Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Fantasy Sandbox in Detail Part XV

Part XIV

This is the fourteenth in a series detailing the 34 steps I recommended for making a Fantasy Sandbox Campaign. Today's post will cover part of the following step.
Pick the 4 or 6 most important Population locales and draw a quarter page sketch map of the settlement.
From Step VIII

0404 Carra (hamlet) Human
On an island in the middle of East Bay is the fishing hamlet of Carra. This hamlet is home to 75 humans living in mud and wattle huts. Conditions here are wretched and these people are among the poorest on the island. The headman of the hamlet, Moran Loder is also the leader of the small Piall thieves’ guild. While he rules Carra with an iron hand severely punishing anybody cooperating with Helmar and his yeoman.

  1. This is the home of Moran Loder the headsmen of Cara and the leader of the small Thieves Guild of Piall Island. He is a ruthless leader many of enemies have disappeared into East bay never to be seen again. His grown son, Dodson, lives in Mikva overseeing his father's interests. Moran is noted for his big ears, few comment about it and survive. About his belt are numerous tally sticks. To outsiders they appear to track what the village catches but in reality they are a record of his criminal empire.
  2. Geran the Marked is the village's boatwright. Unusually he was raised among the dwarves of Southpoint where he learned from an expert woodworker. His skills are put to good use by Moran in the building of boats complete with secret compartments for smuggling. His body is covered with vivid tattoos of scenes and figures from dwarven legend.
  3. Kals the Stench is the village salter and tanner. He also acts as Moran's fence often packing goods to be sold in smelly barrels of cod, and herring.
  4. Orsin is the leader of the largest gang of fishermen in the village. He is also devoutly religious often quoting from the Canticles of Veritas while fishing or acting as Moran's enforcer.
  5. Pog the Crafty is Moran's lieutenant. He is often away from the village dealing with thieves guilds on other islands in the Kingdom and even in the Empire of Po. He also uses these trips to find a way of restoring the magic power he lost when he was a youth. He was not born on Piall and was briefly apprenticed to a mage. In an encounter he doesn't talk about his natural ability was burned away. Chance brought him to Piall and into the service of Moran. He was instrumental in Moran seizing control of Carras and the Piall Thieves Guild 20 years ago. He has little interest in the guild itself.

For Carras I decided to take a similar tack to work I did on the Brotherhood of the Lion and focus on making a memorable cast character to populate the thieves guild of the Isle of Piall. I was helped by the excellent NPC tables from Paizo's Gamemastery Guide I coded them up for Inspiration Pad Pro. This is what I rolled.

Background: Inadvertently saved the life of a future villain
Goal: Solve a murder
Physical: Big ears
Personality: Makes listes and check things off
Secrets: Owes the local moneylender substantial funds
Reward Follow someone for you:

Background: Raised by members of a different race
Goal: Continue to live in family estate despite danger
Physical: Covered in tattos
Personality: Easily angered
Secrets: Knows command word for a magic item
Reward Bury or high something dangerous:

Background: Comes from a long line of tanners
Goal: Become the recipient of a actual miracle
Physical: Homely
Personality: Speaks with great formality; never used contractions and employs bigger words than necessary.
Secrets: Was a very different creature prior to reincarnation
Reward Buy you a small gift:

Goal: Go on a pilgrimage
Physical: Shaved head
Personality: A connosseur of find food and drink who insists on lecturing about it
Secrets: Knows why no on swims in the millpond anymore
Reward Compose a poeon praising your prowess:

Background: Pacticed magic before a traumatizing accident
Goal: Get A good night's sleep
Physical: Glass eye
Personality: Propositions any even remotely attract person encountered but makes panicked excuses should somebody accept the offer.
Secrets: Knows command word for a magic item
Reward Provide shelter:

Note that I don't use all the entries. I just scan them and use what leaps out at me.

When making Sandbox campaign a good set of random tables are invaluable and Paizo's Gamemastery Guide has several that work well in coming up with ideas.

That it for part XV next is Part XVI which will be the final village in this series.


The Badger King said...

YAY! I've been waiting with bated breath for this to continue!

scottsz said...

Loving these posts. Thank you, Mr. C.

Alexander said...

I'm very glad you decided to continue this series. As I'm new to the concept of "sandbox" games, I find this series more helpful than words can express. It sure is a departure from my usual DMing style, but I think this will fit much better. Keep up the good work!

PatrickW said...


When's the next one?

I'm a big fan of world creation material and I'm very interested in seeing your example completed. I have greatly enjoyed the read since being pointed here from another blog (which one escapes me now - mea culpa).

Matthew Schmeer said...

I would totally buy a PDF compilation of all these posts. Keep up the good work!