This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement
Like all village backdrop-files, the village of Aubade features a significant amount of local color- from rumors to market place info to a settlement statblock 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 – 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.
No, they aren’t just goths like yours truly that prefer the night, nor are they night-owls or the like – 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!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a nice map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs on RSP’s homepage. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.
Jacob W. Michaels delivers one of the most impressive Village Backdrops in the series – 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 breathe the peculiarities 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. My final verdict clocks in at 5 stars + seal of approval – get this awesome backdrop!