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Village Backdrop: Hopespyre 2.0 (Pathfinder 2)
by Devin C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/13/2019 15:20:11

A very detailed town rich in possiblites, very James Town feeling



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Hopespyre 2.0 (Pathfinder 2)
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Village Backdrop: Blackhill Gaol
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2019 04:40:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Blackhill Gaol once was a one-way-trip – the place was conceived as a forced labor camp for debtors, for political prisoners, for the wicked – for those that were to never be free again. As such, the village was constructed in a pretty remote area that is known for being pretty darn dangerous. The prisoners, alas, revolted against their overseers in a coup masterminded by Lady Ephael Areva (who now has her base n the clock tower), and now remain a self-governing entity of sorts – they avoid reprisals as long as they don’t stray too far from the village, and as a result, this place has garnered a reputation for offering pretty much any blackmarket goods you want.

If you’d be thinking that the revolt resulted in a type of anarchist utopia, you’d be sorely mistaken – the leaders of factions have been vying for control ever since, making Blackhill Gaol a dangerous spot to visit – something that the PFRPG version also emphasizes via the settlement statblock information provided. This version also comes with a proper marketplace section.

As always, the supplement does include information on local nomenclature and dressing habits alongside several whispers and rumors – one of them mentioning that the well’s been poisoned, which, alas, remains a non-sequitur. It’d had been nice to have this represented mechanically as well. On the plus-side, since most buildings once were conjoined cellblocks, we do receive information of how difficult these once were to unlock, so that’s a plus in that regard.

A significant plus, as always, would be the section that provides 20 different entries on local dressing and events, as these act as an easy way for the GM to introduce some action and local color to the proceedings. As a supplement very much driven by factions, the place does come with 7 sample NPCs, all of which are presented in the fluff-only type that we’ve come to expect from the series – i.e. they note background, mannerisms and personality traits. They also come with a bit of read-aloud text depicting the NPC, and information on class/race/etc.

A total of 11 keyed locations may be found within this supplement, with all of them sporting a descriptive read-aloud line – where applicable, they list their own section regarding things you can purchase there, and a few of them also feature short quest/adventure hooks. Interesting here would be that many of the beings here have explicit or implicit consequences for interaction with the PCs. For example, a remaining staffer who survived the riot may well turn down a dark road unless confronted by the PCs. The commander of the “watch”´, Skella Grint, may recruit the PCs to help her clear up ritual murders and the like – a standard scenario, but one made more interesting by the village’s unique angle.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jacob W. Michaels’ Blackhill Gaol is a per se cool supplement – with a clocktower and the cellblock angle, it has a unique atmosphere to it, one I genuinely consider to be fun. I’d have loved to see a bit more in the goods-department or sample prices for services rendered, but that is nothing that a good GM can’t provide. All in all, this is a well-crafted village. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Blackhill Gaol
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Creator Reply:
Thanks very much, End. I'm delighted you enjoyed Blackhill Gaol!
Village Backdrop: Blackhill Gaol (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2019 04:38:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Blackhill Gaol once was a one-way-trip – the place was conceived as a forced labor camp for debtors, for political prisoners, for the wicked – for those that were to never be free again. As such, the village was constructed in a pretty remote area that is known for being pretty darn dangerous. The prisoners, alas, revolted against their overseers in a coup masterminded by Lady Ephael Areva (who now has her base n the clock tower), and now remain a self-governing entity of sorts – they avoid reprisals as long as they don’t stray too far from the village, and as a result, this place has garnered a reputation for offering pretty much any blackmarket goods you want.

If you’d be thinking that the revolt resulted in a type of anarchist utopia, you’d be sorely mistaken – the leaders of factions have been vying for control ever since, making Blackhill Gaol a dangerous spot to visit. The 5e-version does not include a proper marketplace section.

As always, the supplement does include information on local nomenclature and dressing habits alongside several whispers and rumors – one of them mentioning that the well’s been poisoned, which, alas, remains a non-sequitur. It’d had been nice to have this represented mechanically as well. Most buildings once were conjoined cellblocks, and the pdf mentions an “DC 30 Open Lock“ in an obvious PFRPG remnant. One of the healing potions that may be purchased here also still follows the PFRPG nomenclature.

