Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Younglings and Elders


Perfectly logical, reasonable, and suicidal
Every once in a while, I have players come to me asking to play characters who are cheekily young or venerably old. I don't really have a problem with that, if they have a story to tell, but I can't abide the fact that their stats shouldn't be the same as fit, able-bodied adults in the prime of their life.

If we look at character creation, it's possible (albeit rare) for a PC to obtain a 19 or 20 in a creation stat roll. If the player is optimizing/min-maxing their character, it's actually very likely they start with a 16 or 17 in their prime stat.

Obviously, a 20 represents the pinnacle of humanoid ability in a particular field. Arnold Schwarzenegger maxed out Strength a while back, Billy Mitchell aced his Dex rolls, and Ghandi made up for low Str with high Con and Cha.

But even a 16 is still far above the ability of an average human, much less the young or elderly. In the Monster Manual, an Assassin (MM pg. 343) has a Dex of 16. That means a trained killer who relies solely on Dexterity to do their job only has a 16. A Berserker (MM pg. 344) has Str of 16. A Priest (MM pg. 348) has Wis of 16. A Noble (MM pg. 348) has Cha 16.

So, if someone has a score of 16, they have the ability to use that stat to work an adult profession in their field. Which means most children couldn't do it, and many elderly folks would lose the ability to do so as well.

How can we build a system that incorporates such ideas? Well, lucky you, I did it and it's pretty sweet.

The Folly of Youth


Essentially, the system comes down to when a character is considered physically, mentally, and culturally mature for their race. The physical/mental stuff is actually estimated in the Player's Handbook under the respective races. As for the cultural aspects, that applies to a few specific races, and mostly in the areas of spellcasting/proficiencies.


https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/63ub9e/oc_young_adventurers/
Too young! TOO YOUNG!
Here's how to make a young character:
  1. Roll stats normally, using whatever method you prefer.
  2. Divide the age of the character by the physical and mental maturity age for their race.
  3. Multiply the resulting percentage by the relevant stat to get your new stat (minimum 1).


As an example, let's say you want to play a 12 year old Dragonborn. Dragonborn grow up quickly but aren't considered adults until age 15. So, your physical stats could be on-par with an adult Dragonborn, but your mental stats would be 12/15 (or 4/5) what they normally would be.

That means, if you got really lucky rolling your Dragonborn Bard's stats, they could technically have a Charisma stat of 15 (19 * 4/5 = 15.2, rounded down to 15). They would nearly be talented enough to start working as a professional Bard before they were considered an adult. Because of the rarity of such a roll, however, I think that's perfectly fine.

Additionally, on the character's birthday, their stats would be recalculated. So by that Bard's 14th birthday, their Charisma would be 17 (19 * 14/15 = 17.73, rounded down to 17), more than enough to get out in the world and start adventuring.

Now, what about characters that are young enough to still be child-sized, in addition to being less developed? Here's how we can handle that:
  • From birth until you reach 1/6 of your physical maturity age, your size is two categories smaller than a full-grown member of your race (minimum tiny).
  • From 1/6 to 2/3 of your physical maturity age, your size is one category smaller than a full-grown member of your race (minimum tiny).
  • At 2/3 your physical maturity age, your size becomes normal for your race.

Which means humans are considered Tiny until age 3, Small until age 12, and Medium after that. Halflings are considered Tiny all the way until age 13, when they finally become Small.

Finally, let's talk about cultural maturity.


sakimichan.deviantart.com/
Elves: messing up age-based systems since forever
Each race's features divide into three categories: physical, social, and cultural. All cultures have all three, but some cultures have more cultural traits than others. Let's use Gnomes as an example.

The physical traits for Gnomes are fairly apparent: Ability Score Increases, Speed, and Darkvision. The real division comes between Social traits and Cultural Traits.

Social Traits are those that a character picks up naturally by being a part of their race's community. Their race's language is the best example, but for Gnomes includes Gnome Cunning. Any Gnome raised among Gnomes will have this trait.

But Cultural Traits aren't a given. They are the result of specific training given to a Gnome, and usually vary between subraces. Since these skills are considered staples to Gnome culture, a young Gnome isn't really considered an adult until they've mastered them, even if they are both physically and mentally mature.

Some races incorporate Cultural Traits into their community at the expense of Social Traits. Half-elves pick up Skill Versatility as a result of not having a dedicated culture to teach them Social Traits. Some humans forsake the "jack of all trades" adaptability of their race to take an apprenticeship and gain a specialization (basically, taking the Variant Human Traits).

But for Dwarves, Elves, and Gnomes, their culture is too complex to pick up along the way. And thus, members of those races will have to reach a certain age before they can claim the full benefits of their culture.

For Dwarves:
  • By age 30, a Dwarf has studied enough to gain the following traits: Tool Proficiency, Stonecunning
  • By age 50, a Dwarf has volunteered in a local militia and learned Dwarven Combat Training

For Elves:
  • By age 30, an Elf has been trained in the ways of meditation and awareness, and gains Keen senses.
  • By age 50, an elf has served in local hunting parties and raids, and learned Elf Weapon Training, which varies among the races
  • By age 70, an Elf has studied the specific ways of their culture long enough to gain the following traits: Cantrip, Extra Language, Fleet of Foot, Mask of the Wild, Drow Magic
  • Elves also generally expect the members of their race to spend 30 years in the service to their clan, home, or family, to gain perspective and experience necessary to be considered an adult. Elves who leave their homes before age 100 do not forfeit any traits, but are still seen as immature to other Elves.

For Gnomes:
  • By age 40, a Gnome has studied the artistry of their culture enough to gain the following traits: Natural Illusionist, Speak with Small Beasts, Artificer's Lore, Tinker

Now, should you ever actually play with a younger character? Perhaps not. But it'd be cool for flashback sessions, prequel sessions, or the infamous "My transmutation wizard uses his stone ability every day until he's in the body of a 13 year-old." Because that deserves some penalties.

The exception to the rule
But if you happen to have a kid sidekick NPC in your party, this could also be a good way to create stats for them in case a player asks.

Time... Is Marching On


So if that's the method for building a young character, what about an old character?

While everyone in a particular race matures at about the same rate, not everyone loses their faculties in old age in the same way. In particular, an ability you hone and maintain into old age generally continues to be useful up until your death.

So, here's the method I use:
  1. Determine your highest ability score. If you have more than one, choose one. This stat is unaffected by age.
  2. Once your character passes the point of Physical or Mental old age, subtract their age from the average maximum age.
  3. Divide that number by the Physical and Mental Deterioration Periods for their race.
  4. Multiply the resulting percentage by the relevant stat to get your new stat (minimum 7 or rolled stat, whichever is lower).

