Urban Dressing: Marsh Town

Tired of your towns and cities being boring, bland places in which your PCs show little or no interest? Want to bring them alive with cool, interesting minor features of note? Then Urban Dressing is for you! Each instalment in the line focuses on a different kind of town and gives harried GMs the tools to bring such locales to life with interesting and noteworthy features.

Some artwork copyright Claudio Pozas, used with permission.

Some artwork copyright Claudio Pozas, used with permission.


This instalment of Urban Dressing presents loads of great details to customise the marsh towns in your campaign. Designed to be used both during preparation or actual play, Urban Dressing: Marsh Town is an invaluable addition to any GM’s armoury!

Urban Dressing: Marsh Town presents the following information:

  • One table (100 entries) presenting the sights and sounds of the town.
  • One table (100 entries) presenting sample business found in the town.
  • One table (100 entries) presenting atypical bridges of interest
  • One table (12 entries) presenting hooks, complications and opportunities.

Extract: Sights & Sounds

  1. Every surface is slick with green and black moss, making each step potentially perilous and ready to tumble the unwary to the ground.
  2. Eerie screeches cut through the air, but the townsfolk act as if nothing is wrong.
  3. Every door has a garland of dried herbs tied above the threshold, and occasional sigils are carved into the wooden frames.
  4. The incessant drip of water follows the party everywhere; a slow, steady, maddening plop of liquid that intrudes on every thought.
  5. A winged shadow whisks by; those who glance up see a creature with leathery wings disappear into the trees.
  6. Two red, bulbous eyes watch the party from just above the surface of the murky water.
  7. Frogs chirrup in a cheerful chorus that seems out of place for the dismal state of this town.
  8. Swarms of tiny insects hover about the party, no matter where they go. Swatting at them only seems to make them buzz louder.
  9. Sagging willow trees form a gray curtain along one edge of the town, drooping branches hiding anything beyond.
  10. This boardwalk ends in a jagged plank of wood with strange char marks.
  11. A whole home appears to have collapse and lies toppled, half-sunken into the marsh.
  12. Turtles squat on rocks and logs all around town. There must be hundreds of them.
  13. A massive roar makes the whole town and surrounding trees tremble. Everyone pauses for a moment before resuming their activities.
  14. A sulphuric stench engulfs the town.
  15. A patch of mud burbles and bubbles, releasing a cloud of foul, green gas into the area.
  16. Warped boards creak underfoot with every step, and no surface in town feels particularly solid.
  17. A stand of thorny vines appear to be writhing slowly all on their own.
  18. Shouts come from over near the docks, followed by several loud splashes and cheers.
  19. A single temple steeple rises above the moss-covered trees. Looks like a bird nest sits atop it.
  20. Planks of wood form makeshift boardwalks across stretches of rank water, connecting the town’s structures.

Extract: Businesses

  1. The Slivers (Carpenter) is run by two sisters in constant demand to build new wooden structures and repair old ones.
  2. Rack and Pull (Repairs) offers rapid repairs for tools, farming gear, weapons, carts and most other work implements.
  3. Fumings (Smith) is run by a pot-bellied blacksmith who keeps the town’s metal goods from rusting away.
  4. The Trot (Constable) is staffed by three guards who swap patrol shifts every few days.
  5. Clamps’ (Trapper) deals in snares but also sells furs, fresh meat and other animal goods.
  6. The Sinkhole (Jail) is little more than a deep mud pit with an iron gate latched over the top, where criminals are held before trial.
  7. Pylough’s Plots (Deeds) offers cheap deals on unsettled marshland for pioneering souls.
  8. The Stinks (Lab) is overseen by a husband/wife team who perform strange experiments on the substances and specimens gathered from the marsh.
  9. Bobbin’ (Fishing Supplies) is owned by a half-deaf halfling who cheerily supplies all his customers’ fishing needs.
  10. The Hauls (Docks) is where the day’s catch is brought in, be it fish, marsh snakes, alligator or other delicacies.
  11. The Swills (Drinking Den) keeps its varied wine and ale selection chilled thanks to a surprisingly deep, well-constructed root cellar.
  12. The Drenched Duck (Inn) provides cheap beds and cheap meals for travellers passing through.
  13. E’erfound (Tracker) can help you find anyone and anything around town or throughout the marsh itself—for a price.
  14. Plucksies (Mulcher) collects garbage from around town and carts it off into the marsh to keep the homes and paths clear.
  15. Lemsey’s (Lender) has a seemingly endless supply of wealth to offer those in need, at ridiculously high interest rates, of course.
  16. The Digs (Archaeologist) scouts out ruins and sites of historical import throughout the marsh.
  17. The Barbers (Mercenaries) are actual brothers who began as barbers until they discovered another, more profitable use for their razors’ sharp edges.
  18. Thatcher’s (Roofer) tends to the town’s constantly leaking and rotting roofs.
  19. Bucket n’ Barrel (Supplies) stocks travel and camping gear for anyone wishing to venture into the marsh’s wilder areas.
  20. Dunghill (Gambling Den) offers plenty of rigged games to keep townsfolk from getting too attached to their coin.

Praise for Urban Dressing: Marsh Town

“…this provides a well-rounded, evocative trip through a marsh town, one that is guaranteed to enhance the game…”

–Endzeitgeist (five stars + seal of approval)

A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Josh Vogt

Released 25 April 2016; Pages 10

PDF ($2.45) d20pfsrd, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, RPGNow, Warehouse 23 or sign up to Raging Swan’s Patreon campaign by 20 April and get it for $2!

Download a Free Sample Marsh Town Sights & Sounds


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

5 thoughts on “Urban Dressing: Marsh Town

  1. I downloaded the free sample version of this PDF and I was immediately struck by the impression that this could be useful for my description of the town of Wartle in my Varisian Pathfinder campaign. I’m certain I could afford a copy of the full PDF in the near future, say, June. Thanks for creating such a fun and inspiring supplement.

    • Thank you for the kind words, Dover. I hope you find the rest of the supplement as useful and it helps make your campaign more awesome!