The people of Arrowhill have long appeased the Serpent of Coldrun Woods with offerings and sacrifices so that their hunting could continue. The Serpent is terrifying and cruel, but predictable, and in return for their obedience it protects them from exterior threats. Recently, the Serpent’s demands have grown and her punishments have become more cruel.
The settlers of Arrowhill believed the Coldrun Woods were a bountiful and hospitable place. Two generations ago, hunters led by Shep Swayfellow slew the last dire bear in the region. The great bear, filled with arrows, finally fell atop a high hill near the woods. The hunters called the place Arrowhill and built a small lodge on the site.
Thirteen months later, the Serpent – a solitary and spiteful elven druid – paid her first visit. In the guise of a horrible serpent, she terrorized the villagers, demanding they pay her tribute or flee. Over the next several decades, the people grew accustomed to her harsh, but predictable, demands and punishments. The creature terrified them, but also protected them from bandits and marauding goblins.
Now, decades later, the villagers live in fear. The Serpent has grown more vicious in her demands, and her wickedness has become more capricious. Recently, children have gone missing in the woods, hunting accidents and drowning have increased in frequency and a mysterious fire destroyed the village hall. Unbeknownst to the villagers, the Serpent is no longer responsible for the terrors they face: Mayor Crad Swayfellow and his sons recently imprisoned the Serpent in her own lair and use her legend to cement their control of the village.
Most of the village comprises peasant homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers:
- Thelen’s Apothecary: Thelen sells all manner of cure-alls and curiosities in his small, cramped shop.
- Mayor Swayfellow’s Manor: This large, two-storey house is the mayor’s residence and the now substitute village hall.
- Ruined Village Hall: The ghosts of those who died in the fire haunt this burnt-out, ruined building.
- The Watchtower: The despised half-elf “Witchborn” siblings live in this decrepit tower.
- Torbin’s Tavern and Trade: A small but comfortable tavern acts as the social heart of the village. The tavern doubles as the town’s general store.
- The Chapel: Few villagers worship here now the mayor has turned the people against his cousin, Theira Swayfellow.
- Groble’s Carpentry: Once a prosperous business, Groble’s Carpentry has had little to offer since the disappearance (or death, depending on who you ask) of the proprietor’s wife.
- The Standing Stones: These ancient standing stones are seemingly haunted.
- Witch’s Brook: Eventually, Witch’s Brook connects with the Coldrun River to the north, but the villagers avoid traveling its course due to its supposed proximity to the Serpent’s cave.
- Coldrun Woods & Cave: The villagers get their livelihood from the Coldrun Woods, but they fear the creatures living there.
Praise for Village Backdrop: Arrowhill
“Village Backdrop: Arrowhill is a great little product that presents a ready-to-use adventure site that game masters can use as-is or adapt as needed.”
–TriangularRoom (five stars)
“…an excellent addition to my library…”
–John G (five stars)
“Mike Kimmel’s Arrowhill is a concise, believable settlement that pretty much presents one of the most tired stories imaginable, one that has been done hundreds of times. Only, it doesn’t -in a pretty clever twist, quoting the cliché is used as a red herring. While this supplement does not bring a twist to the narrative that I have not seen before,, the sheer number of little details, red herrings and potential for the DM to expand the plot-line can make this village’s issues actually unique.”
–Endzeitgeist (five stars)
A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Mike Kimmel
Released 4 December 2014; Pages 10
Download a Free Sample Village Backdrop Arrowhill At A Glance