Physical Old Age is considered 75% of maximum age, and Mental Old Age is considered 90% of maximum age, as shown by the chart:


That's a little complicated. So let's walk through an example.


http://www.wizardwonderland.com/merlin.htm
Just a simple bit of mathematical wizardry!
Let's say you wanted to play a 340 year old Dwarf, the equivalent of an 87 year old human. First, we subtract 340 from 350 - the average maximum age for dwarves. Then, we divide 10 by 88 (to get 11% physical) and 35 (to get 29% mental).

So our Dwarf has 11% of their physical stats remaining and 29% of his mental stats remaining. This doesn't apply to the highest ability score, but it basically guarantees that all of the other stats will be at 7.

For reference, here's what 7's mean in each stat:
  • Strength 5 = as strong as a Kobold or Baboon. Not as strong as an Goblin.
  • Dexterity 5 = as agile as a Purple Wormling. Not as agile as a Camel.
  • Constitution 5 = not quite as hardy as a Bat, Owl, or Hawk.
  • Intelligence 5 = as smart as an Orc or Troll. Not as smart as a Kobold.
  • Wisdom 7 = as wise as a Kobold or an Ogre. Not as wise as a Frog.
  • Charisma 7 = as influential as a Cat or Owl. Not as influential as a Lion.

So, obviously, we're not really playing with a heavy hitter here. But if the dwarf was a spellcaster who didn't really need a secondary ability, they could still be extremely effective in old age. I like that, since it promotes old Wizards but not old Warriors.

One last thing: the true maximum age of a humanoid is when their age hits 1 1/3 of the average maximum. When they reach that age, they die, unless they have some magic sustaining them (see below). However, each year on their birthday, if their age has exceeded the average maximum, they must roll a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, they contract a wasting disease that will kill them within the year.

So basically, the average maximum age is the age where you have to stop adventuring and start worrying about things killing you simply due to your body being unable to handle it.

Time... ... Is Still Marching On


But why stop there? This is a fantasy world! Let's get wild.


https://www.poxnora.com/
My name is the Lorax and I'm as old as a tree
Sometimes, by magic or pure tenacity, a character will exceed the "maximum" lifespan of their race. If a character has retired and keeps making lucky Con rolls to avoid wasting diseases, then more power to them. But what about ancient adventurers and NPCs?

Powerful magic items exist to extend the vitality of those who wield them. Many allow their owner to live well longer than expected, and few legendary items can grant true immortality - though not always perfectly.

Items have different bonuses based on rarity and always require attunement:
  • Uncommon: 25% bonus
  • Rare: 50% bonus
  • Very Rare: 75% bonus
  • Legendary: 100% bonus

This bonus is added directly to the aging percentage (max 100%). So if your 340 year old Dwarf had a Very Rare Physical Ability item, his percentage would be 86% instead of 11%. This would continue into negative percentages - at 416 years old, the age penalty (negative 75%, or -66/88) would completely negate the bonus and the dwarf's stats would drop to their lowest level.

Additionally, until the dwarf reached 328 (25% physical stats remaining) they wouldn't age at all (since 25% + 75% = 100%). So it could extend your life, but it will certainly stave off the effects of age.

Items should only affect certain stats, for the most part. For example, Physical Stats, or Mental Stats. Restricting to a single stat is also feasible, since the Talisman of Immortal Strength would let the barbarian pick Con as his "immune to old age" stat.

If an item affects every stat, its rarity is increased by 1 level. So there's no Legendary item to grant 100% age bonus to all stats.

A single character can only have one bonus to each stat. So if you have the Very Rare Physical Ability talisman but also the Legendary Constitution necklace, your bonuses would be:
  • Strength: 75%
  • Dexterity: 75%
  • Constitution: 100%

Kings and Wizards hoard such items, and pay massive amounts of gold to have them. Additionally, this means that an ancient wizard may well have used all their attunement slots just to maintain their form. That's pretty neat.

I also like the idea that to truly be immortal, you're going to have to find multiple items. And the Legendary Items would probably be limited to a single stat.

That's cool. What if only one ability survived?
  • Immortal Strength: A mindless brute, existing only to fulfill its final purpose, a guardian lost to time.
  • Immortal Dexterity: Nothing but a wisp of wind, carried by its former whims.
  • Immortal Constitution: A statue, held timeless in a spot it cherished in life.
  • Immortal Intelligence: A sentient tome or record of knowledge, only able to recall things regarding a single event or person dear to its former self.
  • Immortal Wisdom: A being of pure light, capable of giving advice but unable to interact with or explore the world.
  • Immortal Charisma: A sentient object, such as a crown or sword, that overbears its wielder and forces them to complete its former purposes.

I have no mouth but I must scream
Sounds like some good lore to build NPCs and magic items on. Plus, now you can make crotchety old wizards!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Recap: Campaign of Chaos

https://www.reddit.com/r/aww/comments/5bukoz/youre_a_lizard_harry/
You heard the lizard-man
I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I would be starting a new campaign soon. Well... here it is. This one is going to require some explanation...

Basically, at the end of my last big campaign, one of the characters got a powerful magic item: the Deck of Many Things. The character, one Daardendrian Krivxeros (aka Mr. Lizard the Chaos Wizard), immediately drew a bunch of cards. He changed to an evil alignment, lost many of his magic items, and gained a couple wishes. Fortunately for the world, he immediately hit the 33% chance of never casting Wish again (PHB pg. 289).

However, in his travels he had come across a tome of eldritch knowledge: how to use the power of the Gods to bring the Outer Plane of Limbo into the Inner Elemental Planes. Basically, it would create a fifth element: chaos. The multiverse would be rewritten, and the world would be plunged into chaos. Living things may not survive.

However, such a ritual was way too large and complicated for a lone evil chaos sorcerer who had recently lost all his magic items and couldn't cast wishes. So, he decided to do some recruiting, creating a group of minions similar in size to his previous adventuring squad. With their help, Mr. Lizard the Chaos Wizard hopes to kill one million mortals in the name of chaos. And then destroy all of everything. Or something like that.

Campaign of Chaos


This story began in a prison, the Raven's Nest Asylum, to be exact. Though a plain building from the outside, it housed many of Garton's more dangerous and unusual criminals. The guards wore helms that masked their identity, carried magic swords, and weren't afraid to die to protect the prison. Magic-using criminals had their power suppressed by a powerful enchantment.

