"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Mind Wanders to the Wilderlands

I have had a bunch of free time lately and I have really enjoyed reading Chgowiz's posts on sandbox prep for his Ultima game here and here. His process of developing towns is similar to my own.

I pulled out my Wilderlands of High Fantasy boxed set the other day and started thinking about a B/X game. I decided to fill some time with working up a homebase and some adventure hooks.

To determine a starting point I rolled a d20 and came up with a "7". Map 7 is The Desert Lands - sounds cool. I want the starting homebase to be human-focused. A couple of more rolls to determine a random hex results in the nearest human settlement to be Blackmarsh (hex 5027). Not near the Holy Cities but it has potential.
"Once a small but thriving port, fewer and fewer ships and boats anchor off the coast of this village. Unseasonable storms, strangely shifting currents, and violent sea life now drive away shipping. Locals still bring their produce to market and barter for luxuries. Dried vegetables and leather goods are plentiful. A group of especially hardy Skandiks maintains a small trading post near the waterfront, braving the unpleasant weather to trade in gold, timber and spices."

The steps I take to develop a town are to figure out what is present in seven different categories:
1. Lodgings
2. Provisions
3. Temples
4. Wizards
5. Hirelings
6. Lords (Barons, High Priests, etc.)
7. Rumours

1. Lodgings - two Inns, one by the waterfront and one by the town market. Both are average in quality and cost.

2. Provisions - Rereading the entry for Blackmarsh and using the Judges Guild Villages sourcebooks determine some of the goods and services available in Blackmarsh.
A. Waterfront/Docks - NPC: Gladstone Currentfollower (Level 2 Elf, portmaster)
B. Community Warehouse (near waterfront) - NPC: Mirk Whitnock (level 2 Thief, customs officer)
C. Townsquare/Market - anything on the equipment list is available on a 1 to 5 on a d6.
D. Boat Maker (near waterfront)
E. Sail Maker (near waterfront)
F. Carpenter (near market)
G. Tinsmith (near market) - goods are expensive.
H. Rope maker (near waterfront)
I. Leather worker (near market)
J. Blacksmith (near waterfront)
K. Trading Post (near waterfront)

3. Temples - Temple to Yamm (Egyptian god of the sea) - NPC Cleric, Temple to Ra, Shrine to Odin.

4. Wizards - Mondugus Marow (level 5 M-U, mayor), Spellbook: 1-Read Magic, Ventriloquism, 2-Mirror Image, Phantasmal Force, 3- Invisibility 10' radius.
- NPC (level 2 magic-user), Spellbook: 1-Detect Magic, Read Languages.

5. Hirelings - given the current environment PCs gain a +1 bonus to rolls on the Retainer Reactions Table (page B21) when talking to sailors.

6. Lords - Mayor: Mondugus Marow (see Wizards)

7. Rumours (roll d6)
1. The priest of the Temple of Yamm is hiring mercenaries and is looking to hire a ship.
1a. "Why would he risk a voyage with these unseasonable storms?"
1b. "It doesn't matter where he goes. Yamm has forsaken him."
1c. "Yamm has given the priest a vision of something to correct the storms and tides and save the village."
1d. "A thief snuck into the temple and stole something. Yamm is punishing the village for its inattentiveness."
2. An emissary from Questravale has arrived and is meeting with the mayor.
2a. The mayor is looking for someone to hunt down one of the wild warthogs that live in the plains to the west so that it may be cooked for a banquet while the emissary is here.
2b. Once preaching hatred, the priests of Questravale have begun to make much more moderate pronouncements. Is this a change in attitude or a ploy of some kind?
3. A small tribe of orcs have constructed a crude tower to the south. Rumour has it that they recently captured a caravan from the mines at Bassan.
4. A huge emerald statue of a giant frog rests on the highest point of a small island to the north. But beware of the savages!
5. There is a beached longship on an island to the south, It is rumoured that when the moonlight reflects off a silver plated ram's head carved upon the bow the light points toward a buried treasure of gold and silver sharks teeth.
6. The boat maker is responsible for the storms and tides. He worships a vile demon and Yamm is punishing us for allowing him in our midst.