Village Backdrop: Saint Fiacre (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Alexander Augunas

Saint Fiacre is a village with a turbulent past and an uncertain future. Having weathered sahuagin raids and economic woes, the village struggles to grow and prosperity eludes its citizens. With its saintly patron now long dead, its economy is in decline and few travel to the village. On the surface, Saint Fiacre seems a relatively peaceful village, but several looming—and as yet unrecognised—threats lurk in the shadows. In short, Saint Fiacre is a village on the brink of disaster.

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.

For a free sample, please visit ragingswan.com

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***** (based on 2 ratings)

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Little Stop of Horrors

*****

Raging Swan's St. Fiacre offering in the Village Backdrops series does not disappoint. Only about a dozen pages, each piece is packed with flavour and ideas. This village in particular is one you will want to explore with your Horror-themed adventurers, as That What Should Not Be, unfortunately, is.

For those unfamiliar with RS Village Backdrops, this one has the customary locations of interest as well as VIPs around town. The locations are a bit vanilla, but the series title is a bit misleading, and this really isn't about the places in town, but the evil that transpires there. And boy do you get a wealth of inspirational evil. The BBEG, named Jr., is from Beyond the Stars, but you also get a coven of hags who have a bone to pick with Jr. There is also the plot thread of the orphanage with its director having a shady enough past to warrant a visit from a travelling inquisitor and an outcast kitsune who calls said orphanage home. If the evil lurking within is not enough of a plot seed, there is the hook involving the empty summer houses, which are attracting the entirely wrong crowd.

There are also several interesting NPC locals all with their own motives and moods. There's the aforementioned orphanage director and the inquisitor, the latter of which included a stat block; the kitsune youth who has made friends with Jr.; the paranoid and reclusive cleric (who unfortunately is not otherwise mentioned); and the madwoman survivor who thinks there is more to the other villagers than meets the eye and is determined to weed them out.

The potential for all these parties to come together to the creative GM is where this product really shines. The author doesn't spell out how the plotline will use the NPCs to evolve, but leaves the DM to follow the breadcrumbs to their creative end. Will the inquisitor be too preoccupied to notice the true evil at hand? or will he forgive the fugitive long enough to form a bond? What about the kitsune's ties to both the orphanage and Jr.? Will the PCs convince the coven and/or the inquisitor to work with them to end the hidden evil? These are just a few of the hooks I sunk into.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this supplement. The only caveat is that it is more about the plot hook than any creative and unique buildings and NPCs, which is a little different from other Village Backdrops, as they tend to be about 50/50 location and adventure hook. Where the locations and NPCs shine is to build off the plot hook, and not as much on their own. But if you want a little diversion into a village off the beaten trail, this is your product.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 12 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page 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

Saint Fiacre once was the hamlet Verton - before the eponymous saint defended the hamlet single-handedly from a whole tribe of sahuagin. Ever since this time, the place has garnered a reputation for being bar supernatural evils, a respite for the weary soul. The village, as provided, sports not only a beautiful map and the series' unique level of detail - with dress, nomenclature, marketplace and rumors all being part of the deal.

Alas, the times of calm have been at an end for a time - the town is in the eye of a storm and doesn't even realize it. While, of course, there is a kitsune to be found (this is Alexander Augunas, after all), this time around, the central conflict is another - or better, the conflicts. The first of them would consider a story of redemption: The orphanage erected in honor of Fiacre's lover Euphrasie has a gruff caretaker with a criminal past - a past that now has caught up in the guise of a powerful inquisitor (with full stats). And if that doesn't gel your imagination, you can still make the orphanage a Joker-style school for criminals right under the auspice of the righteous. As a minor nitpick - the race of the inquisitor has obviously been changed during the writing of this pdf - he is once quoted by a wrong name, namely "Jérôme Javert," when the inquisitor is otherwise called Lothair Dol.

In the end, that is not the doom that has come to this town - let's just say that Fiacre has a subtle, deadly threat literally growing amidst the townfolk, one that may spell doom for the village and lands beyond - and one that sent shivers down my spine. What kind of threat? I'm not spoiling that. ;) Let's just say that, with a twist, Voltaire's "BRAINS!"-song kind of hits the nail on the head. Suffice to say, the former and latter story can easily be entwined and amplify another- at least that's what any DM imho can easily achieve.

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. It should also be noted that this pdf sports more of RSP's awesome b/w-artwork than usual for village backdrops.

Alexander Augunas' village backdrop not only has 2 more pages to shine than most village backdrops, it also sports some definitely superb imagery and flair - from the versatile hooks woven into the frame of this village to the versatile set-ups, this pdf delivers - and yes, I did only barely touch upon the small stories of local color woven into the fluff here that can help to make this place come to life. With one of the scariest opponents in the whole series, Alexander Augunas' Saint Fiacre is, for once, a village in which massive adventurer-paranoia may save the day.

All right, I'll just admit it - this pdf hits all the notes I really enjoy in a settlement - useful for more than one storyline, with unique local color and dangerous adversaries, this settlement provides a rather nasty surprise and has a great potential for netting the PCs an uncommon squire/protégé.

In the end, there is not much one can complain about - this place is awesome and can be used to tell some nice stories and serve as an unobtrusive backdrop for adventures - until it becomes the adventure! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Is now available at the Paizo store! Check out Alexander Augunas' latest awesome village! Shockingly, it has a kitsune in it...

Contributor

Creighton Broadhurst wrote:
Is now available at the Paizo store! Check out Alexander Augunas' latest awesome village! Shockingly, it has a kitsune in it...

Hey now, don't be like that! You approved it! :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Alexander Augunas and kitsune go together like bacon and eggs, mac and cheese, Jason Bulmahn and armor spikes...

Oh, and has anyone pointed out the typo in the product name on the site?

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Yes, I've already mentioned it! Thanks very much!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

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

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Epic! I'm super glad you liked this village old chum! Thanks so much for the review.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

More to come! ^^

Contributor

I think I'm four for four in villages so far. :-)


Creighton Broadhurst wrote:
Yes, I've already mentioned it! Thanks very much!

It's still incorrect. I sent the store an email letting them know.

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