It is the start of a new era in gaming. The next edition will be released to stores coming this June. I know that there are many of you how are nervous about it, but there are also quite a bit more of us who are excited to see what changes have been made to the game we’ve all enjoyed.
We’re also very proud of the Build a City threads for they were such a great source for gaming to use as potential material for your campaign. All interest aside, even the last thread had some potential. To continue the tradition, a new city will be built, using much the same tenets as before. However, since the new edition beckons, we will be shifting the focus of the series to utilize the new rules.
And though the rules have not even been completed yet, we can still discuss how we wish to proceed. Here, you may contribute any ideas, hopes, and concerns about many aspects of the new thread. Critique will be welcome, as we wish the city to start off with promise. Many changes will likely be made as we discuss it further, even changes to how we post the chronicles.
Everyone is invited of course, but please remember that this is just a discussion. Nothing will be final until after the release of 4th Edition, and we don't want to retcon an entire thread just because we got some of the "flavor crunch" wrong. With some effort and collaboration, our city will herald the new age of Dungeons and Dragons. Welcome, the floor is open!
(It's obviously incomplete but we'll work on that.)
Rules This project will consist of two threads, one for posting ideas and suggestions, and one for the city itself; by keeping the discussion and the chronicles separate we can do both without them interfering with each other. [list=I]
We will also have a separate discussion thread to submit ideas for the city, discuss their merits and their flaws, and choose how we as a community will develop our city [list=A]
Basically, any topic, any idea, and suggestion that you wish to share or discuss may be presented here
Anyone may address any subject that any poster presents, whether in support or disagreement; feedback should be constructive
At some point submissions and proposals reach a point where a decision must be made; at this point, the idea must be proposed to the community for a vote [List=1](Several ideas have been presented so far, but at present there are no formal methods for voting) [List=i]
Anyone may vote on any topic that they haven‘t proposed
Negative votes must be constructive; any no vote that does not include an explanation or alternative will be unrecognized.
(Not discussed) For this city, we will be using the new rules from the 4th Edition ruleset. Since the ruleset will be new this year, the only books will have any kind of familiarity with will be the core rulebooks: the PHB, the DMG, and MM1. Additional materials and rule variants may be presented to the community for proposal as they become available.
Theme As per the new rules, the city will highlight various elements of the new edition. [list=I]
Koren (carpenter), plus wife and two sons (2 Adults, 2 Children; 3m, 1f).
Description: Koren grew up in a seaside city, learning his father's trade and becoming an accomplished shipwright. When he lost both of his brothers to the sea, he closed up shop and moved inland, where he as worked as a carpenter in [Old City]. While much work was available in [Old City] after the dragon attack, Moses convinced him that the attack was not over. Since moving to [Old City], he has bowed to the demands of his customers and kept to the prevailing styles of the city, but now he feels a renewal of his youthful ambitions and dreams, and Koren thinks he can make a mark in this new settlement, artistically speaking.
Skills: Carpentry (Koren and his sons), wicker weaving (wife).
Resources: Carpenter's tools, a cart (for hauling lumber) and mule.
Nan Kya (cook and herbalist), Jessie (stablegirl), Tam (linkboy) and Rat (mudlarker and occasional pickpocket) who currently has a badly sprained leg. (1 elderly, 3 children; 2m, 2f).
Description: Nan Kya is unofficial third granny to many of the children in the slum quarter of [Old City] and when disaster struck and scattered their families, it was Nan Kya that the lost children gravitated to. In the days that followed, most of the children were reclaimed by their parents, older siblings and street gangs, but three remain with nowhere else to go and Kya has taken them under her wing.
Although justifiably renowned for her ability to make even the poorest food taste good, it is in fact the medical side of her herb lore that the local adults revere. Nan Kya, they say, is the person to turn to when you can't go to the temples and the official healers or alchemists - for whatever reason, be it cost, or fear, or simply having a bounty on your head.
Skills: Cooking, healing, and herbalism.
Resources: Spices, herbs, and a grand old black cauldron.
Lyndon Merriweather a noble, his wife Fionna, and two daughters (2 adults, 2 children; 1m, 3f).
Description: Lyndon Merriweather had come from a prestigious, well-to-do family. His family holdings were spread far across the city, with monetary influence in almost every walk of life. Lyn had it all. And he wasted it daily. He was a spoiled, rich brat, never having to work a day in his life for anything. Everything that he wanted he could purchase, from his clothes, to his house, to his "education", to his every whim. Typically, he could be seen at one of the local taverns, frittering away coin on boozing, gambling, and whoring. No one really liked him, not that he cared; with all of his money and power, no one could really do anything about it. This was a life that he was used to.
