Village Backdrop: Victory Elm
This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series 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!
Standing amid gently roiling hills, Victory Elm derives its name from the massive tree that gives the village its name; goats graze on the hills, though the absence of any other tree nearby may seem odd to some. While a few hill giants remain nearby, the village has attempted to entice the creation of additional settlements to make the place less remote, but so far to no avail. The PFRPG version comes with a proper settlement statblock information (which features, oddly, a minus sign in red), and a marketplace-section, as well as notes on items for sale in individual locales.
Why “Victory”, you ask? Well, some years ago, hill giants acted as a vanguard for fire- and frost giant masters, and failing to uproot the mighty elm, it became a rallying point that saw the eventual defeat of the giants. Yes, this pretty much has “Giantslayer”, “Against the Giants” and the like written all over it. Today, but one living being in Victory Elm remembers these days – Cyrrun Belatros, an elf, who has recently fallen ill (and who comes with a full fluff NPC-write-up) – and at the same time, a strange blight ravages the land, with the elm infested by aggressive termites and wasps. Suffice to say, rumors about the giants gathering don’t help the sense of trepidation haunting the place.
It should also be noted that this village features a museum still holding fabled weaponry from the last altercation against the giants, and we do have a war memorial as well. Nice!
As always with the series, we receive full notes on the surrounding locales, have information on local nomenclature and dressing habits, as well as a section of lore and some rumors that can be used to reward PCs for doing their legwork. The 20-entry dressing/event table allows you to jumpstart the adventuring quickly and painlessly as the PCs explore the place, and one of the locales does come with its own additional table of 6 sample events. Of particular note in this Village Backdrop-installment would be the fact that the adventure hooks/quest outlines provided are crunchier than usual, coming with sample checks – they also are more complex than usual and elevate this supplement, being easily one of its strongest points.
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.
Mike Welham’s Victory Elm manages to capture a borderlands-vibe very well; the looming threat, the sense of melancholy and an era of peace ending, the threats that are here – this is a fun village that particularly will do its job exceedingly well if you’re planning a vs. giants-type campaign. Now, I wasn’t entirely blown away by the village, but the crunchier hooks and focused theme are definite strengths, which make me round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.
You can get this village here on OBS!
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