We Built this City in D&D – Greenfang – Getting Criminal
We’ve already talked what Greenfang is known for and why it was built where it was. We’ve talked about how the merchant guilds run the show around Greenfang and how they have mercenaries to keep the peace, but how well do they really keep the peace?
I think that the criminal underworld is one of those things that is tricky to get right in a city. I find that it tends to go to one of two extremes. Either, there is little to none criminal activity in the city because you’re just supposed to shop there and not look for trouble or look beyond the surface of where you’re at, or everyone is involved in a conspiracy. Now, both have some issues, the main one being that it isn’t all that realistic. We know that organized crime and gangs exist in the real world, and they have throughout history, so why is a D&D town different? It shouldn’t be.
Let’s get back to Greenfang though, what sort of criminals are going to be there?
Outside of the town you’re definitely going to have a larger number of bandits than you would normally watching the roads because they are going to be trying to hit up caravans, or, more likely, they are going to try and deal with adventuring parties that come into town for the auctions on goods because they are going to be loaded with money and not yet have the gear that they want. Most likely there is going to be more organized group that is pretty specific on whom they hit. Then there will be a few who have split off from that group or who try and go it on their own from the start who end up having shorter careers as bandits.
The organized group of bandits, The Green Falcons, are going to know to avoid the merchant guild caravans because those are going to have better guards, and even if they don’t, the merchant guilds are going to hit back hard with their mercenaries if they lose a caravan. So, the Green Falcons are likely going to try and keep the random bandits down as well, like the merchant guilds would want, because the merchant guilds would crack down on all bandits if they lost a caravan. The Green Falcons would also have people in the city who are sending information back out to the bandit camp wherever that is located. It probably wouldn’t be someone in every guild, but there would probably be a couple around who are gathering information when a guild is going to send out mercenaries to crack down on the bandits.
Beyond that, I think Greenfang is going to be more focused on the white collar crimes. That’s what the guilds are going to crack down on but also what the cons that people are going to try and pull. You likely always have dirty money changers who are keeping some extra for themselves. The merchant guilds are probably going to consider that the cost of doing business and as long as it’s not too much, they won’t make a stink about it.
I think, also with so much money being in town you are going to find that there is gambling. I would suspect that there is some guild in town that all they do is run different fights, tournaments and stuff like that to keep people entertained, especially since it’s in the middle of no where. But that’s probably fairly tame and while someone might die, it probably doesn’t happen too often. So, most likely there is going to be something going on under the table, a secret gambling den either for fights, games or chance or possibly both. This is going to be ignored by the merchant guilds because it doesn’t take any money from their pockets, just the pockets of their employees.
So Greenfang is definitely going to have a criminal side to the town. There’s probably even a good amount of money to be made if you are careful about it, and at all points in time there is probably someone trying to get rich by scamming one of the guilds. In your game, that’s useful for your story because you can either have your adventuring party brought in to help stop it sometime. Your adventuring party, though, might be blamed for it if they have been in the town too long and because they are the “new” people. Also, a battle or two with bandits seems very likely since they aren’t probably going to be coming in with a caravan. Or it’s possible that the players are brought in to deal with some bandits as part of a larger crackdown and some extra bodies are needed. The thing with all of these story hooks is that they aren’t going to be your whole game, but a good bit of combat if you want something simpler and also a good way to get your players involved with the guilds if you need it for your story line.
Next, we’re going to talk about religion in the city as well as how the city might physically be laid out.