The places where people live-bustling cities,
prosperous towns, and tiny villages nestled among
miles of farmland- help define the nature of civilization
in your world. A single settlement- a home base for
your adventurers- is a great place to start a campaign
a nd begin your world building. Consider the following
questions as you create any settlement in your world:
What purpose does it serve in your game?
How big is it? Who lives there?
What does it look, smell, a-nd sound like?
Who governs it? Who else holds power? Is it part
of a larger state?
What are its defenses?
- Where do characters go to find the goods and services
- What temples and other organizations feature
- What fantastic elements distinguish it from an
Why should the characters care about the settlement?
The guidelines in this section are here to help you build
the settlement you want for whatever purpose you have
in mind. Disregard any advice here that runs counter to
your vision for a settlement.
A settlement exists primarily to facilitate the story
and fun of your campaign. Other than that point, the
settlement's purpose determines the amount of detail
you put into it. Create only the features of a settlement
that you know you'll need, along with notes on general
features. Then allow the place to grow organically as the
adventurers interact with more and more of it, keeping
notes on new places you invent.
A settlement might serve as a place where the
characters stop to rest and to buy supplies. A settlement
of this sort needs no more than a brief description.
Include the settlement's name, decide how big it is,
add a dash of flavor ("The smell of the local tanneries
never lifts from this town"), and let the adventurers get
on with their business. The history of the inn where
the characters spend the night, the mannerisms of the
shopkeeper they buy supplies from-you can add this
level of detail, but you don't have to. If the characters
return to the same settlement, start adding these local
features so that it begins to feel a little more like a home
base, albeit a temporary one. Let the settlement develop
as the need arises.
A settlement gives the adventurers a place to live,
train, and recuperate between adventures. An entire
campaign can center on a particular town or city.
Such a settlement is the launching pad from which the
characters go out into the wider world.
Designed well, a home base can hold a special place
in the adventurers' hearts, particularly if they care about
one or more NPCs who live there.