Last week I wrote about creating the map for my new campaign. Finishing the map (for now) wasn’t the end of my prep for this campaign, of course. Before I could even think about prepping the dungeons, I had to get down some details important to character creation.
The first thing I did was give each of the settlements on the map their own skills and traits so the players could choose for their characters to come from those places. In a pinch, I could have just used the templates from the core book. Asktoft could just be a Busy Crossroads. But this is an opportunity to give the place its own character and feel.
For instance, here’s Asktoft:
Skills: Cook, Steward, Stonemason
Traits: Proud, Thrifty
Haggling: Ob 2
Even just this should give me, as the GM, a handle on how to play NPCs from Asktoft. It’s some nice shorthand for the players, too, if they care about such things.
We’re starting in Asktoft, so I also detailed the available locations and laws. I’ll only do the available locations for the other settlements if it looks like the players are going to spend a town phase there. In a pinch, I can just wing it by using the basic templates from the core book. If I’m feeling it, I’ll do the laws too, but I might wait until it looks like the players will come back to the settlement a few times. Again, here’s Asktoft:
Flophouse, Guild Hall, Home (equivalent to Flophouse or Inn based on station of owner), Market (This market is held once a month. Roll 2d6 when entering town; market is available on a roll of 9-12), Manor House (equivalent to inn), Shrine, Stables, Street, Tavern
- Theft is a criminal act. Punishable by public humiliation.
- Defamation of the Gott overlords is a criminal act. Punishable by incarceration or whipping. (the Gotts are the ruling human tribe in this part of the Middarmark)
- Only ridders (Gott knights) and above may wear ermine and fox. Punishable by three days in stocks or a fine (Ob 2 Resources test).
Lady Gry, a Gott ridder, is the lord of Asktoft. In fact, you’ll note in the Available Locations above, she has her manor house in Asktoft. Staying at the manor requires requesting hospitality (via the Rites of Hospitality rules in Middarmark). She’s not going to take just any no-name murder-hobos into her home though! The PCs will have to do something to earn her respect. Gry is also the lord of Skogenby and possibly some other steadings or remote villages around here.
She’s a middle-aged fighting woman who’s spent her life in the saddle. She cares about anything that threatens her wealth, but otherwise she’s not terribly concerned about her subjects’ problems. When we start the game, she’s going to be off attending her lord in the field. I have no idea at this point when she’ll return.
The human population in this part of the world is mostly Gott and Græling, with some Bjornings as well (the Grælings and Bjornings are other human tribes of the Middarmark). The nobility here is entirely Gott. The karls (relatively prosperous freemen and freewomen) are also primarily Gotts, though there are some wealthier Græling and Bjornings here and there (probably seen as upstarts by their Gott neighbors). The majority of the Grælings and Bjornings, though, are cottars (impoverished freemen and freewomen) or thralls (slaves). There are some Gott cottars as well and even a few Gott thralls, though that’s rarer. Skyrnir (nomadic reindeer herding humans) do wander through these lands from time to time, though the Gotts tend to detest them and drive them off when the Skyrnir reindeer get too close to pastures meant for Gott horses and cattle. Individuals are tolerated but barely.
There’s no halfling homeland in these parts, but it’s not uncommon for individuals or even families to wander these lands. Dwarven caravans are a regular sight on the Tradeway. The elves are shy and retiring, mostly to be found in the Eldmork.