The guards brought a newcomer, Bill the Meek, to his prison cell. Bill was being jailed for a minor crime, and asked the prisoners around him what they were in for.

https://hellstern.deviantart.com/gallery/
Shut, up, DAD
Cressen Juhl (Shannon) spoke up first. He was a Fallen Aasimar, the son of the God of Law Pholtus. However, he had rejected his dad's dogma and become a Trickery Cleric of Ralishaz, God of ill luck and insanity. He was in jail for selling fake potions on the black market, mostly in an attempt to annoy his dad.


https://littlefiredragon.deviantart.com/art/khajit-bowman-440273765
He can shoot shinys at 50 yards


Next, a Tabaxi Rogue introduced himself, saying his name was Silent Mist of Distant Rain, though he went by Mist (Cody). He had stolen a diamond codpiece from a noble in Garton, and was captured after showing it off in a tavern the noble frequented. He loved shiny things and wanted to get out and get more of them.
https://sonicfreak66.deviantart.com/art/Darkling-85189536
Stabby stab

A Darkling named Jakky (Quinn), a small creature whose skin was burned by light, spoke from beneath his pile of cloaks and rags. He was arrested for being an assassin, using his Monk-like training to perform jobs within the city.


All hail the tentacle lords!
Next, a Kobold introduced himself as Agne (Wade). He was a Warlock servant of the Great Old Ones, who had instructed him to slaughter his tribe in exchange for power. After he did so, he moved on to the humans of Garlancia, which were near the Fractured Mountains he once called home. He was quickly arrested and jailed due to his unusual powers.


http://toodletots.tumblr.com/post/157620592689/its-been-a-while-since-ive-done-a-marker-draws
A magical life lesson will be learned today!
Before anyone could stop him, a Drow Transmutation Wizard who was named Rivrellok Nightarrow (but went by his stage name Magic Man) (Wes) launched into a gruesome story about how he had used his magic to "reward" some war heroes with gold - which filled their stomachs until they exploded. He was arrested and told to go to jail, which he voluntarily did so via teleportation.


http://www.zoelacchei.com/profile.html
Frankie says relax
Finally, a Yuan-Ti Pureblood named Ilsa (Cait) spoke up. She was an agent of the Yuan-Ti from the distant North, and had initially come to Garlancia to reclaim the Yuan-Ti's ancient territory. However, she had slowly become insane, and was approached by Vecna, the lich-god of evil secrets. He had granted her the powers of a Soul Knife Mystic, and whispered strange things to her. She called him Frankie.

Bill was freaked out by all these stories. He was just in here because he stole a vase and the other prisons were full.

The prisoners went about their business in the prison for a few days, and as they did so, they gathered some information. They saw a strange painting-like object covered in a sheet being moved into the prison. They heard about a strange floating castle full of giants, a volcano in the Fractured Mountains that held some powerful artifacts, and a mysterious organization known as the Black Hand that was trying to infiltrate Garton.

One day, they noticed the sky suddenly turned dark and stormy. Screams were heard form below, and then silence. A figure wearing robes and a guard's helm walked into their cell area. He took off the helm and revealed himself to be a Red Dragonborn magic-user. His name... was Mr. Lizard.

He offered them freedom if they pledged themselves to chaos and its ways. They all agreed, and he set them free using his powerful chaos sorcery.

One by one, he took their hands, blessing them with chaos magic. One guy exploded from the stress. However, they all received strange powers of foresight and chaotic knowledge.

(This is something new I'm trying to make the campaign a bit more unpredictable... each player has the ability to give me a specific piece of information about a place or NPC they meet. For example, Wes can determine an NPC's flaw. This makes the game a bit less predictable, and shares the narrative a bit more. It's a bit experimental for my playstyle, but we'll see how it goes. Needless to say, they abused it immediately in their first encounter.)

Mr. Lizard lead them past the carnage he had caused and into the guard storeroom where everyone's equipment was kept. After they had suited up, Mr. Lizard told them he was going to the zoo, and to make a diversion. As he roller-skated through the walls, they heard the sound of guards coming towards them.

The motto for this campaign
The other prisoners and the guards clashed, but the main party decided to take advantage of their new chaos powers. Cressen made them all worshippers of Illmater, god of Martyrs, and Magic Man made their flaw that they were willing to die for one another. They immediately began jumping in front of blades meant for their allies, finishing themselves off rather quickly. However, many of the prisoners were killed, leaving only a few remaining (a group which of course consists of the PCs. And Bill the Meek.). They grabbed a couple magic helmets and swords.

They went down into the prison's basement, looking for the mysterious picture frame that they had seen being brought into the facility. They eventually found it in a secluded basement, and realized it was a portal. They discovered this because a platinum-scaled dragon was poking its head out of the painting.

Cressen was nervous about trusting the dragon, since a platinum dragon would likely worship Bahamut, the God of Good Dragons, but this dragon seemed to be a defector. Ilsa mentioned that he might have been framed.

The group leapt into the painting and realized they were indeed in a magical zoo, with dozens of strange and terrifying creatures running around. Mr. Lizard was here, freeing creatures and letting them loose into other planes. The group freed the Platinum Dragon and watched it disappear into the sky.

Bill the Meek approached Mr. Lizard, meekly of course, and asked if he could go home - chaos seemed to much for him. Nearly immediately, he was eaten by a horrible monster. Mr. Lizard mentioned that he should have trusted in chaos more.

The group began helping Mr. Lizard free monsters of all kinds, while Mr. Lizard explained that this portal had once been housed at the Mage's Guild, but was moved here for safekeeping after the events of the War of Fools. He was hoping to find a suitable pet for his adventure of chaos.

Google "lizard holding staff"
He broke open a gemstone containing a sleeping man, who immediately shouted that he wasn't supposed to be awake. Sure enough, a moment later his chest exploded and a larva-like creature slithered out of it. The party captured the little beast and Mr. Lizard claimed it as his familiar. He told them it was actually a baby Slaad, a creature of pure chaos.

Having got what he came for, he released the rest of the beasts and the group began their escape. The prison was nearly empty by this point, and Mr. Lizard decided to simply walk out the front gate. Wearing his identity-masking helmet, of course.

However, as soon as they had stepped outside the prison, they were confronted by the captain of the guard, Floris, and an armed patrol of guards. However, a wave of the chaos staff by Mr. Lizard sent them scattering. One guy thought he was on fire, another guy broke down because he believed he wasn't immortal anymore, and another guy just decided he didn't really trust horses anymore.

Floris, however, got the worst of it - his arms disappeared, causing his sword to clatter to the ground. He immediately realized that this must be Mr. Lizard behind the helm of anonymity, and swore to find him. Meanwhile, Mr. Lizard and his new posse simply strode out of the city.

In the forests beyond the city walls, the group was safe - for now. Mr. Lizard decided they would need to do another trial of chaos in order to prove themselves worthy. He sent them to the ethereal plane, where they fought a series of shades with strange abilities.

They fought a couple magical foes (Cody's other character Rolen and Shannon's former character Aethryn), a thief (Wade's former character Voronion) and an archer (Wes' former character Legolad), and two barbarians, one who did backflips and one who was joined by a large animal (Quinn's former character Rank and Cait's former character Amafrey with her animal companion Hunee).


