Village Backdrop: Tigley (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
All right, just in case you’re not familiar with Raging Swan Press excellent series of villages – here’s the deal: Each village backdrop showcases one particular village and so much more: We get information on magic items for sale in the place, key NPC-information, notes on local nomenclature and lore that can be unearthed (depending, as befitting of old-school gaming, on the referee and roleplaying) as well as 6 local rumors and sample events – the latter of which should be considered to be adventure hooks the GM can develop into full-blown adventures or just use to add local color to the supplement. We also get notes on dressing customs as well as nomenclature, providing some local color. Unlike the 5e-version, the system neutral version does not sport the remnant settlement statblock information. Depending on your personal gaming aesthetics, you should be aware of the fact that the marketplace sells a +1 leather armor and a +1 dagger, which may be a bit much, depending on your tastes. Further plus of the system neutral version: We get old-school gaming stats for werebats: Descending AC, HD value, damage, defense and movement rate are noted. Solid, though a unique ability would have been nice – you know, a sonic scream or the like.
The village of Tigley is situated cliffside atop a massive canyon through which a stream flows, jutting from a spire, towering over a massive swamp; the little settlement has only recently managed to recuperate from a massive earthquake. Tigley itself is a peculiar settlement – sporting, for example, a dry well from which swarms of bats emerge in regular intervals or an old codger who asks for a “Lazy Toll” to cross the nearby rope-bridge. The village also features an interesting custom: With the local cemetery falling down during the earthquake, it has become custom to bury the dead in the nearby lake, the sink.
In a smart take on a concise supplement, the significant amount of bats and demands of certain spells like fireball mean that bat guano farming is a pretty industry here alongside paper press and hemp. The local orphanage is a constant reminder of the recent cataclysm the village has endured, in spite of the relatively few kids living there and, surprisingly, there is a werebat herein – one that has sworn off the bloodthirsty ways of his kin. There would also be local troublemakers like a gifted stone-mason who also happens to be a rather nasty bully.
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 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.
Steve Hood’s Tigley is a nice little village – its industry and population feel organic and concise; the local color is superb and the quirks and traditions mentioned conspire to make the village feel organic and alive. There is also an array of rather interesting material the enterprising GM can utilize to craft adventures from – though, ultimately, in that regard, Tigley falls a bit short of the best installments in the series.
While there are several unique and compelling ideas herein, just throwing your PCs into the village will not write adventures in itself; unlike the best of the Village Backdrops, you’ll need to prod a bit more, help craft a bit more investment and trouble, for Tigley could have used more pronounced conflicts that tie-in with its great local color – as provided, some minor disputes and a bully are the most prominent issues. In any other series, Tigley would be considered to be absolutely glorious, but considering the superb quality of the series as a whole, it does fall slightly short of the best in the series. The system neutral version is a good conversion, though the werebat stats could be a bit more interesting; I do own more interesting old-school stats for that critter from the AD&D-days of yore. Still, as a whole, this is a solid conversion, well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.
You can get this village here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!