A significant plus, as always, would be the section that provides 20 different entries on local dressing and events, as these act as an easy way for the GM to introduce some action and local color to the proceedings. As a supplement very much driven by factions, the place does come with 7 sample NPCs, all of which are presented in the fluff-only type that we’ve come to expect from the series – i.e. they note background, mannerisms and personality traits. They also come with a bit of read-aloud text depicting the NPC, and information on class/race/etc. if applicable; in the 5e-version, the pdf references the default NPC-statblocks.

A total of 11 keyed locations may be found within this supplement, with all of them sporting a descriptive read-aloud line – where applicable, they list their own section regarding things you can purchase there, and a few of them also feature short quest/adventure hooks. Interesting here would be that many of the beings here have explicit or implicit consequences for interaction with the PCs. For example, a remaining staffer who survived the riot may well turn down a dark road unless confronted by the PCs. The commander of the “watch”´, Skella Grint, may recruit the PCs to help her clear up ritual murders and the like – a standard scenario, but one made more interesting by the village’s unique angle.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jacob W. Michaels’ Blackhill Gaol is a per se cool supplement – with a clocktower and the cellblock angle, it has a unique atmosphere to it, one I genuinely consider to be fun. I’d have loved to see a bit more in the goods-department or sample prices for services rendered, but that is nothing that a good GM can’t provide. The 5e-version has a bit less meat on its bones than the PFRPG-iteration, and feels slightly rushed, particularly considering how few crunchy bits may be found herein. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars for this version.

Endzeitgeist out



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Blackhill Gaol (5e)
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Creator Reply:
Thanks very much, End. I'm delighted you enjoyed Blackhill Gaol!
Village Backdrop: Blackhill Gaol (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2019 04:37:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Blackhill Gaol once was a one-way-trip – the place was conceived as a forced labor camp for debtors, for political prisoners, for the wicked – for those that were to never be free again. As such, the village was constructed in a pretty remote area that is known for being pretty darn dangerous. The prisoners, alas, revolted against their overseers in a coup masterminded by Lady Ephael Areva (who now has her base n the clock tower), and now remain a self-governing entity of sorts – they avoid reprisals as long as they don’t stray too far from the village, and as a result, this place has garnered a reputation for offering pretty much any blackmarket goods you want.

If you’d be thinking that the revolt resulted in a type of anarchist utopia, you’d be sorely mistaken – the leaders of factions have been vying for control ever since, making Blackhill Gaol a dangerous spot to visit.

As always, the supplement does include information on local nomenclature and dressing habits alongside several whispers and rumors – one of them mentioning that the well’s been poisoned, which, alas, remains a non-sequitur. It’d had been nice to have this represented in some way. The buildings of conjoined cellblocks have a PFRPG-remnant that refers to a “DC 30 Open Locks”-check. On the plus-side, the sections pertaining goods to be purchased have been adapted properly to the realities of old-school gaming.

A significant plus, as always, would be the section that provides 20 different entries on local dressing and events, as these act as an easy way for the GM to introduce some action and local color to the proceedings. As a supplement very much driven by factions, the place does come with 7 sample NPCs, all of which are presented in the fluff-only type that we’ve come to expect from the series – i.e. they note background, mannerisms and personality traits. They also come with a bit of read-aloud text depicting the NPC, and information on class/race/etc. Kudos: These pieces of information represent the proper old-school nomenclature.

A total of 11 keyed locations may be found within this supplement, with all of them sporting a descriptive read-aloud line – where applicable, they list their own section regarding things you can purchase there, and a few of them also feature short quest/adventure hooks. Interesting here would be that many of the beings here have explicit or implicit consequences for interaction with the PCs. For example, a remaining staffer who survived the riot may well turn down a dark road unless confronted by the PCs. The commander of the “watch”´, Skella Grint, may recruit the PCs to help her clear up ritual murders and the like – a standard scenario, but one made more interesting by the village’s unique angle.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jacob W. Michaels’ Blackhill Gaol is a per se cool supplement – with a clocktower and the cellblock angle, it has a unique atmosphere to it, one I genuinely consider to be fun. I’d have loved to see a bit more in the goods-department or sample prices for services rendered, but that is nothing that a good GM can’t provide. All in all, I consider this iteration to be slightly superior to the 5e-iteration – as such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Blackhill Gaol (SNE)
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Creator Reply:
Thanks very much, End. I'm delighted you enjoyed Blackhill Gaol!
Village Backdrop: Kerwyn's Pride
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/06/2019 12:03:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