Surprise!
While they fought, their new chaos magic kept manifesting. Magic Man had his legs turned into trees and his skin into slime, but he seemed pretty happy about it. Jakky, on the other hand, had his skull shrunk until it killed him.

Finally, a red dragonborn bard appeared, and cast such a powerful spell that the whole chaos posse was floored. Mr. Lizard waved his staff and dismissed it, saying that he hadn't meant for that to show up.

He ended the ethereal vision, which healed the group's injuries and brought Jakky back from the dead. However, his skull was a bit smaller, and Magic Man still had a bit slimier skin.

Mr. Lizard struck his staff on the ground and it swirled into a new item - a deck of cards. He asked the group if they wanted to truly give themselves over to chaos - if so, they should draw a card from the Deck of Many Things.

Mist immediately grabbed one. It was the Fool card, which had no apparent effect. However, it did allow him to draw another card, which gave him the Key card.

Immediately, the group gained a powerful magical item each. Cressen obtained a set of Wings of Flying, Mist gained a Portable Hole, Jakky got a Cloak of Displacement, Agne received a Staff of Swarming Insects, Ilsa found a Rope of Entanglement, and Magic Man got a set of Nolzur's Marvelous Pigments.

The group pledged themselves to chaos, and the quest to upend the multiverse had begun.


Your new, monocled god
This is going to be an interesting and ambitious campaign for me, and I'm excited to give it a shot. I'm working with Cody, who actually played Mr. Lizard in the previous campaign, to get some ideas about what we can do. Of course, I'm bringing a few of my own to the table as well.

Next week, I should have an update on our next session of Maze of the Blue Medusa. After that, I might be taking a break for a bit, since the month of September is going to be very busy for a lot of my players and I don't know how much D&D we'll be able to squeeze in. The end of the year is always harder to schedule.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Creature Loot: G Part 2

As promised, planar pirates
Here I am, doing everything I can, holding on to what I am, pretending I'm a fantasy anthropologist! Yeah, another week, another creature loot list. If you feel punk'd, check here.


Gith

Githyanki Warrior (3) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Set of Astral Half Plate: Acts as Half Plate armor that requires attunement. While attuned, a creature can cast Misty Step as a bonus action. Once this ability has been used three times, it cannot be used again until the next dawn.
  • 1 Astral Greatsword: Acts as a magical greatsword. On a hit, it deals an additional 2d6 psychic damage.
  • 1 Vial of Githyanki Blood: When consumed as an action, acts as a Nondetection spell requiring no other material components.

Githyanki Knight (8) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Set of Astral Plate: Acts as Plate armor that requires attunement. While attuned, a creature can cast Misty Step as a bonus action. Once this ability has been used three times, it cannot be used again until the next dawn.
  • 1 Astral Silver Greatsword: Acts as a magical greatsword that requires attunement. On a hit, it deals an additional 3d6 psychic damage. On a critical hit against a target in an astral body, the wielder can choose to cut the silvery cord that tethers the target to its material body instead of dealing damage. While attuned to the sword, all Githyanki and Mind Flayers are immediately hostile towards the wielder, and if the Knight who created the sword is still alive, they know the exact location of the wielder.
  • 2 Vials of Githyanki Blood: When consumed as an action, acts as a Nondetection spell requiring no other material components.
  • 1 Heart of the Githyanki Knight: While holding the heart, it can be used to cast Plane Shift as a ritual. Only the creature holding the heart may shift. This consumes the heart. When the spell is cast, roll 1d20. On a 1, the bearer is shifted to the Astral Plane instead of the intended destination.
  • 1 Red Talisman of Tiamat: While held, grants advantage on Charisma checks made to influence Red Dragons.
  • 2 Mind Flayer Tentacles: Dried. Can be consumed as an action to grant Telepathy out to 120 feet for 1 hour.

Githzerai Monk (2) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Set of Githzerai Robes: Requires attunement. Cannot be worn with armor, and does not count as armor. While attuned, a creature may cast Feather Fall as a Reaction. Once this ability has been used 3 times, it cannot be used again until the next dawn.
  • 1 Vial of Githzerai Blood: When consumed as an action, acts as a See Invisibility spell requiring no other material components.

Githzerai Zerth (6) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Set of Githzerai Robes: Requires attunement. Cannot be worn with armor, and does not count as armor. While attuned, a creature may cast Feather Fall as a Reaction. Once this ability has been used 3 times, it cannot be used again until the next dawn.
  • 2 Vials of Githzerai Blood: When consumed as an action, acts as a See Invisibility spell requiring no other material components.
  • 1 Heart of the Githzerai Zerth: While holding the heart, it can be used to cast Plane Shift as a ritual. Only the creature holding the heart may shift. This consumes the heart. When the spell is cast, roll 1d20. On a 1, the bearer is shifted to a monastery on the plane of Limbo instead of the intended destination.
  • 2 Mind Flayer Tentacles: Dried. Can be consumed as an action to grant Telepathy out to 120 feet for 1 hour.

Gnoll (1/2) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Tattered Spear
  • 1 Tattered Longbow
  • 1d4 Gnawed Trinkets: Roll on the Trinket table. Any item found is chewed up and useless.
Hungry hungry hyenas

Gnoll Pack Lord (2) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Tattered Glaive
  • 1 Tattered Chain Shirt
  • 1d4 Gnawed Trinkets: Roll on the Trinket table. Any item found is chewed up and useless.
  • 2 Days of Rations
  • 1d4 Demonic Jewelry: No immediate use. Can be crafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into valuable materials that can replace 10GP worth of material components in a conjuration spell.

Gnoll Fang of Yeenoghu (4) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1d4 Gnawed Trinkets: Roll on the Trinket table. Any item found is chewed up and useless.
  • 2 Days of Rations
  • 1d4 Demonic Jewelry: No immediate use. Can be crafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into valuable materials that can replace 10GP worth of material components in a conjuration spell.
  • 1 Demon Heart: While holding the heart, it can be used to cast Plane Shift as a ritual. Only the creature holding the heart may shift. This consumes the heart. When the spell is cast, roll 1d20. On a 1, the bearer is shifted to Yeenoghu’s layer in the Abyss instead of the intended destination.

Gnome, Deep (Svirfneblin) (1/2) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Tattered War Pick
  • 1d4 Darts: No longer poisoned.
  • 1 Tattered Chain Shirt
  • 1 Deep Gnome Hide: No immediate use. 3 of these can be crafted (leatherworker’s tools) into a cloak that grants advantage on stealth checks made to hide in rocky terrain.

Goblin (1/4) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1d2 Goblin Ears: No immediate use. Acts as a trophy for bounty hunters and adventurers

Goblin Boss (1) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1d2 Goblin Ears: No immediate use. Acts as a trophy for bounty hunters and adventurers
  • 1 Goblin Boss Head: While held, grants the holder advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks made to influence any goblin who previously served the goblin boss.

