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

Village Backdrop: Thornhill by Creighton Broadhurst is a role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press, part of their Village Backdrops range. The supplement is for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game; as such, it is covered by the Open Game License with some of it being considered Open Game Content. A very early entry in the range, this is another village which has been retroactively located in the Duchy of Ashlar in the Gloamhold campaign setting. The village itself is built on an island at the edge of a fen, the fen itself being occupied by tribes of lizardfolk although the village residents are mostly human.

Village Backdrop: ThornhillThis is a thirteen page bookmarked PDF which is available from RPGNow at the regular price of $2.45 but which was purchased at the discounted price of only $0.11 as part of a special bundle. Thornhill is one of the villages included in the compilation supplement, GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops. Two pages are Raging Swan’s standard plain front and rear covers, one page is an ad for other products, three pages are the front matter, Contents, a list of stat blocks by CR and the Foreword, one page is a standard one on Reading Stat Blocks explaining how they are laid out and one page has an ad for another product and the Open Game License. The PDF comes in two versions, one optimised for print and high end devices and one for screen.

Thornhill At a Glance is a two page overview of the village. There are a couple of paragraphs that still manage to evocatively describe its location, standard blocks on demographics and marketplace, lists of notable, as in important to players, NPCs and locations, several items of village lore, descriptions of the villagers’ general appearance and names and a d6 table of whispers and rumours, some true and some false. Finally there is a labelled map of the village.

Next is a two page section on Notable Locations. This covers in more detail the ten locations from the notable locations list in the previous section. These are the residences of important NPCs and shops and businesses. There are sidebars on the surrounding area and the general appearance of the village, as well as stat blocks for two NPCs.

The final page on the village, Life in Thornhill, gives an overview of its trade & industry, law & order and a d6 table of random events. There are another two stat blocks, one for another important NPC and one for a generic villager.

Village Backdrop: Thornhill in Review

the PDF is exceptionally well bookmarked for its short length with all major and minor sections linked, although sidebars and stat blocks are not. The Contents is also hyperlinked to the various major sections. Navigation is, as a result, above average for a short supplement. The text maintains a two column format and no errors were noticed. Apart from the map, there is one stock black and white illustration.

Thornhill can be dropped into another setting in a suitable area without too much difficulty, as, indeed, was done when it was added to the Duchy of Ashlar. The village can prove a way station for explorations or adventures in the nearby fen, as it isn’t really on a trade route nor does it have much reason for characters to be passing through. There is one NPC who characters might be visiting, a knowledgeable sage.

This is a nice, well detailed little village that should prove a useful resource for any GM who needs one in a hurry. Village Backdrop: Thornhill can be found by clicking here.


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