When infamous pirate captain Vayla Hollan (fully presented in the fluff-centric style of the series; one of two NPCs getting this treatment) met her match in a particularly nasty storm, she barely managed to steer her vessel, the eponymous “Kerwyn’s Pride”, into the relatively safe Ballisco Bay. Here, she found opportunity – three baronies vying for supremacy and control over the water-based trade routes. Instead of simply making her ship seaworthy once more, she went a different route – ships were converted into buildings, wood was salvaged from the wrecks, and from the wrath of a storm and an enterprising mind grew a floating village, bastion against storms and pirates alike – and, of course, also a haven/monopoly of sorts for illicit activities at the same time – a tiger can’t change its stripes, after all!

Kerwyn’s Pride, thus, is not a safe place – in the PFRPG iteration, a danger rating of +10 makes that abundantly clear in the settlement statblock. As always, we have notes on local nomenclature and dressing habits, as well as information on local rumors. A marketplace section is provided as well. As a transitional place, the village sees pretty vast amounts of wealth transit through it; law and order (haha) and the local customs are explained, and the supplement does include a list of 20 dressing entries and/or events; these can be sued to jumpstart the action.

The surrounding land and waters are explained, and the respective keyed locations provide the relevant information – the Inn notes prices for food and drink and accommodations, and both Inn and holding pen sports their own 6-entry specialized event-tables to further add to the game. All of the keyed locales come with well-written read-aloud text describing them, and even better – quite a few of them have adventure hooks added. In one instance, the nasty, insect-ridden bog has even a properly statted disease, providing some pretty nice hazard information! These bits also extend to e.g. a fully realized trap, where applicable – and these components, or so I found, really add to the convenience of the supplement.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Welham delivers here – this place, potentially kinda-mobile, can make for a newcomer to a region; it could be used as a smuggler’s haven, a pirate-hunter’s fortress, etc. – and it does not overexplain its angles. It offers potential, but what you do with the place and the narrative angles provided? That remains fully up to you! In short, this is a great example of a unique little supplement that provides a great time, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Kerwyn's Pride
Click to show product description

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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review of Kerwyn's Pride, End. I much appreciate the time and effort!
Village Backdrop: Kerwyn's Pride (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/06/2019 12:02:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

When infamous pirate captain Vayla Hollan (fully presented in the fluff-centric style of the series; one of two NPCs getting this treatment) met her match in a particularly nasty storm, she barely managed to steer her vessel, the eponymous “Kerwyn’s Pride”, into the relatively safe Ballisco Bay. Here, she found opportunity – three baronies vying for supremacy and control over the water-based trade routes. Instead of simply making her ship seaworthy once more, she went a different route – ships were converted into buildings, wood was salvaged from the wrecks, and from the wrath of a storm and an enterprising mind grew a floating village, bastion against storms and pirates alike – and, of course, also a haven/monopoly of sorts for illicit activities at the same time – a tiger can’t change its stripes, after all!

Kerwyn’s Pride, thus, is not a safe place – after all, it is still a settlement of semi-legitimate pirates! As always, we have notes on local nomenclature and dressing habits, as well as information on local rumors. No marketplace section is provided in the 5e-iteration. As a transitional place, the village sees pretty vast amounts of wealth transit through it; law and order (haha) and the local customs are explained, and the supplement does include a list of 20 dressing entries and/or events; these can be sued to jumpstart the action.

