This little design-guide clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Okay, so this pdf is basically a brief DIY-design-guide to villages, published by arguably the most prolific publisher of truly phenomenal villages. Raging Swan Press’ excellent cadre of authors has, under the auspice of Raging Swan’s mastermind Creighton Broadhurst, created some of the best villages you can find for any system out there, so yeah, the author knows what he’s talking about. The advice here pertains villages of a somewhat gritty, Greyhawk-ish, yet fantastic theme, but most of the advice can easily be extrapolated to pretty much any context.
The focus here is villages, and after a brief introduction, we begin with the basic village design tips: Conflict, flavor, etc. are noted – this section btw. also includes some reminders for the GM to not forget a couple of crucial, basic components. The basics out of the way, the former tie in with the peculiarities of village locations – these are similarly presented in a concise and easily graspable manner. So yeah, the prospective designer in all of us gets a concise and interesting check-list here.
That out of the way, we enter what I’d think of as the second section of the pdf, where we get a massive generator to speed up the process: We can determine government, alignment, prominent features, industry, population, conflicts, notable buildings, secrets…and the latter comes with some added notes. 100 ready to go village names (and some suggested naming schemata) also help here.
Then, the book ges into the details: Street and road names and names to consider! We also get some naming conventions for them, as well as suggestions for other landmarks that may similarly be named. Beyond this section, we also mention village festivals as a way to add local color to a village and proceed to get 10 fully depicted and easily adapted types of village festivals to include and expand upon, ranging from cheese racing to the dance of the dead. 20 sample events and traditions finally complement this pdf.
Editing and formatting are top.notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant b/w-standard in either 2 or 3 columns, depending on the pdf’s needs. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions – one for print use and one for screen use. The pdf sports several nice b/w-maps of sample villages to jumpstart your imagination.
Creighton Broadhurst knows what he’s doing – while the main focus here is undoubtedly classic, gritty fantasy, the material herein can be extrapolated for pretty much every system and setting; the advice collected herein remains viable even in a modern context, in truly rural areas. In short: This humble little generator does a fantastic job and is well worth getting. It is not an omni-design book and instead focuses, crisply and concisely, on its designated task. I consider this well worth getting. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.
You can get this nice little design-guide here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!