He had an arranged marriage, and wasn't even old enough to speak up for himself when the deal was made. With his own inheritance and the dowry of his wife, he would have been able to drink away the next fifty years, had he lived that long. Fionna was pretty, though not as stunning as some of the women that he frequented. They had two daughters who barely knew their father.
Lyndon became the unwilling financier of the refugees, when he tactlessly threw himself at Ariana, not realizing that she too was of noble birth. The fact that his money had bought many of the provisions was a fact that he would not soon forget, and would lord over any who questioned his slothfulness.
Jackson, Uther "Bear" Daar, Mikael "Mikey" Karlsson, and Puma Felidae, cattle wranglers and ranch hands (4 adults; 3m, 1f).
Description: The distant flames seemed to light up Jackson's eyes against the canvas of his dark skin in the shadows of the night. His first thoughts were of Ariana. He thought she had said she was coming back to the city today. For once he hoped that she was late.
Jackson found Bear, his face buried in his meaty paws. A man who could bare knuckle coldcock a horse, reduced to a whimpering child. Bear's horse was a heavy clod, too dumb to flee.
Puma, arguably the most cunning wrangler, had managed to wrangle a dozen head of cattle up into a draw, trusting (correctly) that the others would find her.
The three found Mikael, the youngest, smallest of the wranglers, still sound asleep back at camp.
Skills: Handling animals and martial training.
Resources: Four well bred riding horses, riding gear, whips and other weaponry.
Costran, Farm Family Patriarch, plus wife Dhalitha and sons Dexis and Lorten (1 elderly, 3 adult; 3m, 1f).
Description: Costran has farmed all his life, and is rather successful about it. He oversees large farming plots outside the city, growing crops on rotating years, and even trying his hand at winemaking as a hobby. He has four three strong sons from his first (late) wife, and has remarried Dhalitha , an attractive young foreign-born dancer Costran met in the city, much to the dismay of his sons who think she might be after his land and money. In his youthful days, Costran became a devoted follower of the local religion, converted by the newly-confirmed priestess Moses. When he heard that Moses was having a bit of a crisis of faith, he decided to follow her on her pilgrimage, and make sure these "danged younguns who ain't known a hard days work" didn't get themselves in trouble. He turned his farm over to his eldest son and his wife to take care of while he went on this little trip, and took his two younger sons Dexis and Lorten along with him.
Skills: Farming (Costran and his sons), wood-cutting (Lorten) and entertainment (Dhalitha).
Resources: Farming implements (plow, etc.), (?) seed and a couple of good draft horses.
Randell, wife Jacqueline, brother Jarett, and son Payton (3 adults, 1 Child; 3m 1f)
Description:With their parents recently deceased, Randell and Jarett maintained a small potato farm far outside of [Old City]. On [Old City's] fateful day, the Hoffman family only saw brief glimpses of the life altering event. When refugees started making their way out, they threw the farmstead open to help those in need. Sticking together and helping out where ever they can, they joined the refugees out to a future unknown.
Skills: Potato farming (Randell), wood-cutting (Jarett) and mending (Jacqueline).
Ariana: falconer and prodigal noble (1 adult; 1f).
Description: Born the unexpected fourth child to the noble Aquila family allowed Ariana to be freed of most of the obligations and expectations of her older siblings. Lacking a strong hand to guide her into being a typical noble, Ariana found herself drawn to the wilderness and the freedom to be found there. Though considered uncouth and snubbed by her noble peers, it was this relaxed nature that allows her to interact easily with commoners and has allowed her to stand forward in these times of troubles. Full Description Found Here
Skills: Wilderness survival, diplomacy and martial training.
Description: Like any street kid, Klein "the Urchin" Bandon had had a hard life, one which nearly doubled his apparent age. Now sixteen, he looked nearly thirty, which had played to his favor. He was uncommonly strong for his age, which could be attributed mostly to his iron will and good cooking. His strength, combined with his older looks, had allowed him to work at the docks since he was only twelve. The wages barely paid for food, so what food he bought was usually in the form of raw ingredients, which Nan Kya, his adopted grandmother, was more than willing to cook up.
