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…
Tag: campaign building
Alright, time to wrap up the city build, there is so much more that I could talk about, there is actually building out shops and places like that, but I wanted to keep this at a slightly higher level since you don’t need to see…
Alright, I was going to write something board game related today or talk about the book that I just finished, but I wanted to get back to writing about and building out my city for D&D because D&D is really on my brain. And it isn’t something that I’ve done before, spending the time to build out the city.
So let’s talk about the thing that I said was needed first, and that was a name. And the cities name is Greenfang.
Alright, the article is done, you can all go home now.
No, let’s talk a bit more about it and start to talk about where and what this city is.
Greenfang, as a name, doesn’t imply this big sprawling metropolis with a lot of rich people who want a nice and comfortable life. I would put, and I think for the city, it out into the wilderness. Probably deep in the woods on a river. The reason that there’s a city there is a little bit limited. Greenfang is probably other a hub of trade, meaning that it has several different trade routes going into and out of it, or it’s a logging community that then sends everything down the river, or both.
For my city, Greenfang was a small trading post, but things changed when ore was found in one of the nearby mountains. Now, dwarves trade ore from the mountains with humans and elves and whomever is willing to buy. While shipping the ore down the river worked to reach some of their potential customers, other peddlers and the like started creating roads through the woods, and more powerful merchant guilds from neighboring lands have hired mercenaries to watch the forest routes. The forest routes are the most dangerous, but players want the ore and the armor/weapons that the dwarves are forging.
Greenfang, since it wasn’t much of a town until there was ore, so the name hasn’t been made fancy, and it’s probably more of a rough and tumble town. And it’s probably something where the city has spread out into the forest and to both sides of the river. I think that it’s more of a sprawling city, versus something that gets built up with tall buildings. These buildings are a bit more rustic and rough looking, most of them wood buildings with a few of the larger buildings being a combination of stone and wood, but there are no pure stone buildings or any buildings that stand more than two levels in height.
You can see what the name is able to imply. I’ll dig into some of the ideas that I’ve talked about here and how they are going to continue to to shape the idea for the city in the next article. In fact, the next article is going to dig into the trade aspect to see how the city might be set-up and spread out and how a city building up because of ore will look differently than other cities.
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Oh boy, we’re talking about everyone’s hot button issue, the economy and it’s best friend politics. Fortunately, it’s the economy of a fictional D&D town, so that should be less of a sticking point and how it’s important for creating your fictional city and make…
At this point in time Greenfang is getting close to being built. We’ve talked about the economy, the politics, the criminal aspect of the town. All of these things are really going to drive the plots that you can surrounding Greenfang. But, they don’t really…
Alright, I said I was going to talk about town building, but I am going to wrap that into what I would then do to plan session one. I think that a fair amount of my work is already taken care of when it comes to the hook, but depending on how you wanted to go, that might just be a little bit of game play for everyone to introduce their characters at the end of session 0.
But I tend to split up character creation and some of the planning that goes into a campaign that the group can do together into a session 0, and then in session 1 is when the game play actually starts.
So what was our hook again?
Our Fighter, Cleric, and Wizard who all know the Paladin were helping defend the temple after the powerful Wizard in the town demanded that everyone gives him all their gems in order to prevent some unknown future disaster. The temple has several gems of great value, and now there is a mob outside the door that is fighting, some trying to break in and get the gems, and some trying to stop the other side from stealing things.
Okay, so what do I need to set-up for session 1 with the hook?
You might think about picking my monsters who will play the mob, and giving them hit points and weapons. But for me, I don’t think that’s extremely important. I tend to think that the mob will have a few key players and whatever side the players decide to go with, they will face off against the other sides keys. So I might go through and quickly grab a couple of bad guys, but that’s less important than other things to me.
What does the temple look like and where are the gems, that’s more important. The gems are likely kept in a back room, probably attached to some ancient relic. If the players want to protect it, they are going to have to go outside of the temple or deal with the people as they come crashing through the door. The main area of the temple has some chandeliers and some pews as well as an altar in the front.
Outside of the temple is the town square where there are a couple of other temples in other parts of the square. There are also some of the nicer and fancier shops, the best blacksmith in town, or the one who advertises himself as that. There’s also a “the best” woodworker and other such businesses. In the middle of what is generally a fairly open square there’s a stand where the local noble will give speeches.
