Friday, August 7, 2015

Assigning RPG traits to Hamlets, Towns, and Boroughs

When your party rolls into a new area of civilization, you can roll some dice to see what the locals and their locale are like. There are key letters for each result, and you can seed them into a place's name, or make the street be the shapes of those letters so that it is easy to remember/record what the area is like.

If you add Luck (DCC style) to the rolls, you'll be looking at the PC in the party that has the most to gain from a roll. So thieves want a good economy, and Clerics want a good religious environment. Luck is the most easily ignored part of these tables though. If you play another elfgame, it's really easy to have everyone generate a 3d6 Luck score.

For our purposes, borough will refer to a district of a city. It may be walled off from other districts. You can give a city 1d7 boroughs if you want, or decide. You might decide the whole city acts like a borough for any given trait.

Economy (1d3 PLUS someone's Luck mod for anything below a borough, 1d10 for anything above that):
  1. ER: Everyone Ravenous. They might let you sleep in your shack to repay kindnesses.
  2. BA: Strictly bartering. No metal-smiths. Only 50% likely to have adventure gear items for barter.
  3. CO: Can handle a copper-based economy. Might have enough change for your gold or silver-purchased goods.
  4. RE: Regular coin usage in effect. Baffled by anyone with platinum though.
  5. PL: Platinum and then some. There might be some hard bargaining for other treasure.
  6. GM: Gems, rubies,amethysts, etc. can all be sold at a fair price.
  7. (or higher) AR: Artwork and fine goods can be appraised and auctioned off or fenced.

Law enforcement (1d4 for anything below a borough, 1d10+ opposite of Luck mod for anything above that, also add +2 for fantastic locales, but keep the economy in mind and adjust accordingly):
  1. AN: Anarchy of the kind where bandits come into the saloon daily to pick fights with the PCs.
  2. SO: Sole figure, like a sheriff or poor lord, has to take care of the entire area by their self. They are probably helpless against local bandit groups.
  3. GA: A gang, such as a yakuza organization, deals with troublemakers while enjoying corrupt power.
  4. CN: A constabulary with 2d14 soldiers takes care of the town and mans a perfunctory town wall.
  5. BR: A barracks housing 2d30 militia is in place. They have fortified the area with a tall wall and man gates that everyone must go through. Occasional patrols.
  6. AR: Many barracks and soldiers. Regular patrols. Can respond to any alarm in diminishing 1d10 minutes (roll a d10 and check for a 1 to see if they've arrived, if not wait rolled minutes and then roll a d8 and so on down the die chain).
  7. GE: Gestapo has agents everywhere. Urchins and beat-cops regularly demand bribes, especially from outsiders. They'll turn in their own mothers if given the chance. Fences 20% likely to inform the gestapo of PC activities.
  8. WE: Weapons must be surrendered upon entering this area. Items such as small knives and kindling axes are allowed unless the guards have a poor reaction roll to the PCs. They'll be happy to take the weapons into their storage for a fee that may be reasonable.  
  9. SE: Siege resistance weapons and fortifications abound. This place mostly focuses on defending against rival armies or some kind of dragon-level threat.
  10. IR: The iron-grip of law is supported by alarms on everyone's house eves, and legions of city guard patrol regularly, itching to fight because there are not enough wars. WHY CAN'T THERE BE MORE WAR?!
  11. SU: Supernatural justice will show up within moments of someone committing a crime. The langoliers or what have you see all. More will probably show up if you kill the first wave. Or they might send a big guy.
  12. OH: Oh shit, some kind of entity like The Lady of Pain stalks the area, daring players to test her. 
  13. CM: The computer controls all and sees all. Do you have code blue status, citizen?

