Be Awesome At Village Design by Creighton Broadhurst is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press. This is a system-neutral sourcebook, but it is still covered by the Open Game License and some of it is considered to be Open Game Content.
Rather than describing anything specific, this is a guide for GameMasters on how to create villages. Raging Swan produces a popular range of Village Backdrops, short supplements describing villages which are intended to be dropped into any fantasy setting. This supplement encapsulates the design principles they use. Villages are chosen because they tend to be on the frontier, where adventuring sites are found, and are far easier to describe than a town or, worse, a city.
This is a seventeen page bookmarked PDF. Two pages are the publisher’s standard, plain, front and rear covers, one page is an ad for their Patreon campaign, one page is an ad for their website, one page is the Open Game License and one page is the Contents and front matter. The supplement is available at a regular price of $3.99 but was purchased at the reduced price of $2.79. It comes in two formats, one optimised for print and the other for screen.
Designing a Village is one page and incorporates the Designer’s Notes. This covers the intention and design principles mentioned earlier.
Village Design Tips is the next page and covers eight design principles to make a village interesting and viable – villagers need to eat and drink.
Village Location is one page on why the settlement is built where it is, with five different broad categories of reasons.
Village Features is three pages. This has eight tables that can be used to determine factors randomly, these being government, alignment, prominent features, industry, population, notable buildings, conflicts and secrets. There are also details on spellcasters for hire and a sidebar on using secrets and conflicts.
Village Names is a page that has various naming conventions as well as a d100 table of village names.
Street & Road Names is similar, and is a page on naming roads, what they may be named after and what other things could be named.
Designing Village Festivals is a single page on designing festivals and traditions.
Strange Village Festivals is a page with ten example festival types. Although these may be considered strange, at least some of these, and possibly all of them, are based on real life festivals and traditions.
Village Events & Traditions is the final page and has two d20 tables , one on what might spark a tradition and the other having specific examples.
Be Awesome At Village Design in Review
The PDF is well bookmarked for its length but unfortunately a number of the bookmarks are wrong, pointing to the wrong page and decreasing their utility. The Contents is similar in thoroughness. Navigation is okay, but it should have been better. The text maintains a two column format and no errors were noted. There is one piece of stock art with the other illustrations being five maps from supplements in Raging Swan’s Village Backdrop range. These are all around a half page in size, effectively decreasing the actual content from ten pages to five.
This is a useful supplement for sparking ideas for designing a village, but simply rolling a bunch of dice on the tables will not really create an interesting village. A map will also be required; Raging Swan do produce a series of these, which is mentioned, but their maps are from their existing products. This isn’t a complete village design in a can supplement, but it probably isn’t intended to be one. This is a good start for designing villages, but work will still be needed on the GM’s behalf, and perhaps it could have been a bit longer, although most of what’s present is useful, either in and of itself or as a source of inspiration. Be Awesome At Village Design can be found by clicking here.