The surrounding land and waters are explained, and the respective keyed locations provide the relevant information – the Inn notes prices for food and drink and accommodations, and both Inn and holding pen sports their own 6-entry specialized event-tables to further add to the game. All of the keyed locales come with well-written read-aloud text describing them, and even better – quite a few of them have adventure hooks added. In one instance, the nasty, insect-ridden bog has even a properly statted disease, providing some pretty nice hazard information – and yes, this has properly been adjusted to 5e’s rules! Minor nitpick: There is a repel vermin reference here, and I think there is no 5e-version of that spell. It’s self-explanatory in effect, though, and doesn’t hamper functionality of the material unduly, though. These mechanical bits also extend to e.g. a fully realized trap, where applicable – and these components, or so I found, really add to the convenience of the supplement; the fact that they have been properly adjusted to 5e is a nice plus.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Welham delivers here – this place, potentially kinda-mobile, can make for a newcomer to a region; it could be used as a smuggler’s haven, a pirate-hunter’s fortress, etc. – and it does not overexplain its angles. It offers potential, but what you do with the place and the narrative angles provided? That remains fully up to you! In short, this is a great example of a unique little supplement that provides a great time. While the snafu regarding the spell reference was avoidable, it doesn’t hamper the functionality of the supplement; as such, this version also is well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Kerwyn's Pride (5e)
Click to show product description

Add to Storytellers Vault Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review of Kerwyn's Pride, End. I much appreciate the time and effort!
Village Backdrop: Kerwyn's Pride (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/06/2019 12:01:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

When infamous pirate captain Vayla Hollan (fully presented in the fluff-centric style of the series; one of two NPCs getting this treatment) met her match in a particularly nasty storm, she barely managed to steer her vessel, the eponymous “Kerwyn’s Pride”, into the relatively safe Ballisco Bay. Here, she found opportunity – three baronies vying for supremacy and control over the water-based trade routes. Instead of simply making her ship seaworthy once more, she went a different route – ships were converted into buildings, wood was salvaged from the wrecks, and from the wrath of a storm and an enterprising mind grew a floating village, bastion against storms and pirates alike – and, of course, also a haven/monopoly of sorts for illicit activities at the same time – a tiger can’t change its stripes, after all!

Kerwyn’s Pride, thus, is not a safe place – this is still a village full of semi-legitimate scoundrels, after all. As always, we have notes on local nomenclature and dressing habits, as well as information on local rumors. No marketplace section is included. As a transitional place, the village sees pretty vast amounts of wealth transit through it; law and order (haha) and the local customs are explained, and the supplement does include a list of 20 dressing entries and/or events; these can be sued to jumpstart the action.

The surrounding land and waters are explained, and the respective keyed locations provide the relevant information – the Inn notes prices for food and drink and accommodations, and both Inn and holding pen sports their own 6-entry specialized event-tables to further add to the game. All of the keyed locales come with well-written read-aloud text describing them, and even better – quite a few of them have adventure hooks added. In one instance, the nasty, insect-ridden bog has even a properly statted disease, providing some pretty nice hazard information! And yes, we have the disease properly converted to old-school aesthetics! Kudos! These bits also extend to e.g. a fully realized trap, where applicable – this trap doesn’t specify its saving throw type, though, when e.g. the disease did that – a slight inconsistency.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Welham delivers here – this place, potentially kinda-mobile, can make for a newcomer to a region; it could be used as a smuggler’s haven, a pirate-hunter’s fortress, etc. – and it does not overexplain its angles. It offers potential, but what you do with the place and the narrative angles provided? That remains fully up to you! In short, this is a great example of a unique little supplement that provides a great time. While the system neutral version is a tiny bit weaker than the other two versions, it’s still a supplement very much worth getting. 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Kerwyn's Pride (SNE)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review of Kerwyn's Pride, End. I much appreciate the time and effort!
GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing
by 5E S. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2019 18:28:04

These books are an incredible resource. I use these in conjunction with The Solo Adventurer's Toolbox and Mythic Game Master Emulator to create solo (DM-less) adventures for myself in 5e D&D. HOURS of fun. Useful for solo, an absolute MUST for any DM.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for this review! I'm delighted you enjoy Wilderness Dressing so much! Good luck with your game!
Village Backdrop: Victory Elm
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/30/2019 15:20:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Standing amid gently roiling hills, Victory Elm derives its name from the massive tree that gives the village its name; goats graze on the hills, though the absence of any other tree nearby may seem odd to some. While a few hill giants remain nearby, the village has attempted to entice the creation of additional settlements to make the place less remote, but so far to no avail. The PFRPG version comes with a proper settlement statblock information (which features, oddly, a minus sign in red), and a marketplace-section, as well as notes on items for sale in individual locales.

