Places of Power: Dead Man’s Run (5e)
This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The location known as “Dead Man’s Run” is something refreshingly different, as far as I’m concerned – this stretch of land is situated on the border between two kingdoms; per default, that would be an elven kingdom and a human one, but it’d be rather easy to change the kingdoms to different races, should your game require that. From initial hostilities and border skirmishes, a truce sprang – one that ultimately saw two villages spring up. As you could glean from the name, this is not where the story ends. A single night of chaos, ten years ago, saw the villages wiped out in a freak flashflood and strange, ostensibly magic weather-phenomena. The disaster saw most survivors flee, though some did remain – today, Dead Man’s Run has a population of 11 folks, 6 of whom get the classic Raging Swan Press NPC treatment: This means we get brief descriptions, notes on background, mannerisms, personality, etc., but no statblocks.
Where applicable, the respective NPCs reference the default statblocks from the monster manual…which brings me to a bit of a bummer: The book has a fey-angle, and said fey type, a dryad, has no representation in the default critters, using the dryad statblock instead. This would have been a chance to at least present brief modification to the statblock or a full and proper statblock. Pity!
As a quasi village-remnant/almost ghost town, this place does come with a marketplace section – after all, the warfare of the past has left plenty of intriguing items running around for the scavenging. Going even beyond that, the respective keyed locations do feature individual sections of items for sale, going one step beyond in that regard – nice! Minor nitpick: While the items for sale have been properly adjusted for 5e, they double-list potions of healing, and I’m pretty sure that one of them should probably be a better version.
Indeed, the respective keyed locations do come with a surprising and commendable amount of adventure hooks, often featuring more than one. The ferry even features a localized 6-entry events table.
As always, the pdf does come with notes that will help you provide information for PCs that do their proper legwork. The pdf does feature notes on the appearances and dressing habits of the locals, as well as 6 sample whispers and rumors.
The once gentle Brimbrook, turned into a massive river, nowadays features a proper ferry operated by a former farmer turned ferryman; an abandoned fort, its dungeons awaiting expeditions by stalwart adventurers. Little trade or industry takes place here, and there may not be much law enforcement, but in the absence of many folks, there usually also isn’t that much need for it. Really cool: The place has weird customs that reflect the story of this place and sports an interesting mythological resonance. A 20-entry strong table of dressing-entries and events allows you to further emphasize the unique nature of this storied region, and the pdf does provide further information regarding the landscape in the vicinity of this place.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level and rules-language. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the artwork and cartography provided are really nice. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, which is a comfort-plus, and yes, the supplement comes in two versions, with one of them optimized for screen use, and one intended to be printed out.
Jacob W. Michaels is at this point a veteran of these supplements, and it shows – this is a great, unpretentious supplement that allows you to develop the angles and local population in a variety of different, intriguing ways, ranging from the fantastic to the down-to-earth. The missed chance regarding the major, mystical element, the nymph, would be the main drawback of this iteration of the supplement – as such, my review for this iteration can’t exceed 4 stars.
You can get this neat supplement here on OBS!
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