An Endzeitgeist.com review
This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!
Umelas is an utopian experiment and an adventure in disguise -formerly rules by Hiswin Baeler, it is not an easy place to stay in: With a steep ravine and an ever-present saccharine stench suffusing the town, from its sweet wines and cloying scent of white oak, the place embodies perfectly the creepiness of the sweet, the association with decay painted over by a scent of sugar and spice.
Everyone is smiling. There is joy all around...but much like a trip to Disneyland for a cynic, it makes you wonder, makes you see the darkness beyond...and indeed, only a few years ago, Umelas was wrecked by depression. Where today, sickness is rare and everyone seems healthy, that was not always the case. There are some rumors that this prosperity is the working of a benevolent fey named "Smiling Bracken" - and it indeed is...but what is the price the village has paid for its seemingly timeless blessings?
Well, the fey, for one, is unique and fully statted and from strange nightmares to the harsh consequences of unraveling the village's secret, the place stands as a grim reminder for cutting corners, for short-cuts...one that may well leave PCs asking themselves, whether the place wasn't better off before...or not. There is some complex morality and philosophy to be found in this little supplement. Oh, and yes, the pdf obviously comes with the usual notes on nomenclature, events, etc.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.
Jeff Gomez' Umelas is one of the most amazing villages in the series, but, much like the sweet wine it produces, Umelas is not for the faint of heart: Decidedly dark, it is a supplement perfectly suited for gamers craving a bit of horror or dark fantasy, a richly-detailed and amazing little piece of concise writing, presented in lavish prose. In fact, this could be run as basically a pocket domain of Ravenloft, if you'd so choose. And I mean that as a compliment. The experience of adventuring in Umelas will, much like eating sickeningly sweet food, stay with your PCs and players after they're done - and I tried hard not to SPOIL anything here. This is a great adventure, just waiting to be fleshed out and any GM worth half his salt can throw the PCs in and improvise a full-blown module out of this gem. Suffice to say: Get this! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.
[5 of 5 Stars!]