Village Backdrop: Arrowhill (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GM’s Resource by Mike Kimmel

The people of Arrowhill have long appeased the Serpent of Coldrun Woods with offerings and sacrifices so that their hunting could continue. The Serpent is terrifying and cruel, but predictable, and in return for their obedience it protects them from exterior threats. Recently, the Serpent’s demands have grown and her punishments have become more cruel. Little do the villagers know Mayor Crad Swayfellow sons imprisoned the Serpent, and he now uses the methods and reputation of the Serpent to control the populace through fear and tradition. Visitors to Arrowhill face a frightened, superstitious community and rumours of a dark, insatiable power dwelling in the woods. If they aid the village, they must confront not only the dangers of the Coldrun Woods, but Mayor Swayfellow’s attempts to thwart, and even murder, them.

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 a PC’s home, Village Backdrops present the details so the busy GM can focus on crafting exciting, compelling adventures.

For free samples head over to ragingswan.com/arrowhill

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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5.00/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement

Arrowhill is a frontier's community - isolated near vast forests, it is not a first-generation frontier's town. In fact, its very name is a constant reminder of the past -on the village's hill, the forest's last dire bear fell, pierced by arrows, rendering the village relatively safe...until, one fine day no longer than 13 months thereafter, the serpent reared its head - a half-elven druid who demands cruel, but predictable tribute, has even since watched over the community, keeping it safe from the dangers of the wild, but at a steep price...

Arrowhil, on the formal level, sports all the trademarks of the series - from a village statblock to a marketplace-section, notable locations and folk and information on villager dress, nomenclature and mannerisms, there is a lot to be found herein. Now the adventure-potential of this installment could seem like it is pretty much standard at first glance - nature vs. culture, right?

Well, depending on your tastes, the issue may be another - from apothecaries brewing love potions for unknown targets to the grumbling dissent against the politics of the harsh mayor to the strange, changed behavior patterns of the serpent and the increasingly erratic demands, a sense of palpable paranoia and distrust cloaks the village - oh, and yes, I could spoil what's going on, but where's the fun in that? Let's just say that neither the boring ole' cliché, nor some obvious, ritualistic-looking red herrings really amount to the truth. The dynamic of the village is rather pronounced and the copious components and details can be easily used to further complicate the basic plotline.

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 nice map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs on RSP's homepage. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Kimmel's Arrowhill is a concise, believable settlement that pretty much presents one of the most tired stories imaginable, one that has been done hundreds of times. Only, it doesn't -in a pretty clever twist, quoting the cliché is used as a red herring. While this supplement does not bring a twist to the narrative that I have not seen before,, the sheer number of little details, red herrings and potential for the DM to expand the plot-line can make this village's issues actually unique. All in all, I enjoyed arrowhill much more than I expected to, considering the premise and it is definitely more clever than many similar takes on the tropes evoked - a fine candidate for a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


Interesting little town with plenty of adventure hooks

5/5

Arrowhill is a small town of humans with a deep distrust of magic, and a hatred of elves. This intolerance is not without cause, however, as the town has been at the mercy of a spiteful elven druid for many years. The druid has been even more demanding and unpredictable of late, however, and it seems that something more sinister is really controlling the town.

This Village Backdrop by Raging Swan Press presents Arrowhill in a surprising amount of detail in just 5 pages of content. In addition to a general overview of the village, the names and general background of several notable inhabitants are also given. Lore and rumours that characters might know or discover about the settlement are also provided, as well as a general description of what the average townspeople are likely to look like as well as what they might wear.

There is also a neat hand-drawn map of Arrowhill, which is labelled only with numbers, giving it potential as a player handout in addition to a GM resource. A brief overview of these numbered locations is given, followed by more detailed descriptions of each location, which paints a pretty vivid picture of the town. There are also full stats given for two characters whose combat skills could become relevant while the PCs investigate the town.

Finally, a bit more detail about life, trade and events in the village are also given so that GMs can flesh out the town as needed. All of the information given is specific enough to spark the reader's imagination, but vague enough so as to make Arrowhill flexible enough to fit into a variety of situations and settings. Apart from the stats given for one of the NPCs, most of the rest of the content could easily be adapted to any system, not just Pathfinder.

Village Backdrop: Arrowhill is a great little product that presents a ready-to-use adventure site that game masters can use as-is or adapt as needed.


Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

You can download a marvellous free sample of this village over at Raging Swan's website.

Here's a direct link!

I hope you enjoy it.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks so much for the review - it's much appreciated as always! (And I'm glad you found Arrowhill enjoyable!)


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek, GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.

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