This is one of the books that I have really been looking forward to seeing. It is rare that I see a book come out about my job; I work in a bank and have for many years. MY father was in insurance and my sister is in investments so I have a bit of real world knowledge on the subjects here though I am far from an expert. I am not expecting the book to be as complex as the modern day Banking Industry is. But I do hope that it covers a good amount of the basic sand makes reasons for them to be in the game. I am also a big fan of Guilds and using them in the game. So, this product has a lot of potential use for me.
EN Guild Banking Guild is the first in a new line of books by EN Publishing cover all sorts of guilds. EN Publishing is well known for their many PDFs and usual high quality of work. The twenty nine page PDF has two different formats one designed for print and the other for on screen viewing. The one designed for print is simple two column lay out with all the art but still really easy to print out. The on screen one is very nice to look at and really easy to read. The art is all really nice with some very interesting pictures. The book is well book marked and really has good production values all around.
The book starts with a simple introduction stating that this book is not going to accurately reproduce the modern financial situation nor is it going provide a complete financial system for a fantasy game. The book also has a few common banking terms and their meaning. It is not by any mean a complete least as bank jargon can get kind of bad at times, but it will help with a basic understanding of what is presented in this book.
The banking guild is composed of three separate areas of banking, stock exchange, and insurance. It has an expensive membership, apprenticeship option, many benefits and titles for its people. A nice side par covers the historical aspects of banking starting in Babylon and hitting a few different time periods through the centuries. The stock exchange portions can get a little complicated. There is a lot of potential money to be had as there is an example of an adventuring group that makes three hundred times their initial investment. That would of course be an ideal situation and does require luck as well as skill. The insurance section is rather interesting. There is the normal property type of insurance but that probably will not come up a lot in a normal campaign. But the life insurance polices that can include resurrections for characters very well might. This can get rather expensive as it includes having the characters body teleported back to a church and then the raise dead or other spell being cast their.
The next chapter deals with more normal rules like skills feats, and classes. The two skills of Knowledge Financing and Craft Handle Money though have a very odd use allowing their ranks to be added to other skills for specific situations. I am not a fan of that as that can really give some big bonuses even for not so high level characters. There is a feat called money shoot and despite the name it is actually pretty cool. It is the ability to use a coin to intercept an arrow or other missile weapon in flight.
There are two prestige classes in the book. The first is the Roving Accountant a caster that is good at divination and appraisals. They get a lot of appraisal abilities over the five levels of the class. They continue to get full spell casting ability and pretty good skills and skill points. The other class is called the Venture Capitalist and it is a fighter that raises money for high risk and high reward efforts. It could be taking over a village or retrieving riches from dungeons. The character usually does not care where the initial investments come from. The requirements of the class really do not fit. It requires the feat of Money shot, Improved Sunder, and Power Attack. It also needs the peaceful encounter with an evil outsider. The feats have nothing to do with the class abilities. I would have though Combat Expertise would be a better fit since it requires an intelligent score of 13 and this class seems to be a better concept for a smart fighter. Also, the evil outsider but seems odd for a class whose alignment requirement is lawful. Contacting an evil outsider for a class does not seem something a lawful good character would ever do.
The rest of the book covers a lot of different things. There are three new spells. One, Crazy Money, which causes people to spend money without control, a greater version of contingency, and passing wealth that literally makes a person pass wealth out of themselves and it is very painful process. There is a very interesting creature called the lead ooze that turns gold into lead and ruins peoples wealth and can ruin economies.
One of the nice sections deals with vault securities. This is nice and simple means that people will protect their money. I like it because it is also good ideas for protecting magic shops for people who use them. There is a table of exchange rates and new types of currency that different civilizations can use. This is very well done with some great ideas for making coins and valuables vary from place to place. There is a nice side bar here about the gold standard in the real world.
Lastly there is a small section on gods and a sample bank. The gods are not specific gods but it does talk about what gods of commerce, greed, and theft can be like. The bank is nicely described with some adventure hooks in it.
This is a nice book and it does a good job of taking a new idea that is not used in the fantasy game and presenting it in a workable way. Some of these options in here are much better for NPCs then PCs since PCs tend to want wealth now and are not into long term investing. There are all sorts of new twists, motives, and ways to use adventures in here. It can add a new level of complexity to the game dealing with characters that have to worry about exchange rates and have portions of their personal wealth tied up in investments and not able to be used. The life insurance also makes it less likely for characters to have permanent death but it works just as well for the bad guys. I really like this book and plan on getting some good use out of it.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>