Village Backdrop: Quey’s Glade (system neutral)
This installment of the Village Backdrops-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Quey’s Glade is an idyllic village, situated in the deep woods. Mighty trees contain lookouts, and as befitting of such a place, there is a garden, curated by druids, where rare plants may be found. The mighty oak Bastionbark rises in the vicinity, and indeed, creatures of fey origin, like pixies, treants and nymphs are among the inhabitants of this wondrous place. And yes, there is a really nice isometric artwork of the village to complement the neat map.
As always, the dressing habits of villagers and notes on village lore can be found for PCs of a more scholarly bent; for PCs seeking to socialize, there are 6 different whispers and rumors to encounter. It should also be noted that we get a fully fleshed out market-place section, properly adjusted to OSR-style systems.
What’s strange about Quey’s Glade? Well, it’s a haven of sorts. Enchanted by powerful magicians of the fearie, the settlement seems to actually be mobile; at least that would be one explanation. You see, when you’re hunted by monsters through the forest, when intense, negative emotions coalesce, then you may well find yourself transported to the haven that is Quey’s Glade. Here, folks age as they wish, time flows strangely and the magics of the First World suffuse the land…but there is a downside to the potent forces that enchant this place (responsible for the danger rating of 20…): The negative emotions that trigger the magics of the transportations have also attracted quite a few potent and deadly creatures , making the surrounding woods anything but safe. And yes, Quey’s Glade indeed does wander…allowing for the relatively painless transition from region to region and use as a hub.
There is another aspect to this sanctuary: As progress marches on and fell entities are deprived of their prey, the places where Quey’s Glade may draw upon are slowly diminished, one by one. Then again, this place in wondrous in the best of ways: Have I mentioned the sentient porcupine fighter? Nice plus for fans of older games: Rogue has been properly adjusted to instead pertain to the thief class, etc. – nomenclature is concise.
As far as law and order are provided, fey, being more dangerous, have their own part of the settlement, feyhome, and industry-wise, the druidic savoir-faire of the place is responsible for e.g. trade with rare plants and similar goods. Since the village is particularly partial to saving escaping kids, there is plenty of adventuring potential inherent in the place, with unintentional “kidnapping”; as a hub where time and space mean less and as a bridge with the realms of the fey, this furthermore sports quite an array of excellent adventure possibilities. If you do need to jumpstart the adventure aspects, you can, as always, rely on the 6 events provided for your convenience.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant and printer-friendly 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with an amazing map by Maciey Zagorski. The artwork, also in parts by Mr. Zagorski, as well as William McAusland, similarly is really neat and evocative. As always, we get two different versions – one optimized for the printer, one optimized for screen-use – kudos!
Mike Welham is an insanely talented writer; beyond his ability to write neat crunchy components, he is also capable of creating truly intriguing locales, characters, etc. Even better, he is not easily categorized: Each of his pdfs sports a distinct and unique identity, making him one of the most versatile designers I know – which is particularly interesting, considering that he manages to excel at almost every aspect he attempts. His designs also tend to be rather unique, which is a particularly prevalent notion here.
Frankly, my first response was “Why hasn’t this been done before?” The trope of the magical village that “saves” the kids from the horrible fate they were destined to meet…it’s a classic trope, and one that was executed with panache aplomb here. The presence of the quirky characters adds a fresh sense of the magical as well. (And can provide a superb angle to Oleander’s Sanctuary, penned by yours truly, but that as an aside.)
While the system neutral version obviously lacks the massive rules-synergy that e.g. Pathfinder offers, it does have its appeal – namely, that it taps into the OSR’s tradition of weird geographies, of strange places, and acts as a relatively low-impact hub to connect all manner of strange places.
Even in the ridiculously amazing Village Backdrop-series, this is an outstanding offering, one that loses nothing in its system-neutral version. My final verdict will be 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans hesitation.
You can get this cool village here on OBS!
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