Village Backdrop: Hosford by John Bennett 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 and therefore some of it is considered to be Open Game Content. The settlement is part of The Lonely Coast mini-setting, located between the town of Wolverton and the village of Swallowfield on the coast.
This is a thirteen page bookmarked PDF which is available from RPGNow at the regular price of $2.45 although it was purchased as part of a special bundle for only $0.11. Two pages are the publisher’s standard plain front and rear covers, one page is an advert for other supplements, three pages are the front matter and a hyperlinked contents table, and also have a listing of stat blocks by CR, one page is a standard piece on how the stat blocks in the supplement should be interpreted and one page is the Open Game License and an advert for several more Lonely Coast products. The supplement comes in two formats, one optimised for print and one for screen. Hosford is also included in the compilation supplement, GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops, which is available in PDF and print on demand softcover.
Hosford At a Glance is the initial two page section and is in a format that will be familiar to readers of Raging Swan’s free GM’s Monthly Miscellanies. It has a brief description of the village, which is at a ford of the river Hoslo, including its demographics and marketplace, which are laid out in the standard Pathfinder format, a listing of notable NPCs and an overview of notable locations, several items of village lore and six whispers & rumours, some of which are false, and descriptions of the villagers themselves. A map of the village is also in this section.
Notable Locations is another two pages and this section describes the locations listed in the prior section in more detail. This includes the mines, cove and a sea cave where a senile druid has mistaken a sea drake for a god and is feeding it people. There are stat blocks for two of the major NPCs and a brief description of the surrounding area.
Life in Hosford is the final page covering the village itself. This has details on law and order, trade and industry and the current situation in Hosford following the disappearances caused by the sea drake and the druid, which has resulted in a climate of mutual blame, a situation definitely ripe for player involvement. There are also six random events and a stat block for a typical villager.
The PDF is extremely well bookmarked for one of this length, with major and minor sections covered. The Contents are hyperlinked, although not to the same level. Navigation is therefore well above average for the length. The text maintains a two column format with no errors noticed. Bar the map, there is only one black and white filler illustration.
Hosford is intended to be used with the Lonely Coast; the current reeve has been assigned to look into the disappearances in the town, which included the previous holder of the office, by the rulers of the area. There is a passing remark that links some dwarven inhabitants to a clan in Bossin. That said, this village can easily be dropped into another suitable coastal location, as the ties aren’t so strong that they couldn’t be changed. Despite the fact that a large proportion of the supplement is taken up by material not associated with the village, Village Backdrop: Hosford is still a nice little settlement that can easily be used, and it can be found by clicking here.