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

Village Backdrop: Summerford by Alex Connell 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 parts are considered to be Open Game Content as a result. Summerford is a mining and trading village on a river.

This is a ten page bookmarked PDF that can be bought from RPGNow at the regular price of $2.45 but which was bought at the reduced price of $0.11 as part of a special bundle. Summerford is one of the villages that is included in the compilation supplement, GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops II. The PDF comes in two versions, one optimised for screen and mobile and the other for print and desktop.

Village Backdrop: Summerford Two pages of the PDF 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.

Summerford At a Glance is Raging Swan’s standard two page overview of the village. This gives details on its founding, local iron mine and current situation, as well as demographics, marketplace, notable NPCs and locations, lore and whispers & rumours, as well as a map. The village is named after the ford that used to be how the village was crossed, which has since been replaced with an iron bridge. That might be thought to have resulted in a change in the name to Ironbridge or similar, but it hasn’t. This section can be found in the free supplement GM’s Monthly Miscellany: February 2014.

Notable Locations is another two pages and covers in more detail the nine locations from the previous section. The nearby iron mine is not actually located on the map. There is also a sidebar having the stats for the captain of the watch and another about the ruling family.

The final page is Life in Summerford. This has the trade & industry, largely iron mining and the trading post, law & order and a d6 table of random events. There are also two more stat blocks, one for the owner of the local tavern and one for the town’s mayor.

Village Backdrop: Summerford in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked with the major and minor sections linked. Only the sidebars are missing. The Contents only covers the main sections but is hyperlinked. Navigation is as a result above average.

The text maintains a two column format and no errors were noticed. The sole illustration is a black and white map of the village, which looks a little cramped and the labels aren’t as easy to spot as they could be.

There are a few points of tension and adventure hooks in the town. The first is the iron mine. This is a major source of income, but it keeps getting attacked by kobolds and miners keep dying as a result. This is causing a secondary point of tension, as some of the citizens, especially the widows, want to see the mine closed down, although such would be extremely detrimental to the village’s economy. The rather hands-off attitude of the mayor is not helping matters.

One of the other NPCs in town is dealing in black market magic items – nothing dodgy, he simply isn’t paying taxes on them. Another is looking for enemies of his faith and seeking out injustice, although he isn’t sure if he’s found it as yet.

Although these do provide optional ideas for making this more than a stop on the road, most are not truly compelling. Clearing out the kobolds seems to be the most likely point to appeal to players. Village Backdrop: Summerford is still a decent settlement and it can be found by clicking here.

 

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