Latest in the detailed breakdown of buildings to be found in The Great City, this product looks at the merchant district, the commercial heart of the city. As with other 'Ward' books, the contents consist of detailed plans for several of the establishments to be found in this area. These are a curiousity shop, an alchemist, a locksmith, an armour & fine weapons shop, an emporium, a woodworker, a fine silks and clothes shop and the Merchants' Guildhall.
They are all presented in the now-familiar style of blue or black versions, with the facility to choose whether or not to display gridlines, furniture or room numbers. Reference sheets are provided for you to print out and add your own notes as required.
Each building has its own distinctive character, and just looking at them begins to spawn ideas of what might transpire when your players decide to drop in! The Guildhall is particularly fine, with a conference room and a large auditorium, as well as areas for private study, meetings and a residence for the Guildmaster - useful for anyone who enjoys a layer of politics in their game, or who wishes to use a guild as patron for the characters.
Several buildings have secret chambers, which may be used for the most valuable, dangerous or illegal goods available there... and all have access to a privy, a convenience often neglected by map-makers!
In true mediaeval fashion, some of the premises almost run into each other, which makes for slightly odd maps in places where the ground floor is smaller than the one above (mostly because the upper floor is built over some other store that has not been included). Cross-reference with the master plans in The Great City makes this quite easy to understand, however.
Overall, a good addition to the series with plenty of scope for making the inevitable 'shopping trip' a bit more interesting than a check of the price lists in your sourcebooks, and indeed a good adventure location in its own right for all those who do not need a hole in the ground to seek excitement!
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[4 of 5 Stars!]