The docks were closed for solstice, which left Klein to his other "profession", spending the day collecting on the generosity of others. He was at the temple pavilion when the lighthouse gave birth to the cursewarped terror, and was one of the many ushered inside the safety of the temple walls.
In the aftermath, there were not enough common labor jobs for even those that were recently made homeless, let alone those who had spent a lifetime in poverty. When Moses approached him about going with the small group of refugees, he knew his bargaining chip. Thanks to Nan Kya's kindness, he was an ox. It was no surprise that his agreement came with the condition that Nan Kya be allowed to go as well.
Bofbin Axebreaker (cartographer and scholar) and his wife Darea (2 elderly; 1m, 1f). Helthal (soldier), Bofbin's son, and his wife and children (1 elderly, 2 adults, 1 child; 2m, 2f). Orion (barkeep), Bofbin's grandson, and his wife (2 Adults; 2m, 2f).
Description: Bobfin has seen his children succumb to the wandering nature of his youth, and without much success. He has committed too many of his children and grandchildren to the earth long before their time, and except one son, a daughter, and his grandson, his few living decedents are scattered to the winds.
Darryl One-eye (retired mercenary) with his farmer father, his wife Deurana and baby daughter (1 elderly, 2 adults, 1 child; 2m, 2f).
Description: Darryl heard the dragon wings before his remaining eye spotted the fires springing up in its wake. He managed to get down into the cellar with his wife, his baby daughter and his doom-and-gloom father before the dragon reached them - along with a goat that was about to kid. The group huddled at the back of the cellar and waited for the beast to go away.
When they finally emerged again, there were 4 goats to lift out of the cellar and all the grain fields were burnt flat.
Skills: Farming and masonry.
Resources: 1 goat, 4 kids, and the miscellaneous contents of the cellar (everything else was burnt to the ground).
Garfunkel (prospector) and Ginger Rabbitsnare and Garf's tag-along "little" brother Benji (3 adults; 2m, 1f).
Description: What happens when you cross a stream loving halfling and a stream of good luck? A halfling gold prospector! Sifting gold from the very streams he lives on, the young gold-seeking halfling, his newlywed wife, and brother make a fine addition to our group!
Skills: Prospecting (Garfunkel), mining (Garf), and trapping (Ginger).
Janis (woodswoman), and her two twin sons (1 adult, 2 children; 2m, 1f).
Description: Janis and her late husband spent a lot of time in on the rivers and in the nearby forests, but when her husband died when her sons were infants, Janis settled down to care for them. Janis found a friend in Ariana the falconer, and taught her much of what she knows of the forests.
Skills: Wilderness survival (including fishing and trapping).
Resources: Fishing lures, twine, a hatchet, and skinning knife.
Description: It was originally part dare, part coming of age celebration (apart from someone's tag-along kid sister determined to prove she was just as good as the rest of them). They were all going to climb the lighthouse and wave flags from the top. Gillybloom was leading the way when the beast broke out, hurling them all in different directions. Gillybloom and two others were lucky enough to land in the softish mud of the riverbank, but they haven't seen any of their friends since. These three, Gillybloom, Taffle and Tansy, now stick together as a personal reminder not to be so foolish again.
Before the [Old City] was attacked, Gillybloom was learning to scout ahead and around and Taffle is an apprentice sail & rope-maker. Tansy is still a generalist, used to pitching in with any task that needs help.
Skills: Scouting (Gillybloom) and rope/sail making (Taffle)
Yorcha (mercenary warrior), and Yishi, her 11 yr old squire with dreams of working magic(1 adult, 1 child; 2f)
Description: This was supposed to be an easy hire. Or so the recruiter had claimed. Just standing guard in a city where the threat had already left. No problems, just routine watches from battered walls.
That's why Yorcha had brought her young cousin Yishi as her squire, hoping that the youngling would gain enough experience in the trade that she would actually settle down and work instead of craning her neck after every mage that walked past.
Ghoros, first out of the egg, and Ghent, who followed (2 children; 2m).
Description: A rarity indeed, twin dragonborn are almost unheard of. Born of the same shell, Ghoros is the stronger of the brothers, while Ghent is more clever. The two are in constant competition, and had been in a footrace (Ghoros leading, of course) when the cursewarped dragon shook the world. They never found their father.
While Ghoros leans more towards the martial persuasion, leaning to the hand-and-a-half swords like their father, Ghent keeps his head in books, trying to wrap his intellect around the concepts of the arcane arts. However, without a teacher, it would be a surprise if Ghent ever mastered more than the most basic of cantrips.
