Carved in regal script in gilded letters, though showing signs of age, hangs the sign of the Drunken Pony Inn. The locals have a chuckle when they look at it, for the pony looks more dead than drunk…maybe he’s just dead drunk. Anyhow, that is why the Drunken Pony Inn is called the Dead Pony by the locals of Bree.
The owner, a dark eyed beauty with temper to match her name is Mya Stormcrow. She runs square house and will not suffer fools gladly. The inn is a prominent feature in the town of Bree. The food is good and the beer is cold.
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.
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.
My new campaign begins with a town. The town of Bree. Yes, I know there is a town called Bree in the Lord of the Rings novels, but this isn’t the same one. I just like the name.
I’m wanting Bree to be a home base for the PCs as they begin their adventuring careers. Bree is located on the border of the kingdom of Irie. To the north of Bree lies the Wilderlands, untamed and dangerous. To the west are the Five Kings, mountains named after the dwarven kings that mine below them. Southward is the county seat, a larger town called Haversham. Beyond that will be larger cities that I haven’t thought about yet.
The east is unknown territory yet. I do intend on placing the Silverwoods somewhere to the east. The Silverwoods is an ancestral home to the elves.
My main concern is to detail the town of Bree and a few areas for exploration near the town. With that, I began thinking about the town and the Sheriff. He is a hobbit by the name of John Briarfoot. Sheriff John is a retired adventurer who has settled down for a quieter life of semi-retirement. That is until recently, when goblins began lurking around the town and harassing the citizens and merchants. Sheriff John quickly placed a wanted notice and sent it southward to the larger towns and cities.
When running an adventure, it is important for me to have some reference materials at hand. One thing I want is a list of names for people and places. These would be names for NPCs that I haven’t created beforehand. Putting a little time into this can make my time behind the screen easier. Pulling a name out of thin air can sometimes be hard to do and also may fit the flavor of the campaign world.
One of my favorite sites for name lists is Behind the Name. This site will work perfectly for naming npcs.
As a start, I will write down a couple dozen (some male, some female) for the start of my campaign.
For male names…Angus, Delroy, Gerard, Martin, Ogden, Rolf, and a bunch more. For female names…Adela, Doreen, Mallory, Ness, Rena, Val, and many others. Keeping this list nearby will help me come up with a suitable name for any Npc the adventurers meet.
Welcome to my site. New year, new beginnings, and with new beginnings come new goals. This site will be a repository of campaign material, thoughts, and writing about role-playing games, specifically geared towards Pits & Perils. But don’t be alarmed! The resources here will be easily adaptable towards your game too. I’ve seen about every iteration of DnD and played them–from Basic through 4th. And each time a new version came out, the game grew more complex. The 5th edition is an attempt to alter course and get an old school feel, but I’m quite happy with the OSR and strongly prefer simple rules.
I hope you can find something to use in your game. Please contact me if you have questions or comments. In many ways, much of this feels new to me. I’m not an expert or any kind of authority. I make no claims, nor do I profess to be anything other than what I am…a simple fellow with a love of pen and paper role-playing.