You can start to see how the town is coming together for what the players need to know. The temples, while frequented by most of the people in the town are also in the nicer section or more expensive section of the town. In fact, it’s probably a mob of more commoners up against the city watch at this point, with some people who are worried about their businesses also with the watch.
The mob is going to be coming from off in the direction of the city bazaar where most of the common people shop to get their wares as compared to the town center. The mob will definitely have picked up some looters as well with the group who are going to be causing the city watch to have to split their attention which is why they aren’t driving back the common folk.
If the players want, they can probably turn the mob aside to a jewelry merchant, which might seem like a better place to go, but the jewelry shop is better secured, and the common people know more about the temple than they do about that shop.
At this point in time, I don’t know that I would flesh out too much more about the town or for session one. If things go quickly as they fight against the mob and try and get it turned, which it won’t because the players will spend some time planning, then I would have to move onto the next part of the story.
That would be skipping ahead a day and either having the Wizard or Grima Wormtongue character coming and thanking the players if they helped the jewels get stolen, or the noble for helping turn the tide of the mob, or the noble complaining about them not turning the tide of the mob. But whatever it would be, it would be some role playing for the players to do.
That’s a bit more free form and requires less planning. Just know what stat block you’re planning on using for the noble, wizard, and Wormtongue, just in case the players decide to attack. And if they do that, have the person do non-lethal damage to the characters. Unless you decide to have the players all play the B-Team.
And what’s how I’d create my first session and start building out the town. You can see that I left a lot of the town building blank. I’d start asking the players, if they start wondering, for shop ideas that the rich would want in the town center. The players can help you fill out the town and even come up with some of the physical characteristics of what the city watch might look like, what the noble or wizard could even look like as well. It means that you have to be ready to improvise and work with it on the fly, but it will give the players even more buy-in to the world and story.
What do you think of that session 1? Would you have planned out more of it in your game, or maybe less of it? How much input do the players have in world building?
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So a couple of days ago I started building out a D&D Campaign – the first part can be found here. I want to try and write on it and add in more things a couple of times a week at least, might be more often than that.
Now, I will say that this is a bit more granular than I might build, but I do think it’ll be a good exercise for me as I look at getting back into DM’ing after a few weeks off. I also think that a little bit more detailed approach, especially up front, will help me know what to do next in the story.
But let’s talk about Magic!
Where we left off in the previous article was some world building. I had determined that I wanted to play in a smaller location than world hopping adventurers. So it was a trade town known for mining granite for nobles. So the question is, how much magic would there be in a town like that?
I think, starting looking at it, there would probably be a fair amount of magic from whatever temples are there. So there is going to be a fair amount of divine magic, I’d think. So you’d have your paladins and clerics who are casting some spells and probably are there primarily as healers.
I also think, because it’s a fairly remote area, you’d likely have some druids around as well. While they might not be a part of the normal society, they likely would be around the fringes, taking care of the woodland creatures, and probably butting heads with the town in some ways. If the mining starts to displace creatures or destroy groves, they likely would take up issue with them.
Warlocks seem to naturally show up in most D&D and fantasy RPG societies, because as long as there is someone who has a lot of power, there are people who are going to be willing to make a deal with them for better or worse, and the same with Sorcerers because a Sorcerers magic happens more naturally and flows out of them without the training you need to be a wizard.
That brings us to the one that is the biggest question, would there be a wizard in the town? Wizards are generally very learned, and I don’t think even a medium sized trading town, like the one that I’m building, would have a wizarding school in it. That education wouldn’t be something that is highly valued. So anyone who does show that ability would either get limited teaching from some voodoo style of wizard, which there might be one or two in the area, but that would be about it, or they would get sent off to a larger city to learn. Obviously, that would only be the children of some of the richer people in the town, the poorest would likely only get that limited training focused more on controlling the magic than anything else.
However, for this campaign, I think that there is one person in the town who is a powerful wizard, and they have a tower. I see it as part of the towns political structure. There’s the noble who is in charge of the town, but the wizard, who is kind of a recluse has a lot of sway over the town as well, because they are powerful and people are scared of them. This can be a solid starting point for conflict in the story. The wizard says one thing and the noble says another. Do you disobey the person who can blast you with lightning or do you go against the person who could raise taxes or arrest you?
I think that actually is starting to lead us into the next part which will come out next week, D&D Campain Building: The Hook.
How would you have used magic in the society that was built in the first article? Would you have put in a wizarding school? Is magic common in your games?
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