The first installment of the Languard Locations series, which depicts the respective districts of the aforementioned city in more detail, clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The low city if the part closest to the city’s wall, situated South of the Svart, and it is also home to the slum-like shambles and fishshambles, though these districts have their own supplements devoted to them – we’ll return to them in time, in the reviews that cover these quarters.
The Patfinder version has pretty much been almost system neutral anyways, but it should be noted that, for the nitpicky, this version has properly replaced references to classes and levels, where applicable, with the proper pointers towards 5e’s default NPC-array.
Anyways, on the very first page, we do receive a version of the city map, an excerpt, that highlights the regions that actually belong to the low city, and here, we also get points of interest duly noted. 12 locations are provided, and, as you could probably glean from the moniker and adjacent quarters, this is not exactly a high-class environment. (Though, as Languard adheres very much to a medieval, gritty Greyhawk-ish aesthetic, city folks still are better off than peasants…)
If you wander these streets, you can find frustrated social climbing jewelers, plagued by repeated break-ins and justifiably paranoid as a result. This would be as well a place as any to note that each every location within this supplement lists its key NPCs in fluff-only descriptions that manage to paint vivid pictures, and the respective locales also featured adventure hooks if gumption and peculiarities of these should not suffice to kick your players into adventuring mode.
The interesting thing about these locales, though, would be their diversity: In the second basement of a nameless tenement, a surprisingly vast, hidden tavern, the Mixing Pot, is hidden, serving as meeting place where both aristocrats and street urchins, the rich and the poor, rub shoulders while enjoying fine brews – and the eel and eggs sound like a dish I’d definitely be willing to try, considering my love for unagi…
Going one step further, the pdf also presents the “Orc’s Head” tavern – a place that sports a carved limestone orc’s head atop the entrance, and one that most assuredly should also work as a great place for adventurers to carouse away their hard-earned gold. More importantly, it’s also a place where the FREE mini-game “The Dragon and the Thief” may be played, and the rules are explained, in case you don’t want to download the free pdf. Finally, and that may be the most important thing here: The tavern (2 floors, cellar PLUS outbuilding!) are fully mapped by none other than Tommi Salama – and the map is player-friendly, making for one amazing handout!
If you know where to look, you may well find a smuggler and fence, and in an aspect all too often sanitized away, the pdf does note that there is actually a dealer in manure here, a refuse collector. And yes, this is relevant for adventuring purposes…. Marja’s House of Sighs, aka the “Moaning Halls” caters to other, worldly desires…and the madam may actually have some use for the PCs…or make a fine antagonist. Sometimes, location trumps skill – all too often, actually. The same may hold true for a healing establishment found within, which does provide brief descriptions of the respective rooms. Yes, there is a waiting room. If you’re more in the mood for a macabre round of drinking, you may want to check out “The Last Sigh” – in view of the cadavers dangling from traitor’s gate…coincidentally also a great place to check out what bounties are currently available…
Often neglected, the living situation actually also is covered here, and the Esoteric Fellowship’s White Tower should be a good reason for magically-inclined PCs to visit this place…
Editing and formatting re top-notch, I noticed no issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the book sports amazing b/w-cartography, as noted before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and it also is provided in two versions: One optimized for screen-use, one for the printer.
Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Gomez and Amber Underwood provide the level of detail and finesse that elevates Languard’s already impressive City Backdrop file even further. The detailed descriptions of the low city’s surprisingly diverse (and adventuring-relevant) locations breathe a life into these streets that make it very easy to visualize this – with some time, your PCs will be able to say “Oh, and then we ran down the street across the white tower, towards…” – it’s that…in lack of a better word, “tangible.” Languard’s low city feels organic, plausible and diverse, the characters mentioned are interesting, and there is a ton of potential adventuring to be had here. What more could you ask for? The 5e version has been changed subtly to represent the proper statblock references.
An excellent supplement and furious start for the product line, this deserves 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this cool supplement here on OBS!
Missed Languard? You can find the city here on OBS!
The FREE mini-game “The Dragon and the Thief” can be found here!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!