The Grand Bazaar is the centerpiece, the heart and soul, of the Coins District. Here you can find your heart’s desire, whatever it might be! So long as you have the diligence and dedication to search for it, of course—and coin, goods, or services to offer in exchange. Abadar’s eye is ever trained on the Grand Bazaar, they say, and so nothing is free, but prices are fair. You can buy something as simple as a dashing new gown or a rune-scarred sword, or something as wondrous as a new body, should the one you now wear not suit your spirit.1
How Bazaar, How Bazaar
It’s very kind – and a clever intro – to have Bwutuzu the Panther to welcome us to the Grand Bazaar from numerous inventive contributors with development leads Eleanor Ferron and Luis Loza. I always appreciate the lore remaining persistent and evolving as Bwutuzu was first mentioned in the Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to Absalom way back in 2008. It’d be easy to actually have the Keeper of Measure and Bazaar Overseer actually greet your players to introduce them with just a taste of what the bazaar has to offer.
As you might expect, Grand Bazaar offers a lot of equipment to purchase from alchemical to magical, but this book is a lot more than that. That’s what has me excited and truly invested in this sort of approach that the in character introduction provides. It’s not just a book of items; it’s a full shopping experience. We get a beautiful map (see above) for you and your players to explore the bazaar. I love that the shops art in the map match that in the shop details throughout the rest of the book. You get close ups of the shop art and then details on the shop proprietor for your game, each with their own art. There’s additional details about rumors, possible adventures, and even additional NPCs to help make the shop come to life. It’s truly a guided tour!
One of those shops you might check out is called Merrygleam run by an amazing Arcadian goblin named Ozi, who just adores toy making. While I encourage you to wander over to her shop, it’s actually her accountant I’d like to point out. You see her accountant Yanelee is a Poppet. Yes, that’s right: a living doll. This new rare ancestry has more than one of my friends excited for a future character and I share that excitement. Was your character brought to life by witchcraft or wishcraft? These aren’t the animated familiars or constructs of other spellcasters but a creature with its own spark of life and soul. The heritage options reflect that like toy, wishbone, or even ghost poppets! I think the biggest danger is likely the fire weakness, but also some curious pets or children. Even an unassuming adult might be confused or terrified by a poppet bouncing along the floor to say hello. I really want to make a Gingerbread Man poppet but that may just be the holiday season approaching.
Ozi and her shop caught my eye, but so did a few others. Material Changes gives us THE shop for getting that perfect look and incredible style. The most fashionable wardrobe and accessories are available here like robes of fabric spun with illusionary magic and wigs for those looking to hold onto that something extra (or quickly adjust your appearance). Perhaps more than a few rogues might wind up there… But it’s the physical changes that Mistress Clavela – the owner of the shop – provides through magic far beyond fleshwarping (don’t listen to the rumors!) that are incredibly valuable. I really appreciate the background detail told of a pact made with a fey and the son that was expected to be born. But no, the child born had a feminine spirit and she escaped her family to make her own way in life and ensure her form matched her spirit. Thus Mistress Clavela appreciates those clients who seek more than simply retaining good looks and even offers those undergoing larger, more involved changes the option of room and board to stay at the shop. Iltara Clavela is a wonderful NPC and addition to this book.
I really hope Ateran, my witch from Roll for Combat’s Three Ring Adventure, gets to the Grand Bazaar for some shopping but also to meet a particular fetchling (get it now?) that runs Tesyovensku’s Warehouse. They’re a witch too who escaped a rather grisly fate when the Umbral Court gave them away to a faction from Numeria for experimentation on those with shadow in their blood. But thankfully Grandmother Spider answered their prayers. I do adore Grandmother Spider. She’s tricky but she’s kind and she’s there for people. Anyway, Tesyovensku being a nonbinary witch from Nidal sure makes me want Ateran to meet them to talk magic, religion, and their homeland. It’s always nice to find kindred spirits. Ateran would also love to try some of the Shadow-Planar teas they have and get access to the skymetals they sell like the magic-resisting noqual or you know, adamantine to fight various golems.
There are more than a few interesting people to meet at the Grand Bazaar. They’ve diverse personalities and rich backgrounds. There’s much to be brought from them but also some to learn. A few archetypes are found within the pages of this enjoyable tome: the Captivator, the Spell Trickster, and the Wrestler. The Captivator is great for someone who wants to pick up or expand their abilities with enchantments and illusions, truly charming and well… captivating. The wrestler allows the more athletic among our PCs to pick up special maneuvers, specifically actions like a running tackle or a piledriver! The Spell Trickster however is a dynamic archetype that caught my interest because it’s really for any kind of spellcaster. While a roguish wizard (a la arcane trickster) might appreciate this archetype, the dedication and three or so pages of feats represent options in how a spellcaster might pick up a trick or two when casting certain spells. Each feat requires the ability to cast a certain spell like using shield to create a barrier to take cover against, a way to ride your floating disk, or splitting your fireball into two smaller fire bursts. There’s a great deal of opportunity to expand this feat list to the point that I think many of us might want to open up the options without dedication into the archetype. I’ll have to think about that for the game I run.
Actually the characters in my game are next bound for Absalom and well, guess where specifically? Absalom is a metropolis of converging cultures and its Grand Bazaar is no different. The forward-thinking, progressive, and even rebellious can be found there as well as of course goods from all around Golarion and beyond. Another example I have to applaud Morhen’s Mobility Apparel too for the assistive items available including prosthetics, hearing aids and even wheelchairs ready for travel and combat! If you’re going to invest in a shopping trip, then invest in the Grand Bazaar!
I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!
I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!
- Grand Bazaar map, Grand Bazaar, Paizo
- Merrygleam shop art, Grand Bazaar, Paizo
- Toy Poppet art, Grand Bazaar, Paizo
- Tesyovensku, Grand Bazaar, Paizo
- Spell Trickster archetype art, Grand Bazaar, Paizo
- Ozi, Grand Bazaar, Paizo