The twins soon come of age, a time of power for dragonborn when inherent abilities manifest. Only the gods know the fates of the double dragons.
Skills: Arcane (Ghent) and martial training (Ghoros).
Resources: A book on arcane magic and a relic katana.
Deethra, inactive dragonborn mercenary, and her unhatched egg, name undecided. (1 adult, 1 child; 1f, 1 unknown)
Description: Deethra had entered [Old City] a few weeks before solstice. After years of mercenary service, she needed to settle down for a bit. Gestation would soon be over, and she needed a place to rest, lay her egg, and raise her child. She spoke with the elders of the temple near the lighthouse, and they did what they could to accommodate her.
Her labor began on the eve of summer solstice. Feasts and festivities were well under way already, and it seemed to be a glorious day to birth her young. The labor was long, too be sure, but no matter for her; young born on solstice was an auspicious event. She was excited, both for herself and her child. That is, until it happened.
The egg began to crown at dusk on solstice, and as the sun set the ground began to shake. Everyone stopped what they were doing, and when the sun dropped beneath the horizon, a tremendous explosion shattered the lighthouse. All that could be seen was smoke and flame. And at that moment, the egg was laid, and Deethra collapsed from exhaustion.
When she awoke the following morning, many of the priests were unconscious, if not dead, though her egg seemed healthy. She was still exhausted from her delivery, but was compelled to investigate. It was then she met Moses, as the visibly shaken priest insisted that Deethra lay back down; Deethra was in no condition to do anything at the moment. The priest then presented Deethra’s egg to her, and was directed to care and watch over it.
As the days past, there was much discussion over the events of solistice; the curse-warped gold dragon laid waste to much of the city. Leaders promised that everything would be fine, and that rebuilding is already underway. But there were some who were unconvinced, and after listening to Moses, she had to agree. This place would not be a safe location to raise her child. She would join the refugees; it was time to leave.
Description: By all that is just and true in Dragonborn society, Vharas should have grown up to be an incredible warrior. However, strong blood and great apprenticeships did not overcome his pacifism. After he was formally recognized as an adult, he took the rare step of reapprenticing himself to Senzer, an older dragonborn mercenery who had retired from campaigning and worked as a weapon and armorsmith.
Senzer, not being one for celebrations, was working with Vharas in his shop when the Golden Death struck. Half of the building collapsed, pinning Senzer's left arm to the burning forge-coals. Vharas freed himself from the rubble quickly, and struck off Senzer's arm with a recently forged axe to free his master from his torment and escape the spreading fire.
Senzer has been a shell of his former self since the attack, and with the shop destroyed, there has been little to occupy his time. Vharas heard about this foolish band of refugees, and decided to drag Senzer on one last, and Vharas' first, campaign, in order to rekindle his spirits.
Skills: Blacksmithing, weapon and armor smithing, and martial training.
Resources: Smithing tools, iron ore, and a variety of weaponry and other metal implements.
Sisters Pomi and Loti, wanderers who had most recently been florists in [Old City] (2 adults; 2f).
Description: Pomi and Loti grew up in an elven community built around a small hillock in the woods. Born as twins they were inseparable, often getting into trouble for finding themselves in places they adults feared they were to young to visit. In truth this was as much due to egging each other on as much as their natural curiosity. As they grew their wanders took them farther and farther afield, so it was no surprise when they announced they had decided to see the world beyond their forests. Traveling mostly by foot on the few roads available for over five years they were lucky to pass by most of their potential obstacles, but eventually news of their elder sister's declining health directed their travels to [old city]. Upon arriving in [old city] they found their sister had passed on and a niece, Mililani (half-elf), in need of a family so they agreed to take a short break. Two years later they had their florists business thriving but were starting to feel the need to wander again when the dragon broke free...
Marlola and her infant, half-dragon son, Acharis (draconic, meaning emerald hope) or "Chris" (adult 1, child 1; 1f, 1m).
Description: With the sun on her face and the smell of the forest enveloping her, Marlola realized she was free. She wondered the forest, praying to find her village, but no stream or tree ever looked familiar. She survived as best she could and gathered what food she found when the time for her son's birth approached.
When the refugees found her by following the cries of her child, they found her half starved and near death. The baby boy was well nurtured and healthy, for Marlola gave the boy all she could. They took her in and cared for her. The secret of the boy's father remains hidden away in the her nightmares, while she remains fearful of what others may think of him if they knew the truth. Full Description Found Here
Mililani the young niece of Pomi and Loti, and barwench from the Dragon's Berth (1 adult; 1f).
