Village Backdrop: Roake (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GM’s Resource by Ben Kent

Set along the mouth of the river Saran, Roake is a pleasant, prosperous village, famed for the animal husbandry talents of Liaka Frost, a local ranger. Wealthy visitors frequent the village, coming to either purchase her tamed beasts or visit their estates dotted throughout the surrounding area. Adventurers also regularly pass through the village, stopping at the Prince & Pauper to rest their weary legs and quench their thirst.

Behind its above average prosperity, however, Roake conceals a troubled past that yet hangs over the village. As the villagers’ decade-old deception begins to wear thin, the village youth have begun to question their true origins, much to the dismay of their parents...

Village Backdrops are short, richly detailed supplements that each present a single village ready to insert into almost any home campaign. Perfect for use as a waystop on the road to adventure, as an adventure site themselves or as PC’s home, Village Backdrop present the details so the busy GM can focus on crafting exciting, compelling adventures.

This product is a Dual Format PDF. The downloadable ZIP file contains two versions, one optimised for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimised for use on a mobile device such as an iPad.

For free samples, visit

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4.00/5 (based on 1 rating)

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EDIT: 4 stars - ok first in the line that still has room for improvement


EDIT: Player-map has been added

This pdf is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks and 1 page back cover, leaving a total of 5 pages of content, so let's check this out!

Roake is the first of Raging Swan's new series of VILLAGES, in which we get small readily-made settlements to drop into your game. The village of Roake is a rather interesting place in that an incursion of orcs a generation ago has led to a disproportionally high birth-rate of half-orcs, children of said traumat5ic days in orc captivity. The villagers, though, fail to acknowledge the tragedy that has befallen them and bury the ancestry of their children behind a wall of silence that is endangered by anyone coming to the isolated town.
On the crunch-side, we get a village statblock as well as an overview of the interesting locales in the settlement including the mills, inns etc. A list of d6 rumors and a sidebar on buying exotic animals is provided as well. On the NPC-side, we get mannerisms etc. for the retired adventurer-leader of the town and two sample half-orc children that run the gamut from suffering the resentment for the past to being wholly accepted and lovingly raised. The topic of the wall of silence surrounding Roake's history is also addressed in a side-box as well as the consequences of revealing the horrible truth.

The pdf also includes a section on law and order, 4 bullet-point style sample events and two sample villager statblocks for your perusal as well as a map of the town.

Editing and formatting are very good, though I noticed a plural mistake where "child" should read "children" - thus, not wholly on par with RSP's track-record of almost perfectly edited pdfs. Layout adheres to RRSP's elegant, printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard and the new cover-layout is nice indeed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for printing out. The cartography of the pdf is nice indeed, though it hits a pet-peeve of mine: It lacks a player-friendly version. As presented, we only get a map with annoying numbers.

Roake is an interesting first offering for the line, as it asks the question whether goodness can rise from despicable deeds and the isolationalist village with its wall of silence feels distinct indeed. On the down-side, the lack of a player-friendly map and the editing glitches are downers. What is more relevant, at least for me, is the lack of information on how they have managed to keep travelers and foreigners from revealing the truth about the births of half-orcs - the village supplement fails to address this rather essential fact that could easily turn Roake into a slightly more benevolent wicker man-style scenario. A sample encounter including DCs for revealing the truth to the people, perhaps via a series of skill-checks/evidence etc. would have been nice as well. Due to this lack of help for the DM regarding the key distinct element of the village and the lack of a player-friendly map, I'll settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars for an otherwise great supplement - this line has potential!

EDIT: +0.5 stars for providing the player-friendly map on the Raging Swan hp, for a final verdict of 4 stars.

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Is now available at the Paizo store.

You can check out a free sample here. Enjoy!

And reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine. Cheers!

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Thanks for the review, Endzeitgeist! I've taken the liberty, after reading your comments, to upload a free web enhancement to Roake's webpage of a player's (untagged) map. I've also done the same for Thornhill that comes out this week as it's a jolly good idea!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Cool. :-)

Creighton, was Roake in any way inspired by the vanished real-world colony of Roanoke?

Daron Woodson
Abandoned Arts

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Not that I know of!

Adjusted my review to reflect teha dded player-map. Cheers!

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Thanks very much! That's jolly decent of you!

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

I've enhanced the maps in this product (courtesy of Mapping Supremo Simon Butler) with better tags to make them more clearer and easy to use. I've also uploaded high resolution versions of these maps to the map web enhancement available for this village on I hope you enjoy the improved maps and that they make your game better!

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