Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Fantasy Sandbox in Detail Part XX

Part XIX
This is the twentieth in a series detailing the 34 steps I recommended for making a Fantasy Sandbox Campaign. Today's post will cover the rest of step 27.

Pick or create 6 or 12 important buildings. Write a paragraph each

In the last post, I did some preliminary work and used random tables in various ways to generate ideas. Now I am going to take this random information and pick out what I feel to be interesting elements. Then write a couple of sentences about the place. I use an old name table out of Dragon Magazine as the basis for my names. There are only 20 male and female entries for each type so I split them into a prefix and a suffix which gives me nearly 400 combinations. You can download this table from here.

I also try to include the age of the NPCs which is a useful aide to roleplaying. Another thing I do is try to interconnect characters with each other and places I already described. In general it enough to start off with one or two of these and leave it at that. Also remember that the amount of local interconnection is going to outnumber connections outside of the regions especially for fantasy medieval settings like the Island of Piall.

I also add notes on quality and prices. Harn from Columbia Games does this in their description of shops and I found it to be useful a general guide when price and service aggregations come into play.


1) Chandler, Quality: Average, Price:Average
Age 49, Alfred was a soldier in the service of the King of the Isles. He is noted for his no nonsense attitude and personal integrity. Well-respected, he is often called on to serve on juries and to witness important contracts. On occasion he is known take a case of fine wine in lieu of silver for his wares. Alfred learned his trade while serving as a quartermaster for his company. When he mustered out he decided to use his share of the plunder to buy a Chandler’s franchise in Mikva.  He also owns several acres about a half hour’s ride from Mikva where he has setup a distillery to produce tar.

2) Finesmith, Quality: Poor, Prices: Average
Ecgric, age 26, is the bastard brother of the Baron of Piall. His father, the current baron’s father, secured him a finesmith apprenticeship and later a franchise in Mikva. This has seriously upset Leudast. Ecgric gets along with his half-brother the Baron however the favoritism shown by his father has left him with an inflated sense of his importance. He will states his opinion whenever he can and attempts to join in on important events. Baron Argus tolerates this but will not give him any task or position where his brother is in charge.

3) Finesmith, Quality Good, Prices: High
Leudast, age 64, was once a pirate on the Bloody Mary captained by Black Edward. His duties as the ship’s carpenter including being able to repair all the metal fittings and parts. Forty years ago he secretly betrayed Black Edward to the Kingdom of the Isles in exchange for a pardon and a master’s license in the Finesmith guild. Eventually Leudast wound up establishing himself in Mikva. He works hard at presenting a respectable front.

He has continued to maintain his contacts among the pirate community. Currently he operates as a fence and source of information for Moran Lodar of Carra, the leader of Piall’s small Thieves Guild. Leudast is careful about keeping the two sides of his business and has murdered a dozen people over the years to keep it that way. He has about a half dozen associates he uses for his criminal activities. He and Ecgric do not like get a long and Leudast is looking for some leverage in order to bring him under his control.

Leudast’s distinguishing physical characteristic is his extreme hairiness. Despite his age it has remained mostly black.

4) Herbalist, Quality: Good, Prices: Average
This shop is run by the husband and wife team of Morath, age 36, and Bernira, age 32. Morath is the master of the shop, however it is Bernira skills and business sense which makes it a success. Morath is madly in love with Bernira despite the extensive scarring from a bout with the pox (Charisma 7). Morath’ father was a prominent merchant in Mikva until he was caught using short weights. This and other indiscretions drove Morath’s family into poverty. Bernira was the only girl to take a chance with him and the two have built a comfortable life around Bernira’s herbalist skills. Because of his family’s legacy, Morath has little influence in town however he and Bernira have quietly aided several charities and will help anybody in need. Bernira is obsessed with keeping their house and shop and will not hesitate to yell at even customers to wipe off mud and dust before entering.

5) Jeweler, Quality: poor, Prices:High
This establishment is run by Halgric, age 41, his family, and two apprentices; Raeberht, age 18, and Frigu, age 17. Halgric is very ambitious and views himself as a man on the rise. To generate business he lets it be known is willing to deal with any type of jewelry and other valuable goods with little ho questions asked. He has most of the business of the adventurers who come to the island. He has numerous contacts with the Sea King’s Circle, the thieves’ guild of the Kingdom of the Isles. Something that Moran Lodar is unaware of (see Carra 0404).

