Village Backdrop: Bleakflat 2.0 (P1)
A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM's Resource by Jeff Gomez
Lost to the north of nowhere, far beyond the reach of prying eyes, a rocky bluff rises from barren soil. Here, deep amidst the frozen tundra, a ruined castle has been refitted into a tiny village. Ten hovels, whose rude architecture suggests structures five centuries old, surround a refurbished tower, and in this tower lives Bleakflat’s lord. Wise and capable, he tends to his villagers as a shepherd to his flock.
The very presence of such a remote village is enough to arouse suspicion. There are no ore mines here, no nearby dungeons, no ley lines or trade routes. The people seem simple enough, but they are somehow able to fend off the wolf packs roaming the land, and are unperturbed by the massive bats which attack the rare unannounced visitor. How? The people of Bleakflat are under the protection of a vampire, the lord of the village and the only citizen with rosy cheeks and warm smile. The villagers trade their blood for his protection and care, and in turn he tends his flock well.
Most of Bleakflat comprises peasant homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers:
- Kraegor’s Keep: This ancient ruin is the home of Aldrich and Gaela Hellbrooke. The structure has been partially refitted, with windows blocked up and roof patched, but the general aesthetic is still decrepit. The keep wards access to the many natural tunnels honeycombing the bluffs.
- The Blood Baths: Fed by hot mineral springs, the Blood Baths lies beneath the keep; here, Aldrich relaxes with his guests. Dreev and other vampire lords can sometimes be found in these subterranean pools. Aldrich occasionally brings villagers here for a spiritual awakening, but the journey is less than pleasant for the unfortunate peasant.
- The Red Hall: The keep’s underground dining hall, decorated sparsely in crimson banners, seats up to 20 guests. Dusty and macabre, the setting seems rustic to the vampiric guests who dine there. Villagers are invited to eat here when Aldrich is without vampiric guests.
- The Goodabby Home: This hovel is the ancestral home of the Goodabby family, long seen as Aldrich’s favourite humans. With a large hearth and plenty of seating, the house acts as an occasional meeting please for villagers. Underneath the floorboards, the Goodabbys keeps various forged documents to fool perceptive wanderers.
- The Girain Home: Unlike the rest of the village, the Girain family worships Aldrich as an occult vampire lord. Their house is musty and unpleasant, and their basement contains dozens of unusual artefacts (most of which are entirely harmless, but which they believe hold great value).
- Haegar’s Stables: Stablemaster Haegar keeps several dozen horses in the stables as feed for the giant bats roaming the countryside. Deprived of exercise, these mounts are sickly and listless, but rarely make any noise.
- Abandoned Farmland: Once Bleakflat’s lifeblood, the surrounding farmland has fallen into disarray and decay. Now, semi-domesticated sheep roam the countryside, grazing on what little grass is available.
- Burke Household: Mardread and his son Haegar live in this smoky home. It is a tense, brooding place, where little is spoken and much is implied. The family’s ancestral silver sword gleams threateningly over the mantle
Village Backdrops are short, richly detailed supplements that each present a single village ready to insert into almost any home campaign. Perfect for use as a waystop on the road to adventure, as an adventure site themselves or as a PC’s home, Village Backdrop present the details so the busy GM can focus on crafting exciting, compelling adventures.
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