Description: Mililani is a young half-elf (16 years old) living with aunts Pomi and Loti while working at the bar her mother worked in, the Dragon's Berth. Though her father is not publicly known Mililani has lived a life of love and joy, surrounded by the friendly patrons of the bar. Forced to live alone when her mother died three years ago, she was eventually reunited with her elven heritage when her aunts arrived a year later. Though independent and somewhat brash, her ready smile and lively wit has allowed Mililani to avoid most of the troubles that could be expected of a young girl in a large city. Full Description Found Here
Jeffers, retired guard, co-owner of the Dragon's Berth (1 adult; 1m).
Description: During his last patrol as city guard, a group of burglars had shattered his right leg, and he had been forced to retire from service. Taking what savings he had, Jeffers found common cause at the Dragon’s Berth. Owned by Bobfin’s grandson, Boffin (?), the bar had become seedy and run down, typically losing money to drinks unpaid. Now as co-owner and cook/part-time bouncer of the Dragon's Berth, he has helped turn it into a well-established tavern and inn that typically caters to both city-folk and wayward travelers. On occasion, his right leg would courses with pain, and it always foretelling of a bad day to come. He has a gruff, somewhat reserved demeanor, but is always honest and helpful, and loves to recount his days as a guard.
Skills: Martial training.
Resources: His old weapon (the armor belonged to the city).
Aust Amakiir (lorekeeper), his "nephew" Tier (escort), and Sylvia (2 adult, 1 venerable; 2m, 1f).
Description: Aust Amakiir lives only half in the world. As his body passes into the ether his soul seems to shine through it like a light. He is not long for the world, which may explain why he seemed as serene as ever while the dragon streaked like a bright golden meteor above the darkened streets of the city.
Amakiir [meaning: beautiful silence of dusk] fancies himself a loremaster, which offers the other explanation as to why he was so calm. He knew. Though it is only speculation, it would explain his timely arrival in the city, the countless hours in the library, and how some books just happened to be in his possession rather than at the library when it burned to the ground.
He arrived in town with two young eladrin, Tier, who he introduced as a nephew, and Sylvia his nephew's bride. Tier has a quick wit, and a quick blade, and never strays far from the company of his uncle. Tier seems to be more of guard and escort than young nephew, though Sylvia seems to genuinely be espoused to Tier.
Resources: Carriage with two good horses, a collection of books saved from the [Old City] library along with many of his own scripts and a light riding horse with gear.
Ovien Neya a noble eladrin with a swashbuckler style, his wife Sooraya[b] (silversmith) and Layla, their tomboyish daughter who is soon to be apprenticed (2 adult, 1 child; 1m, 2f).
[b]Description: Ovien desperately wants to re-establish his family's name. However, rather then acting as an arrogante noble he has decided to hide his background and try to start anew. He knows that others may distrust his noble heritage but he hopes to directly help the people rather then become some overbearing tyrant.
Ovien is tall, with blond hair and fair skin. Purple eyes. Dresses in subdued swashbuckler-esque dress. He has some skill at dueling and training horses but his primary skill lies in diplomacy.
Sooraya is a good hand at silversmithing since she originally came from a poor noble line that had to work hard for a living. She is a moderately attractive woman who emphasizes the strange fey-like qualities of the Eladrin. She walks with a strange grace. Her hair is long and shimmers like silver. Her eyes are as bright as emeralds. She dresses in blue and gold silk gowns still wearing the colors of the Neya family.
Layla is of an eladrin age equivalent to a fourteen year old human. Before the disaster in [Old City], she had been learning various etiquettes involved with being a noble. Now, Sooraya has been trying to keep up those lessons while emphasizing the need to learn a good trade. Sooraya is looking to apprentice her daughter so that she can learn to be her own person. The decision on what trade to learn is up to Layla.
Layla is lithe, quick eladrin with curly blonde hair. She has her father's purple eyes. Layla is the only member of the family to run around in what her parents call 'undignified' dress. She wears leather pants, linen shirts and likes to rough-house with the local children. Her friendly personality has made her several friends.
Description: Silaqui had moved to [Old City] with her parents several years ago, while she was still very young. In the aftermath of the first attack, she found herself alone; both parents were slain, and she had no family to care for her. Now a youth, and with noone else to turn to, she joins Nan Kya with the refugees.
