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    Village Backdrop: Chasm $2.45
    Average Rating:4.8 / 5
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    Village Backdrop: Chasm
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    Village Backdrop: Chasm
    Publisher: Raging Swan Press
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 04/25/2014 10:52:24

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This installment of the Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial,/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's visit Chasm, shall we?

    Like all village backdrops, we get full settlement statblocks, short primers of local folk, demographics, a market place sections of items for sale, information on villager customs and clothing, sample rumors and village lore.

    So what is Chasm all about? One look at the lavish b/w-map makes it immediately clear - we have a case of nomen est omen here - formerly known as Callowright, the village has been hit by a terribly disaster, with the eponymous chasm opening mid-village, swallowing buildings and people, sending them crashing down into the dark recesses of the earth. Now, years later, a twisted web of ladders, latticework and rope pulleys connect the halves of the village, with the looming threat of deadly duergar skulking in the darkness of the ravine.

    Law and order, strange events and a mixture of oppression and an all-too-present catastrophe loom above the village, all while rare materials like mithril and adamantine draw fortune seekers like your adventurers into a setting, that will prove rather uncommon - for the duergar have entered a mutually beneficial alliance with the surface-dwellers, sending your PCs into an oscillating loop between pragmatism and idealism in a place that aptly visualizes not only the incision of catastrophe, but also the cultural divide between the two races. Included in the package is a statblock for a duergar mine guard and, as always, you can get player-friendly versions of the map on Ragingswan.com.


    Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's printer-friendly, elegant two-column standard and the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. The map is great. The pdfs also come with extensive bookmarks.

    Christian Alipounarian has crafted a glorious village full of overt and covert symbolism and adventuring potential - beyond its top-notch adventuring potential, Chasm displays an unobtrusive, concise symbolism that adds an additional gravitas to the village, one that makes it resonate even beyond its unusual construction. Were I to complain about one thing, it would be that I would have loved a 3d/side-view of the village/inside of the ravine. Note, however, that at this price-point, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more rewarding village to visit. Even if your players don't get the symbolism, their subconscious will - and when handled by a capable DM, this will resound triumphantly within both PCs and players. A superb offering and, alongside Retribution, one of the few modules, where subtext unobtrusively underlines the point of the supplement, proving that intellectual concepts don't have to be shoved down the throat of one's audience. A joy to read - 5 stars + seal of approval.

    Endzeitgeist out.

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Village Backdrop: Chasm
    Publisher: Raging Swan Press
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 01/02/2014 07:48:16

    Devastated by a natural cataclysm, this village in the back end of nowhere is struggling to survive against the odds. As the sole settlement on the one road through some badlands, travellers may find themselves there by chance if their business takes them in that direction.... or they may come on purpose as the armour produced here is very fine indeed.

    Some years ago massive subsidence led to the village being nearly destroyed by the appearance of a great chasm through its heart. Outwardly a disaster, this also caused problems for a tribe of duergar living deep beneath, yet the calamity has caused the survivors - duergar and surface-dwellers alike - to band together and they are finding new strengths, like the manufacture of high-quality armour, to sustain them.

    The chasm is bridged by a latticework of precarious rope ladders and bridges which now link the surface with caves beneath. A sketch map is provided (but if you want a bigger version one is available separately). Several noteable establishments are detailed including smithies as well as a couple of taverns and the 'Holy House' - an ingenious response to travellers of all sorts insisting on bringing their diverse religions along. This cavernous space offers room for shrines of any deity providing a fee is paid and no proselytising is carried out.

    There are notes about the history of the village and its surrounding area, including a ramshackle and abandoned wizard's tower. Some say that it was the wizard's meddling that caused the calamity in the first place...

    The place has a bit of a boom-town economy with a frontier feel and could provide an interesting night or two for your party. There are a few events - which could be developed into more if so desired - that you can run whilst the adventurers are in town. There is even some political in-fighting between various factions... and should anyone be curious about the wizard's tower or how the chasm came to be there... well, there's plenty to keep people occupied here.

    An interesting little settlement, ripe to be dropped into a suitable location on your campaign world.

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
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