The village of Laewas is inhabited entirely by ghosts. How did the inhabitants of Laewas die? You can ask them, but even they aren’t sure. From a distance, the village looks completely normal if a little ramshackle and decayed. Farmers, carpenters and housewives roam the streets, carrying baskets of apples or shepherding packs of dirty children. They laugh, gossip and greet outsiders under the heat of the sun. It’s almost easy to forget everybody here is dead. But as the days roll by, the ghosts lose their memories. They are stuck in an endless loop, doomed to constantly relive their final hours. These shades are totally unaware of their current plight. They are convinced they are still living, breathing creatures in a perfectly normal farming village.
So, what happened? There are clues to be found, if one has the skill to look. Work orders for heavy machinery. Curious letters dissolved nearly to dust. Injured children and widowed wives. The clues all lead to the rotting manor which casts a permanent shadow over the village. And to something cold lurking within.
A few locations in Laewas are of interest to adventurers:
- Burrowhall: The halflings of Burrowhall consider Laewas to be amusingly quaint. The two plump retirees mosey about the village in fancy merchant’s clothes, and let their rambunctious children run wild. Their spoiled triplets play endless pranks on a populace who doesn’t know how to deal with them.
- Field of Wooden Graves: The Laewas graveyard clearly displays divisions of the past. Its varied gravestones highlight the differences between the common farmer and the Balerium bloodline, as well as the slow decline of that noble house into obscurity.
- Fourtower: This once gaudy estate is the ancestral home of the noble Balerium line, prison to Maegar the Mage and home to Laewas’s doom. In his final months, Maegar installed arcane traps and even raised handfuls of zombies to protect him in his work. The mansion is stripped of all wealth, and now naught but a labyrinth of cold hallways and empty rooms.
- Raewin’s Farm: The sole elf of Laewas lives here, with his human wife Helgen and two half-elf children. Raewin is an old man, very much in love with Helgen and sensitive to the villagers’ prejudices. He regrets moving to the countryside, but does his best to fit in. After all, this is where Helgen grew up.
- The Bog House: Within the bog house, Alyse Brage cares for her brain-dead son. She endlessly fetches pails of water and dumps them into the long overflowing bath which contains her son’s preserved corpse. This century of overwatering has turned Alyse’s abode into a swamp.
- The Corn Jungle: These once magnificent cornfields used to be the main export of Laewas. Now they are a mess of overlarge stalks, grown into a jungle across a century of neglect. Ghosts, unable to see their current plight, wander the ancient rows, commenting on the health of the fields as they once were.
- The Onyx Laboratory: At Fourtower’s heart, Maegar the Mage built something horrible. Within this cramped room, littered with arcane marks and rotting books, Maegar inspects and obsesses over the artefact he’s created: Maegar’s Sphere.
Praise for Village Backdrop: Laewas
“Another great Village Backdrop from Raging Swan! Keep ’em comming -I use them all!”
–Joseph B (five stars)
“Jeff Gomez’ oddly alive ghost town is a cool angle. I very much enjoyed this village.”
–Endzeitgeist (four stars)
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Released 12 March 2018; Pages 12
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