Why “Victory”, you ask? Well, some years ago, hill giants acted as a vanguard for fire- and frost giant masters, and failing to uproot the mighty elm, it became a rallying point that saw the eventual defeat of the giants. Yes, this pretty much has “Giantslayer”, “Against the Giants” and the like written all over it. Today, but one living being in Victory Elm remembers these days – Cyrrun Belatros, an elf, who has recently fallen ill (and who comes with a full fluff NPC-write-up) – and at the same time, a strange blight ravages the land, with the elm infested by aggressive termites and wasps. Suffice to say, rumors about the giants gathering don’t help the sense of trepidation haunting the place.

It should also be noted that this village features a museum still holding fabled weaponry from the last altercation against the giants, and we do have a war memorial as well. Nice!

As always with the series, we receive full notes on the surrounding locales, have information on local nomenclature and dressing habits, as well as a section of lore and some rumors that can be used to reward PCs for doing their legwork. The 20-entry dressing/event table allows you to jumpstart the adventuring quickly and painlessly as the PCs explore the place, and one of the locales does come with its own additional table of 6 sample events. Of particular note in this Village Backdrop-installment would be the fact that the adventure hooks/quest outlines provided are crunchier than usual, coming with sample checks – they also are more complex than usual and elevate this supplement, being easily one of its strongest points.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Welham’s Victory Elm manages to capture a borderlands-vibe very well; the looming threat, the sense of melancholy and an era of peace ending, the threats that are here – this is a fun village that particularly will do its job exceedingly well if you’re planning a vs. giants-type campaign. Now, I wasn’t entirely blown away by the village, but the crunchier hooks and focused theme are definite strengths, which make me round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Victory Elm
Click to show product description

Add to Storytellers Vault Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you, End, for the review. I'm glad you liked Victory Elm!
Village Backdrop: Victory Elm (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/30/2019 15:20:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Standing amid gently roiling hills, Victory Elm derives its name from the massive tree that gives the village its name; goats graze on the hills, though the absence of any other tree nearby may seem odd to some. While a few hill giants remain nearby, the village has attempted to entice the creation of additional settlements to make the place less remote, but so far to no avail. The items for sale in the village have btw. been properly adjusted to represent 5e items.

Why “Victory”, you ask? Well, some years ago, hill giants acted as a vanguard for fire- and frost giant masters, and failing to uproot the mighty elm, it became a rallying point that saw the eventual defeat of the giants. Yes, this pretty much has “Giantslayer”, “Against the Giants” and the like written all over it. Today, but one living being in Victory Elm remembers these days – Cyrrun Belatros, an elf, who has recently fallen ill (and who comes with a full fluff NPC-write-up) – and at the same time, a strange blight ravages the land, with the elm infested by aggressive termites and wasps. Suffice to say, rumors about the giants gathering don’t help the sense of trepidation haunting the place.

It should also be noted that this village features a museum still holding fabled weaponry from the last altercation against the giants, and we do have a war memorial as well. Nice!

As always with the series, we receive full notes on the surrounding locales, have information on local nomenclature and dressing habits, as well as a section of lore and some rumors that can be used to reward PCs for doing their legwork. The 20-entry dressing/event table allows you to jumpstart the adventuring quickly and painlessly as the PCs explore the place, and one of the locales does come with its own additional table of 6 sample events. Of particular note in this Village Backdrop-installment would be the fact that the adventure hooks/quest outlines provided are crunchier than usual, coming with sample checks – they also are more complex than usual and elevate this supplement, being easily one of its strongest points. Big extra kudos for making these work properly in 5e!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Welham’s Victory Elm manages to capture a borderlands-vibe very well; the looming threat, the sense of melancholy and an era of peace ending, the threats that are here – this is a fun village that particularly will do its job exceedingly well if you’re planning a vs. giants-type campaign. Now, I wasn’t entirely blown away by the village, but the crunchier hooks and focused theme are definite strengths, which make me round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Victory Elm (5e)
Click to show product description

Add to Storytellers Vault Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you, End, for the review. I'm glad you liked Victory Elm!
Village Backdrop: Victory Elm (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/30/2019 15:19:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Standing amid gently roiling hills, Victory Elm derives its name from the massive tree that gives the village its name; goats graze on the hills, though the absence of any other tree nearby may seem odd to some. While a few hill giants remain nearby, the village has attempted to entice the creation of additional settlements to make the place less remote, but so far to no avail. The items for sale in the village have btw. been properly adjusted to represent the realities of old-school gaming.

