Village Backdrop: Blackhill Gaol

The journey to Blackhill Gaol was once only one-way, a stream of first debtors, then hardened criminals, then political prisoners brought to the remote labour camp to spend the rest of their lives in backbreaking work. Eventually, unwilling to accept their fates, the prisoners revolted. Though they earned some measure of freedom in the Uprising, life improved only a little. Now no warden watches their every move, but that means the most powerful among them—political masterminds, poison-wielding criminals and cult leaders—vie for control through guile and force. Worse, with guards outside the prison walls ready to mete out harsh reprisals should any flee, these leaders serve as de facto jailers.


Now the journey to Blackhill Gaol is no longer only a one-way trip for most; visitors make the difficult trek in search of forbidden lore or black-market goods, knowing that as long as they watch their step inside, they are free to leave Blackhill Gaol once their business is complete.

Notable Locations

A few locations in Blackhill Gaol are of interest to adventurers:

  1. Warden’s House: The former warden’s home now houses Guard Commander Skella Grint and a squadron of her troops.
  2. Guard Shacks: These two derisively named buildings shelter troops trusted to operate without immediate oversight.
  3. Gates: Residents and guards keep close watch on Blackhill Gaol’s entrances: River Gate (to the south), Warden’s Gate (to the northwest) and Farm Gate (to the northeast).
  4. The Clocktower: Time stands still according to the prominent clocktower in the centre of the village, which is now the demesne of Lady Ephael Areva.
  5. The Oven: The still-used nickname for the forge where villagers were forced to maintain equipment, now used to make arms and armour when supplies permit.
  6. The Mews: The former home of hunting falcons and messenger birds holds the avians’ stuffed, mounted corpses, and the terrifying prisoner known as “the Drider.”
  7. Behind the Bars: While many of the prisoners dabble in fermentation and distillation, Yadik Smoot has been most successful, creating a small bar where drinks are often traded for favours.
  8. The Nunnery: The largest set of cellblocks were taken over by Mother Malis, who established it as a safe place (relatively speaking) for female prisoners.
  9. The Hospit: One chirurgeon—dubbed “Stirge” Grifo for his seemingly sadistic joy of bloodletting—remains of the medical staff who once kept prisoners healthy enough to work.
  10. The Stables: Several cattle rustlers and poachers tend to the precious farm animals kept in the stables. The handlers’ support is critical for any who wish to exert power over Blackhill Gaol.
  11. The Tithing House: The village’s closest thing to a temple, this holds shrines to the god of thieves, as well as lesser deities of the scorned, vengeful and—perhaps surprisingly—seekers of justice.

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A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Jacob W. Michaels

Released 9 July 2018; Pages 12

PDF ($3.45) d20pfsrdp, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, RPGNow, Warehouse 23

Download a Free Sample Blackhill Gaol at a Glance



A 5e Compatible GM’s Resource by Jacob W. Michaels

Released 9 July 2018; Pages 12

PDF ($3.45) DriveThruRPG, RPGNow

Download a Free Sample Blackhill at a Glance (5e)




A System Neutral GM’s Resource by Jacob W. Michaels

Released 9 July 2018; Pages 12

PDF ($3.45) DriveThruRPG, RPGNow

Download a Free Sample Blackhill at a Glance (SNE)



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Download the Maps Blackhill Maps


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