Village Backdrop: Hopespyre (PFRPG) PDF

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Jacob W. Michaels

Their beliefs considered heretical by the Church of the God of the Sun and their presence viewed as a threat to the cruel ruler of their homeland, the Church of the Redemptive Flame fled and founded a new home in remote Hopespyre. The cult now wants nothing more than to live a sin-free life in their new refuge but events conspire against them. The evil elemental lord of fire has set his sights on the cult and schemes to subvert its good intentions. Aging church leader Dagor Thursh edges closer to death with each day, and a struggle is growing for the right to succeed him, its flames fanned by followers of the elemental lord who have infiltrated the village.

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

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An 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

At this point you probably know this already -after all, Raging Swan Press' Village Backdrop series is pretty much one of the longest-running ones currently available from any 3pp - the basic premise is that you get one sample village - with full settlement statblock, map, etc. However, what made the series the success it is, would be essentially the level of detail the series brings to the table - we get information on local clothes, nomenclature, sample magic items to purchase as well as local rumors and sample events to bring life and local color to your table - this makes the villages stand out, feel distinct and ultimately, alive. This pdf is no different and sports all of these traditional virtues. It also, theme-wise, plays against the expectations evoked by this settlement's name.

When i read "Hopespyre", my association was that of a gothic place, dark fantasy - a religious tyrant burning unbelievers (or those in his path) at the stake - I thought about a place of oppression. Pretty much the obvious is the case. Hopespyre was founded by a visionary half-orc blessed by the flame as a refuge from the sins of his former life and now represents an enclave of per se nice people, who are still considered heretics by the vast majority of outside forces. Still, the church of the redemptive flame seems to be benevolent in its claim that the eternally blazing pyre in the middle of the place actually burns away past sins.

Now the brilliant component of this pdf ultimately does not lie in this inversion of expectations or the sample NPC provided - to me, the compelling nature of this place lies in the truth behind the pyre and the theme - you see, these people have seen horrible things and now, they have found solace, peace, if you will - and much like real world adherents of some of the more bonkers religions they will fight to retain their place. When handled correctly, this settlement may provide a thoroughly compelling example of "good people doing horrible things" - especially, since there are forces seeking to destroy the place or use it for its own ends. From the benevolently creepy to the truly blessed, Hopespyre provides a number of different interpretations a GM can use. blend and play with, for an individualized experience - and this is what makes it great.


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

Jacob W. Michaels is a damn talented author and this pdf pretty much showcases some of his talents - by being as versatile as this pdf is, the village of Hopespyre actually constitutes a fun, unique place that utilizes themes and motives in a rather complex, interesting way - and yes, this settlement can actually end in heart-rending tragedy, allowing you to explore quite a few themes not many supplements explore. This is one of the crown-jewels of the excellent series and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

You can grab a free sample of this rather marvellous Village Backdrop at Raging Swan Press's website.

Download it, read it, love it!

Thanks, Creighton! Looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks about this one; I hope you all like it!

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the very kind words, Endz. I'm thrilled you liked it!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You did a superb job here, Jacob!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Let me add my thanks to Jacob's. I'm delighted you enjoyed his village so much!

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