Laid low by a witch’s curse, life in the once-prosperous village of Aubade is lived in reverse. At dawn, the streets empty, residents remaining hidden inside during the daylight hours and avoiding the sun’s caress. At night, lamps lining the village’s cobblestone streets blaze to life, and the residents emerge to tend their fields and work their nets on the lake as best they can.
While the village was once a centre of piety that drew the faithful from miles around to hear the beautiful dawn descants of the children’s choir, now no one comes to Aubade. Whispers of vampires swirl around the remote region and frighten travellers from stopping at the village, where residents equally dread visitors will discover their shameful secret.
The lakeside village was once known throughout the region as a centre of faith and song. Organized by devout followers of Darlen, the god of the sun, a children’s choir attracted pilgrims to hear their dawn descants, the morning love songs that gave the village its name. Among those pilgrims was ardent cleric Syrave Teury, who took up residence in Aubade and erected a grand cathedral.
But when another pilgrim brought a choking illness to the village, Syrave was helpless to stop its spread, his faith not strong enough. Scared and angry, the village—led by Syrave and grief-stricken choirmaster Markku Tuomi—turned on Aubade’s long-time wise woman, Mirja Sianio.
They hauled Mirja from her home and held a trial under the noonday sun, finding the innocent woman guilty and declared she would be burnt at the stake for witchcraft. As the fire consumed her, she cursed the villagers: “Let there be as much welcome for you under the sun,” she cried out with her last breath, “as you have found for me!” The next morning, the villagers discovered her death curse carried power: the first to emerge from their homes burst into flame at the merest touch of the sun’s light.
Now, villagers come out during the day only under the cover of heavy clothing, every inch of flesh shielded by rough fabric. At night, they emerge to work the fields, fish and maintain their village by lamplight. Gone are the pilgrims that used to bring in riches and new inhabitants.
Dark rumours—that the villagers have been transformed into deadly vampires—circulate, leaving residents afraid they will be killed by crusading adventurers. Still, they know the rumours also keep them safe from bandits and the less scrupulous, who could take advantage of their inability to survive in the sun’s light.
Most of the village comprises peasant homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers:
- Palisade: A recently erected wooden wall protects the village.
- Beach: The lifeblood of the village, the sandy waterfront serves as a small harbour for the many fishing vessels.
- The Dawn to Dusk: Aubade’s main shop, now closed, claimed to have everything under the sun.
- Cathedral of the Sun: The ornate house of worship for the sun god has fallen on hard times as the village’s faith has waned.
- Sun-Song Hall: Like the adjoining temple, it too has fallen to disrepair since Aubade was cursed.
- The Warm Welcome: The local tavern and inn.
- The Lamplighter: Brielle’s workshop, where she prepares oil for the village’s array of lamps.
- Mirja’s Home: The wise woman’s destroyed home, now haunted by her restless ghost.
Praise for Village Backdrop: Aubade
“Jacob W. Michaels delivers one of the most impressive Village Backdrops in the series – and in a series with SO MANY excellent installments, that indeed is a feat!”
–Endzeitgeist (five stars + seal of approval)
A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Jacob W. Michaels
Released 23 April 2015; Pages 10
Download a Free Sample Aubade At A Glance