5E Honestly, I'm sleepy, on a deadline, and I need a town for tomorrow's game
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  1. #1
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    Honestly, I'm sleepy, on a deadline, and I need a town for tomorrow's game

    I'm running a game in 12 hours, and 8 of those will involve me sleeping. I could half-ass this on my own, but maybe I'll be lucky and you all want to brag about cool ideas you have.

    The party will be investigating a town where there were reports of hauntings. The PCs just got out of a stressful dungeon, so I want the town to be at least temporarily safe and welcoming, so they can unwind, recover, and bond as party members. It's established already that this is just a small town, maybe just a village. If you could help me fill in details, that'd be grand. Here's what I have so far:

    Veratha
    Town at the edge of the woods, near a river, with nowhere important upstream, but a major city about 4 days downstream by raft. A century ago this was on a pilgrimage route to a holy site for the god of civilization, but that god died. This town had a temple for a different god, the goddess of proper death/burial/psychopomps, and also goddess of prophecy, who apparently foresaw the other god's death but chose not to tell anyone. People were irked. In this town in particular, the church of that goddess was attacked by an angry worshiper of the dead god, who killed the senior priests and several underlings. The town lost most of its population after that, and the survivors chose to abandon the church.

    The forest has grown up around the church in the intervening decades, and the part of the town that's still inhabited is along the river. At sunrise and sunset you can spot the church's spire that pokes above the forest, and by some still-lingering magic, the church's doors only open at just before dusk, and then close just after dawn, even though no one works there any more.

    The forest has a lot of snakes, particularly pale white ones, and the townsfolk raise pet mongooses to keep the snakes out of town.

    Every once in a while, maybe once a year, a person will go missing. But for the past few months people have vanished more often, and one tracker who went into the woods found what looked like an adult human had molted off all his skin, but it was too dry to tell to whom it had belonged.

    The Real Threat
    A century ago, a pair of adventurers who were lovers operated near the town - Suban and Pharavian. Pharavian, the woman of the pair worshiped the god of civilization, and she perished in battle shortly before her god died. Suban, the distraught man, brought Pharavian's body to be resurrected, but the church couldn't do it because her soul had chosen not to return. Refusing to accept it, Suban killed the priests in a rage, then dragged several of the younger priests into the forest where he chained them to trees and mutilated them - real cenobite stuff, peeling off their skin, tearing out their ribs, and drinking their blood. He knew the goddess of death abhorred the undead, and he knew if he committed enough atrocities he'd come back and curse the church. He blamed the goddess for being too weak to bring his love Pharavian back.

    Now he's something like a vampire, with a serpentine twist instead of your old wolves and bats. The other priests were turned into ghouls, but they are still chained to the trees.

    The townsfolk who were alive then saw the victims but were too horrified to take them down, and they fled and kept the secret of what had happened. Really only the people who never learned the details stuck around, so the real history is a mystery. Previously Suban just took one victim per year, but in a recent storm one of the trees was toppled, and the chained ghoul got free and has been stalking the town.

    Eventually the party will track Suban down, and have to free the bodies of those he tormented and give a proper burial to his love Pharavian in order to defeat him for good. I want him to be a tragic figure in case the party wants to redeem him (maybe he's repentant?), but of course monstrous in case they want to kick some butt.

    What I Don't Have
    It's a town. The PCs will come and rest here, get to know folks, learn things are spooky, talk to people whose loved ones went missing. What are the details? Who's here? How are they interesting and fun to roleplay with? What cheerful traits of the town outweigh the spookiness and tragedy?

    Maybe I'll dream something. Otherwise, I'm trusting in your creativity and generosity. Goodnight.

  2. #2
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    Scout (Lvl 6)



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    Sandpoint from Pathfinder has lot of details in the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition
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  3. #3
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    If you have Red Larch from The Princes of the Apocalypse it would be a good match. Need a different map, but you seem to have the layout of the land covered. Just grab the people and the Believers plot and file the serial number off to point to the vampire and his activity.
    You don't need stats just a list of names profession and some personality.

