This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement!
Kingsfell can be found in a strategically important area upstream from vast saltmarshes, acting as a base and gateways for the brave souls that venture into the harrowing territory under the stern and benevolent auspice of paladin Mira Lankinen. Situated atop a location of a massacre in ages long past, the dead do not rest easily here, as their pain and hatred is slowly seeping into the populace…how long can the righteous rule of the paladin withstand this seeping corruption?
The 5e version of this file replaces the market place section with a solid artwork of a b/w-shield and the settlements rules-relevant sections have been extracted – it is slightly unfortunate that we do not receive a 5e marketplace section of mundane and odd items or special local goods.
Lavishly illustrated and mapped by cartography champion Tommi Salamma, the village and its population receive full coverage regarding the diverse dressing habits, local nomenclature and features the by now expected array of 6 whispers and rumors to jumpstart adventuring and/or provide red herrings, if required. Beyond no less than 2 taverns (which feature prices etc.!), the appeal of this relatively safe haven lies within the hidden history of the ominously named village, with the heavily armored statues colloquially known kingstones (which come with a great b/w-artwork!) and the four brothers, burial mounds as well as cursory notes on nearby places providing ample options for adventure.
Add to that the subtle threat implied by the metaplot and the 4 sample events and we have a great borderland-style village/place to kick off a new campaign…or pass through.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP’s patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.
Creighton Broadhurst’s Kingsfell is a great village. While its prose is slightly less awe-inspiring than his excursion to Greystone, if you take personal taste out of the equation, this remains the better roleplaying game supplement: The ruins and mounds allow for ample story hooks; an opaque threat is clearly defined, yet provides a clear leitmotif. The cartography is excellent and the formal criteria of the installment are precise and to the point. While, as a person, I prefer the horror/dark fantasy tone of Greystone, as a reviewer, I can see this having simply more universal appeal…and the craftsmanship of the formal aspects is better. The 5e-version is, apart from the stats referenced in the brief NPC cliffnotes, pretty much almost equal to the system neutral version, which is a slight pity, considering the options available for 5e and the chance to add to them. This is not a bad supplement, far from it, but it could have gone one step further. Hence, this only receives a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform due to in dubio pro reo.
You can get this cool village here on OBS!
You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on their patreon!