Trade Routes: Expanded Caravan Rules Sourcebook
Publisher: LPJ Design
Author: Chris Field with Louis Porter Jr.
Release Date: 08/22/2011
Page Count: 15 pages
Cover Price: $2.99
Get It Here: RPGNow
Travelling in D&D has always been a haphazard affair. Even after the Wilderness Survival Guide, I was never really able to get my head around it. When Paizo released the Jade Regent Player’s Guide, which you can get here for free, and added caravan rules to Pathfinder, I was able to finally make heads and tails of group travel. LPJ Design released the Trade Routes: Expanded Caravan Rules Sourcebook soon after, which expands on the Paizo rules.
At a slim 15 pages, Trade Routes jumps right into things. You must have the Jade Regent Player’s Guide in hand to make the most of it. The first three pages are dedicated to new wagon types. These wagons range from the obvious, but useful, Bordello Wagon, to the odd Reliquary wagon carrying religious icons. There is some neat stuff here, like the Steam Engine and Giant Beast Train. One down note is that the Conestoga Wagon is not explained at all. A quick Google search reveals that this is a boat shaped wagon for fording rivers, which a single sentence could have clarified.
A page and a half of Caravan Equipment follows. There are, once again, some neat ideas on display. There are about two pages of Caravan Feats. These Feats really make Caravans come to life and give them character. A Caravan with the Hair Harvest feat will feel completely different from one bearing the Phantom Drivers feat. A page dedicated to Real World Logistics is pretty skimmable.
The four and a half pages of Plot Hooks and Threats to the Caravan are the real value of the book. From the few LPJ Design products I have read, it seems that their calling card really is quality plot hooks. There are a couple sample Caravans to demonstrate the included rules, which is a real luxury in such a short book.
Trade Routes is a product with a pretty narrow audience. If you play or GM Pathfinder, this is a pretty handy book to have at hand. Even if you play a different flavor of fantasy RPG, there is useful material here. Unless your campaign is purely dungeon crawls, Trade Routes is worth picking up.