  4. #4
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    * Town from Ravenloft
    * Diamond Lake from Age of Worms is a worn down mining community that has class separation, tombs in the hills, and an underground mine that has a secret entrance to a cult hideout. http://paizo.com/products/btpy7ym6?Dungeon-Issue-124 has a background section that fleshes out the town with way more information than you want.
    * Steal a town from ZEITGEIST, WotBS, or Santiago
    * Wing it

  5. #5
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    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



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    Hommlet. Always Hommlet.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    I'm running a game in 12 hours, and 8 of those will involve me sleeping. I could half-ass this on my own, but maybe I'll be lucky and you all want to brag about cool ideas you have.

    The party will be investigating a town where there were reports of hauntings. The PCs just got out of a stressful dungeon, so I want the town to be at least temporarily safe and welcoming, so they can unwind, recover, and bond as party members. It's established already that this is just a small town, maybe just a village. If you could help me fill in details, that'd be grand. Here's what I have so far:

    Veratha
    Town at the edge of the woods, near a river, with nowhere important upstream, but a major city about 4 days downstream by raft. A century ago this was on a pilgrimage route to a holy site for the god of civilization, but that god died. This town had a temple for a different god, the goddess of proper death/burial/psychopomps, and also goddess of prophecy, who apparently foresaw the other god's death but chose not to tell anyone. People were irked. In this town in particular, the church of that goddess was attacked by an angry worshiper of the dead god, who killed the senior priests and several underlings. The town lost most of its population after that, and the survivors chose to abandon the church.

    The forest has grown up around the church in the intervening decades, and the part of the town that's still inhabited is along the river. At sunrise and sunset you can spot the church's spire that pokes above the forest, and by some still-lingering magic, the church's doors only open at just before dusk, and then close just after dawn, even though no one works there any more.

    The forest has a lot of snakes, particularly pale white ones, and the townsfolk raise pet mongooses to keep the snakes out of town.

    Every once in a while, maybe once a year, a person will go missing. But for the past few months people have vanished more often, and one tracker who went into the woods found what looked like an adult human had molted off all his skin, but it was too dry to tell to whom it had belonged.

    The Real Threat
    A century ago, a pair of adventurers who were lovers operated near the town - Suban and Pharavian. Pharavian, the woman of the pair worshiped the god of civilization, and she perished in battle shortly before her god died. Suban, the distraught man, brought Pharavian's body to be resurrected, but the church couldn't do it because her soul had chosen not to return. Refusing to accept it, Suban killed the priests in a rage, then dragged several of the younger priests into the forest where he chained them to trees and mutilated them - real cenobite stuff, peeling off their skin, tearing out their ribs, and drinking their blood. He knew the goddess of death abhorred the undead, and he knew if he committed enough atrocities he'd come back and curse the church. He blamed the goddess for being too weak to bring his love Pharavian back.

    Now he's something like a vampire, with a serpentine twist instead of your old wolves and bats. The other priests were turned into ghouls, but they are still chained to the trees.

    The townsfolk who were alive then saw the victims but were too horrified to take them down, and they fled and kept the secret of what had happened. Really only the people who never learned the details stuck around, so the real history is a mystery. Previously Suban just took one victim per year, but in a recent storm one of the trees was toppled, and the chained ghoul got free and has been stalking the town.

    Eventually the party will track Suban down, and have to free the bodies of those he tormented and give a proper burial to his love Pharavian in order to defeat him for good. I want him to be a tragic figure in case the party wants to redeem him (maybe he's repentant?), but of course monstrous in case they want to kick some butt.

    What I Don't Have
    It's a town. The PCs will come and rest here, get to know folks, learn things are spooky, talk to people whose loved ones went missing. What are the details? Who's here? How are they interesting and fun to roleplay with? What cheerful traits of the town outweigh the spookiness and tragedy?

    Maybe I'll dream something. Otherwise, I'm trusting in your creativity and generosity. Goodnight.
    I tried to answer basic questions the 5e DMG poses about settlements & create a couple NPCS based on your ideas. Cheers!

