A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Town Backdrop: Deksport

Town Backdrop: Deksport by Creighton Broadhurst is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, the supplement is covered by the Open Game License with some of it being considered Open Game Content as a result. Deksport is a large pirate settlement on a sheltered harbour that is essentially inaccessible from land.

The supplement is available from RPGNow as a PDF for $5.99, as a softcover print on demand book for $10.99 or both PDF and printed book for $12.98. It is also available as a printed book from sites such as Amazon. The PDF is the version reviewed and was purchased at the greatly reduced price of $0.52 as part of a special bundle. The PDF comes in two versions, one optimised for print and desktop and the other for screen and mobile.

Town Backdrop: DeksportThis is a 37 page bookmarked PDF, of which two pages are the standard plain front and rear covers with a third, similar, page, one page is the front matter, one page the Contents, one page Stat Blocks by CR and one page the Open Game License.

Deksport At a Glance has a brief overview of the town, its demographics, marketplace, lore, notable locations and notable locations by category, inhabitants and notable NPCs as well as a black and white map of the port. Finally, there is a d100 table of 50 whispers & rumours. This section can be found in the free GM’s Monthly Miscellany: November 2014.

Deksport’s Hinterland covers the immediate environs of Deksport, which is close to the pirate villages of Red Talon (overview in GM’s Monthly Miscellany: April 2015), Revenge (overview in GM’s Monthly Miscellany: May 2016) and Sea Bitch (overview in GM’s Monthly Miscellany: June 2015). There is a map of the peninsula, some information on each of the other villages and on the Forest of Gray Spires, including a d12 encounter table for the forest (the table is rather oddly organised by CR, not die roll, making navigation of it a little sluggish).

History covers the history of the settlement from its founding a century ago, its destruction by an alliance of goblins and orcs and its emergence as a pirate settlement after one pirate captain sought refuge from pursuers in its harbour. A sidebar gives details on the town’s name.

Daily Life has information on festivals & traditions, law & order and trade & industry. There is a d100 table of 50 sights and sounds for the town and another d100 table of 33 events; there is a bit of overlap between the two.

Minor and Generic Locations has five d12 tables of random dressing for minor locations. The town still bears the scars of the original sack, and these tables are for tenement features, ruin features, minor businesses, street vendors and taverns & inns.

Notable Locations covers the 16 main locations in the town from Deksport At a Glance in more detail. There are sidebars on two deities, one of the sea and one of industry and artifice and a d12 table of 11 pirate ships, with names and captains (some of whom are described in detail later), who could be in port (the twelfth result is a roll again with the ship being damaged and under repair). There is a slave pen and a prison with a brief overview of possible slaves for sale and prisoners being held for ransom.

Folk of Deksport is the second major section and begins with a full page title followed by some standard instructions on Reading Stat Blocks.

First in this section is Pirates, which has six sets of stat blocks, for goblin, orc and human pirates, each with standard pirates and veteran pirates. Each of the six stat blocks has overviews of three pirates of that type, with names and habits.

Movers & Shakers has two full page details and stat blocks for important non-pirate NPCs in town, including adventure hooks.

Pirate Captains has stats and details for four important pirate captains, with adventure hooks.

Rulers is the final section and has more details on another three pirate captains, these the co-rulers of the town and the leaders of the goblin, human and orc pirate groups.

Town Backdrop: Deksport in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked, with everything but the sidebars linked. The Contents are to the same level of detail as the bookmarks and are hyperlinked. Finally, the list of stat blocks by CR, even though it isn’t hyperlinked, combines to make this book very easy to navigate.

The text maintains a two column format and a few minor errors were noted. As well as the map of the town and its surroundings, there are a number of black and white illustrations, most if not all of which are probably stock. Presentation is on the whole very good.

The Forest of Gray Spires runs along the southern edge of the Duchy of Ashlar in the Gloamhold setting, and it is this forest that the various pirate settlements are located next to, to the southwest of the forest, although the pirate settlements are not mentioned in the Gloamhold Campaign Guide, nor is Gloamhold mentioned in this book (which was published prior to Gloamhold), the areas probably do connect in some way. The Duergar of the Obsidian Citadel (overview in GM’s Monthly Miscellany: March 2015) are also mentioned, as a distant location connected to one of the NPCs. None of these have to be used in conjunction with Deksport, but they do mean that the Gloamhold region can be added to.

The town itself is well detailed, with some useful random tables for covering less important locations to make the town appear to be covered in even greater detail. Some of the NPCs are fully covered whilst others just have a brief overview. All of this makes Deksport seem a vibrant, living place, with plenty of minor details that should make the location easy to run – and it isn’t a typical Caribbean location either, which makes a nice difference. Players may visit for reasons other than trying to destroy the place, and the latter probably wouldn’t be easy. Town Backdrop: Deksport is an excellent, well detailed, and different pirate location, with different groups of pirates and tensions between these, and it can be found by clicking here.

 

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