On Hamlets: Sodby

Brendan over at Necropraxis wrote a nice comment about how it's all dungeons and monsters and magic items, but what about towns and villages?

My primary concern with towns and villages aren't large centers, but the fact that there is some sort of small hamlet settlement every 4 miles or so in civilized lands, containing somewhere between 10-40 families.

Now I've done some work before on creating a settlement stat blog that is actually useful, so I'm going to continue to use that as a format.

Here is the village of Sodby (name courtesy of Jeff's Gameblog Hamlet Name Generator) in the Forgotten Realms. It lies on the southern Sword Coast, in the Western Heartlands. (Or, you know, wherever you want to put it).

Sodby

Description


Lawful Neutral (With evil tendencies)
Modest hamlet on a roadside, known for its swine. It is the birthplace of the mercenary tyrant Filthbeard, a halfling who rides his corrupted boar lover. The town has a large number of retired ex-military and ex-mercenary population.

"Focus Et Ventus": "Hearth and wind" is the motto printed on a weathered polished granite stone outside of town.

Demographics


Government: Ostensibly City Council, but really it's a "dictatorship" run by Tessa Hazlett, a human female level 2 fighter who is irreverent and rude.
Population: 12 human families (64 people), 2 halfling families (12 people), 1 Moon Elf, 1 Orc. Total population: 79 people, 7 cows, 18 dogs, 144 pigs, 1 donkey.
Languages Spoken: Common, Chondathan, Daraktan, Illuskan
Local Religions: There is a small shrine to Shaundakul, as well as a group of worshipers of Malar.
Worship of Shaundakul involves joyful meditation and feasting. 
Worship of Malar, involves practicing humility, and black robed prayer services in the nearby woods. Sometimes referred to locally as the bitter god.
Notable NPCs:
  • Tessa Hazlett, Captain of the guard. Irreverent, Rude defacto ruler (Hu/F/F2)
  • Halain Argenta, Deputy, second in command. Optimistic, doesn't make promises. Is missing teeth. (Hu/F/F4)
  • Kira Himelin, Eccentric wizard, cares for ailing mother. Repeats phrases, miserly, has startling grey hair. (Hu/F/W6)
  • Sapphira Ifft, Mayor, concerned primarily about her worm research, leaves Tessa to run the town. Distracted, distinctive jeweler.  (Hu/F/Arist 2)
  • Dafyn Defalvio, Smith. Stoic, kindly, well regarded in town. Balding on top with white hair and beard. 65 Years old. (Or/M/Expert 3)
  • Noch Jaffer, Cotton's Supply owner, slurs a bit, happy, helpful. Large store, quite well off. Looking for wife. Unattractive but Charisma 13. (Hu/M/Arist 1)
  • Lyn Fairwine, Lyn's Festhaus owner, interested in stories and tales from the road. Red hair. (Hf/F/Com 2)
  • Anneth Fairwine, Singer at Lyn's Festhaus, extremely attractive and nice (Ch 17) Asexual. Talented Singer. (Hf/F/Ex2)
  • Apper Gallo, Well-mannered owner of the tavern The Sign of the Grey Stump. Missing right arm above elbow.
  • Neanne Disk, Owner of The Wolf beggar. Taciturn, smirks, nice.
  • Grellyn Diantoni Priest of Malar, friendly, hirsute. (Hu/M/Clr1) 
  • Opal Tenwand, Priest of Shandakul, keeps up the shrine and provides services (Elf/M/Com2)

Districts


Shops:

  • Splendids: Splended smith's is a blacksmiths run by Dafyn Defalvio, an old Orcish Smith. He's over sixty winters and is training several of the young men to take over when he retires. 
  • Kira's: This shop (Kira's Fantasy Potion and Reagent Emporium) is run by Kira Himelin, and sells very minor potions, a handful of scrolls and local alchemical reagents. It is a small (12' x 8') shack, stuffed to the brim, and one of the door hinges is broken making it hard to open. She runs the shop officially two days a tenday, from mid-morning to early evening. 
  • Cotton's is a large, successful general store run by Noch Jaffer, who slurs a bit when he speaks. His father was Cotton, but is now dead. 

Inns:

  • Lyn's Festhaus: Fameous for herbed pork ribs. 4 rooms for rent. Run by Lyn Fairwine (Hf/F/Com2) Her husband and sons assist her in running the inn. Her daughter Anneth (Hf/F/Ex2) is a talented singer, and sings most nights. 
  • The Sign of the Grey Stump: This is where most of the older men and women who have spent time in combat come to drink. It is run by Alper Gallo, (Hu/M/War2) a well mannered man who is missing his right arm above the elbow.
  • The Wolf Beggar: This is a small tavern where many of the younger people drink. It's a bit louder, and more prone to fistfights and violence, though it's usually over minor things like women. It's run by Neanne Disk (Hu/F/Rog3) who's seen enough to keep it in line.

Features:

  • There are a lot of pigs, pig farms, areas for pigs, slop buckets, and pig signs and emblems around town. People are likely to snort, in good nature—but do so frequently without even realizing it. 
  • Matchless Garrison is a half-mile outside of town, and is covered in skulls and desiccated heads of enemies, criminals and other threats nearby.
  • The town, in spite of the large pig population has no horses and is in general very clean and well kept up, due to the prevalence of ex-military. 
  • Nearby lies Arunway Graves, a patch of bare grey earth. It is a mass grave of those who died in a fire in 1172 DR. 
  • Hartriding Statue is a statue of a pig riding a 28 point deer in the center of town, carved from granite

Resources: Animals (Pigs/boars); Climate: Temperate; Geography (rolling hills, light forest); Medicinal & Alchemical Plants and Herbs

Diversions


Obstacles: Insular, Corruption (Mercenary Populous), some Religious Zealotry
Adventure Seeds:

  • A pig follows the party and appears to be quite friendly and intelligent. It refuses to leave them alone. If they leave town it attempts to follow and they are accused of pig-napping.
  • Garrace Braganera (Hu/F/War2), a member of the town guard, died under mysterious circumstances recently.
  • Grellyn Diantoni (Hu/M/Clr1) Holds ceremonies for Malar outside of town and is (unsurprisingly perhaps) a wereboar, looking to find other fanatical people to convert. He has several prospects. He has cast the worship as being wild with the nature of pigs, and his services are peaceful and respectful. He is well thought of in town.

