DMs Guild Review: Auction Encounters

Auction Encounters is a supplement by Tyson VanOverhill, aimed at making the purchase of magic items more exciting and meaningful through auctions.

There’s actually a lot more than just that, so let’s see what’s in store. First of all, there’s a detailed section about how to play out an auction, from the type of auction to setting up the docket, what kind of items will be sold and at what approximate price, how that affects bidding, how the players actually get to bid on items, how other NPC bidders might respond, etc. There’s even a section on how players can come to learn about an auction, and what to do when they fail their bidding war – or how an NPC might react to when they win. The mechanics are simple and straightforward, but there’s a lot you can do with them to build up tension and get the players engaged.

After the rules and mechanics are laid out, there are also several examples on how to use them. First up, there are 7 recurring bidders presented, each with their own interests, special ways they affect auctions they bid in, and how they will treat players, either to get an item they failed to win at the auction or to part with one they managed to get. They don’t have statblocks, but then again this is a civilized exchange of goods… most of the time. There are also details for 7 particular auctions that are essentially 1-2 page mini-adventures for various levels. Finally, there are some appendices with more details about what kinds of items might appear on an auction, including some new magic items as well as some less concrete things like promissories – deeds, commissions, titles, etc. There are also “story awards” for each of the seven auctions – essentially positive or negative reputation with a group that can have some pretty impactful consequences to the party, either calling in favors or, well, gaining the eternal enmity of some powerful people.

Overall, Auction Encounters offers a lot more than the title might imply, and I am 100% sure I will use some of the ideas and mechanics included in my own games, so go ahead and check it out.

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