Places of Power: Dead Man’s Run (system neutral)
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. It should be noted that, while for the most part, the references of class/race nomenclature have been properly applied, some old-school GMs might take umbrage to a certain individual that is a monster, but has class levels applied. Personally, I don’t mind that, but I know that some folks will want to know about that.
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. The items have been adjusted to reference old-school items and aesthetics – while minor magic items are for sale, I see none of them being an issue here. Going even beyond that, the respective keyed locations do feature individual sections of items for sale, going one step beyond in that regard – nice! 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.
It should also be noted that this location, beyond the obvious war/fallen-theme, also has a fey-angle, one that works rather perfectly in conjunctions with Kobold Press’ classic “Wrath of the River King.” Just saying!
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. Summa summarum, the system neutral iteration of this supplement is on par with e.g. the PFRPG-iteration; it is a well-wrought, fun supplement, worth a final verdict of 5 stars.
You can get this evocative locale here on OBS!
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