Campaign Backdrops: Hills & Mountains
This installment of Raging Swan Press’ Campaign Backdrops-compilations clocks in at 115 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with an impressive 108 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This being a compilation of material, we begin this massive book with a handy list of statblcoks by CR with the respective page number for easy reference obviously included. Beyond that, the pdf provides advice for novice GMs on how to read statblocks and an extensive acknowledgement of author bios – I mention the latter primarily since I consider this aspect to be great and hope that other publishers will include the like in their books as well.
Anyways, as you may already know if you’ve read my review of the last Campaign Backdrop, we have an organization of Raging Swan Press material in this book by terrain; where the GM’s Miscellany series took content and organized it by type (i.e. “Dressing” or “Villages”), these books basically provide all the material you’d need to flesh out a specific region.
The structure here is based on going from the general to the more complex/detailed; we begin with Wilderness Dressings for Hills and Mountains and move on to random encounters, which are separated by subregion – a total of 14 hill-themed encounters and 7 mountain-themed ones can be found. EL-wise, these encounters range from 1 – 9. The organization here makes slightly more sense than in the forest-installment, featuring general properties of hills and mountains (like movement through rubble, etc.) in front of the encounters with the good ole’ Raging Swan Press GM-cheat-sheets I really have come to love.
Like the installment on forests, this book also has urban dressing material to reflect civilization’s encroaching upon nature, with mining towns receiving their detailed dressing-due. After these more modular components, the pdf introduces us to the adventure location called prismatic tower and no less than 4 ready-to drop-in villages you can sprinkle into your mountainous region: This time around, these villages would be Denton’s End, Feigrvidr, Hjalward and Silver Bluff – and yes, these rank as some of my favorites in the Village Backdrop-series.
Now, as before, gentle reader, I’d love to avoid redundancy and not rattle off the respective content again – I have covered in detail the constituent files and as such, I’d like to point you to the respective reviews I’ve written for them.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard and the pdf features several thematically fitting, nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions: One is optimized for screen use and one for the printer.
John Bennett, Creighton Broadhurst, Robert Brooks, Jeff Erwin, Fabian Fehrs, James F.D. Graham, Brian Gregory, Ben Kent, Stephen Radney MacFarland, Josh Vogt and Mike Welham deliver one exceedingly tight and useful toolkit here: Particularly if you don’t already own the constituent files, this book delivers an extremely easy to use and game-enhancing toolkit for the beleaguered GM. Similarly, if you really want print of all the options herein, you’ll notice that not all pieces of content in this book have so far been included in GM’s Miscellany books, so there’s that component as well.
As with the previous book, my one minor gripe with this is that I would have loved its terrain-related scope to be emphasized slightly more, with more hazards and mechanically relevant types of terrain…but that’s just me being a total spoiled prick. The organization is slightly better this time around and, as a whole, this can be considered a true boon for any GM looking for material to flesh out the mountainous and hilly regions of her campaign. It should also be noted that the average quality of content provided herein is exceedingly high.
Now, this does not change that fans of Raging Swan Press that already have the material won’t get much beyond the stellar and handy organization out of this tome…but at the same time, for people new to what RSP has to offer, this is a superb godsend indeed. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval, though with the caveat that RSP-veterans may want to skip this unless they want the book for the convenience it arguably offers.
You can get this cool compilation here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on their patreon!