To make a home base come alive, you'll need to
invest some time fleshing out details, but the players
can help you w ith that work. Ask them to tell you a bit
about m entors, family members, and other important
people in their characters' lives. Feel free to add to and
modify what th ey give you, but you'll start with a solid
foundation of the non player characters (NPCs) who are
important to the characters. Let the players describe
where and how their characters spend their time- a
favorite tavern, library, or temple, perhaps.
Using these NPCs and locations as a starting point,
flesh out the settlement's cast of characters. Detail
its leadership, including law enforcement (discussed
later in the chapter). Include characters who can
provide information, such as sages, soothsayers,
librarians, and observant vagabonds. Priests can
provide spellcasting as well as information. Make note
of merchants who might regularly interact with the
adventurers and perhaps compete with one another for
the party's business. Think about the people who run
the adventurers' favorite tavern. And then add a handful
of wild cards: a shady dealer, a mad prophet, a retired
mercenary, a drunken rake, or anyone else who adds a
dash of adventure and intrigue to your campaign.
A village harboring a secret cult of devil worshipers. A
town controlled by a guild of wererats. A city conquered
by a hobgoblin army. These settlements aren't merely
rest stops but locations where adventures unfold. In
a settlement that doubles as an adventure location,
detail the intended adventure areas, such as towers
and warehouses. For an event-based adventure, note
the NPCs who play a part in the adventure. This
work is adventure preparation as much as it is world
building, and the cast of characters you develop for
your adventure-including allies, patrons, enemies, and
extras-can become recurring figures in your campaign.
Most settlements in a D&D world are villages clustered
around a larger town or city. Farming villages supply the
town or city population with food in exchange for goods
the farmers can't produce themselves. Towns and cities
are the seats of the nobles who govern the surrounding
area, and who carry the responsibility for defending the
villages from attack. Occasionally, a local lord or lady
lives in a keep or fortress with no nearby town or city.
Population: Up to about 1,
Government: A noble (usually not a resident) rules the
village, with an appointed agent (a reeve) in residence
to adjudicate disputes and collect taxes.
Defense: The reeve might have a small force of soldiers.
Otherwise, the village relies on a citizen militia.
Commerce: Basic supplies are readily available,
possibly from an· inn or a trading post. Other goods
are available from traveling merchants.
Organizations: A village might contain one or two
temples or shrines, but few or no other organizations.