Openness: (1d5+Luck for anything below a borough, 1d10 for above, locals might start fights with those who try to come in anyway, and law enforcement has their back)
  1. FU: Fuck off, retches, no outsiders allowed. Oh wait... do you have lots of money?
  2. DE: Demi-humans are not to be trusted. Keep them chained in cold iron at all times.
  3. NO: No way we are letting anyone freaky in here. That includes dog-headed men, lizard-men, and especially wizards.
  4. MR: Merchants and their entourages are welcome. Merchants are responsible for any infractions their underlings take.
  5. OK: Okay with all races and monster hirelings as long as they behave.
  6. HA: A haven where weirdos are encouraged. 
  7. + SH: Shrugs all around. You ain't nothing we haven't seen before.
Religion (1d10 plus Luck):
  1. DE: Demons hold sway here. Horrors walk the streets. The people probably made some kind of compact with them or are them. 
  2. CU: Hi! Would you like to talk about Cthulhu? We have a great cult hidden under our veneer of civilization. Join us or be eaten by our dark eidolon. Make this a druid-dominated area if cults are played out in your campaign.
  3. WO: We have one rule for our one dark god that must be followed. For instance, all dead bodies are given over to the kindly ones, no exceptions. 
  4. AP: Local monarch has apotheosized, at least legally. All praise to them. Might be ignored if far enough from the capital.
  5. WA: War gods, blood gods, kill your baby gods. We have all the gods that desperate people love in these hard times.
  6. NR: Normal pantheons of good and evil deities have shrines here. Gotta appease them all!
  7. HR: Hearth deities and house deities are the flavor here. Do you have your lucky charms? Did you offer wine to the statuette your kitchen-shrine this night?
  8. IN: Inscrutable religious practices mean the PCs will offend someone with a sin of omission ere long.
  9. AL: It takes all kinds. We don't care what you worship. Plenty of shrines, some of them generic.
  10. GO: Good deities and temples. Everyone one step more open than previously generated.
  11. PI: Piety is the order of the day. Godly PCs are treated reverentially as long as they are overtly lawful-stupid about their dress, deeds, and actions.
Customs and attitudes: (roll a d14 and get creative):
  1. FE: Are having a festival right now. What is it for?
  2. GE: Have a peculiar greeting style. What do they say or do?
  3. TA: Have a taboo that they will get excited about. What are they gonna pop monocles over?
  4. DI: Speak a weird dialect. Of what language?
  5. SP: Are superstitious. Name 1d3 things they must (not) do.
  6. EV: Must evoke a diety's name when talking about anyone in the third person. Which dieity?
  7. GV: Have a funky government model. Choose one.
  8. AR: Have 1d3 sacred or weird structures or features. What are they?
  9. ID: Have an allegiance to an ideal. What's that? Are they neutrals?
  10. TR: Pay tribute to some entity on the regular. What is it? A dragon? A pit?
  11. DP: Have a death penalty for that one crime. Which crime?
  12. GR:Have an ancient grudge against one group. Which group or race?
  13. WE: Wear peculiar garments
  14. OD: Have odd pets, livestock or mounts. It's rideable blonde humans, right?

Let's see it in action

Okay, so let me roll up a city division. AR, BR, HA, NR, GR. Artwork selling, barracked soldiers, haven for weirdos, normal pantheon, and a grudge against, uh... elves! Screw elves.

I then write those letters on the page and decide what areas of interest are around them (I kinda had them tie in with the letters that they are near). In retrospect, I'd probably want to write the letter pairs I generated on the map too, though it's not too hard to make them out. Basically the letters are for the main streets (in red). There may be lots of alleys not really visible, because alleys should be a thing that might be there if the PC needs one and is lucky.  You might note that since elves are shunned (and oddly any other race is just fine) in this place, I made them a ghetto near the city sewers, just outside the walls. The history museum in the result that generated this is all about how elves are the worst. I threw in a few gates and a river to keep people alive.  Finally, I based the name off of the generated letters. I have a feeling everything might have an arabic ring to it using this method.

I'm happy. It gave me ideas. I declare it a useful tool for DMs. But you may also just want to use my picture method for a less fiddly creation. Who needs a map, really? Well me, if it gives me good ideas. But you could totally skip the map for this post's methods too.
But what about Law/Chaos? Don't roll that. Instead, think about the area you've made and what kind of personages it might generate. Individuals are aligned, not areas. Powerful individuals might hold great sway, mind you.

If you spot a typo or don't have g+, you can just email me. Claytonian at the gmails.