Village Backdrop: Suurin (system neutral)
This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series is 11 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 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement!
The village of Suurin was once supposed to be an utopian experiment, a place of freedom and peace. Now, the halfling village sports a cadre of hobgoblin enforcers and pretty much everyone suffers from tell-tale black veins (as always, nomenclature and local appearances and dressing habits are covered)…for the little village has been transformed by Devia Brookshire into the Skez capital of the realm, definitely earning the soul-crushing disadvantage that the settlement stats feature. It should be noted that this one does have a market place entry, in spite of being system-neutral – you can actually purchase the drug Skez openly in its various iterations.
If you’d look at the blue daffodil fields or at the map itself, you’d see nice halfling burrows that seem to come straight from LotR’s movies; an idyllic place…however,, as rumors and events (6 of each are featured) make sure pretty quickly, this place is anything but that: Few are the people still resisting the drug and while the local inn still offers food (prices included), the village is firmly in the grip of Devia and her enforcers, with only a few stalwart folks, the bereaved and elderly, putting up token resistance.
Of course, the big unknown here is Skez and, much to my pleasant surprise, no less than three types of the powerful drug have been provided…and yes, even though this would be the system-neutral version, the rules-language employed for them should retain compatibility with OSR-games and pretty much every game that knows fatigue damage, saves, etc. – so yeah, OSR and similar systems are perfectly fine. It’s really nice to see the rules-language employed here being properly modified. Kudos for going the extra mile here!
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any relevant glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP’s patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.
Jeff Gomez takes us on a trip to an utopia broken by greed, to a pastoral idyll firmly in the grip of the horror of industrialized drug production. The stark contrast between the “good old days” and the tainted reality is intriguing and the fact that even enforcers and the mastermind can be considered to be victims adds another layer of complexity to it. The inclusion of proper rules-representations of the drugs is just a nice icing on the cake. The village itself may have primarily one note, but it is a strong and clear one. I was pretty positively surprised by this one, with the generally applicable, yet precise drug-rules making sense and representing a nice extra oomph here. For this reason, the system-neutral version will clock in at a final verdict of 5 stars as well.
You can get the system neutral iteration here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!