X+1 Town Traits & Events!

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Tired of towns that are just rest stops, weapon shops, wealth depositories, and rumor mills? When the party returns in a different condition, maybe the town to which they returned has changed too. This isn't just fluff either; if there's a metal or magic shortage, the PCs'll feel the dearth in their wallets when they buy supplies. If a plague's hit, that could turn into another (mis?)adventure altogether!

The DM can roll or pick a new event each time the party returns from a long absence. To the PCs, this event may be obvious, or it may be unseeable and the natives tight-lipped.

1. Dearth: There's a lack of some material, service, or commodity in town, and that affects buy and sell prices. It may even attract various flavors of attention to those who sell such things.

Effect: The selling and buying prices of the items within this town are multiplied by 2, 10, maybe 100. The concerned item type may not be available for sale normally, relegated to black markets or a particular trading house or nobility.

Item type:

  1. Livestock. Horses or draft animals mainly. Perhaps the party is offered amounts for their mounts without ever offering them for sale.

  2. Clothes. A shortage of cotton, wool, linen, silk.

  3. Steel or Iron. Metal equipment will be very dearly priced indeed. This isn't limited to armor and weapons, but can affect climber's equipment and other mundane tools. It could also affect ability to repair such items.

  4. Valuable Metal or Jewels. Coppers could be worth their weight in gold here! Maybe gold's worth more than its weight!

  5. Food & Drink. Sustenance and rations could get costly. Water could even be rationed, with what's left priced high for travelers.

  6. Cursed or Magic Items in General. They may not have any of their own, but any material or item associated with enchantment, enhancement, or cursed course is outwardly (or quietly) sought for a secret (or not-so-secret) purpose. Maybe they'll buy the item only to sell the disenchanted piece right back to the party, or pay only to have the magic connected to it, returning the then mundane item promptly.


  1. The usual trade route was blockaded by natural disaster, banditry, trade rivalries, monster migration, or war zone. Perhaps some disaster befell the usual source of the item (perhaps this warrants a visit from the adventuring party).

  2. Economic sanctions, levied against or by whence these items usually come, or a heavy tax on their sale

  3. A law diverts the items away to be used in a war, a construction project (bridge, monument...), or gift for visiting royalty that is currently being hosted by the ruler

  4. The ruler of the place is an aficionado and, by requisitioning or fast action, gets first dibs at purchasing it. Is this something that happens every so often regularly, or is it the face of a newly born obsession?

  5. All items of that type are subject to rigorous inspection and/or "quarantining" due to a rash of recent poisonings, infections, malicious enchantings, or counterfeiting of that type of item

  6. A particular trading house in town has done its best to buy up all stock of such items in order to charge thru the nose for them. If the party sells some of theirs, this same trading house or a group of rival merchants or thieves might be quite interested in buying or even hiring the party...

2. Surplus: The opposite of dearth. You can determine item type as above. They'll sell for cheap (half or a tenth of the market price, for example) and you may be unable to find any buyers for your own. Cause:

  1. This is the town's specialty. They make/raise their own varieties even, possibly of higher quality than yours!

  2. A party or caravan just came thru and left an entire inventory of the stuff behind.

  3. The stuff is devalued here because specimens from afar have generally lower quality than the local variety. This may mean yours sells for pittance while those here are bought at normal price (unless you buy the "cheap," foreign varieties they sell to touring pilgrims).

  4. They used to be highly desired, but something more important came along, the season for them changed, or those who routinely demand it left.

3. Festival!: Some event has made the locals happy. The variety of what is usually found multiplies at fairs! Include rare or unusual items. That's not to say the price is any cheaper than usual.

Sometimes you may have to pay a small fee to be allowed to sell at these fairs. Uncommonly, you may have to pay to get in and the prices inside are low. It's anyone's guess what they're selling inside, tho...

4. Discrimination: Many here favor or disfavor a certain class, race, or profession(s), or maybe all foreigners or adventurers are given the cold shoulder or spa treatment. Maybe only people with red hair or purple eyes. This can really raise eyebrows, and the DM should be prepared with a cause.

  1. A historical or mythical event honoring a certain individual(s) of the same type. It could also be a tragic tale.

  2. Some (possibly misinterpreted) religious teaching or scripture currently popular encourages the discrimination for or against such people.

  3. It is the personal feelings or experiences of the ruler or lawmaking body. Perhaps the law was made by one such person.

  4. They are either lured in for a trap or repelled to spare them a secret scourge. Those people are really used as sacrifices here, the victims of a village-wide con, or something bad befalls the town whenever such a person is therein thru enchantment or visiting terror (pick among causes again to find the reason this happens).

  5. A current event featured heroic or villainous efforts of such people, which still reverberate in public sentiment.

  6. It's a festival that comes once every so often. Perhaps it honors them because the local society is based on their labor (or dishonors because there is no valuable place for them in the local society).

  7. They were in the past benefactors, overlords, slaves, or raiders of this society's civilization, and the current inhabitants haven't gotten over their ancestor's views of them as highly capable, unjust, cruel, uneducated, etc.

  8. The group is unique in lacking something that is either highly honored or devalued.

5. Illegal Activity: Something the party considers usual is deemed illegal or highly suspect in the locale. The result being fines, interrogation, ostracizing, day imprisonment, or something more ludicrous up to DM judgement.

  1. Arcane, divine, psionics, or other ability performed is forbidden and items exhibiting such properties (possibly including any potions) are confiscated or quarantined at the gates until the owners leave. Perhaps anyone with such items is even turned away.

  2. Riding on any creature without its express permission (if it cannot communicate, it can't give legal permission). Load-bearing may be exempt.

  3. Unsheathing or brandishing weapons in public except for law enforcers. This is usually discouraged, but the punishment here might be more severe or the enforcement more active (requiring wrapping the sheathed weapon or peace-knotting it. Concealing weapons may also be outlawed.

  4. Bearing any weapons inside the city walls for civilians (all weapon sales must be outside the gates, which close at dusk; equipment from travelers and sellers must be checked at the armory).

  5. Posting or speaking a public notice, want ad, or conducting business in the main market in any language but the "official tongue."

  6. Using a particular type of coin or currency in a transaction. This rule might be an attempt to standardize coins or be a temporary rule to limit the spread of a current batch of counterfeits.

  7. Wearing a certain color or material, which is reserved for a specific role in society (ie purple for the queen, griffon feathers in hair only for knights) or for a specific event (ie furs worn only from the start of harvest till the first signs of spring). Violators may face only odd looks or official public shaming. The rule may be to separate statuses and discourage wealth-flaunting.

  8. Not wearing head covering outdoors. Children are exempt.

  9. Being drunk outside a tavern's premises.

  10. Saying a certain common word or phrase. Is there a fear of incantations here?

  11. Taking a certain kind of animal into the city (ie cats, dogs, toads, raptors).

  12. Everyone must be addressed by their "proper" title or "sir/dame" (or they will become visibly upset). Their proper title may just be their profession's name.

Cool, many thanks.

This is a quality bit of general DM help.

It'll be nice not thinking about some random events.

Thanks again.
6. Scourge: There's a continuous thorn or worse in the side of this town. Depending on the circumstances, it may go worse for the town if it were removed or disturbed, or the townsfolk might be begging the party for help...or the town doesn't even think of it as a problem.

  1. single monster/ other entity

  2. a group of bandits/raiders ("monsters" or not)

  3. recurring natural disaster or other event

  4. corrupt ruler(s)

  5. civil or gang war

  6. illness

  7. curse

  8. self-destructive societal rule(s) or trend

good stuff