Why “Victory”, you ask? Well, some years ago, hill giants acted as a vanguard for fire- and frost giant masters, and failing to uproot the mighty elm, it became a rallying point that saw the eventual defeat of the giants. Yes, this pretty much has “Giantslayer”, “Against the Giants” and the like written all over it. Today, but one living being in Victory Elm remembers these days – Cyrrun Belatros, an elf, who has recently fallen ill (and who comes with a full fluff NPC-write-up) – and at the same time, a strange blight ravages the land, with the elm infested by aggressive termites and wasps. Suffice to say, rumors about the giants gathering don’t help the sense of trepidation haunting the place.

It should also be noted that this village features a museum still holding fabled weaponry from the last altercation against the giants, and we do have a war memorial as well. Nice! The magic weapons that remain here have btw. been properly adjusted to more conservative old-school realities.

As always with the series, we receive full notes on the surrounding locales, have information on local nomenclature and dressing habits, as well as a section of lore and some rumors that can be used to reward PCs for doing their legwork. The 20-entry dressing/event table allows you to jumpstart the adventuring quickly and painlessly as the PCs explore the place, and one of the locales does come with its own additional table of 6 sample events. One of the strengths of the other iterations would be the presence of more rules-relevant aspects in this one; in the system neutral version, these obviously are mostly based on roleplaying, but this does not change the fact that the hooks are more complex than usual.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Welham’s Victory Elm manages to capture a borderlands-vibe very well; the looming threat, the sense of melancholy and an era of peace ending, the threats that are here – this is a fun village that particularly will do its job exceedingly well if you’re planning a vs. giants-type campaign. The supplement does lose a bit of its overall appeal in contrast to the other two versions, courtesy, system-immanently, of it having not as much meat behind its tale, but remains a good offering. My final verdict will round down from my final verdict if 4.5 stars for this iteration – if you play PFRPG or 5e, definitely get those versions, even if you usually prefer the more roleplaying-focused aspects of the system neutral versions.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Victory Elm (SNE)
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Thank you, End, for the review. I'm glad you liked Victory Elm!
Village Backdrop: Ravens' Cradle
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/23/2019 06:17:40

An ENdzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Raven’s Cradle is a prosperous farming community ruled by superstition and folklore; bandits are founded pecked to death nearby, and woe betide any who dare attempt to bring harm to this strange place. It may not be a surprise to veterans – but Raven’s Cradle makes for a pretty perfect fit for Ravenloft and similar settings/games that want to add a bit of folklore/horror in the vein of the Wicker Man to the game.

As always in the series, the pdf does come with notes on local dressing habits (which reflect the local superstitions) and nomenclature, and we do get some whispers and rumors, and a lore section that rewards PCs that do their proper leg-work. And indeed, this place is unique: On a pedestal, in the middle of the village, on an island, there is a massive diamond – and the “Bleakstone” is indeed not something the wise would attempt to steal.

The folklore angle is particularly effective in this supplement, with the belief in the raven spirit being only semi-covert, with special boards prominently displayed, etc. The Ravenloft-angle is also pretty pronounced, in that curses indeed matter in how this place came to be – the spirit noted, the diamond – all is entwined in a rather nice manner. The pdf does come with 2 different sample NPCs, presented in Raging Swan Press’ fluff-centric depiction (i.e. notes on personality etc. are provided, but no full statblocks), and the pdf also sports the by now traditional and much appreciated 20-entry-long dressing/event table.

The settlement sports a couple of briefer summaries for other NPCs as well, and notes goods to purchase where applicable. The PFRPG-version also has a proper marketplace section, though it does sport a typo – a “01” where a “+1” should be in the lore-rating.

