Skaalhaft is a whaling village, where the quarry are drakes, kraken and other magical aquatic beasts as well as more mundane prey. Each kill provides food and alchemical supplies for weeks, both for use in the village and profitable export. Whaling crews, marked with glowing tattoos, carved scrimshaw necklaces or strange arcane gifts, return with a prize or sometimes not at all. Back in Skaalhaft, women and children work in a miasmic processing mill. Stone faced and silent, they collect the valuable scales, blood and bone from rare beasts. The bay is thick with mutated sharks from the runoff of such arcane waste.
Despite the insular atmosphere, strangers roam the streets. A traveling wizard and alchemist, rich with gold from past misdeeds, make special requests of the whalers and pay their hires well. An orphaned daughter bent on revenge seeks her father’s killer among the villagers. And now the PCs have arrived…
Notable Locations at a Glance
Most of Skaalhaft comprises peasant homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers:
- Black Room: Within the Wayhouse, the Wizard has constructed a tiny pocket dimension for her dark work. Inside, she and the Alchemist store alchemical goods, piles of gold and their secret project. The pair use materials purchased from Skaalhaft to slowly reconstruct and revivify their fallen leader: the antipaladin Greigard.
- Blood Bay: All runoff from the mill flows into Blood Bay, chumming the water with foul arcane waste. The overwhelming smell attracts gigantic sharks that, over the centuries, have grown misshapen with magical power. Even the black sands and rocks are stained with acid and the entire area smells of rotting fish.
- Grey Mill: Within this massive warehouse, women and children process their kills. Drakes and other creatures are divided into exportable products, which are stored in the basement until traders arrive.
- House of Ruun: The house of Ruun is the ancestral home of the line of Skaalhaft chiefs. Here, the chief negotiates and proclaims, usually to small groups or individuals. Village-wide meetings are exceedingly rare. The current chief, a one-armed giant of a man named Svaad Ruun, decrees with absolute authority and listens stone faced to any concerns.
- Hunter’s Dock: Only ships which have killed a drake are allowed the honour of docking at this wooden pier. Until recently, this meant four vessels docked here. However, the Breakhelm was recently lost at sea, so only the Serpent, Ygdris and Moonborn
- Vaydmar’s Light: This craggy and misshapen lighthouse was raised out of the rock by the hero Vaydmar in ancient times. His decedents have manned it ever since, keeping the arcane blue flame alight through storm and disaster. The witch Gremheks lives here now, all alone and somewhat senile.
- Wayhouse: The Alchemist, Wizard and Poacher all stay within the Wayhouse’s crumbling walls. The Alchemist and Wizard live together and in relative comfort, while the Poacher restlessly prowls the village. Their true motives remain unclear to the villagers, but their gold is good.
Praise of Village Backdrop: Skaalhaft
“This is why I joined Raging Swan’s patreon.”
–Frits K (five stars [SNE version])
“Jeff Gomez’ Skaalhaft is a thoroughly inspiring little settlement: Its unique premise is employed in a rather evocative manner and makes sense – in a world where fantastic creatures abound, it is bound to be a matter of time before the humanoid races find a way to standardize and specialize in their hunt and consumption. Skaalhaft, as such, is a window into an all-too-often neglected component of fantasy games and adds serious depth to the game…”
–Endzeitgeist (five stars + seal of approval)
“Certainly well worth the money.”
–Elizabeth R (five stars)
Sign up for Raging Swan’s Patreon campaign by 10 July and get all three versions of Village Backdrop: Skaalhaft for only $2!
Released 10 July 2017; Pages 12
Download a Free Sample Skaalhaft at a Glance
Released 10 July 2017; Pages 10
Download a Free Sample 5e Skaalhaft at a Glance
Released 10 July 2017; Pages 10
Download a Free Sample SNE Skaalhaft at a Glance
Subscribe & Save