This 2.0 installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement
So, 2.0. Why? Well, for one, even a cursory glance shows you that the layout has been modernized, and for the first time, this is available in a system neutral iteration, with class-name references adjusted to represent the old-school classes.
Like all village backdrop-files, the village of Aubade features a significant amount of local color- from rumors to market place info (yes, the items available have been adjusted to old-school aesthetics), and even information on general villager looks and sample names, the aptly-depicted village provides the level of detail we’ve come to expect from this series.
So, Aubade is a prime example of what happens, when a catastrophe triumphs over sound reasoning – when a particularly nasty disease started ravaging the community, a scapegoat was soon found – a local witch ended her life in the flames of the pyre and her dying curse ultimately are what made Aubade distinct – what do I mean by this? PCs will probably visit this place not to visit the place, but rather to purge it -after all, strange stories of vampires, cults and worse abound. And indeed, the town does look a bit like a ghost-town – no one’s outside, no response to knocking inquiries- it just looks like the town has been swept clean of inhabitants. Well, the town of Aubade is peculiar in that, at night, people come out – pale people, yes, but people nonetheless. The 2.0-version of Aubade also comes with distinct notes on customs and traditions, as well as a 20-entry-strong dressing/event-table and information regarding the surrounding area.
No, the village dwellers aren’t just goths like yours truly that prefer the night, nor are they night-owls – the witch’s curse on the town makes everyone that identifies as a villager and touches the sun burst into flames. Yup, nasty and uncommon and further complemented by the witch’s ghost and her familiar as well as the proper stats and terms of the disease and the curse – and every DM worth their salt can craft these into a superb cocktail of weirdness and odd investigations! 4 fully sample NPCs are included, with notes on mannerism, personality, etc. noted, and there is also one brief write-up for the local deity. We also receive a properly statted version of the choking disease that has struck the place, choking its reputation for song – said disease was btw. responsible for the curse. Impressive: The write-up for the disease accounts for the different saving throw names for different old-school systems. The curse is properly represented in rules as well, just fyi!
Nice: We do get adventure hooks provided for certain locations, and the PCs may well prove to be the saviors of Aubade – provided they can move the ghost of the wise woman’s ghosts, that is!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard, with pretty impressive b/w-cartography and artworks provided. The pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as in two versions – one optimized for screen-use, and one intended to be printed out.
Jacob W. Michaels delivers one of the most impressive Village Backdrops in the whole series, and 2.0 actually enhances Aubade’s appeal even further – and in a series with SO MANY excellent installments, that indeed is a feat! Aubade’s multiple trials and tribulations and the unique, resulting culture and potential for adventures is simply inspired – the curse, its repercussions and the strange happenstances definitely evoke the sense of living in a world where magic still abounds, a world in which humans still are humans and thus subject to the weaknesses and harmful decisions that desperation may entail. If you already have the original, this may not necessarily be a must-buy, but if you’ve so far missed Aubade, get this pdf ASAP! My final verdict will be 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this cool supplement here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!
If you consider my reviews to be useful, please consider donating to my patreon. Every little bit helps.