Names: Lander Stonar [Illuskan Human Male; FRCS]
Rhivaun Wyndael [Dambrathan Human Male; FRCS]
Kethra Brightwood [Illuskan Human Female; FRCS]
Rowan Greycastle [Chondathan Human Female; FRCS]
Helm Greycastle [Chondathan Human Male; FRCS]
Dorn Evenwood [Chondathan Human Male; FRCS]
Tessele Buckman [Chondathan Human Female; FRCS]

Hack & Slash 
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16 comments:

  1. Theres an awful lot of business going on in that town that requires a lot of traffic from outside. Three Inn/taverns is curious unless there is a much larger town a few hours away.

    I live in a town of 6000. We have one small store and no Inns or Taverns, even the supermarket is in the next town over. Hamlets offten depend on neighboring communities to be able to function.

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    1. It's on the sword coast.

      How many hotels does your town have?

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    2. None hotels currently. Back 1850 to 1940 there were over a dozen hunting/fishing lodges but that was a long time ago. We still have a campground. We have one barber. A mailorder bakery. 1 sandwich shop. 1 functionhall that opperates as a restaraunt 2 or 3 nights a week. 4 auto repair shops (all but 1 in a home garage), a machine shop, a print shop. 2 churches (one church in an old lvacation lodge). No bank. No doctor office. 2 or 3 daycare preschools, a couple farms.
      The town used to be the end of the line for the railroad and that gave it a reason to be. They used to drive cattle into town from farms up north the last cattledrive happened in the 20s and there were stray cows in town for a couple weeks. Theres a small railway museum in the middle of town at the old station. That one store has been there in one form or another for about 200 years.

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    3. Inns could make sense if the town is a way station on a relatively well travelled road. Not familiar with the Sword Coast, but it sounds like that could be the situation. 80 people does seem small looking at strict demographics, but it's player perception in play that matters, and as long as the NPCs and other features are memorable I think it will hold up fine.

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    4. Yes, the trade and coast way are heavily traveled. Certainly enough for an inn to have 4 rooms to rent.

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    5. I love the ideas on this blog, but I do have to agree somewhat with the original comment...

      This is actually an issue with D&D as a whole. Most villages, burgs and hamlets would likely not have any inns and at most 1 pub, but we almost always find examples of small villages in D&D with trading posts / general stores, inns, taverns and other businesses that cater to traveling adventurers.We hand-wave it because none of us have read the (often) very dry histories of medieval economies.

      The D&D "economy" over the various editions has been portrayed as one with a lot of travelers to support inns, taverns and similar businesses... but this just isn't what happened in agrarian / medieval societies even along popular trade routes.

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    6. @Marty

      Why do we care about what happened in agrarian medieval cities if it does not serve the purposes of the game?

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    7. (And by cities I mean societies in general; typo.)

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    8. It probably has 4 rooms for rent because it's on the Coast Road, and has dozens of caravans travelling between Neverwinter and Waterdeep weekly.

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    9. I live in Tolmin, pop. 3500. We have about 12 pubs, 1 hotel, 1 hostel, 1 motel, 4 major supermarkets, dozens of stores and smaller markets. It saddens me that a town of 6000 only has one small store and no tavern/pub! :)) Cheers!

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    10. @Brendan Verisimilitude. I know a lot of people treat that like a 4 letter word, but I like it in my game... Not that I'm shooting for historical accuracy (magic blows that out of the water), but a population of 80 people is a bit small for 4 inns.

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    11. Sorry. 1 inn, 2 taverns. It looked to me that the taverns were also inns.

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  2. Looks good, i 've used the PF template as well for a starting point for towns, both for PF and OSR.

    But agreed, a bit heavy in the inn/tavern department. I use town stats put together by S John Ross and Rob Conley for coming up with occupation demographics. These are based on census data from the 1200's. Links here, along with a random town generator I cobbled together:

    http://leicestersramble.blogspot.com/2014/08/oldey-timey-town-generators.html

    Obviously, it's our worlds that we are playing in, so we have latitude in how we stock our town/dungeons/etc., "reality" be damned.

    That said, why not have a pair of inns in some small crossroads. The PCs, upon entering town, are set upon by a pair of paid waifs, each tugging their sleeves and touting the benefits of their respective lodgings...
    "Fresh pork!"
    "Less lice!"

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  3. To clarify, it's 1 Inn with 4 rooms, and two taverns (large houses where people gather to get drunk)

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  4. I like it.

    I think with only 40 adults the hamlet could get by on one tavern though 2 is reasonable enough

    Unless there are a lot of visitors say to a nearby ruin or many travelers , it probably can't support a general store or an inn with 4 rooms.

    Of course as to why someone has 4 rooms in such a tiny village does make for an interesting story so why not?

    I quite like Kira's, its rarely open, occasionally useful to the locals and is colorful too. That kind of "business" could be anywhere.

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    Replies
    1. I just want to be very clear.

      It's on the Coast Road on the Sword Coast.

      This is like a small town that has a highway that runs right down the center. It's six miles from the next rest stop. So people—Travelers are always coming through town.

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