This installment of the Village Backdrop-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Hosford is the second village located in the FREE Lonely Coast mini-campaign-setting by Raging Swan Press, which I’d wholeheartedly recommend you check out – I never regretted downloading that one.
Location-wise, Hosford lies between the village of Swallowfeld (also available) and the as-of-yet not covered town of Wolverton, the largest settlement of the lonely coast.
Hosford once sported a mine, but careless digging (or something less savory) saw the mine collapse and create a cove, which created a natural harbor for the now thriving fishing industry – not all is well in the little town, though, since recently a couple of villagers have gone missing without a trace. A sense of palpable fear has prompted the villagers to act and appoint a rogue (investigator) (with full stats) as reeve to get to the bottom of the weird disappearances – and while the pdf gives you the culprit (again, with full statblock), I won’t spoil the reasons for the disappearances or the true culprit here – you’ll have to get the book yourself in order to find that out.
Beyond these recent disappearances, we get a full settlement statblock, a list of notable folk and notable locations in the village, a selection of magic items for sale in town and, of course, village lore and 6 rumors. Beyond that, the pdf also provides multiple write-ups of the respective locales, 6 events to spring upon your PCs and information on local nomenclature, dressing-habits and the law.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s 2-clumn b/w-standard and the pdf comes in 2 versions, one optimized for print and one for screen-use. Both are extensively bookmarked. It should be noted that the beautiful b/w-map of the village can be downloaded as a web-enhancement sans the annoying map-key on Raging Swan Press’ homepage, something I’d suggest you do.
This village backdrop has probably the most ingrained adventure cut out of any village backdrop I’ve seen so far – all the pieces are in place and it requires at best a moderately talented DM to craft a nice short investigation from the content provided herein – one that does not sport a traditional villain and where the distinction between what’s right and wrong and the culprit’s peculiar situation mean that the PCs will have, if you so choose, a moral dilemma at their hands. If you so choose, that is – the component can be downplayed easily or just dropped alltogether if you happen to have other plans.
All in all, Hosford is a great locale with a stunning, uncommon layout and map and some expert-writing to back it up – one of the best installments in the series so far and one well-deserving of a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. Congratulations to author John Bennett!