Village Backdrop: Aubade 2.0 (PFRPG) PDF

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

Laid low by a witch's curse, life in the once-prosperous village of Aubade is lived in reverse. At dawn, the streets empty, residents remaining hidden inside during the daylight hours avoiding the sun’s caress. At night, lamps lining the village's cobblestone streets blaze to life, and the residents emerge to tend their fields and cast their nets into the lake as best they can.

While the village was once a centre of piety that drew the faithful from miles around to hear the beautiful dawn descants of the children's choir, now no one comes to Aubade. Whispers of vampires swirl around the remote region and dissuade frighten travellers from stopping at the village, where residents equally dread visitors will discover their shameful secret.

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. It comes in two different 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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An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This 2.0 installment of RSP's Village Backdrop is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of 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

So, 2.0. Why? Well, for one, even a cursory glance shows you that the layout has been modernized.

Like all village backdrop-files, the village of Aubade features a significant amount of local color- from rumors to market place info, and even information on general villager looks and sample names, the aptly-depicted village provides the level of detail we've come to expect from this series. Minor downer: The PFRPG-version does lack the settlement statblock information.

So, Aubade is a prime example of what happens, when a catastrophe triumphs over sound reasoning - when a particularly nasty disease started ravaging the community, a scapegoat was soon found - a local witch ended her life in the flames of the pyre and her dying curse ultimately are what made Aubade distinct - what do I mean by this? PCs will probably visit this place not to visit the place, but rather to purge it -after all, strange stories of vampires, cults and worse abound. And indeed, the town does look a bit like a ghost-town - no one's outside, no response to knocking inquiries- it just looks like the town has been swept clean of inhabitants. Well, the town of Aubade is peculiar in that, at night, people come out - pale people, yes, but people nonetheless. The 2.0-version of Aubade also comes with distinct notes on customs and traditions, as well as a 20-entry-strong dressing/event-table and information regarding the surrounding area.

No, the village dwellers aren't just goths like yours truly that prefer the night, nor are they night-owls - the witch's curse on the town makes everyone that identifies as a villager and touches the sun burst into flames. Yup, nasty and uncommon and further complemented by the witch's ghost and her familiar as well as the proper stats and terms of the disease and the curse - and every DM worth their salt can craft these into a superb cocktail of weirdness and odd investigations! 4 fully sample NPCs are included, with notes on mannerism, personality, etc. noted, and there is also one brief write-up for the local deity. We also receive a properly statted version of the choking disease that has struck the place, choking its reputation for song – said disease was btw. responsible for the curse. The curse has been properly represented in rules as well, just fyi. Nice: We do get adventure hooks provided for certain locations, and the PCs may well prove to be the saviors of Aubade – provided they can move the ghost of the wise woman’s ghosts, that is!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard, with pretty impressive b/w-cartography and artworks provided. The pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as in two versions – one optimized for screen-use, and one intended to be printed out.

Jacob W. Michaels delivers one of the most impressive Village Backdrops in the whole series, and 2.0 actually enhances Aubade’s appeal even further - and in a series with SO MANY excellent installments, that indeed is a feat! Aubade's multiple trials and tribulations and the unique, resulting culture and potential for adventures is simply inspired - the curse, its repercussions and the strange happenstances definitely evoke the sense of living in a world where magic still abounds, a world in which humans still are humans and thus subject to the weaknesses and harmful decisions that desperation may entail. If you already have the original, this may not necessarily be a must-buy, but if you’ve so far missed Aubade, get this pdf ASAP! My final verdict will be 5 stars + seal of approval…provided you don’t have the original iteration. If you do, you may want to detract a star – it’s still an excellent locale, but I’m not sure the 2.0-version warrants getting it again.

Endzeitgeist out.



Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

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