Floating on the edge of a wooded fen, Starspun Hollow is a font of life and beauty in an otherwise dreary swamp. Equal parts human and halfling and always vibrant with colours, this prosperous village seems to have fallen from a child’s story. Merchants travel from distant lands to purchase the village’s beautiful dyes and unique “star silk,” woven from the webs of the local starweaver spiders. Beneath its pleasant facade, however, Starspun Hollow grapples with political strife concerning its natural resources, made worse by racial tensions older than the village itself.
When human conquerors expanded into halfling lands, several families fled the invaders and built a camp on the edge of a wooded fen. The refugees eked out a meagre existence fishing and foraging while trying to fend off the vermin plaguing their new home. The halflings’ luck turned around, however, when the druid Mayli Nightwillow happened upon a unique discovery. Mayli studied a local arachnid, known as a starweaver spider, which attracted prey by reflecting moonlight off its mirror-like webs, and soon learned how to harvest and process the spiders’ silk. This “star silk” could be woven into fabrics that shimmered and sparkled even in dim light. Furthermore, star silk showed an affinity for colours derived from the surrounding wildlife, which led to the development of several vibrant dyes.
It wasn’t long before star silk became popular among foreign aristocrats, and the halflings found themselves in possession of a valuable commodity. Starweaver spiders were quickly integrated into the village’s culture, used to protect crops from pests, decorate buildings and even serve as pets. The burgeoning community took the name Starspun Hollow in honour of the spiders that brought about its fortune. Before long human traders started building houses nearby, which contributed to the village’s prosperity but concerned the halfling refugees, who still remembered being driven from their homes. The result is a patchwork of differently sized buildings floating on the fens, alive with riotous colour day and night.
Though seemingly peaceful, Starspun Hollow is rife with whispers of conflict. Milni Nightwillow, Mayli’s daughter and the village reeve, insists on sustainable but low-yield production of star silk and dyes, much to the chagrin of Markku Olent, owner of the community’s primary dye works. Their increasingly heated arguments stir up old racial animosity among the citizens, leaving everyone on edge. To make matters worse, the village’s most popular dye is derived from a dragonfly considered sacred by a large tribe of boggards, who grow more outraged every day by the audacity of the “bite-sized” spider catchers.
Most of the village comprises peasant homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers:
- Berry Fields Main Office: Agricultural centre and home of the starweaver spiders.
- Commons: This dry hillock serves as the village centre, festival grounds and open-air market.
- Dream Weaver Inn: The local inn and tavern.
- Nightwillow Manor: Milni’s home and the de facto town hall.
- Olent Dye Works: Starspun Hollow’s largest producer of dyes.
- Silks & Songs: Home and workplace of the Elestien elves.
- Sylbane’s Sojourns: A fishing, hunting and ranging lodge.
- Wanderer’s Wares: General store and meeting place for anti-human mavericks.
Praise for Village Backdrop: Starspun Hollow
“Nicholas Wasko’s first Village Backdrop is a winner – Starspun hollow breathes adventure-potential, subdued, yet tangible fantasy and ideas galore – it is a village most players will love exploring and devising a reason to visit the place is built into it as well – this is a furious, glorious installment A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Nicholas Wasko…”
–Endzeitgeist (five stars)
A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Nicholas Wasko
Released 6 November 2014; Pages 10
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