Golems
I made it all by myself!

Clay (9) – construct (arcana)
 
  • 1 Vial of Crystalline Powder: Appears to be normal gems, can be detected by magic or if a search is performed to look for gems that shift like liquid. Can be used as the material component of a Conjure Elemental spell, which has its casting time reduced to 1 action but can only summon Earth Elementals.
  • 4d4 Clumps of Golem Clay: Can be used to lower the cost of creating a clay golem by 1,000 gp. 10 of these can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into armor or a weapon, both which require attunement. The armor acts as magical Half-Plate Armor which grants the wearer immunity to acid damage. The weapon can be a club or greatclub, and allows a creature attuned to it to cast Haste on itself. Once this property has been used, it can’t be used again until the next dawn.
  • 3d2 Motes of Elemental Earth: Appears as a rock that glows dimly. If dropped or thrown to the ground as an improvised weapon, the ground becomes mud as if it had cast Grease centered on the mote. Can be used as the material component of a Commune spell to contact a deity in the Elemental Plane of Earth. Using either of these abilities destroys the mote.
  • 1 Heart of Stone: Identical to a Mote of Elemental Earth, and can be used for the same purposes. In addition to its other properties, it can be mastercrafted (evocation) by a spellcaster into a portal to the Elemental Plane of Earth. The portal is stationary in the location it is crafted.

Flesh (5) – construct (arcana)
  • 1 Vial of Crystalline Powder: Appears to be normal gems, can be detected by magic or if a search is performed to look for gems that shift like liquid. Can be used as the material component of a Conjure Elemental spell, which has its casting time reduced to 1 action but can only summon Earth Elementals.
  • 1d2 Motes of Elemental Earth: Appears as a rock that glows dimly. If dropped or thrown to the ground as an improvised weapon, the ground becomes mud as if it had cast Grease centered on the mote. Can be used as the material component of a Commune spell to contact a deity in the Elemental Plane of Earth. Using either of these abilities destroys the mote.
  • 1 Heart of Stone: Identical to a Mote of Elemental Earth, and can be used for the same purposes. In addition to its other properties, it can be mastercrafted (evocation) by a spellcaster into a portal to the Elemental Plane of Earth. The portal is stationary in the location it is crafted.
  • 2d2 Flesh Golem Limbs: Acts as a Club. Can be used to lower the cost of creating a flesh golem by 5,000 gp. 3 of these can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into armor which requires attunement or a weapon. The armor acts as padded armor that grants the wearer immunity to lightning damage. The weapon acts as a +1 club or greatclub, but is destroyed if the wielder takes 10 or more fire damage in a single turn.

Iron (16) – construct (arcana)
  • 1 Greatsword
  • 1 Vial of Crystalline Powder: Appears to be normal gems, can be detected by magic or if a search is performed to look for gems that shift like liquid. Can be used as the material component of a Conjure Elemental spell, which has its casting time reduced to 1 action but can only summon Earth Elementals.
  • 1 Poison Gas Dispenser: As an action, a creature holding the dispenser may create a 15-foot cone of poisonous gas. Each creature in that area must make a DC 19 Constitution saving throw, taking 10d8 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Once this property has been used three times, the dispenser ceases to function.
  • 6d4 Hunks of Golem Iron: Can be used to lower the cost of creating an iron golem by 2,000 gp. 15 of these can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into armor that requires attunement, or a weapon. The armor acts as magical Plate Armor which grants the wearer immunity to fire damage. The weapon is any type, and acts as a +2 weapon of its type.
  • 6d2 Motes of Elemental Earth: Appears as a rock that glows dimly. If dropped or thrown to the ground as an improvised weapon, the ground becomes mud as if it had cast Grease centered on the mote. Can be used as the material component of a Commune spell to contact a deity in the Elemental Plane of Earth. Using either of these abilities destroys the mote.
  • 1 Heart of Stone: Identical to a Mote of Elemental Earth, and can be used for the same purposes. In addition to its other properties, it can be mastercrafted (evocation) by a spellcaster into a portal to the Elemental Plane of Earth. The portal is stationary in the location it is crafted.

Stone (10) – construct (arcana)
  • 1 Vial of Crystalline Powder: Appears to be normal gems, can be detected by magic or if a search is performed to look for gems that shift like liquid. Can be used as the material component of a Conjure Elemental spell, which has its casting time reduced to 1 action but can only summon Earth Elementals.
  • 5d4 Golem Stones: Can be used to lower the cost of creating a stone golem by 2,000 gp. 12 of these can be mastercrafted (transmutation) by a spellcaster into armor or a weapon, both which require attunement. The armor acts as magical Splint Armor which grants the wearer immunity to poison damage. The weapon can be a club or greatclub, and allows a creature attuned to it to cast Slow. Once this property has been used, it can’t be used again until the next dawn.
  • 5d2 Motes of Elemental Earth: Appears as a rock that glows dimly. If dropped or thrown to the ground as an improvised weapon, the ground becomes mud as if it had cast Grease centered on the mote. Can be used as the material component of a Commune spell to contact a deity in the Elemental Plane of Earth. Using either of these abilities destroys the mote.
  • 1 Heart of Stone: Identical to a Mote of Elemental Earth, and can be used for the same purposes. In addition to its other properties, it can be mastercrafted (evocation) by a spellcaster into a portal to the Elemental Plane of Earth. The portal is stationary in the location it is crafted.

Gorgon (5) – monstrosity (nature)
  • 1 Gorgon Hide: Extremely heavy. Can be mastercrafted (smith’s tools) into Plate Armor that requires attunement. A creature attuned to the armor is immune to the petrified condition.
  • 1 Gorgon Skull: Extremely heavy. Can be carefully crafted (smith’s tools) into a horned helmet. The helmet requires strength of 15 to wear, otherwise the wearer is affected as if they were wearing heavy armor (PHB pg. 144). While wearing the helmet, the wearer gains the following melee attack: As an action, they may Gore an enemy within 5 feet. The attack does 1d12 damage, and the wearer is considered proficient in this attack.
  • 1 Gorgon Stomach: No immediate use. Can be mastercrafted (alchemist’s supplies) into a salve that ends the petrified condition on a creature it is applied to.
  • 1 Gorgon Tail: Acts as a Flail.
  • 1 Gorgon Petrifying Gas Sac: A creature holding the sac can squeeze it as an action. Each creature within a 15 foot radius (including the creature that activated the sac) must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a target begins to turn to stone and is restrained. A restrained creature must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn. On a success, the effect ends on the target. On a failure, the target is petrified until freed by the Greater Restoration spell or other magic.
No, the other Gorgon

Grell (3) – aberration (arcana)
  • 2d4 Grell Tentacles: Acts as a whip. On a hit, a target must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The poisoned target is also paralyzed, and it can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success. Once the tentacle has poisoned a target, it loses this property.
  • 1 Grell Beak: Acts as a sickle. Can be carefully crafted (alchemist’s supplies) into a Potion of Lightning Resistance.

