Village Backdrop: Poxmire (5e)
A 5e Compatible GM's Resource by Mike Welham
Poxmire’s disease-ravaged residents choose lingering death over execution. The secluded island village is the destination for those who have incurable, contagious ailments, and those who cannot (or refuse to) pay for curative magic. As is the nature of such places of exile, Poxmire serves as a convenient place to also send fallen political rivals and the like. A sizeable donation to the appropriate temple is enough for a declaration that a foe’s malady cannot be treated.
Despite the village’s unfortunate nature, most inhabitants are content with their lot, thanks in part to the plentiful fish supplementing kitchen gardens growing in a pleasant climate. Poxmire could have been so much more were it not for rumours of terrible, centuries-old sacrifices carried out by cultists devoted to a now-dead deity of pestilence. Superstitious people worry about sending diseased folk to a location dedicated to the spread of disease, but the lack of cult activity for two decades has allayed most fears.
Most of the village comprises normal homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers.
- Inn Good Health: Linnea Hiltunen runs this lodging house. She caters to folk visiting afflicted villagers, representatives of the various charities working to ease the surging in the village and the governor’s visitors.
- Governor’s Mansion: Governor Tolonen lives and works here. He hates going into the village proper and is a rare sight out and about among his “people”.
- Hidden Cove: Concealed from the rest of the island by dense trees, this cove serves as a secret anchorage for smugglers and pirates.
- Bartleby’s Barter: The wealthy, retired adventurer Zoran Bartleby trades imported goods for fruits and vegetables grown by the villagers.
- Final House: Villagers who near death end up here, where Gretja Ironjaw and her servants administer sedatives to reduce pain and calm the dying. An incinerator claims the dead, to prevent the spread of disease.
- Quarantine: Arrivals who arrive with an unknown disease, and villagers who develop unexpected symptoms, are ushered to this building to contain the disease’s spread.
- The Pit: Rotting and skeletal bodies fill this jagged chasm, which is a sacred place to the cultists returning to the island.
- Short-Breathed Ward: Villagers suffering from shortness of breath, persistent colds, and coughing fits live here.
- Leper Ward: Leprosy is recognised as a separate ailment from the various skin conditions thrown together in the Pox Ward. Where there might be some temptation to visit other wards, most villagers fear and shun the folk sequestered here.
- Pox Ward: Named for the pox, this location also houses people suffering from serious rashes and other contagious skin conditions.
- Tumescent Ward: Villagers suffering from visible and internal tumours and other strange monstrous growths live in this area.
- Siblings of Mercy: Not actual siblings, this trio of priests—Emil Kyllo, Pihla Nurmi and Hedgyn Flumm assess newcomers and assign them to an appropriate ward. Emil possesses an uncanny knack for diagnosis, while Hedgyn is secretly a member of the burgeoning disease cult that plots its full return to the island.
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.
For free samples head over to Raging Swan's website.
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Cut from a chunk of local limestone and set above the tavern’s front door, the luridly carved face of an orc identifies this place as the infamous Orc’s Head. Notorious throughout the duchy as the haunt for adventurers preparing to dare Gloamhold’s depths, the Orc’s Head is a place of tall tales and hard drinking. Decent folk rarely venture inside.