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

Village Backdrop: Vulcanbridge by Mike Welham 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 it is considered to be Open Game Content as a result. This somewhat unusual village is perched on pylons above a volcanic plain.

The PDF has ten pages and is bookmarked. It can be purchased from RPGNow for $2.45 but was purchased at the greatly reduced price of $0.11 as part of a special bundle. The village is one of those that is included in the compilation supplement GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops II. The PDF comes in two versions, one optimised for mobile and screen and the other for desktop and print.

Village Backdrop: VulcanbridgeTwo pages are Raging Swan’s standard plain front and rear covers, one page is similar to these, one page is the front matter, Contents and Stat Blocks by CR and one page is the Open Game License.

Vulcanbridge At a Glance is the standard two page overview of the village. It gives its history – it was founded by adventurers crossing the volcanic plain who discovered eruptions of gems and precious metals – its demographics (many dwarves and gnomes), notable NPCs and locations, marketplace, lore and a d6 table whispers & rumours together with a map of the village. This section is also available in the free supplement GM’s Monthly Miscellany: August 2014.

Notable Locations is another two pages and details the ten locations from the previous section in more detail. Some of the places are fairly standard – they just happen to be built in and on pylons in a volcanic region whilst others are more unusual. There is also a brief sidebar on the environs of the village.

The final page is Life in Vulcanbridge. This is trade & industry, which to a large degree involves trading and mining gems and metals, and bringing back necessities, such as food and water, that most other villages would take for granted but which are absent from this area, law & order and a d6 table of events. There is also a sidebar on a notable NPC, a young gold dragon masquerading as a dwarf.

Village Backdrop: Vulcanbridge in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked with all major and minor sections linked; only the sidebars are missing. The Contents only covers the major sections, but is also hyperlinked. Navigation is therefore above average.

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

The village itself is unusual to say the least. There aren’t many villages that are built on fireproofed towers above a volcanic plain. This location adds to the danger, as many fire-related creatures roam the plain below and even crossing it for supplies requires extensive thermal protection. The events are related to this unusual location, and there are some potential adventure seeds within them.

There is one major adventure seed that is mentioned in the text, although really only in passing, and it is also the reason why there is an incognito gold dragon hanging around. This seed is where the precious metal and gems that the village mines and depends on originates. Most of it, perhaps even all of it, is not natural. Instead, it’s a hoard belonging to a red dragon that is apparently hibernating. Although this isn’t fleshed out to any sort of level, it’s pretty clear that, should the dragon wake up and discover that large portions of his hoard has been extracted and sold by the villagers living above, he will be unhappy to say the least. This is a potential adventure for decently-levelled characters, ones who might think that this is a minor, if unusual, village.

Village Backdrop: Vulcanbridge is a really interesting location that is frankly unlike anything else seen and can be found by clicking here.


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