Character Home Bases Part II: How To Create Villages Fast
Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0758
Last tip I rambled on about building character home bases and several ways you can invite players to care about them.
While the Hobos of the Apocalypse will likely be creating a village community from ground up, I will want other villages to exist in the Good Faction held territory to flesh the region out a bit.
You might need quick and simple villages for your campaign too.
So here’s a quick way to generate a village. If you own Campaign Logger, you can use its generators to do this in moments.
If you don’t yet own Campaign Logger, you can download this village generator PDF to help out.
Step 1. Village Essentials
In one or two words, detail the following basic Village Stat Block:
Outer Defence: How does the community protect itself? What’s the first “layer” the PCs encounter?
Governance: Who or what rules the place? What’s the political power the PCs need to factor in?
Economy: How does the village survive?
You can infer a lot from this simple stat block.
Defences indicate the types of threats the village faces. People would only spend the resources to build a stone wall with towers if threatened by something powerful and serious, whereas a shallow trench with stakes indicates minor threats such as wild animals.
Governance signals culture. A town council speaks to democracy or at least factions. A wizard leader indicates possible serfdom or servitude.
Economy communicates how the community interacts with others in the region. How do others see and value this place?
Step 2. Add Plot (No Pun Intended)
Let’s make this place an adventure opportunity.
Give the village a legend. Scooby Doo style. “The Headless Axeman” or “The Beast in the Cave.”
A local legend gets PCs curious and hooks them in. It also gives you something immediate to roleplay. Because the villagers will love to tell stories and issue warnings about their legend.
Also add a few rumours. Gossip drives community. Who’s having an affair with whom? Which families are mortal rivals? Who’s stealing stuff? Who’s about to get married?
Last, put a name to at least one interesting location or potential site that lurks near the village.
Step 3. Add NPCs
My favourite! NPCs drive roleplaying better than any other GM tool.
So give your village a few quick 3 Line NPCs to encounter the party when they enter.
Use these NPCs to confer the flavour and culture of the village.
Use these NPCs to drop hints about the legend.
Also drop hooks about any outlying adventure areas.
And, of course, use your NPCs to help the party spend or lose its hard-won treasure! On Friday, fingers crossed, I’ll give you an example village using this three step recipe. See you then!