The 10 keyed locations do come with their own read-aloud lines, and generally are awesome – there is but one aspect I’m not a big fan of: While the cursed diamond is cool indeed, and while I like the symptoms presented, it’d have been nice to get some proper rules for the curse.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

I enjoyed Steve Hood’s “Ravens’ Cradle” – the supplement knows how to evoke a proper sense of paranoia; it plays upon the PC’s greed, and ultimately asks a series of smart questions – are the PCs justified in trying to break the curse? Isn’t the place better off as it’s now? Things are not as simple as one would think, and I very much like this. At least in PFRPG, the supplement could have used a tad bit more crunchy components, though. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Ravens' Cradle
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Glad you liked Raven's Cradle, End. I much appreciate the time and review, as always!
Village Backdrop: Ravens' Cradle (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/23/2019 06:16:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Raven’s Cradle is a prosperous farming community ruled by superstition and folklore; bandits are founded pecked to death nearby, and woe betide any who dare attempt to bring harm to this strange place. It may not be a surprise to veterans – but Raven’s Cradle makes for a pretty perfect fit for Ravenloft and similar settings/games that want to add a bit of folklore/horror in the vein of the Wicker Man to the game.

As always in the series, the pdf does come with notes on local dressing habits (which reflect the local superstitions) and nomenclature, and we do get some whispers and rumors, and a lore section that rewards PCs that do their proper leg-work. And indeed, this place is unique: On a pedestal, in the middle of the village, on an island, there is a massive diamond – and the “Bleakstone” is indeed not something the wise would attempt to steal.

The folklore angle is particularly effective in this supplement, with the belief in the raven spirit being only semi-covert, with special boards prominently displayed, etc. The Ravenloft-angle is also pretty pronounced, in that curses indeed matter in how this place came to be – the spirit noted, the diamond – all is entwined in a rather nice manner. The pdf does come with 2 different sample NPCs, presented in Raging Swan Press’ fluff-centric depiction (i.e. notes on personality etc. are provided, but no full statblocks); in 5e, the NPCs reference the proper NPC default statblocks. The pdf also sports the by now traditional and much appreciated 20-entry-long dressing/event table.

The settlement sports a couple of briefer summaries for other NPCs as well, and notes goods to purchase where applicable. The items that are for sale in the village have been properly adjusted to represent the realities of 5e-gaming.

The 10 keyed locations do come with their own read-aloud lines, and generally are awesome – there is but one aspect I’m not a big fan of: While the cursed diamond is cool indeed, and while I like the symptoms presented, it’d have been nice to get some proper rules for the curse.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

I enjoyed Steve Hood’s “Raven’s Cradle” – the supplement knows how to evoke a proper sense of paranoia; it plays upon the PC’s greed, and ultimately asks a series of smart questions – are the PCs justified in trying to break the curse? Isn’t the place better off as it’s now? Things are not as simple as one would think, and I very much like this. I really wished the 5e-version had some crunch to back up the curse-components, though. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Ravens' Cradle (5e)
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Glad you liked Raven's Cradle, End. I much appreciate the time and review, as always!
Village Backdrop: Ravens' Cradle (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/23/2019 06:15:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Raven’s Cradle is a prosperous farming community ruled by superstition and folklore; bandits are founded pecked to death nearby, and woe betide any who dare attempt to bring harm to this strange place. It may not be a surprise to veterans – but Raven’s Cradle makes for a pretty perfect fit for Ravenloft and similar settings/games that want to add a bit of folklore/horror in the vein of the Wicker Man to the game.

As always in the series, the pdf does come with notes on local dressing habits (which reflect the local superstitions) and nomenclature, and we do get some whispers and rumors, and a lore section that rewards PCs that do their proper leg-work. And indeed, this place is unique: On a pedestal, in the middle of the village, on an island, there is a massive diamond – and the “Bleakstone” is indeed not something the wise would attempt to steal.

The folklore angle is particularly effective in this supplement, with the belief in the raven spirit being only semi-covert, with special boards prominently displayed, etc. The Ravenloft-angle is also pretty pronounced, in that curses indeed matter in how this place came to be – the spirit noted, the diamond – all is entwined in a rather nice manner. The pdf does come with 2 different sample NPCs, presented in Raging Swan Press’ fluff-centric depiction (i.e. notes on personality etc. are provided, but no full statblocks; the system neutral version does reference the proper old-school class names. The pdf also sports the by now traditional and much appreciated 20-entry-long dressing/event table.