Halgric got his initial start as a jeweler by betraying the gang he worked with. They slipped aboard a ship at Whiterock, the capital city of the kingdom, and Halgric burned the ship down killing everybody involved and got away with several dozen gold crowns worth of coin and jewelry. He made his way to Piall, 15 years ago and established a shop.  He was able to hold his own against Cainberht (the town’s leading jeweler) by catering to the adventurers, buying the treasure they didn’t want to keep.

Unfortunately in recent years his home life has grown increasingly difficult. His wife, Aebfe, age 35, is a very jealous woman, currently she is fixed on believing that Halgric is having an affair with Firgu. Halgric is guilty of many things but not cheating on his wife. He would send Firgu away but he had to take her on as an apprentice as a favor to a Sea King guildmaster in Whiterock.

6) Jeweler, Quality: Average, Prices: Average
Cainberht, age 64, is one of the leading citizens on the island of Piall. His family was one of the original survivors of the Dark Empire period, a fact that he boasts of often. Despite his position and prosperous business, Cainberht is slowly losing his grip on reality. He believes that the adventurers who explore The Lich King Fortress, Bone Keep, and Sable Keep become cursed and refuses to do business with them. In recent this obsession has grown to the point where he rarely leaves the shop. Other than this, he known for his wisdom and the other townsfolks tolerate his quirks, politely ignoring what he has to say on adventurers.

7) The Leathercrafters of Piall
The sheep industry is one of the backbones of Piall’s economy. Along with wood, there is trade in sheephide. The volume is such that there are ten shops and establishment dealing with the trade. The tanning is done to the northeast of Mika in the woods across the stream that forms Mikva’s northern boundary. There the wind takes the noxious odors out to sea. The guild is led by Vawold, age 53, a man with an enormous girth and a razor-sharp wit for negotiating with merchants out of the Whiterock or the mainland. The rest of the guild respects his leadership except for Wuffa, age 35. One of the newer master craftman, Wuffa was caught shortchanging bulk shipment of hides. Vawold prosecuted him, and Wuffa had to pay a heavy fine and spend two days in the stocks. Since then Wuffa has been Vawold’s sworn enemy.

8) The King’s Sheriff
Sir Tomar Revan, Age 26 was appointed the Sheriff of Piall by the King. Concerned with the rising power of the expansionist Empire of Po, the King has decided to against tradition and appointed Sheriffs for each of the main islands of the Kingdom. Before this the Barons were entrusted with the collection of royal dues and the administration of royal justice. Periodic visits by the king himself ensured that the barons did not abuse this privilege. However with the threat of the Empire of Po, the King felt he need a direct representative to handle defense preparations on each of the islands that make up the realm.

Sir Tomar, is a very ambitious young knight. Born the fourth son out of five, he had little prospect of inheriting much from his father, a baron at the royal court in Whiterock. His father used his connections to secure Tomar’s place as an apprentice with the Royal Mages of the Isles. However a nasty magical mishap ended his apprenticeship. During his short time as a mage’s apprentice he proved apt at reading, writing, and accounting. He found a position at the royal order as a clerk and thrived. Within a few years he was the chief assistant to the Royal Chancellor and was able to secure a knighthood for himself. The position of Sheriff of Piall is his first major independent assignment and Sir Tomar plans to make the most of it.

The secret to Sir Tomar’s rise from obscurity is his utterly amoral nature. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead. The magical accident acted as a wake up that unless he took charge of his life, he would never amount to anything. Since then he watched and learned how the royal court operated and soon became a master manipulator. The culmination of which was to be appointed Sheriff of Piall.

From his time as an apprentice, he knows the history of the island and plans to use his position to sponsor expeditions into the runs to find potentially useful magic to aid his rise to power. Baron Argus Gervon is proving a major annoyance but he is slowly building up his own connections to get around the Baron of Piall.

9) Mikva Trading Hall
Every year the Mikva Trading Hall is the focus of the annual Piall Trade Fair. Merchants from all over the Kingdom of the Isles and beyond arrive in Piall shortly after the spring shearing and trade for leather and wool. Orlon Beras is the grandmaster of the Trading Hall and works with the island’s two other merchants to ensure the fair is a success. Marko Holts knows all the leathercrafters on the island and is responsible for getting their goods organized for the fair. Likewise Cerina Marsil makes sure that the island’s wool output is properly stored.  However it is Orlon Beras contacts in Whiterock and in the kingdoms of the mainland that ensure that ships and buyers come to Mikva and why he is the grandmaster.