    Veratha, the town at wood's edge

    Alder trees and willows whisper along the banks of the river, and the foresters of Veratha swear that these are the voices of tree spirits luring weak-willed young men and boys to their doom. The sound of the wind in the leaves, the swaying of tall trees, the teeth of a two-man pull-saw, and the bubbling of the river are constant companions in this town. Further upriver are the 'wilds', a tangled of fallen trees, collapsed footbridges, and whitewater rapids; it is said defaced shrines of the goddess of prophecy can still be found in the 'wilds.' Downriver, small fleets of rafts are assembled by the watermen and foresters, lashing together the alders so that the float to the city where they'll be sold leaches them to preserve the wood longer, thus fetching a better price. The folk here are hearty, kind-hearted, and suspicious of religious figures from the outside world.

    What purpose does it serve in your game?
    • Veratha is a mostly safe and pleasant resting place, with a small inn upstairs above Jen and Saul Pickett's home having room for up to 12 travelers. However, the "Windward Room" is said to be haunted such that the whispers of tree spirits from a mile away can be heard through the window. Retired apple orchard owner Saul swears this is because his cousin felled a young alder at an unlucky time during a new moon, so the wood of the alder used in constructing the room bears a tie to its mother tree to this day. Anyone taking a long rest in the "Windward Room" may receive the benefit/hindrance of a divination spell like dream or sending while they sleep, but must make a DC 10 Constitution save or be sufficiently disturbed by the sound so as to only partly benefit from their rest.
    • There are clues in town about Suban and Pharavian, such as a commotion occurring when a rusted link of "cold-forged" chain is found amid a child's toys, or an unusual number of pale snakes being found around the old temple of the death goddess. Maybe, being adventurers, Suban and Pharavian off-loaded some unusual items they found with town merchants, who keep those items as mementos or attempt to peddle away the "cursed objects."


    How big is it? Who lives there?
    Veratha is a modest town of some 2,800 residents, mostly human. The majority make their living from the river or the woods foresters, loggers, carpenters, tree-sap gatherers, boatmen, cordage-and-roper-makers, and so forth. A small enclave of halflings lives in the town, having arrived at the pilgrimage site in early times by boat, and they continue to live off boat-houses like their ancestors.

    What does it look, smell, and sound like?
    • Pastoral beauty marred only by skies that rival the Pacific Northwest for their gloomy rain-laden clouds. Boat houses and old piers line the river banks. Deer browse at the edge of the fields, keeping a watchful eye out for hunters or boys armed with slingshots appointed as "field protectors." Woven garlands of wildflowers hang everywhere in summer and spring, a tradition stemming from decorating the old pilgrimage shrine that's carried on by village girls.
    • Smells of fermenting hops and apple cider vie with peaty earthy rain-soaked soils, fragrant halfling riverboat cooking, and honey-and-beer breads.
    • Whispering alders, babbling river, gruff calls between rosy-cheeked foresters and wily boatmen, the laughter of children these are the sounds of Veratha by day. At night, however, those same whispers become ominous, the wind ripples across the surface of the river making all conversations in the vicinity seems muted and conspiratorial, even voices drop an octave when recalling the dark past of the town. Thankfully Old Man Kenner still plays his fiddle by the southern pier, the pleasant melody sometimes joined by other musicians, including, rumor has it, a retired trumpeter in the King's Army.


    Who governs it? Who else holds power? Is it part of a larger state?
    The Alderman of Veratha is Fastina Bridgewright, a buxom middle-aged woman with raven hair, weathered hands, a ready smile, and the mind of a mousetrap. While Veratha may technically be a vassal of a larger state, tax collectors rarely brave the journey more than once every 4 years, and lords never visit, leaving the Alderman (yes, she prefers the traditional term Alderman) up to her own devices. However, Fastina is very cautious about the power any priests hold in Veratha, and is quick to undermine it through any means necessary. While she has good reason to be cautious, the truth is more personal for Fastina; her brother Semmel was star-struck by a passing adventurer and attempted to play squire, leading to Semmel's grizzly death in the 'Wilds' where his body was never recovered.

