Thursday, January 31, 2013

Populating the villages--Doonbeg

Now that I’ve taken care of local cartography, the next step in building my world is detailing the towns and villages of the local area.  The area I’m working with is sparsely inhabited, so none of the villages will be remotely large, which should make detailing them slightly easier.  At this point, I’m not actually mapping these villages, and in fact there’s no pressing need to do so.  Later on,  I might do so, but that might be more of an attempt to see what Campaign Cartographer can do with villages than anything else. 

The World Builder’s Guidebook breaks down detailing communities into the following steps.  First, size and population, which defines the community in terms of 500 person “blocks.”  Smaller communities, which we’ll probably be dealing with here, have in general 20d20 (20-400) people. Part of this is also coming up with its physical description.  Secondly, there is a fairly detailed chart indicating the services and jobs available in the community.  Some of these need to be slightly modified based on the community concept—for example, there’s not likely to be any full-time shipwrights in Doonbeg, but there might in Landsberg, and there would def. be one in Furrst.  Thirdly, we come to demographics.  The WBG assumes that 5-10% of the population in a cut above the rest, and have a class and level (all others are 0 level).  Half of them would be level 1, half again level 2, all the way up until we’ve hit the limit.  So, in a town of 500, there could be 50 classed NPC’s.  25 are level  1, 13 are level 2, 6 are level 3, 3 are level 3, 2 are level 4, and 1 would be level 5.  There’s then a percentage breakdown based on class—i.e., fighters are more common than wizards.  Fourth, we actually come up with a couple of interesting NPC’s, who may or may not be the classed ones we figured out above—the PC’s might be more interested in the 0-level yet gregarious inn keeper than the 3rd level Sergeant of the Watch, after all.  It’s only after that we need to worry about mapping the community, if we feel the need to at all.

All right, having said that, I want to get going developing some of my towns.  I’m going to focus on the smaller Bog People villages, and will do Landsberg last.  At this point, I’m not going to bother detailing either the Goblin or the Mossmen villages—neither I imagine have much in the way of services to offer the players, and they are not organized into anything like what a human town would be. 

Moving from north to south, we first deal with Doonbeg.  The northernmost community is the most heavily defended of the villages, and is under constant threat of Goblin raids.  It’s also seeing its economic and political influence slowly fade thanks to the arrival of Landsberg.  First, I need to roll its population.  A village in a sparsely settled land has 1d4-3 population blocks.  I actually rolled a “4” for this, meaning the population is roughly 500 people.  This fits my idea for it pretty well, so I keep the result.  It also makes the next step easier, as I won’t have to modify the results for “blocks fewer than 500.”  The population isn’t EXACTLY 500, of course, but its close enough for us to go forward. We’ve already done some work on Doonbeg’s physical description—a good sized village full of many sod built longhouses, surrounded by a rammed earth, a basic ditch, and a stout palisade.

Next, we need to see what services Doonbeg offers.  It’s a fairly large table to roll on, so I’m just going to post the results. Here’s what I come up with:

1 Baker
1 inn
3 Taverns
1 Blacksmith
4 Traders
1 Cobbler
2 Leatherworkers
1 Miller
2 Tanners
1 Weaver
1 Woodworker
1 Bowyer/Fletcher
1 Jeweler
1 Tailor
1 Weaponsmith
2 Teamsters
1 Barber
1 Dragoman
1 Fence
1 Interpreter
2 Laborers
1 Minstrel
1 Priest

Doonbeg is actually relatively bustling.  It’s obviously a center of trade (an inn and 3 taverns), has a few full time merchants/traders, Teamsters, and free laborers who are looking for odd jobs.  There’s also a full time minstrel, an Interpreter (probably quite proficient in a number of languages) and a Dragoman.  Now, a Dragoman is more of a local “fixer”—someone hired by outsiders to help get things done—they know the local languages, the people, where to buy things, and how to get things done.  All for a small fee, of course.  The fence is probably a full time merchant, but unlike the others, he’s willing to buy gold jewelry and dented goblin armor without asking any questions. 

As for the Demographics of Doonbeg, we’ll go with the ratios we worked out before—500 people, 50 are PC level, and broken down the following: --25 are level  1, 13 are level 2, 6 are level 3, 3 are level 3, 2 are level 4, and 1 would be level 5.  70% of these are fighters & thieves—so, that’s 35.  10 are priests or bards, with 5 being wizards. 

Here’s my take on what I rolled.  The Fighters and Thieves are actually broken down into 18 fighters, 8 rangers, and 7 thieves.  Most of the fighters work as normal farmers in the village, but are known for their ruggedness and willingness to take the fight to the goblins.  I really can’t anything like a thief’s guild operating in Doonbeg, so I’ll say that most of them and the rangers make their living out in the wild, as hunters.  Of the 10 priests and bards, I’ll say that 4 of them are in town.  2 clerics of the Galtic faith, here to spread the Word, 1 secret follower of some banned god or other, and the minstrel is a bard, though most are completely unaware of his magical abilities. The remaining 6 are actually druids who live near the area, but slightly off on their own.  Finally we have 5 mages, which is a bit more than I was assuming in this village.  I could pull the GM fiat card, but so far I’ve rather liked the random results, so I’m going to keep them.  I’ll say they are a secretive group of merchants and tradesmen, secretly learning ancient elven lore, and always fearful they might get caught.

Levelwise, I’ll say the highest level character is a Druid, the local religious leader.  Level 4 is a Ranger and a Fighter—the Ranger is a well-respected scout and hunter, while the Fighter is the Chief of the village.  Level 3 characters are one of the mages (the self-proclaimed “High Sorcerer” of their little group), one is a fighter (the chiefs second son, the first is just a sad disappointment), and the other is the Galtic priest.  The rest are all level 1 or 2.

Now, we don’t need to detail a lot of the NPC’s in this village, but I will take the time to work out some of the major ones.  I’m going to take a spin on the “General Traits” table to help come up with the NPC’s.  Here’s what I come up with.

Class & Level
Fighter 4
Fighter 3
Chiefs Son
Mage 3
High Sorcerer
Druid 5
Chief Druid
Thief 2
Cleric 3
Mage 1
Thief 1
Fighter 2
Fighter 1
Tavern keeper

And Doonbeg is basically done.  I’m going to go ahead and work up the other villages of the land.  The WBG comes with a decent Village sheet, which I’m going to slightly modify and use for tracking my own communities.  

Vampire 5th Edition, After Action Report

I was finally able to run a game with the 5th Edition play-test rules , using the provided scenario The Last Night .  I've posted previo...