Behind the scenes, Orlon will to what it takes to ensure that business comes to the island and that he get his share of the profits. He feel a sense of kinship with the sheriff, Sir Tomar, as become his staunch ally. However Cerina Marsil despises Orlon and the sheriff. Orlon can do little to her as she is extremely popular among the sheep herd owners and tailors of the island. Marko Holts is obvious to Orlon’s schemes. While he cares about doing a good job, he just want to it quickly and efficiently to get back to drinking with his dwarven friends at Hawth.

10) Ostler, Quality: High, Prices: High
One of Mikva’s two ostlers, Denin Loress raises and sells riding horses throughout the Island of Piall. He has a small ranch on the South Downs where the main portion of his herd grazes. Denin. Unbeknownst to everybody Denin is an agent of the Ochre Empire, and a priest of Sarrath, the tyrant god of order and war. He leads a small cult of worshippers recruited mostly among the upper class merchants of Mikva. They worship in a small temple located in a cave on Denin’s Ranch. Currently Denin is viewed as mentor by Salman Gervon, the Baron’s teenaged son and heir. When the time is right, Denin plans on convert the impressionable young man to the worship of Sarrath.

11) Temple of Veritas
Veritas is the God of Truth, Creation and the ruler of the pantheon that is worshipped throughout the Kingdom of the Isles. Dannus, the goddess of healing, hearth, and crops, is his wife. Their daughter is Delaquain the Battlemaiden, goddess of justice and honor. They are advised by Thoth, the god of Knowledge. The pantheon’s enemy is Sarrath the tyrant god of War, and Order and also the patron deity of the Ochre Empire.

The temple of Veritas in Mikva is typical of the ones found in the Kingdom of the Isles and the region. It has a chancel where the altar is located with a statue of Veritas prominently displayed behind it. In alcoves around the altar are smaller shrines devoted to Dannu, Delaquain, and the other deities of the pantheon.

Honored Melena is the high priest of the temple in Mikva. A decade ago she was considered a rising star in the hierarchy and served the archbishop in Whiterock. However against the advice of friends, she decided to run for the office of diocese chancellor earlier than traditional and was resoundingly defeat. The new chancellor used his position to assign her to the temple in Mikva. While nominally a promotion, Piall is considered a backwater in the church and Melena is well aware it is punishment for her hubris.

Despite the circumstances, Honored Melena has made an earnest effort to excel at her new position. She is especially proud of her work in organizing weekly worship services out in the South down to allow herders and scattered farmer to attend church regularly. Along with her charity work this has made her very popular among the rural population along with those in Mikva dealing with the wool trade (leathercrafters, tailors, and weavers.

12) Sea Brethren Hall
Sailors consider themselves as part of a common brotherhood called the Sea Brethren. In ports around the Midland Sea and beyond there is a local hall where sailors can find a crew to work on or an inexpensive place to stay. Mikva is no exception and has a small hostel with a half dozen beds run by Harwald Leland. Every week there are 1d6-3 sailors in residence looking for a new crew or taking a short break.

Harwald was a sailor for over two decades and was first mate on more than a few ships. He tried settled down in the town of Castlereigh in the Empire of Po, however he began drinking. Then one night in a drunken rage he killed his wife. He fled Castlereigh and eventually wound running the Sea Bethren Hall in Mikva. Harwald has in his possession the remnants of a journal in a language he can’t read. It appears to describe a portion of the Lich Lord’s stronghold underneath Mount Devon.

For 1d a night, sailors can obtain a bed and two basic meals a day. They can’t stay any longer than a fortnight and have to find other lodging if they haven’t found a crew to ship out with.

13) Resident Mage, Quality: High, Prices: High
Arvin Rowe is master mage of the Order of Thoth and currently employed as Baron Argus’ court wizard. He was born into a minor noble family before being apprenticed to the Order of Thoth at a young age and is a regular visitor to the baron’s court.

He is also a member of the Keeps of the Faith, a society within the Order of Thoth devoted to the perseveration of arcane knowledge and the study of divination magic. Master Rowe pays well for information gleaned from the ruins of the Lich Lord’s domain. His appearance is striking to due to the use of henna to draw elaborate magical symbols on his face and skin for use in his studies of divination and prophecy.
14) Potion Shop, Quality: Average, Prices: Low
Travin Caere is the Island of Piall other resident mage. He just passed his trial’s two years ago and what making his way across the Midland Sea when he wound up in Mikva out of money. After a minor success exploring the ruins of the Lich Lord, he decided that the life of a shopkeeper was far more conducive to living a long life. Travin opened a magic shop in Mikva specializing in potions and small charms.