The settlement sports a couple of briefer summaries for other NPCs as well, and notes goods to purchase where applicable. The items that are for sale in the village have been properly adjusted to old-school gaming.

The 10 keyed locations do come with their own read-aloud lines, and generally are awesome. In the system neutral version, I can’t well complain about a lack of mechanical representation for the massive diamond.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

I enjoyed Steve Hood’s “Ravens’ Cradle” – the supplement knows how to evoke a proper sense of paranoia; it plays upon the PC’s greed, and ultimately asks a series of smart questions – are the PCs justified in trying to break the curse? Isn’t the place better off as it’s now? Things are not as simple as one would think, and I very much like this. In the system neutral iteration, I can’t well complain about wanting more crunch for the curse, and as such, my final verdict will be 5 stars + seal of approval for this iteration. Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Ravens' Cradle (SNE)
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Creator Reply:
Glad you liked Raven's Cradle, End. I much appreciate the time and review, as always!
Village Backdrop: Gulls' Roost
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/20/2019 12:15:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Gull’s Roost is a safe place where law abides – in the PFRPG-iteration, this fact is properly supported by the village’s stats, but even without them, PCs are bound to be impressed by the beautiful place: originally created as a summer resort for nobles to escape (akin to how e.g. the Viennese used to in real life) the summer’s stifling heat. Coated with mother-of-pearl and lavishly-painted, Gull’s Roost was doomed – it lured less than desirable entities, and a fort was erected to combat pirates and worse – but the reputation of the place as “unsafe” had been established – and thus, this place became the home of the workers that once toiled to create this gorgeous locale. One look at the b/w-artwork depicting it, next to cliffs, with a waterfall, a bay…it looks like a place I’d love to live.

Today, the quiet failure of this gem is reflected in the demeanor of the local populace, and, as always for the series, we do get notes on local lore that PCs may unearth, as well as rumors – 4 this time around. The PFRPG-version also clearly codifies a marketplace section. Speaking of marketplace: One of the 10 sample keyed locations (all with a brief read-aloud line) is actually a marketplace that comes with a small generator to determine which place is open. And while we’re on the subject of consumables, there are notes on items for sale by location as well. Kudos!

The pdf also sports 4 sample NPCs, depicted in the by now classic Raging Swan Press-style, i.e. focusing on distinguishing mannerisms and personality; the stats are not included, but race, alignment and class, if applicable, are noted. One of the best things about this place, though, beyond the well-wrought dressing/event table (20 entries, just fyi), would be that the overall leitmotif on the village-scale is extended on the personal level: You see, a couple of adventurers did settle here, and when the lady died and the kids left, the old adventurers started making a living doll facsimile of his lady…and it was not to remain the only one. These individuals have the surname “Doll” in local parlance, and from horror to questions of transhumanism, there are a lot of exciting themes this angle adds to the settlement.

However, more than all of that, expressionless visage and inflectionless voice, contrasted with warm-hearted behavior, the fact that the dolls are NOT evil…that’s what makes this stand out. The reason for their existence is profound sadness; but they, in a way, are an inverse of the town – which is gleaming and beautiful, but ultimately hollowed out; on the other hand, the dolls, while ostensibly hollow, are not – and all those contrasts are subsumed under a theme of genuinely touching melancholy.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jacob W. Michaels has written one of the best, most unique villages in the entire series here. The subtle melancholia as a leitmotif, contrasted with the idyll; the multi-faceted implementation of leitmotifs and their mirroring – they perfectly combine into a supplement greater than the sum of its parts. This is a grand little masterpiece, in that it has plenty of adventuring potential without throwing obvious threat xyz at the PCs…and because it manages to hit the subtle notes in between so well. I adore this place, and it resonated with me in a truly remarkable manner. 5 stars + seal of approval, and this is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2019.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Gulls' Roost
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Creator Reply:
This is awesome! Thank you for the review, End, and the possible inclusion of Gulls' Roost in your Top Ten! Thank You!
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