This Village Backdrop clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Trickletrek is an idyllic town, situated next to the river of the same moniker and to the forest of the Great Greens – life is good in the gnomish village and all is well…until an asteroid crashes down into Swishswirl Cove and the dreaded loss of color (whether already known via Golarion or a new phenomenon) starts spreading, leaving mutated, dangerous folk in its wake that seem to show signs of a strange color not 100% of this world…
As always, full village statblocks, nomenclature, whispers and rumors and events are provided for this interesting retelling of the Lovecraft classic – add in two neat statblocks, one providing a relatively complex CR 7 blight druid now enslaved to the otherworldly intruder and we have a potentially awesome backdrop to retell the traditional story suffused with some gnomish humor.
The fact that Golarion’s gnomes already suffer from such an affliction adds further potential to use red herrings or devise one’s own telling and provide alternate explanations for the happenstances in the by now, rather dangerous village. (Danger-modifier +20 – ouch!)
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s superb, streamlined and printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard. The pdf’s b/w-cartography (of which you can download player-friendly versions on Raging Swan’s homepage for free!) is just as awesome as I’ve come to expect from the series. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.
Alexander Augunas is one of the most talented crunch-authors currently writing 3pp-material, but he also has an uncanny knack for the weird and potent, captivating, fluff – this being no exception. Where the basic frame to most will be a “been there, done that”, the details are what makes this work – from the gnomes as racially distinct to the coinciding with their racial sickness in some worlds to all the small details of the town’s politics between progress and tradition, this village backdrop serves potential galore and a unique spin that makes a tired trope work again. (And yes, Lovecraft-aficionados – another creature from the great beyond might be involved – this review is partially deliberately vague in that regard…) And that is a hard thing to achieve indeed – barring any gripes and bearing that in mind, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.