Grick (2) – monstrosity (nature)
  • 1d4 Grick Tentacles: Acts as a club. On a hit, the target must make a DC 10 Strength saving throw or be grappled for one round. This effect ends if the attacker moves more than 5 feet away from the target.
  • 1 Grick Hide: No immediate use. Can be crafted (leatherworker’s tools) into a cloak that grants advantage on stealth checks made to hide in rocky terrain.

Grick Alpha (7) – monstrosity (nature)
  • 2d4 Grick Tentacles: Acts as a whip. On a hit, the target must make a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be grappled for one round. This effect ends if the attacker moves more than 10 feet away from the target.
  • 1 Grick Hide: No immediate use. Can be crafted (leatherworker’s tools) into a cloak that grants advantage on stealth checks made to hide in rocky terrain.
  • 1 Grick Beak: No immediate use. Can be carefully crafted (smith’s tools) into a greataxe that grants +1 to intimidation checks made against creatures in the Underdark.
  • 3d10 Pieces of Adventuring Gear: recovered from the stomach of the Grick

Griffon (2) – monstrosity (nature)
  • 1 Heart of a Griffon: Can be consumed as an action to grant advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight for 1 hour. During this time, if the creature sees a horse, they must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw or use their full movement and action to approach and attack the horse. On a success, the creature no longer has to make saving throws to prevent themselves from attacking that particular horse.
  • 1d10 Griffon Feathers: No immediate use. Can be crafted (calligraphy tools) into a pen, or carefully crafted (woodcarver’s tools) into 2 arrows.

Grimlock (1/4) – humanoid (survival)
  • 1 Tattered Spiked Bone Club: when repaired, deals an additional 2 (1d4) piercing damage on a hit.
  • 1 Grimlock Hide: No immediate use. Can be crafted (leatherworker’s tools) into a cloak that grants advantage on stealth checks made to hide in rocky terrain.
 
Next week, we'll actually have an entire letter done in a single week! What a treat!

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Release the hounds!
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Instant Settlement: Villages

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Little town, full of little people...
I'm a fan of prepping for games. I don't really like playing on the fly. Now, I do enjoy setting up games where my players can operate within a structure, but for the most part I set up what is happening.

Most of the time, you can roll with quite a bit of shenanigans from the players. However, sometimes the players demand a bit more than expected. The classic example: the players decide to walk away from the dungeon and find a village to stay in for the night.

Could you develop an entire village on the fly? Honestly, I think I would just create a roadside inn or tavern, use a few throwaway NPCs, and call it a night. But that doesn't really help build the world. And it's definitely a problem if the PCs decide to return.

Another situation where creative abilities can be strained is if you assume you need to prep everything: Can you make detailed layouts and plots for dozens of villages?

Well, now you can. And do it on the fly if needed.

In my readings, I came across this blog post about a system for developing a city that constantly changed. But there's no reason that it couldn't be used to simply develop lots of little villages.

Let's get into it! I'm going to try to incorporate some information from DMG pages 16-17, and information from other places about medieval villages.

Instant Settlement: Villages

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Some players see a welcome rest, others see burnable houses and stealable loot
Roll the following (you'll need to roll physical dice on the table):
2d4
1d6
1d8
1d10
1d20

Each die represents a feature of the village. Don't worry about keeping the dice in a tight formation. Space between dice can be taken up by residencies. However, you will want to note the centermost feature and the outermost feature. These will determine the nature of the village square, and the nature of the area immediately around the village.

Start with the d4 and work your way upwards. If any number is repeated, replace the number on the higher die with the lowest available number. So if you roll a 3 on the d6 AND the d20 (and 1 is already on the d4) the d20 would become a 2. The highest die becomes the highest number, so if you roll a 1 on the d4, d6, and d10, they would become 1, 2, and 3 respectively.

A few notes on village structure: All NPCs are Commoners, unless noted. Anywhere from 70-95% of the village's population lives in the surrounding farmland and uses the village only for its features. And any villager that doesn't already have a role will be involved in farming, or something that assists farmers (such as a wagon builder, butcher, or seamstress) in order to make goods to trade.

To help, I've put together an example roll.

Here's an easier view. I've circled the innermost and outermost die as well.
Now, we've got two ones and three threes here, so let's reassign those numbers by the procedure above:
Now that we've established our layout, it's time to actually assign some features to these dice.

Die Results
  1. Major Road
  2. Minor Road
  3. Reeve's Home
  4. Inn
  5. Marketplace
  6. Temple
  7. Tavern
  8. Guard Post
  9. Warehouse
  10. Local Guild
  11. Traveling Merchant - Adventuring Gear
  12. Traveling Merchant - Trade Goods
  13. Traveling Merchant - Tools, Kits, and/or Instruments
  14. Traveling Merchant - Weapons
  15. Traveling Merchant - Armor
  16. Traveling Merchant - Scrolls and Spells
  17. Traveling Merchant - Wondrous Items
  18. Stronghold - Wooden Fort
  19. Stronghold - Stone Fort
  20. Water


1. Major Road

A major road acts as a lifeline for a village. Trade is common along the road, and any visitors to the village usually come in from this path. Having a Major Road in a village increases the population by 300.

If the Major Road is absent, the villagers are more reclusive, and are likely to be of a less-common race (a village of half-orcs, tieflings, etc).

The type of die determines where the major road leads.
  • 1d4 - The road is part of a trade route between major settlements surrounding the village.
  • 1d6 - The road is part of a trade route between a major settlement and a small settlement, such as a town.
  • 1d8 - The road connects the village and a major settlement, such as a city.
  • 1d10 - The road connects the village and a small settlement, such as a town.
  • 1d20 - The road seems to lead directly into the heart of the wilderness nearby. The townsfolk don't like to talk about it, but most of their trade comes with the barbarous tribes of the deep wild.
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the road leads directly through the village square, and the village is organized along the road.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the village is a short ways off the Major Road, with clearly marked signs leading travelers to it.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the largest path in the village leads to the major road.

2. Minor Road

A minor road is used primarily by the villagers, to get to other small settlements or to their work. Having a Minor Road in a village increases the population by 100.

If the Minor Road is absent, there is no effect on the village.

