Village Backdrop: Victory Elm

Victory Elm, the glorious tree giving its name to the surrounding village, is dying, and its affliction has spread to the villagers. The once welcoming village takes its name from the sole tree to withstand an invading giantish army. The Victory Elm served as a rallying point for the beleaguered humans fighting the giants who broke the enemies amid heavy fighting around the tree. After the battle, many of the survivors remained at Victory Elm and founded the village of the same name in memory of their victory and fallen companions.



The villagers attribute the tree’s recent affliction to an infestation of pernicious termites. To make matters worse the aged druid who tends the tree has also fallen ill. The village’s plan to grow another elm from the Victory Elm’s seeds failed before it could even be begun when the collected seeds mysteriously disappeared. Perhaps timed with the tree’s imminent demise, and unknown to the majority of the village, a heavily scarred giant has received visions from one of his ancestors telling him it is time to strike and destroy the village once and for all. Victory Elm is a village beset by threats from both within and without.

Notable Locations

A few locations in Victory Elm are of interest to adventurers:

  1. Arboreal Arch: Villagers stand watch here. Prior to the recent troubles, they politely inquired as to visitors’ business. Most remain polite, but some have taken their responsibilities very seriously and act belligerently toward suspicious visitors.
  2. The Boughery: A steady stream of visitors requires food and lodging, and the Varbin halfling clan is delighted to provide these services, as well as gossip, to visitors. The common room of each lodge house hosts a well-tended tree sitting under an open roof.
  3. Millora’s Vineyard: Seizing upon Cyrrun Belatros’s information regarding the soil’s suitability for grape growing, the dwarven exile Pelgi Millora and her children traded in their warhammers for tools and seeds. She freely shares her wine with the village but also sells bottle and barrels to visitors.
  4. Communal Well: One of the first structures built in the village, the communal well provides fresh water for the residents. Because the villagers hold the elm as sacred, they have turned to this relatively mundane location as a meeting place to plan celebrations, deal with mundane matters of governing and, lately, air grievances.
  5. Elm Keeper’s Home: Cyrrun Belatros built his home with the elm’s growth in mind. It now stands a few feet above the ground but exists harmoniously with the tree.
  6. Giantwar Museum: The only part of the elm’s surrounding open to the public, this building contains memorabilia from the human armies as well as captured giant weapons of war.
  7. Northern Gate: The northern approach is where the giants’ threat originated. The gate closing off the village is purely symbolic, but recent worries have caused villagers to consider stationing a guard there.
  8. Seed Store: Rickard Wergar grows staple crops at his family’s house, which has a hidden cellar storing a variety of seeds, including elm tree seeds, should a replacement for the Victory Elm prove necessary.
  9. Semm’s Place: Primarily a place for herbal remedies, this small compound also has small shrines to many pastoral deities.
  10. Giantwar Memorial Graveyard: Those who died here during the Giantwar are buried here, along with their descendants.


Praise for Victory Elm

“Mike Welham’s Victory Elm manages to capture a borderlands-vibe very well; the looming threat, the sense of melancholy and an era of peace ending, the threats that are here – this is a fun village that particularly will do its job exceedingly well if you’re planning a vs. giants-type campaign.”

–Endzeitgeist (five stars [Pathfinder and 5e editions])


Get the PDF


Sign up for Raging Swan’s Patreon campaign by 7 June and get all three versions of Village Backdrop: Victory Elm for only $2!


A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Mike Welham

Released 11 June 2018; Pages 12

PDF ($3.45) d20pfsrd, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, RPGNow, Warehouse 23

Download a Free Sample Victory Elm at a Glance



A 5e Compatible GM’s Resource by Mike Welham

Released 11 June 2018; Pages 12

PDF ($3.45) DriveThruRPG, RPGNow

Download a Free Sample 5e Victory Elm at a Glance




A System Neutral GM’s Resource by Mike Welham

Released 11 June April 2018; Pages 12

PDF ($3.45) DriveThruRPG, RPGNow

Download a Free Sample SNE Victory Elm at a Glance



Free Download

Download the Maps Victory Elm Maps


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