This installment of the Urban Dressing series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin, as always, our brief tour through the logging town with a massive table of 100 entries depicting sights and sounds – from clattering wood to horses dragging de-limbed trees behind them to children carrying syrup by the buckets down the streets, we are greeted with a diverse array of things to behold – but conflict does loom here as well, as the astute traveler may perceive druids pronouncing doom for the forest’s desecration or guild officials arguing with workers. Shimmering Fae lights, odd aftertastes in the local ale – beyond sights that speak of a pastoral idyll making way for civilization, danger lurks. And what about that massive tree in the middle of the settlement? Its face is so life-like…
Now such a place, obviously, is defined by the business to be found with the settlements confines and a table, 50 entries strong, provides indeed more than the obligatory lumber mill with kilns, stables, mercenaries, artists, arborists, seamstresses and cobblers awaiting the visits of prospective customers, all with their own names and small bit and pieces of information that allows you to breathe life into them. And yes, herbalists and wood mages can be found here as well.
Of course, such places are also defined by the people living there – so 50 sample personalities can be found in the respective table – from weary warriors to elderly halflings sketching trees that will soon be gone to sadists that enjoy getting lumberjacks drunk and insane people thinking they speak for the spiders of the woods, there’s a lot of local color to be found here…and what about that dryad that constantly petitions the mayor to steer clear of the sacred grove? Indeed, the respective write-ups sport quite a lot of potential.
Should this not suffice, well, then 20 complications and hooks will keep you and your group busy: A monstrous stag has been sighted and now the game is on to bring it down. Several groves have been reduced to cinders, leaving strange spiral patterns…and what if a flash flood has raised the water level of a nearby lake so much, it may see the logs churning down from the mountain smash into the village? There are a lot of diverse problems, both esoteric and mundane here, creating a great finale for this pdf.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ crisp two-column b/w-standard with nice, thematically-fitting b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions, one intended for screen-use and one intended for the printer.
Josh Vogt’s logging town is awesome – detailed and intriguing, the town runs a perfect balancing act between pastoral idyll and eff’d up hovel, between civilization vs. nature tropes and those that go beyond that, between the mundane and the magical – it is, in short an absolutely excellent installment in the series that captures the spirit of the logging town exceedingly well. 5 stars + seal of approval.
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