The Honest and Plain Village of Scio
Author: G Edward Patterson III
Publisher: The Skull as a Complete Gentleman Company
Page Count: 73
Available Formats: PDF & Print
PDF (DTRPG) – $4.99
Print – Not yet available
The strange but rather mundane village of Scio exists in a place known as Ouaricon. The village of Scio is located up on a hill in the upland savannah. A bygone place where news travels slowly in and out, and few in the surrounding area are aware of what is happening within. The Honest and Plain Village of Scio is a place for players to explore, peeling back the curtain and exposing the machinations of its residents.
This new release from The Skull as a Complete Gentleman Company is an adventure of setups and exploration therein, not scenes as is common in most adventures. There is no central plot, no beginning or end. Instead, the setups which use random encounters and events give Scio the feeling of being a unique, living, breathing place. The village of Scio is the intended destination wherein player characters get to peel back the curtain, look into all the dark spots, and breathe life into Scio. The Honest and Plain Village of Scio is, for lack of a better description, a “village customization” exercise in the form of a playable game experience. When all is said and done, Scio is neither static nor overly alive, fading slightly to the background and providing characters a base of operations for further adventures that is both homey and alive.
Scio is part of the Ouaricon setting, G Edward Patterson’s Mythic False Oregon, set in a fantastical American Northwest. The Ouaricon setting itself has not been officially released. However, written with a system-agnostic language, The Honest and Plain Village of Scio is easily adaptable to any Weird, Fairy Tale, or Historical type setting and rule set.
While The Honest and Plain Village of Scio is a place to adventure, it is, in fact, a workbook intended to be marked up and personalized—creating your own unique version of Scio. The village is presented as a backwater community full of interesting people, places, and organizations. Spatially, the village comprises an outer ring with four distinct locations. The outer ring is then connected to the inner eight locations through the east and west gates. Whether in the outer ring or inside the village proper, distinctly named areas define the footprint of the village. This serves serval purposes. First, it removes the minutiae of building-by-building detail. Second, each is a mini-setting within Scio to be explored and customized. Third, it makes travel from one area to the next simple and straightforward.
Each of these areas is unique unto itself; important locations and people are fully described in the book sans specific stats, along with random tables for personalization. Sprinkled throughout is a helping of seeds and hooks that Gamemasters can further develop depending on their intended use for Scio. Accompanying every entry is a small point-to-point map for Gamemasters to use as a quick reference.
The remainder of The Honest and Plain Village of Scio is full of random tables designed to flesh out the players’ experience and further personalize Scio. Also provided is an adventure site to weave in, a tennis mini-game that is intrinsically connected to the setting, and an interesting legal procedure for those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
As of this review, The Honest and Plain Village of Scio is only available in digital format, with a physical release forthcoming. The book is black and white throughout with a full-color cover. The book presents as a modern, updated reprint of a book originally published in 1623. Using what appears to be a period-appropriate layout and font, replete with wide margins for notes, and artwork, play up to this idea. However, the gothic-like font choice, while thematically appropriate, makes headings hard to read. Also included is a tablet-optimized version. The optimized version changes the layout from two columns to a single column and moves away from the gothic-like font of the standard version. The change of font improves the readability of the headers. The vast majority of the artwork appears to be woodcuts from the public domain; some may include minor modifications.
Each location entry in the book also includes a small point-to-point map that is simple in design. However, I found some of them confusing, and at least one appeared backward in its orientation when I compared it to the larger map.
At times, the book’s descriptions can be slightly verbose. However, it did not make the reading difficult and even spurred some secondary ideas on more than one occasion. The digital version makes full use of hyperlinked text for easy navigation of the document. The index is also quite helpful.
The design philosophy behind The Honest and Plain Village of Scio, wherein it is as much a customizable place as an adventure, makes Scio as unique as they come. A seemingly endless array of things happening or potentially happening as the characters explore its nooks and crannies further breathe life into the place. Gamemasters should find it easy to insert into any existing campaign setting, assuming the two are compatible in theme and tone.
Presenting it as a reprint of an early published work is a thematic scheme G Edward Patterson III uses in nearly all of his releases. This is a cool premise, but as I noted above, the font makes headings challenging to read. If I were to make one suggestion, it would be to change fonts for reliability.
Overall, I like The Honest and Plain Village of Scio for what it is, a customizable place for characters to eventually call home. Although I am unlikely to put it to use. Not because it is faulty but because I am not running any campaigns that match its theme and tone.
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