Building the Town, One Block at a Time

I needed a starting point for the adventurers. The Sheriff of Bree has sent out an “Adventurers Wanted” notice, so I had to create a place for this meeting to happen. If you are like me, you’ve spent hours drawing and re-drawing the layout of a town. It struck me that most players don’t care about the town map! They could care less if Lord Farthing’s warehouse is adjacent to the Merchant Guild Hall. I think we, as DMs care much more about this because that is just something we enjoy dithering with.

In making the town map for Bree, I asked myself “what are the major needs that need to be met for the adventurers?” First off, is food and drink, a place to hole up, and a rumor mill. Taverns, both in fantasy and in the real world, fill those needs. Maybe not as a place to “hole up” overnight, but almost all night.

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The map I used was from Wizardawn’s site. Here you will find an incredible treasure trove of useful DM tools. The village geomorph’s come from Joe Wetzel at Inkwell Ideas. I bought the cardstock version of this at GenCon last year. Good stuff!

After finding a couple “blocks” of village, I was ready to add some locations. I picked a building for The Dead Pony Inn…it has a signboard with a pony, all four legs sticking straight up in the air.

The second place I added was Sheriff John Briarfoot’s office/residence. The third location was the church/temple. I didn’t have a name for it just yet. I had to settle on a pantheon of gods before I named it. I knew that it would be a temple of a lawful/good deity.

So, I’ve grown pretty lackadaisical in my old age. I’m not worrying too much about the details for now. In fact, I’ve found that so much of this will write itself when the players get involved. I have to remind myself to let go of the control. If I add too many details, the players will take it off the rails anyhow. So each location is kind of like a sandbox of its own. The PCs actions and dialogue with NPCs found therein will give me more ideas and details for the place. If the players help shape these things, they are more apt to become invested in the whole deal.

There are other places on the map that I need to add. Some type of mercantile, and notable residents. Next time, I will add some details on the tavern.

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