A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Village Backdrop: Chasm

Village Backdrop: Chasm by Christian Alipounarian is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, it is covered by the Open Game License and some of the content is considered to be Open Game Content as a result.

This is a ten page bookmarked PDF which is available from RPGNow at the regular price of $2.45 but was purchased at the greatly reduced price of $0.11 as part of a special bundle. This is one of the villages included in the compilation supplement GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops II. The supplement comes in two formats, one intended for screen and mobile and the other for desktops, high end devices and print.

Village Backdrop: ChasmTwo pages are the publisher’s standard plain front and rear covers and there is a third, similar, page, one page is the front matter, Contents and Stat Blocks by CR and one page is the Open Game License.

Chasm At a Glance is two pages and gives an overview of the village. This gives its description, demographics, notable NPCs and locations, lore and whispers & rumours, as well as a brief description of the contested government type. There is also a map of the village. Chasm used to have a different name before the machinations of a sorceress resulted in the opening of the chasm which devastated it. The village is primarily human and duergar; after the dark dwarves’ underground settlement was also damaged the two villages joined together. It is now known for fine ore, weapons and armour. This section can be found in the free supplement GM’s Monthly Miscellany: January 2014.

Notable Locations is another two pages and describes in more detail the various locations from the previous list. There are also sidebars on the history of the village, the surrounding area and a nearby location belonging to a somewhat addled druid.

Finally, Life in Chasm is a single page and gives details on trade & industry and law & order as well as a d6 table of random events and stats for a Duergar Mine Guard.

Village Backdrop: Chasm in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked with everything bar the sidebars linked. The Contents only lists the major sections but is hyperlinked. Navigation is as a result above average.

The text maintains a two column format and no errors were noticed. The only illustration is the black and white map of the village. Presentation is acceptable.

Chasm is, in some ways, an unusual village. Not just the fact of the titular chasm running through the centre of it either. What is most unusual is the alliance between the surface dwellers and the dark dwarves; this will likely be the only time that characters get to interact in a non-violent way with these evil dwarves. One side effect of this is that regular dwarves aren’t welcome in the village; the surface dwellers have no problems with them but they cause tension with their duergar allies.

The effect of these two disparate types living together is a potential source of friction, although the inhabitants are managing it and the village is prospering as a result. There are also a bunch of adventure hooks that can be found in the text, from a well that a beast is believed to live in, the ruins of the tower belonging to the sorceress who caused the problem, her sole surviving apprentice who is keeping hidden and one of the villagers who may be promoting the religion of a more evil god – even though there is a shrine that is welcome to all.

This is a nice, different village that is well detailed and perhaps has a suggestive subtext if read through carefully. Village Backdrop: Chasm can be found by clicking here.

 

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