The type of die determines where the major road leads.
  • 1d4 - The road leads to the location of the village's livelihood, such as a quarry, mine, or farmlands.
  • 1d6 - The road is part of a trade route between small settlements, such as towns, surrounding the village.
  • 1d8 - The road is part of a trade route between a small settlement and another village further along the road.
  • 1d10 - The road connects the village to a sister village nearby.
  • 1d20 - The road stops just outside of town at a gnarled tree. The tree acts as a portal to the Feywild or the Shadowfell, depending on the nature of the village.
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the road intersects with the major road, forming the village square.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the road starts a little ways outside the town, and only villagers may be aware of its existence.
  • If the die is anywhere else, a path in the village leads to the minor road.

3. Reeve's Home

One part of fantasy that is actually historic
The Reeve is the de facto leader of the village. Usually appointed by the noble that owns the surrounding area, they resolve disputes and collect taxes from the commoners. The presence of a Reeve has no effect on the village's population.

If the Reeve's Home is absent, the village has a maximum population of 200, and is small enough to govern itself. Remove the d10 and d20 from the village.

The type of die determines the type of leader the Reeve is.
  • 1d4 - The Reeve is a friend of the commoners, and is trusted to be amicable towards local and visitor alike. (Use Noble Statistics, MM pg. 348)
  • 1d6 - The Reeve has strong religious connections and rules according to those doctrines. If the village has a temple, the Reeve belongs to that faith. (Use Priest Statistics, MM pg. 348)
  • 1d8 - The Reeve is the latest idiot sent by the local ruling noble, and nobody likes them or really listens to them, except at tax time. (Use Guard Statistics, MM pg. 347)
  • 1d10 - The Reeve takes more than is required at tax time, and is hated and feared. The Reeve has a small contingent of bodyguards. (Use Noble Statistics, MM pg. 348)
  • 1d20 - The Reeve's home is currently empty until the local ruling noble appoints a new Reeve. The villagers are abound with gossip, speculation, and tension.
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Reeve's home and yard form the village square, and a statue of the local ruling noble adorns the center.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the Reeve's home sits outside the village, atop a small hill where it oversees the area.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the Reeve's home is located among the residencies of the village.

4. Inn

An Inn supports travelers and traders, and can act as a place to eat and drink if there is no tavern. Additionally, an Inn provides common services for the villagers such as stables and a communal well. The presence of an Inn increases the population by 100.

If an Inn is absent, the Reeve's home and/or the Temple are built to accommodate the occasional traveling trader, merchant, or adventuring party. However, the guests will be beholden to the Reeve or Priest they stay with.

The type of die determines the quality of the Inn.
  • 1d4 - A small, single-story Inn. The rooms are cheap, drafty, and without hearths. The food is cheap and awful. There are 2 beds available.
  • 1d6 - A small, two-story Inn. The rooms are quite nice, and available at standard prices. The owner serves breakfast, but no other meals. There are 4 beds available.
  • 1d8 - A medium-sized, single-story Inn. The rooms are decent, and available at standard prices. The Inn serves food all day. There are 4 beds available.
  • 1d10 - A medium-sized, two-story Inn. The rooms are quite good, but expensive. The Inn serves food all day, including specials from a locally well-known chef. There are 8 beds available.
  • 1d20 - A small shack with a crooked, hand-painted sign hanging on it. Run by a Wizard (use Abjurer statistics, VGtM pg. 209) who can cast Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion. Charges exorbitant rates.
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Inn was the first building built in the village, and the area in front of it forms the village square. The innkeeper tells stories of their distant ancestor, who founded the village.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the Inn is a short ways away from town, and the villagers avoid it. Locals say it's haunted, but that doesn't stop travelers and traders from staying there. The innkeeper loves to hear and tell scary stories.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the inn is located among the residencies of the village.

5. Marketplace

A Marketplace serves as trading grounds for the village. Used by villagers and travelers alike, it also allows the village to hold festivals in the open area. The presence of a Marketplace increases the population by 100.

If a Marketplace is absent, the villagers will set up a makeshift market once a week, usually in the village center or along the largest road in the village.

The type of die determines the size of the Marketplace and how often it is used.
  • 1d6 - A small area that is used once a week, with villagers pulling wagons into the area to sell their wares.
  • 1d8 - A medium-sized area that is used three times a week, with small stalls set up for selling. Children play on them when they aren't in use.
  • 1d10 - A medium-sized area that is used once a week, with villagers pulling wagons into the area to sell their wares. Additionally, the villagers hold monthly festivals here in the open space.
  • 1d20 - A small area organized around a set of stalls. The most successful villager (use Noble statistics, MM pg. 348) can be found here at all times, selling their wares. The other villagers join in three times a week, pulling their wagons into the area.
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Marketplace is the hub of the village and forms its central square. The village is famous for certain products sold here.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the Marketplace is a short ways away from town, along a road leading to a larger settlement. The villagers don't like traders coming too much closer than the markets.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the Marketplace is formed in a small clearing between the residencies of the village.

6. Temple

A Temple serves as a gathering place for the village, as well as officiating marriages and funerals and offering church services and baptisms. The presence of a Temple increases the population by 100.

If a Temple is absent, the villagers are of many different faiths, and no one holds sway. Each residency will have a small shrine or offering table in a corner.

The type of die determines the type of Temple and who it serves.
  • 1d6 - A small stone building which contains several shrines. Though focused mostly on Gods of nature and harvest, the temple honors a variety of Gods. An Acolyte (MM pg. 342) oversees the temple, with minimal spellcasting ability.
  • 1d8 - A medium-sized wooden church house. The temple honors the God of the Harvest, and is usually empty unless services are being held. A Priest (use Druid statistics, MM pg. 346) oversees the temple, with spells focused on nature and weather.
  • 1d10 - A large stone structure dedicated to the God which the local ruling noble worships. The temple is large enough to serve as a meeting place for the villagers, and is often in use. A Priest (MM pg. 348) with average spellcasting ability oversees the temple.
  • 1d20 - A small, wooden structure that appears to be a normal residency. The temple secretly worships a fiendish God that offers bountiful crops in exchange for the soul of a virgin each midwinter's eve. The villagers know this, and size up travelers to determine if they could be kidnapped and sacrificed. All Commoners in the village gain the statistics of Cultists (MM pg. 345).
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Temple was the first building built in the village, and the area in front of it forms the village square. The Temple keeper believes the building is situated on holy ground, and indeed, the temple is under the effect of a Hallow spell.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the Temple is a short ways away from town, and the path leading to it is well-worn by the villagers. The Temple keeper is a solitary person who keeps to themselves, and the villagers respect their privacy.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the Temple is located among the residencies of the village.

7. Tavern

Most villagers don't have time for excess drinking and debauchery, but such a structure attracts travelers and traders alike to the settlement. The presence of a Tavern increases the population by 200.

If a Tavern is absent, the villagers are generally dour, and value hard work above carousing.

