Village Backdrop: Ravens' Cradle (SNE)
A System Neutral Edition GM's Resource by Steve Hood
Ravens’ Cradle, a prosperous farming community governed by superstition and folklore, lies far off the beaten track. Mysteriously guarded by hundreds of pitch-black ravens, an ancient power haunting the surrounding forest watches over the village. Vicious bandits are found pecked to death in the nearby forests, greedy merchants trying to fleece the villagers are pursued from the village by a flock of hateful birds and sometimes travellers just disappear.
Behind the scenes, a coven of witches worships the ancient spirit and madmen dance in the shadows. Untouched by all, and warded only by superstition and fear—and a terrible curse—an immense diamond of magical origin and improbable size stands proudly at the village’s heart. Woe betide any who would steal it.
Most of the village comprises normal homes. A few locations, however, are of interest to adventurers.
- The Guard Post: Tall guards dressed in blackened chain armour and dark cloaks adorned with raven feathers keep watch here.
- The Black Feathered Hag: This large inn caters for travellers and villagers alike. Talliana, a strangely beautiful middle-aged woman, runs the inn. Mad Otzi, also known as Otzi the Cold, lives underneath the inn’s raised floors.
- Miklos’s Vintners: These fields grow grapes. Nearby stand storage sheds, used to brew local wine, a cote and out-building.
- The Spider’s Web: Vendra Blackhands runs this large wash house and tailors. It got its name from the web of clothes lines strung between the buildings.
- Siansis’s Stables: Wilhelm Siansis runs this large open stables and corral, with his daughter Reyvan. Tethered outside is a large black goat that nibbles the clothes of anyone straying too close.
- The Cradle. This large house with several out-buildings is Tellisk Vardun’s home. Here Tellisk and his family make straw-filled hemp mattresses to sell around the village and ship off to nearby towns. They also make duck down pillows and eiders but have recently been accused of using raven feathers.
- Katla’s Abode: Katla dwells in this decrepit cote.
- The Bleakstone Pond: This large, deep natural pond is home to hundreds of frogs and several large orange and white carp. Strangely all the fish appear to be blind.
- The Bleakstone: A large granite rock, topped with a large clear stone, stands at the highest point of the island. The stone is actually an apple-sized diamond, nicknamed Lost Hope, it inflicts a powerful curse on any touching it.
- The High Cote: This old dovecote is home to hundreds of ravens for some odd reason. Locked and boarded up, this used to be Bleak’s home.
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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