Village Backdrop: Oakhurst (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GM’s Resource supplement by John Bennett

The village of Oakhurst squats deep in the gnarled boughs of the Tangled Woods. The Lonely Coast’s smallest and most isolated village, only the most daring or the most desperate call it home, surrounded as it is on all sides by monstrous denizens and half-goblin tribes. Its dilapidated buildings sink into the squalor of the streets, presenting a loathsome and unwelcoming appearance. Oakhurst’s villagers are no better. Mostly trappers and hunters, the grim folk of Oakhurst distrust outsiders and keep to strange ways and customs. Visitors are strongly discouraged from overstaying their welcome.

Yet, Oakhurst’s darkest secret lies in a cave situated in a nearby cliff. On full moons, the villagers lock their doors and shutter their windows, pretending they do not hear the incessant flapping of wings in the sky overhead. Oakhurst’s oldest family, the Wearnes, long ago made a pact with a fell god, gaining the power of lycanthropy. Years of inbreeding to keep the line pure have driven the family of werebats to the brink of madness. High in the cave, the Wearnes participate in vile rites to their dark god, offering worship to one of its hideous servants. As the family slips further into insanity and their devotions more heinous, Oakhurst has become more dangerous for the unwary than it ever has before.

Oakhurst is compatible with the Lonely Coast campaign setting, but is also easily inserted into any GM’s home campaign.

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.

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An review


This installment of the Village Backdrops-line is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page advice for novice DMs on how to read statblocks, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Oakhurst lies nestled deep within the tangled forest and its remote location has not only attracted those hiding from authorities, but has also resulted in inbreeding to the brink of madness - insular and hostile in nature, the fact that ears decorate the wall behind the bar of the town's inn should come off as a not-too-subtle hint that people "don't like dem strangers 'round here" - hence rumors and village lore already paint a rather twisted image of the place...

Even before the PCs can find out the true nature of the weird religious practices found there. With a significant half-goblin population, even before the dread secret of a prominent family in the town is revealed (including a modification of a template - no, not going to spill the beans here...), the sense of stupor, hopelessness, brutality and alcoholism that suffuses the town's prior and inhabitants evokes a climate of fear and subliminal threat that hearkens back to one reading for the first time about Innsmouth. Yes. That good. And no, it's not yet another gillmen/hybrid-inbreeding-angle, but something similar, yet twisted and different.

Statblock-wise, we get a half-goblin fighter 4 statblock and two statblocks that feature the same being in different forms as well as 4 sample events - have I mentioned the red herrings?


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's 2-column b/w-standard and as always, a high-res version of the map can be downloaded at Raging Swan's homepage. The cartography of the village is top-notch and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two different versions, one optimized for screen-use and one for the printer.

John Bennett is a great author and one that is steadily building a reputation for delivering - and this is a great example why. A perfect example for the art of concise writing, evoking maximum effect with minimum word-count can be observed herein - each sentence hits home and weaves a surprisingly concise tapestry of a scene none too pleasant. The palpable sense of dread found herein and the sheer atmosphere make this pdf feel so much longer than its default page-count and should ensure that any Dm worth his salt will get at least one adventure or sidetrek out of this location - perhaps even so much more. This is what a drop-in-location should be like: Evocative, atmospheric, intriguing - easy 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

An RPG Resource Review


For those of you who use - or at least have read - the Lonely Coast campaign setting released by Raging Swan Press, this is quite a milestone: it's the last village on the map to be written up!

Hidden away in the depths of the forest, Oakhurst can be a bit of a creepy place to visit. It's scruffy to look at - muddy tracks winding past decaying wooden buildings with mouldy thatch - and seems to attract the least pleasant individuals to set foot on the Coast! Even the residents are grubby and ill-kempt. It's worse at night, 'tis said, but I didn't dare open the shutters after dark so cannot confirm this.

A sketch map is provided along with notes on significant locations and residents, all ready for you to describe them when the characters pay a visit. A few 'events' are provided as well as details of the surrounding area, in particular a certain cave that it's best to avoid...

All in all a thoroughly unpleasant little settlement - and, I'm led to believe, there's an adventure set there in the works, so I think I'll have to go back there, dammit. Whilst well-presented, created with thought and care, it is a place few adventurers will have much time for... so us GMs can enjoy ensuring that they have to go there!

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Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Is now available at Paizo! You can grab a free sample, here!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks very much for the review, Megan! I'm glad you enjoyed Oakhurst!

And reviewed first on, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and's shop. Cheers!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Thanks! Writing Oakhurst really hit my sweet spot for writing the macabre and twisted. Out of the three Lonely Coast villages, this was the easiest one to write!

So, when do we get a full blown module? I know I'd love to see what grisly, macabre desolations you could come up with!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks, Endzeitgiest for the great review! John has just started on the module and I'm aiming it for a December release date. We'll be doing both print and PDF for this one!

Seriously? Now this is awesome news indeed! :D

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

I believe it's even got a name already, but I'll leave it you to guess which classic module it pays homage to.

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