Village Backdrop: Edgewood (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible GM’s Resource by Mike Welham

The thriving village Edgewood stands in the very shadow of the Shadetimer Forest. For 100 years, it has prospered. Wars, droughts and pestilence striking other nearby settlements never seem to affect the village, and yet tragedy mars life in Edgewood. For every year, terror stalks the village and its inhabitants die seemingly random but horrible and gruesome deaths. Thus, despite its prosperity, Edgewood remains a small place, and few travellers remain there for long.

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 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.

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***** (based on 3 ratings)

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Harvest of Horror

*****

Edgewood is Village Backdrop from Raging Swan Press situated on the edge of the forest with farming as a vocation and horror as a theme. While these keywords may be a recurring theme in the product line, Edgewood is fresh with dark mystery and a malevolence all its own.

Edgewood appears to be a successful frontier village, however lurking under the veneer of prosperity is a population who live in perpetual fear of a random yearly event known as the Culling. The event itself can be quite terrifying in a horror themed game, but it is the background material that really makes this Village Backdrop shine. The NPCs get the usual Raging Swan treatment; each has his/her own opinions, motives and unique personality to make them memorable. As in keeping with the best of Raging Swan's products, the NPCs and the location are both wonderful on their own, but combine with each other to make the sum more than its parts.

NPCs this time include a muttering conspiracy theorist, a less-than-welcoming innkeeper, a fallen paladin and the village bailiff who may/not know more than he lets on but is certainly in over his head. Each of these NPCs can be used to build up to the moment of the Culling, emphasizing the strangeness of the village. What will the party think when a storm rages overhead, they are soaked and a paranoid innkeeper refuses to grant them lodging?

There is also a wonderfully rich backstory, detailing the villagers' attempt to prevent the Culling many years ago and how their attempt twisted the event into an even more horrific occurance. While good backstories are not uncommon in the Village Backdrops series, this one is amazing. DMs are given some suggestions of what the force behind the yearly Culling is, but like most Raging Swan products, the DM can ultimately choose whatever reason he likes without losing any of the content.

If you are expecting that the tried and true farming village on the edge of the forest is tired and cliche, it is not. Edgewood is a horror module that could be spun multiple ways by the clever DM. With the Culling having elements of a slasher horror, suggestions sprinkled throughout also contain elements of cosmic or dark fantasy. Edgewood is a horror module with threads for the DM to develop in a number of ways in all the right places. I would highly recommend it, especially for the group who really want to roleplay in the horror genre.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

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

Edgewood can pretty much be considered a village akin to Arrowhill - it is a somewhat isolated town, though not excessively so; it lies at the edge of the woods, and it is subject to woes - but yet, this village is completely different. The settlement has the trademark level of detail of the series, sporting a market place, settlement statblock, rumors, naming conventions for villagers and the like, etc. - and its statblock immediately shows a difference from Arrowhill, namely, the status of the village. Unlike the besieged frontier's town, Edgewood mysteriously seems to be impervious to political upheavals, natural disasters, etc. - the village hence has become pretty much wealthy and, in fact idyllic.

Then, there is the ex-paladin, fallen for the murder of 3 people, after transforming exactly ONCE into a werewolf. There is the culling. Every year, 3 people die in bizarre attacks of wild animals, seemingly chosen at random. This culling is what makes up the central angle of this village - a case of "death for you, life for my crop"? An ancient curse? A strange conspiracy? All of these may be possible and certainly, from strange monuments to other theories, quite a few of the individuals herein have their own ideas of what is behind this culling - do the bees, for example, know more? Coincidentally, the local bee keeper seeks to expand into establishing a 13th hive. Not any hive, the 13th. A good supernatural mystery, a good horror story - both have in common that they evoke subtle themes and potential meaning - they must provide a sense of meaning that sends the minds of the investigating players wandering, that makes them put together pieces. This pdf is chock-full with exactly these symbols, these subtle nudges. The pdf's mystery also remains valid due to not one, but multiple sample ideas for the resolution being provided and due to making components like e.g. "resurrecting victims" a concise part of the evoked mystery - the cleric and the revived person actually died soon after...

This is one damn glorious adventure - no, I'm not saying "backdrop" or "supplement" - I'm saying adventure. With 15 minutes of work, any DM worth their game can run this as a tantalizing module full of interesting characters.

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.

The Village backdrop-series has an insanely high quality-standard. Know what? Mike Welham, one of the designers I expect to always expect nothing short of excellence from, once again perfectly delivers here. I absolutely ADORE this village backdrop. This is a superbly compelling, tantalizing supplement that is suffused with subtle nods that send a creative mind spinning in possibilities - the pdf is subtle and less explicit than most and is infinitely better off for it - whether a strange curse, fey shenanigans, lovecraftian horrors, tainted bloodlines or just planar wagers gone awry, Edgewood supports a vast array of exceedingly awesome storylines. To the point, in fact, where the settlement inspired me to the point where I have to decide which of the countless ideas I'll run with. This is more inspired than most full-blown mystery modules and is ultimately better, more inspiring, than the couple of pages have any right to be.

This is my favorite Village Backdrop so far. It's so inspired, I'm hard-pressed to find words to emphasize how damn good it is, even in a series this devoted to excellence. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, + seal of approval and also renders this a candidate for the Top Ten of 2015. I'm not kidding when I'm saying that this is a soothing balm for any DM looking for a perfect, customizable mystery to slightly customize and run.

Endzeitgeist out.


Great inspiration for a mysterious village

*****

This Village Backdrop product from Raging Swan Press gives us Edgewood, a prosperous but troubled town with plenty of adventuring opportunities for characters.

Like other Village Backdrops, this one gives a general overview of the settlement, highlights important inhabitants and locations, lists items for sale and the general look and demographic of the townsfolk. There are also several rumours that heroes might overhear in town, as well as a map. All of this is mostly system- and setting-neutral, making it easy to slot the village into just about any game.

What made Edgewood of particular interest to me was the strange curse that plagues the inhabitants of the village. Though the town is very well-off in terms of its produce and so on, every year, about three villagers die in horrible and violent ways. Although several reasons for this yearly 'culling' are suggested, they are kept vague enough that a game master could come up with just about any explanation that suits their story. Plenty of ideas came to mind as I was reading through this PDF.

If you're looking to add a mysterious village to your game, this Village Backdrop is for you.


Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Now available at the Paizo store!

Now with rabid badgers!

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Rabid badgers make everything fun*!

*My definition of fun may differ from yours.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

I somehow missed your review, TriangularRoom. Thank you very much! I'm glad you liked the mystery potential in Edgewood.


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

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you for the very kind words, Endzeitgeist! I'm thrilled that Edgewood resonated so strongly with you.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Rabid badgers, indeed. Now I feel like I need to get a scholarly dragon into my next village backdrop...

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Thank you very much for the review, GreatKhanArtist! I'm glad you found Edgewood suitably horrifying.

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