Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sandbox Fantasy: Random Human Village Determination

The Space Genre is more friendlier to random creation of various setting elements. Mainly due to the fact that space has little in the way of "terrain"and that the physical laws that govern the distribution of stars and planets can be easily distilled to a set of charts aka Traveller.

Elements of the Traveller approach can be applied to Fantasy Games which helps in managing a Sandbox Campaign. What follows is a table I made for a contest on The RPG Site two years ago. It allows you to make random human settlements quickly and easily.

The population modifiers attempt to adjust the distribution to a more natural setup.

Random Human Village Determination
1 Hex = 5 miles or 10 km

Stat block

1 Fortification Level
2 Wall Level
3 Local Water Level
4 Local Soil Fertility
5 Local Resource Level
6 Population
7 Government
8 Law Level
9 Tech Level

Fortification level

12 A-Citadel
11 B-Castle
10 C-Keep
9 D-Stone Buildings
8 E-Wooden Keep
7- X-None

+6 if Pop 9+
+4 if Pop 7+
+2 if Pop 5+
-2 if Pop 3-
-4 if Pop 1-
+2 if Gov 2,4,6,8,A,F

Wall Level
12 A-Stone Curtain
10-11 B-Stone Wall
9 C-Reinforced Wooden Wall
7-8 D-Wooden Wall
6 E-Stone Fence/Hedge
5- X-None

+6 if Pop 9+
+4 if Pop 7+
+2 if Pop 5+
-2 if Pop 3-
-4 if Pop 1-
+2 if Gov 7,9
+2 if has Citadel
+1 if has Castle

2d6-2 Min: 0 Max:10
+6 within one hex of a river
-6 within desert terrian
-2 within mountains
-1 within hill terrian
Automatically 10 within a swamp
+2 within forest
+4 within two hexes of a coast or lake of one hex size.

1d6-1d6+Hydrographics Min:0 Max:10
10 is average fertility divide by 10 then multiply by crop yield to get actual yield.

Resource Level
Represents the percentage chance of finding a resource.

-6 within 1 hex of a Pop 9+ settlement
-3 within 2 hexes of a Pop 9+ settlement
-4 within 1 hex of a Pop 7 to 8 settlement
-2 within 2 hexes of a Pop 7 to 8 settlement
-2 within 1 hex of a Pop 4 to 6 settlement
-1 within 2 hexes of a Pop 4 to 6 settlement

0 100
1 200
2 400
3 600
4 800
5 1,000
6 2,000
7 4,000
8 8,000
9 16,000
A 32,000


0 Head of Family
1 Council of Elders
2 Knight
3 High Priest
4 Baron
5 Mage
6 Count
7 Guild
8 Duke
9 Republic
A King
B Overlord/Tyrant
C Patriarch
D Archmage
E Amazon Queen
F Emperor

Law Level
This represents the degree of the ruler's involvement in the populace daily life. 0 being the lower and F the highest.

Tech Level
Represent Capability more than knowledge. Interpretation should be done on a region by region basis.
1d6 + Modifiers
Min: 0
Max: Max TL of Campaign Region
0 Stone Age (10,000 BC)
1 Copper Age (8,000 to 4,000 BC)
2 Bronze Age (4,000 to 1,000 BC)
3 Iron Age (1,000 BC to 500 AD)
4 Dark Age (500 AD to 1000 AD)
5 Middle Ages (1000 AD to 1400 AD)
6 Renaissance(1400 AD Max )

-2 Pop 0-1
-1 Pop 2-3
+1 Pop 7-8
+2 Pop 9-10

+1 if Gov 7,9,F
-1 if Gov 5,D (Magical Repression)
-2 to +2 if Gov 3,C (Specific to Religion)


Todd the Viking King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Rients said...

This one should go in your Diggin into the Boxes list.

Timeshadows said...


Nice overall, but I think the Hexadecimal usage (while true to Traveller) is likely confusing to anyone not familiar with that notation system.

I'm certain it would read more cleanly for the uninitiated if that were replaced with standard numerics.


Superhero Necromancer said...

Thanks for this: it's a great resource.

Robert Conley said...

@Timeshadows the problem with that is going beyond a single digit defeats the purpose of a having a code in the first place.

Hence the use of letters after the number 9.

You can always take the results and use the long hand version.

Will Douglas said...

You should link to this over on the OD&D Discussion, in the section on Traveller and Wanderer.

It's really some good stuff, like all your work.

Timeshadows said...

@Rob C.: Yes, sir, I do grok that, I was simply observing that non-Travellers (perhaps youngin's of today) may be turned off by an otherwise cool presentation.

> Shrug <
Makes me want to break out my Little Black Books...

Ormiss said...


Thanks for this cool resource. :)

Being a whippersnapper born in the roarin' 80s, I was thrown off a bit by the hexadecimal notation, but it's not a big deal.

I wonder about something, though. How do you get 11+ for Wall Level? Since there's no die roll indicated, I assume it's determined by population, fortification, and government. In which case 6 (9 population or more) +2 (Citadel) +2 (Government 7 or 9) = 10 is the maximum number. What am I missing?

I'm also a bit baffled by the comment "10 is average fertility divide by 10 then multiply by crop yield to get actual yield." Can you give an example?

Jake said...

This is great. Just used it to create a village.