He barely makes a living. While he is competent at what he can make, his expertise and skills are limited. He is a terrible running the business side of things And always behind on order and payments. Master Rowe looks down on him for being a poor example of a Thothian Mage. So far handing out free healing potions and the occasional love charm has kept the worse of his creditors at bay. It doesn’t help that he is scarred from the pox he contracted while travelling as a journeyman mage.
15) The Tailor’s Guild
There are eight tailors in Mikva, all busy with taking the abundant wool and turning it into sturdy clothing for the island’s inhabitants. Orlis Taylor is their elected grandmaster. Orlis is a loud boisterous man with a quick temper. However he also a shrewd negotiators who is able to get the best deal time and time again on wool and other supplies for the town’s tailors. Because of this there is a lot of enmity between the tailors and weaver. The highlight for both groups is the annual football game held during the spring festival.

16) The Red Wench (tavern), Quality: Average, Prices: Average
Red Wench is a middle of the roads establishment acting as a social club for the trademen of Mikva. Logan Mar is the tavernkeeper, and keeps a firm hand on his clientele, especially around spring when tension run high during the week before the annual football game between the tailors and the weavers. Logan is noted for everybody who walks into his establishment a nickname.

17) The House of Fish (tavern), Quality: Poor, Prices: Low
The House of Fish is considered a dive among the citizens of Mikva. It is frequented mostly by fishermen and the poorer laborers. It runs games of chance in the back room for it patrons. The tavern keeper is Stephen Clar. Stephen works with Moran Lodar of Carra as his chief lieutenant and fence. The tavern has a hidden second basement where the thieves guild store the goods they smuggle in and out of Piall. Moran has a locked cabinet where he keeps a collections of knick-knacks that he collected over the years. He is quite possessive of it and will viciously beat anybody who touches any of them.

18) The Oaken House (inn), Quality: High, Prices: High
The Oaken House is Mikva’s only inn, with two dozen rooms available in an adjoining building. It is Mikva’s best establishment and its menu featured food and delicacies from around the Midland Sea. Merise Vikander is the innkeeper having taken over from her father ten years ago. She is also one of the town’s aldermens and has considerable influence with the Baron. She is a shrewd business women and one of her secrets is that she forged numerous relationships with various captains sailing the Midland Sea. In return for a break on the room rates, they will share the rumors and news they gathered. In turn she shares them with the Baron and the other town elders.

19) Weaponsmith, Quality: Average, Prices: High
Fikki Firebeard, is the resident weaponsmith of Mikva. A dwarf, Baron Argus was able to lure him from Hawth with the promise of an exclusive franchise for the island. Since then Fikki has done quite well and his business is booming. Before settling in Mikva, Fikki explored some of the old ruins of the Lich Lord. He certain that he knows the location of a +2 battle axe buried in the ruins of Sable Port. However the area is infested with undead so he will need a group of adventurers to help him.

20) The Weavers of Piall
Like the Tailors and Leathercrafter, the six weavers of Mikva have organized themselves into a guild. Their elected leader is Edmund Nelor. He has been the grandmaster of the weavers for over 30 years. Twenty years ago he was caught on the South Down by a pack of roving undead skeletons, he was saved by the local herders and yeoman but lost an eye. Ever since, he has championed the herdsmen cause as well as the weavers. Something that won their friendship and a firm alliance with the weavers.

He despise Orlis who continually manage out maneuvers whenever there is any issues between the tailors and the weavers. Currently age 73 years he is beginning to think of retirement. One small consolation that in most years the weavers win the annual football game with the tailor. Largely because Edmund is able to find good players among the herdsmen tending the sheep flocks.

Finally I place all these shops on the map of Mikva. The result is the final map I will use for myself during the campaign.

That it for part XX next is Part XXI which is going to be a short post placing all these entries on the map of Mikva, and then Part XXII where we start fleshing out NPCs and monsters


AnarchyDice said...

How do you expose the players to all of this information and what do you do with the work that never gets used?

Follow Me And Die said...

There is no link where it says "here" for the table of names.