This work contains a wonderfully-detailed coastal village, somewhere in the back of beyond, that is a place your characters could visit in their travels, maybe use as a base... or it might even be their hometown, from which they launched a career as adventurers. It's located in Raging Swan's Lonely Coast setting, but readily adaptable to being placed in your own campaign world if preferred.
The Introduction sets the scene of a settlement in the midst of wild country, trackless forests and the sea. There are several adventure seeds, ideas that you can develop, as well as pointers to other material from the same publisher that's set in the same area, plenty to get you started.
Next is the formal Pathfinder statblock for the village and a list of notable citizens, an abundance of detail to power interaction whenever the characters visit. Notable buildings and other features are mentioned as well. There's a clear map (plenty of scope for you to add in anything else you need there), and then the discussion moves on to a detailed and atmospheric run-down on village life, everything from social order to the sort of things that they eat! Law and order, the various ways the villagers earn their livings, the cycle of the seasons and the regular festivals in the calendar are all covered. There's a table to help you breathe life into it all with events such as births and deaths, fires, crimes, the arrival of a ship or a travelling trader... and then more detailed material on those notable locations, right down to price lists for the sole inn, places of worship and more.
Widening the scope, we then hear about the surrounding area. Hunt in the woods, travel the trails, seek out the Babbling Monolith and perhaps hear a prophecy - there's lots of things to do, characters who live here may even fancy serving in the local militia, which drills once a month.
Then an Appendix gives detailed information about many of the inhabitants - most of whom have hidden depths, much more to them than 'ordinary' villagers. Even characters who come from here won't know all of this! It really makes them come alive, making this a vibrant 'real' place, existing beyond the activities of your characters. They have full stats, lots of background, even adventure ideas... and just reading the descriptions spawns ideas even without them.
Finally, a second Appendix is a Player's Guide, a nice touch, which you can allow your players to read without danger of spilling any beans. It's a good way to get around that perennial problem of characters knowing more about a place than their players do. In all, this is a fine low-level setting to start adventuring in and from.
Return to Swallowfield page.
Reviewed: 23 August 2012