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

Village Backdrop: Oakhurst by John Bennett is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press. The supplement is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is as a result covered by the Open Game License, making some of it Open Game Content. Oakhurst is a settlement in The Lonely Coast mini-setting, the most distant and most peculiar of all the human settlements, and is within the Tangled Wood. Oakhurst is also the site of the adventure Against the Cult of the Bat God.

Village Backdrop: OakhurstThis is a thirteen page bookmarked PDF that is normally available for $2.45 from RPGNow but which was purchased as part of a bundle for the greatly reduced price of only $0.11. Two pages are Raging Swan’s standard plain front and rear covers, one page is an advert for other supplements, three pages are the front matter and the hyperlinked Contents, including the Foreword, and a brief table of stat blocks by CR and their page numbers, one page is the standard Reading Stat Blocks which explains how to use in the supplement and what is and isn’t included in the figures and one page is the Open Game License and an advert for other supplements on the Lonely Coast. The supplement comes in two versions, one optimised for print and one for screen. Oakhurst is also one of the supplements included in the compilation book GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops.

Oakhurst At a Glance is the first two page section and should be familiar in its layout to readers of Raging Swan’s GM’s Monthly Miscellanies, for this is the part that is used in them. It has an overview of the settlement – a village dominated by a clan of werebats – its demographics and marketplace, in the standard Pathfinder format, a list of notable locations and NPCs – one of whom is connected to the reeve of Bossin – village lore, a table of six rumours, some of which are false and descriptions of the villagers appearance and names. This section also has a map of the village.

Notable Locations consists of two pages which expand the details on the various locations listed in the previous section, give a brief overview of the surrounding area, has a stat block for one NPC and a sidebar on the local werebats.

Life in Oakhurst is one page and covers trade, industry, law and order, has four potential random events and has the stat block for a werebat in human and in lycanthropic form.

The supplement is well bookmarked for one of its brevity, with major and minor sections linked. The Contents, although not as thorough, are hyperlinked and, combined, this makes navigation above average. The supplement maintains a two column text format, with no errors noticed. Apart from the map, the only other black and white illustration would appear to be stock.

The Foreword mentions Lovecraft as an influence and, indeed, a cult-ruled inbred backwoods town does have a Lovecraftian feel; it is reminiscent of Dunwich especially. Although this is intended for use with The Lonely Coast, Oakhurst could be dropped into other suitable backwoods locations without too much difficulty, as the connecting hooks are quite minor. Despite the fact that the village itself probably takes up less than half the supplement, it is well detailed with various definite and potential adventure hooks to be found. Village Backdrop: Oakhurst is another excellent village supplement and it can be found by clicking here.

 

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