The type of die determines the size and offerings of the Tavern.
  • 1d8 - A medium-sized wooden building offering travelers a place to get cheap ale and food. The quality isn't great, and it's not that crowded. The Tavernkeep can offer a couple spare beds in a pinch.
  • 1d10 - A large stone structure with a fair selection of ales and a fine array of meals at standard prices. The locals have made the place their own, and it shows. The Tavernkeep has 2 beds available at high prices for travelers.
  • 1d20 - A large stone structure that you've heard rumors about. They sell a high-quality liquor that has the effect of a Potion (of the DM's choice) from the DMG. The place is crowded with adventurers and merchants, and everything is expensive but delicious. The Tavernkeep has 8 beds available.
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Tavern was the first building built in the village, and the area in front of it forms the village square. The Tavernkeep respects the village's peace and quiet, and is quick to toss out the rowdy.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the Tavern is a short ways away from town, with a path running between it and the rest of the residencies. The Tavern is often loud and wild through the night, since it is far enough from the village that the locals don't complain.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the Tavern is located among the residencies of the village.

8. Guard Post

Sometimes, a Reeve comes with a small contingent of guards to protect their village. Though not always respected, these guards always make a village safer. The presence of a Guard Post increases the population by 100.

If a Guard Post is absent, the villagers can be rallied into a torch-and-pitchfork mob by the Reeve or another prominent citizen within 1d4 hours.

The type of die determines the size and staff of the Guard Post.
  • 1d8 - A small wooden shack which houses 5 Guards (MM pg. 347). They do regular patrols and gamble or drink when off-duty.
  • 1d10 - A medium-sized stone structure which houses 10 Guards (MM pg. 347) and 5 Scouts (MM pg. 349). The Guards patrol the village, while the scouts keep an eye on the surrounding countryside. They are well-disciplined and train while not on-duty.
  • 1d20 - A group of 3 Veterans (MM pg. 350) sitting on chairs playing cards. The villagers know to raise an alarm if any trouble happens, and the Veterans arrive in 1d4 rounds to any combat in the village.
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Guard Post is located in the Village Center, which consists of any Major or Minor roads crossing through the village.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the Guard Post is located next to the entrance of the village, whether that is a Major or Minor road or simply a path.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the Guard Post is located among the residencies of the village.

9. Warehouse

Though most villagers prefer to store their own goods, a local warehouse with a guard can lead to better trading. The presence of a Warehouse increases the population by 100.

If a Warehouse is absent, the villagers will have sheds that contain their crops and livestock.

The type of die determines the size and staff of the Warehouse.
  • 1d10 - A medium-sized wooden structure with 2 Guards (MM pg. 347). They are locals who volunteered to perform this work.
  • 1d20 - An underground structure formed from an old ruin, an abandoned mine, or other subterranean building. A single Guard (MM pg. 347), a volunteer, watches the nondescript entrance.
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Warehouse is located in the Village Center, which consists of any Major or Minor roads crossing through the village.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the Warehouse is located near the border of the village, as far from the village's main path as is feasible.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the Warehouse is located among the residencies of the village.

10. Local Guild

These guild outposts are a very small splinter of a larger faction. These trade or social organizations often act as the largest social presence in the community. The presence of a Local Guild increases the population by 100.

If a Local Guild is absent, the villagers may or may not belong to a guild, but no more than two villagers will belong to the same guild.

The type of die determines the function of the Guild.
  • 1d10 - This trade guild serves as a place to train young adults in the main profession of the town. It is connected to a guild in a larger settlement, and its rules are derived from there. The building is a large structure outfitted with the necessary equipment to apprentice young craftsfolk, and membership is restricted to members of the guild's profession.
  • 1d20 - Though it looks like a standard residency, this building houses a social order that is common for villagers to join. Membership may be restricted by gender, age, or race, but villagers of all professions are able to join this community. They have rules and rituals that are not well-known to outsiders.
Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Local Guild is located in the Village Center, and dominates the social scene of the village. There are as few restrictions as possible on membership, and nearly every villager counts themselves among the guild.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the Local Guild is on the outskirts of the village. Membership is very limited, and even others in the village aren't sure what goes on there.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the Local Guild is located among the residencies of the village.

11-17. Traveling Merchant

A Traveling Merchant happens to be in the village at the same time as the party. If the party returns, roll 1d8. Treat a 1-7 as 11-17 to determine merchant type, and treat 8 as no merchant.

Additionally, note the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Merchant can be found in the village center.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the Merchant can be found at the village outskirts, not allowed further into the village for some reason.
  • If the die is anywhere else, the Merchant is wandering the streets, peddling their wares.

18-19. Stronghold

The village has a stronghold that allows the villagers to take cover in case of an attack. Check the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the Stronghold lies in the center of the village. It is just large enough to allow the village's population to take shelter there, but it doesn't have much more room. If possible, it surrounds the Reeve's home, the Inn, or the Guard Post.
  • If the die is the outermost die or anywhere else, the entire village is contained within the stronghold walls. The villagers may need to open a gate before travelers can enter.

20. Water

The village contains a body of water. Check the position of the die.
  • If the die is the centermost die, the village center has a large fountain. It lies along a major or minor road if possible.
  • If the die is the outermost die, the village is surrounded by a moat. There is a bridge leading over any major or minor road.
  • If the die is anywhere else, there is a small pond among the residencies.

Whew! So, with all that, we can finally write up a detailed description of this little village:

For reference
The village lies along a major road, part of a trade route between major settlements surrounding the village. A smaller road connects the village to a sister village nearby. The Reeve of the village is a friend of the commoners, and is trusted to be amicable towards local and visitor alike. Near the major road lies a small, two-story Inn. The rooms are quite nice, and available at standard prices. The owner serves breakfast, but no other meals. There are 4 beds available.

The village's Marketplace is the hub of the village and forms its central square. The village is famous for certain products sold here. It is a medium-sized area that is used three times a week, with small stalls set up for selling. Children play on them when they aren't in use. Finally, outside the village, a travelling merchant selling tools, kits, and instruments has set up a small cart. For some reason, the villagers don't want the merchant using their marketplace, and thus he remains on the outskirts of town near the minor road. Houses in the village and surrounding farmland support a population of around 600 people.

All that, with a single roll and a bit of charting! I can already see some plots developing around that traveling merchant - perhaps the village is famous for selling the same wares as the merchant, and they don't want the merchant to encroach on their business. Maybe the merchant is a half-orc or tiefling, trying to work their way into the confidence of the villagers. The village has a friendly Reeve and comfortable Inn, so it's even more suspicious that this merchant would be denied entrance. Maybe there's some cultural or religious differences?
http://jerry8448.deviantart.com/
Works for any race - just change "Reeve" to "Elflord"

I hope this was interesting, or helpful at least to understand how to make realistic villages. Since this is going to turn into a series, we'll have a normal wednesday article next week, but after that I want to do a town generator. Ironically, doing things on a larger scale should be slightly easier!

Thanks for reading!