This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
In the middle of the borderlands, in the middle of the wilderness, situated atop the ruins of an erstwhile keep, there lies a place, equal parts armed camp of sellswords and mercenaries and bastion of civilization, bazaar of the exotic and recruiting ground – this place is tumblestone inn, and it may be precariously close to the territory of orcs…but so far it stands, also thanks to the continuous influx of adventurers…and they keep coming, because it has pretty much become THE place to get hired…and so, shadowy patrons always frequent the corners of the place and gold is always changing hands.
Led by Aelliah Wilmaytn, an erstwhile mercenary captain and guarded by many of her fellow soldiers, the place is also surprisingly safe for its location and concentration of capable individuals -some of which come with nice, fluff-only write-ups. As often in the series, we get information on local dressing-habits and nomenclature – but this time around, we also get a marketplace (yes, dear 5E fans – you don’t miss out this time around – there actually are a few lesser magic items for sale!), ale and room-prices and the obligatory events and rumors to add further spice to this locale.
Going one step beyond, we also get 10 fluff-only write ups of different mercenaries as well as 8 patrons, making this basically a fully staffed environment to drop into pretty much every hexcrawl or wilderness environment you could conceive. That being said, here in this section, the 5E-version partially uses generic NPC stats (guards, knights, etc. – you know the drill) and partially notes character classes with levels – I don’t object to that, but it’s something to bear in mind. There is one hiccup here, with what should be a “rogue 6” referred to as a “thief 6”, though
Editing and formatting are very good. Layout adheres to RSP’s elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf features some nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes in two iterations, one optimized for screen-use and one made for the printer – kudos there! The cartography by Simon Butler and Maciej Zagorski is excellent. I think by joining Raging Swan Press’ patreon, you can actually get the high-res map for the evocative place, but I am not 100% sure. The map provided is cool, but sports keyed rooms.
From the Black Tower, still standing from the original keep, to the mercenaries herein, Creighton Broadhurst proves why he’s this highly regarded – the man *KNOWS* what he is doing. Frankly, I should not be liking this pdf to the extent that I do; it’s concept is so old and done, it doesn’t have this novelty I tend to crave…which just goes to show what good prose and concise writing can achieve, for I indeed found myself loving this extremely useful home away from home, this ready to drop in adventuring hub. There is something about the totality of this place of power that transcends the building stones from which it was crafted, making it stand out and feel distinct, in spite of its conservative theme. While not 100% perfect, this conversion makes for an interesting and well-wrought supplement for a more than fair price-point. Hence, this very much deserves the full 5 stars.
You can get this pdf here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!