20 Things: Orc Village (system neutral)
This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Orc villages, suffice to say, are living, breathing places, and as such, the pdf begins with different sights and sounds, depending on whether the green-skins have been made aware of the presence of intruders. From ongoing torture of non-orcs, to orc mums carrying water and slapping kids, the atmosphere of evil, of violence, is palpable, with a feeling of aggression simmering right below the boiling point making this a rather compelling table. The alerted sights and sounds, then, represent the eruption of said violence…and when armed, homicidal orc kids try to prove themselves as proper human-slayers, even hardened adventurers may balk at using deadly force…
The series makes good use of its structural improvements on the next page, providing 12 entries for dressing of the village proper, with dejected, abused cows and rubbish strewn around establishing a sense of squalor and misery, while the 8 entries for dressing in orc huts show a proclivity for violent means of decorating things as well as the obvious lack of knowledge/talent regarding architecture. Smartly hidden treasures may also be found by perceptive PCs, but as a whole, the achievement here is the maintenance of the aggression-leitmotif suffusing these as well.
The next section provides fluff-only entries for notable sample orcs, noting alignment in brackets), but otherwise remaining system neutral; 6 warriors, champions and chiefs, 4 rank and file orcs, 4 shamans and 4 orc kids with personality are included – and yes, they all are CE. Don’t like that? Well, you can make a case for the impact of good nurturing right? Provided the PCs don’t murder-hobo through everyone, of course.
We conclude this supplement with a table of 20 sample orcish treasures and trinkets, which includes a prized, hallucinogenic toad, voodoo dolls, the revered skull of an orcish king, perhaps and badly-stitched together hide armors complement this section.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.
Creighton Broadhurst and Bart Wynants succeed in creating a fine and thematically-concise dressing file for the orcish village; at no point does it feel like a generic goblinoid village; instead, the simmering savagery and violence of orc culture is emphasized in a wide variety of different examples for successful indirect story-telling. My final verdict is 5 stars + seal of approval, a great little dressing file.
You can get this cool dressing-file here on OBS!
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