Dawnmarsh is that rare breed of lizardfolk village that welcomes trade, offering secret regenerative elixirs, techniques to tame riding lizards, poisons of the marshes and fleet guides to navigate the hazardous terrain. Cultures clash among the stilted houses on the Dawnmarsh swampy islands—here, trade is useful but the very presence of foreign traders sparks tension with neighbouring tribes and cautious locals. Adventurers can find useful allies in innkeepers and lizardfolk youths who hear much as well as an elderly visionary. The sun-worshipping lizardfolk have begun to abandon traditions deemed vile by the visiting traders, but even partial betrayal of the old ways has given a foothold to lizardfolk warmongers interested in transforming Dawnmarsh from a place of healing to a place of war.
Needlebriar lies in a remote corner of a large duchy. Years ago, war devastated the small halfling community, leading the villagers to commit heinous acts of cannibalism and murder to survive. The violence awoke an ancient spirit who granted the desperate halflings the power to hunt those who dared to harm them. Generations have passed and the halflings continue to hunt the nearby lands, transforming into beasts to sate their hunger. Dancing around raging bonfires, they hold bloody feasts, devouring their captive victims, in worship of the fell spirit of the land, becoming more like wild animals every day as they slink further into depravity. Many of the halfling have the tell-tale shake of cannibalism about them and shuffle about the village in heavy leather cloaks. Meanwhile, the rest of the duchy becomes more and more suspicious.
Deep within a dense forest lies a well-hidden, secret path leading into the wood’s wildest and deepest recesses. The only sign of civilization for miles on end upon the winding path is a distant thin finger of smoke wafting up through the trees. All manner of animals lurk in the surrounds seemingly drawn to the little hut and surrounding buildings hidden deep in the forest. Here dwells the so-called witch Oleander, a mysterious being possessing incredible powers she uses to heal and improve animals seeking her care.
Skaalhaft is a whaling village, where the quarry are drakes, kraken and other magical aquatic beasts as well as more mundane prey. Each kill provides food and alchemical supplies for weeks, both for use in the village and profitable export. Whaling crews, marked with glowing tattoos, carved scrimshaw necklaces or strange arcane gifts, return with a prize or sometimes not at all. Back in Skaalhaft, women and children work in a miasmic processing mill. Stone faced and silent, they collect the valuable scales, blood and bone from rare beasts. The bay is thick with mutated sharks from the runoff of such arcane waste.
Beacon Promontory arose from the watery grave of Beacon Cove after a ferocious storm submerged the village. The handful of doughty northerners rebuilt their homes around Beacon Lighthouse, which lights the way for passing ships, many of which used to make the former village a port of call. Many consider the holdouts insane for staying, considering over half their neighbours left, but they feel they have a duty to seafarers who become stranded along the reshaped coastline. However, the truly insane person may be the lighthouse keeper who believes the deluge was a precursor to an invasion from beneath the waves.
Village Backdrops are short, richly detailed supplements that each present a single village ready to insert into almost any home campaign. Perfect for use as a waystop on the road to adventure, as an adventure site themselves or as a PC’s home, Village Backdrop present the details so the busy GM can focus on crafting exciting, compelling adventures.
This GM’s Miscellany collects together twelve Village Backdrops, along with bonus, never seen before material, together in one place.
GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops is the work of many talented designers and features the following villages:
- Creighton Broadhurst: Ashford, Coldwater, Kingsfell, Lanthorn, Longbridge, Thornhill, Wellswood
- Jeff Gomez: Bleakflat, Suurin
- Richard Green: Black Wyvern
- Marc Radle: White Moon Cove
- Mike Welham: Shroudhaven
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Released 26 June 2017; Pages 88
Released 26 June 2017; Pages 88
GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrop is part of the Free PDF promotion. Buy it in print and get free PDFs!
A castle near a backwoods crossroad may be the only hope for the cursed and possessed, but not everything is as it seems where magic and madness intertwine. The doors open for anyone suffering a magical malady or struggle with their own minds, but those deemed too far gone are locked up for their own safety and the safety of those around them. Rumours swirl about the true intentions of those running Raveneye Sanatorium. Some patients are effectively prisoners—are they too dangerous to be let free, or harmless victims of fear run amok? Can Lady Alumora and her staff contain the dangerous powers and dark plans of the monsters lurking among their patients?
Nobody knows Ronak exists. Or, more precisely, nobody remembers. Ronak was the last hope of a dying trade company, a desperate attempt to settle and explore a distant swamp. When the colony found nothing but lizardfolk (exterminated in short order), the trade company did not have enough gold to retrieve their employees. Ronak never heard from civilization again. Centuries later, the dwarves of Ronak believe civilization to be but a myth. Over the generations, they have become more savage, reverting bit by bit to a primitive state. They are haunted and guided by the ghosts of the exterminated lizardfolk who seek the continuation of their culture. The dwarves speak a hybrid of Dwarven and Draconic, build thatch huts amid the colony’s ruins and worship a mixture of half-forgotten dwarven deities and heathen serpent gods. Most disturbingly, some dwarven children now bear scales and jagged teeth. Perhaps one day soon the lizardfolk will be born again, this time from dwarven mothers.