms to "disgraces to proper society" in Cheliax.
From a GM's perspective, one of the major things the book does is create rules for black markets: how hard they are to find, what types of materials are available there, how much items will cost, and what risks customers face in visiting them. This smartly takes the form of an adaptation of the settlement stat blocks from the GameMastery Guide. The book introduces a handful of new feats for PCs who plan to interact regularly with black markets, and then proceeds to give sample stat blocks (and associated character traits) for six specific ones: the Dusk Market in Westcrown, Nightstalls in Katapesh, the Red Silk Route in Absalom, the Tarnished Hills in Numeria, the Wagons of Light in Geb, and the nomadic-fey-run Witchmarket. I think it's a great idea, and I've used the rules to create a black market stat block for Korvosa in my upcoming Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign (because I know, sooner or later, somebody's going to want to buy something that's not quite legit)!
Next, the book supplements the Downtime rules from Ultimate Campaign by creating several new nefarious downtime activities: creating alibis, blackmailing someone, planning a heist, smuggling, and more. I thought they were good, though some are far more likely to be an NPC sort of thing than a PC activity.
Some characters, like my Norgorber-worshipping Siegfried of Daggermark, are into poisons. The book spends two pages detailing the concept of "infused poisons"--which, with the associated feat, allow you to combine the effects of a poison with a spell effect. For examine, the "liquid influence" poison both gives the target Wisdom damage and puts them under the effect of a suggestion spell. It's a really clever concept. There's also some new undead-themed poisons called "necrotoxins".
Two pages are then spent introducing "necrografts," a concept that may be familiar to Starfinder players. Essentially, skilled necromantic surgeons implant new body parts or replace body parts with undead flesh to augment a living creature's abilities. For examine, you could get a necrograft leg that allows you to travel overland longer than normal before becoming exhausted. Although the concept is a fun one, I'd say most are way over-priced for what they do.
Cursed magical items have been in D&D and its heirs since the beginning, and Black Markets devotes two pages to them. In particular, it gives rules for magic users intentionally creating cursed items. Some new ones are introduced here, with my favourite being the spendthrift spectacles (that cause the wearer to wildly overpay for items) and the style-stealing vambrace that threatens to cut off the wielder's own hand every time they land a critical hit in combat!
Pesh, an addictive narcotic, is the subject of the next two pages. There are a handful of new pesh-related feats and then some new pesh-related spells. Given the severity of the addiction rules in Pathfinder, I don't think most of the options are very practical.
Next up: nonmagical, portable traps that will definitely appeal to some characters. There's also one magical portable trap: portable pits that replicate the various pit line of spells. These can be pretty nasty!
Evil clerics and anyone adventuring in Rahadoum might find value in the two pages on "hidden holy items", though I thought they were largely mediocre.
Two pages detail secret signs and spells related to the concept. I liked a couple of the latter, but I'm guessing this is mostly an NPC section.
A section on smugglers introduces a few new archetypes. I once had a Pack Mule character (a fighter archetype that allows a PC to carry a great amount of weight), but alas, he died. I like the Relic Raider, a rogue archetype that specialises in dealing in curses and haunts--not something for an average campaign, but could be cool perhaps in something like Carrion Crown.
A section labelled "Duplicitous Archetypes" introduces two: The Eldritch Poisoner, an alchemist specialising in poison that does ability score damage, which could be really powerful against living foes (though anything immune to poison will be perfectly fine) and the Hoaxer, a fun concept that looks clunky in practice.
Last up is several new spells. The only one that jumped out at me was curse of keeping, which prevents the target from dropping, selling, or giving away anything in their possession! I could imagine some fun story ideas for that one.
Overall, I think the book is a really nice supplement for GMs and PCs. Not everything inside is going to fit every campaign or concept, but on the whole the material is well-written and interesting.
I was hoping for much more useful information from this. Perhaps I should have known better.
Top reviews from other countries
Inhaltlich ist das Buch recht interessant und bietet einige Details für "Black Markets" inklusive Beschäftigungsmöglichkeiten, Gegenstände, Charaktere etc. Mit dem Companion bin ich...meiner Meinung nach...in der Lage in jeder größeren Stadt einen Schwarzmarkt darzustellen und mit Leben zu befüllen.
Es handelt sich um ein recht dünnes Heftchen, welches im Regal leider nichts her macht. Zumindest für mich, als jemand der auch eine gewissen Sammelleidenschaft mit Pathfinder verbindet, spielt dies durchaus eine Rolle.
Gleichzeitig finde ich den Preis trotzdem zu hoch. Ein angemessener Preis liegt meiner Erfahrung nach bei etwa 7,99 €.
Fazit: Inhaltlich brauchbar und nützlich für ein detailliertes Spiel, macht aber optisch nichts her und überteuert.