    What are its defenses?
    Two knights were appointed to watch over Veratha during the temple violence Ser August Caendweal, a dour aging knight who seems to derive most pleasure from frightening unruly children and oversees the town's defenses along with a couple hand-picked guards, & his daughter Dame Yvette Caendweal Half-Elven, who leads a troupe of 22 scouts in patrolling the surrounding woodland for monsters, bandits, and the like. It is said Dame Yvette was born of tree spirits allowing her to slip unheard and unseen among the alders.

    Where do characters go to find the goods and services they need?
    • Cooper Danesly has barrels for every occasion, and even claims his barrels were used by a great hero to escape the territory of the wood elves. Of course, Danesly is a bit too fond of the cider made by the Picketts, so his stories are always suspect. A cheerful merchant, Danesly also deals in importing and exporting bulk goods. Some whisper he knows the right halfling to talk to if one wants to smuggle goods (or people) downstream, but best not to mention such matters within earshot of Ser August Caendweal who has a deep distrust of the Cooper.
    • Abanee Two Ears is a halfling-of-all-trades! Trained in boat-building, she can fix any leak with a bit of jute, tree sap, mud, and patience. Chef extraordinaire, she makes the meanest crayfish and bitterroot soup served with dill bread and honey cream this side of the river. Scavenger and master storyteller, she jury-rigs puppet shows for halfling children by the river, occasionally entertaining a larger visitor in the cramped seating; most of her stories tend toward the comical or fables-with-a-moral, however on full moon nights she tells a halfling-version of the tragedy of the temples, guaranteed to frighten a dwarf right out of his beard!
    • The main goods and services in Veratha are based around the alder-trade or agriculture that includes apples, a host of berries (it's said there are 13 known varieties...boysenberries, thimbleberries, faerieberries...), vegetable gardens, barley, hops, rye, flax, and borage. These are turned into apple cider, preserves, pickled veggies, soups, beers, breads, meals, and aromatic oils by the townsfolk.


    What temples and other organizations feature prominently?
    • The Venerable Hopsack Society was formed under dubious circumstances when an enterprising young man an aspiring druid sought to capture giant wasp honeycomb from high up in an ancient alder tree to impress the dryad he'd fallen in love with. According to the story, he became entangled in the sack he'd brought and fell some 60 feet yet miraculously survived with just a broken leg! Ashamed of his folly, the young man tried to explain that he'd been racing some satyrs in a sack race... of course, everyone saw through his tale, and at the tavern it was proclaimed that he must have been hopping leagues with each jump, as no tracks were found in the forest to support his tale. And thus was born a tradition! On the night of a full moon, drunkards head out to the field surrounding the oldest alder tree with sacks and donkeys/goats en tow for The Venerable Hopsack Society's yearly race.
    • Even the Temple of the Goddess of Death/Burial/Psychopomps does not escape the optimism and good cheer of Veratha's townsfolk who treat the cemetery-temple much like a year-round Da de Muertos. While there may be an officiant, worship is far more casual, celebratory, and involves ancestor reverence just as much as prayers to the goddess. Village halflings sell sweet fish cakes and custards, while village girls sell scented candles. While it is quiet during the week, at week's end the cemetery-temple has a party vibe, with colorful riverbed clay pottery and alder carvings made in the likeness of the dearly departed.


    What fantastic elements distinguish it from an ordinary town?
    The pale snakes can talk, though only to those bearing "Suban's blessing", and invariably their messages are prophecies of doom. "Suban's blessing" is something the village elders are careful to look out for, and every parent is quick to warn their children to be quiet about if the child has the "blessing." Village elders believe that though Suban died he is destined to return in the guise of an innocent to test their faith.
    Last edited by Quickleaf; Monday, 13th November, 2017 at 01:18 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Spend a dollar for access to EN5ider and use one of the many Over The Next Hill plug-in settlements.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    Spend a dollar for access to EN5ider and use one of the many Over The Next Hill plug-in settlements.
    I saw the email for the newest Over the Next Hill release a couple hours ago and thought to myself, "Oh yeah, that would work perfectly for @RangerWickett."
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