Umelas has sold its soul. Thirty years ago, when the town was suffering from hardship and plague, a dark spirit offered a deal: Health, happiness and long life in exchange for the eternal torment of a single citizen. The mayor’s son was chosen as sacrifice, a simple lad of nine years with wide eyes and a dull expression. Down into the earth he went, and only screams echoed thereafter. Now Umelas thrives, a village of prosperity and good cheer. But to the wary traveller, something dark and guilty lies couched behind the saccharine smiles, and hangs heavy in the cloying air.
Most of the village comprises peasant homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers:
- Sugarloft Winery: The esteemed legacy of this winey far outshines its current produce, sickly-sweet wines which sell well on the market but lack depth or character.
- The Gutter: Gutter’s River, or the Gutter, brings fresh snow melt from the mountains to Sugarloft Winery, then courses down Gutter’s Gorge to Umelas below.
- White Oak Groves: Across The Gutter grow hundreds of aromatic white oak groves on grassy hills, stretching up and onto the hills and mountains beyond.
- Umelas Lumberyard: Thin sweet sap clings to every corner of this bustling lumberyard.
- Gutter’s Gorge: A steep ravine cuts its way down limestone cliffs, bridging a vertical divide between Umelas and the Sugarloft Winery on the slopes above.
- Riverwatch Tavern: Riverwatch is a restaurant and tavern on the banks of the Gutter where white oak incense burns in flickering hearths.
- Temple of the Covenant: This structure is Umelas’ religious and political centre, and a place to worship Smiling Bracken.
- Limestone Caves: Musty, dark and dripping, the limestone caves are littered with animal bones and play host to Smiling Bracken.
Most of the population are nothing more than hardworking peasants. A few, however, are of interest to adventurers:
- Birrick Baeler (location 8; NG male human commoner 1) Birrick is the tortured sacrifice of Umelas, bound in eternal pain deep within the earth.
- Gerder Groa (location 6; LN female human expert 2) Uldric’s wife, Gerder is even larger and more taciturn than her husband. She handles duties while her husband is away, and is teased good naturedly for her silence.
- Hiswin Baeler (location 7; LN male human aristocrat 2/expert 1) The mayor is an old man now, though he looks much younger. He has little to do on a daily basis, and spends most of his time praying at the Temple of the Covenant.
- Merner Sugarloft (location 1; NE male gnome adept 1/expert 3) The owner of Sugarloft Winery, Merner pines for the days before Smiling Bracken but recognizes life is better with his blessings.
- Tevrik Waterblossom (location 4; LN male halfling expert 2) Large and gruff, many mistake the bearded Tevrik for a dwarf when they first lay eyes on him. Tevrik runs the town lumberyard but stays out of political and fey affairs.
- Uldric Groa (location 6; LE male human expert 2) The owner and bartender of Riverwatch Tavern is strict and quiet, preferring to pour drinks rather than make conversation.
Praise for Village Backdrop: Umelas
“Haunting, horrifying, and darkly moving, Umelas might be one of my favorite village backdrops to set upon us in a long time.”
–Tyler E (five stars)
“Jeff Gomez’ Umelas is one of the most amazing villages in the series, but, much like the sweet wine it produces, Umelas is not for the faint of heart: Decidedly dark, it is a supplement perfectly suited for gamers craving a bit of horror or dark fantasy, a richly-detailed and amazing little piece of concise writing, presented in lavish prose. In fact, this could be run as basically a pocket domain of Ravenloft, if you’d so choose. And I mean that as a compliment. The experience of adventuring in Umelas will, much like eating sickeningly sweet food, stay with your PCs and players after they’re done – and I tried hard not to SPOIL anything here. This is a great adventure, just waiting to be fleshed out and any GM worth half his salt can throw the PCs in and improvise a full-blown module out of this gem. Suffice to say: Get this!”
–Endzeitgeist (five stars + seal of approval)
A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Jeff Gomez
Released 11 July 2015; Pages 10
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