For the purposes of the new city, I'd like to open the discussion with its theme. The new rules hint that the world is a dark, mysterious place with points of light where civilization exists. So, I think we should incorporate that theme into the new city.
As a point of light, I don't think the city should benefit from a rapid influx of new residents (the previous threads felt a little inorganic to me.) The population should grow very slowly as a rule, only adding a single person here and there. I also don't think that an adventuring class (PC class) would be necessary for starting a town. Any character can fill the role of a leader, and we can always introduce PC classes later. However, it also seems (to me) somewhat inorganic to have some random NPC find some land and have people gravitate towards it.
So I'm thinking that perhaps the city and its residents have already been there for a while, and for some reason they find that they must start anew, such as a cataclysmic event or invasion. Now they must either replant or find someplace new to settle down. Personally I like the idea of some event that levels the city leaving the few survivors left to dig through the ashes hoping to find a way to rebuild over the next few chronicles. Then, in a later chronicle, this same event has caused an sudden, mass of refugees to migrate to the new "point of light" for protection; led by some savior PC class, they all choose to stay to help guard (or oppress) the town.
It seems that we are on the same wavelength of sorts. My first idea even before I read the thread was that either the town was severely crippled by a hostile force which has caused the town to need to rebuild or the town was actually destroyed and the few survivors started a new point of light elsewhere.
For some reason, the idea that is stuck in my mind is that the survivors (if the town was destroyed) would stumble upon a small cave which they use/used for shelter, and the town starts to be built around the cave. The one break I would give to the survivors would be that there's an underground water source inside the cave. In a 'points of light' style campaign, most settlements are (probably) going to be founded near water of some sort. The small cave also gives them some semblence of protection and shelter until something more can be constructed. Even once the town grows, I could see the cave still being the center of the town; a small keep or town hall being built on, in, and around the cave.
I used this principle on a campaign world of mine. Part of the kingdom namely the western frontier was overrun by a horde of goblins, orcs, savage humans ect. Survivors fled to the forest (Diamond forest in my world) with their back to the mountains and started a Guerrilla army striking them hard using the forest as shelter. In the forest was a massive hill with some caves and they made their base there. Using the forest critters/fey the leader (ranger/horseman) managed to fight the horde to a standstill until the king came to the rescue with fresh tropes at which time they could drive it back. The place where the base was is now used as a town and a keep/castle was build on the hill. coincidently a river was near the base flowing through the forests.
Now I can see this wasn't on topic. But a forest and a river is an excellent way to start trade and supply growth to the city. A mountain range was near supplying the much needed ore and after the horde was driven off farmland could be used again. Outside the forests but at least the new town is a "save" place.
Another option for a begining ofa city is a group fleeing another city. Not necessarily due to it's destruction, but because some force (political, economic, monsterous, etc) is pushing them out. I agree tho that it would make more sense for most of the people to be there befor the thread starts telling the story, and only small groups or individuals should be joining in the "story" I have to admit I'm not planning on switching over to 4.0 immediatly, so I likely won't be deeply involved in crunch aspects. But writing the story is my favorite part anyway. My main concern is that any new thread be as open to everyone as it can. The community effort, must be huge for these things to function. I think the old threads were actually damaged by being in a lesser viewed forum (campaign workshop.)
How about a new city that is built on the ruins of a larger, ancient city? The "points of light" are neighborhoods that have been made safe again, typically by residents constructing make-shift walls from the rubble, neighborhood militias, and the occasional town guard.
Some of the buildings are newer, but most of the ones standing are older, origenal buildings built by the lost civilization using a level of magic/technology that is currently lost.
I think survivors in question could be united around some religious (or quasi-religious) institution. That could give them some common cause to fight for. I don't mean them to be religiuos community, lots people could be just paying lip service to it or even refuse it altogether, but it is a uniting force of the community (could be a corrupt force for a darker twist). It gives lots of prophecy-kind hooks for adventures which could be rather simple or twisted and complicated.
I agree that most communities develop around some pole.
resource (fish, lumber, mine, arable land)
defense (castle, hill, swamp, pass)
trade (road, waterway, horse exchange, port)
choke point (bridge, causway)
Fantasy can provide other poles
Magical resource (ley line nexus or font)
Prophecy (people told this desert is a futer land of milk and honey)
Divine Signifcance (place where a God fought or touched the ground)
A community that had taken to caves and was living near some ancient ruins is an interesting idea. There would though need to be some sort of 'pole' for the refugee community to keep in the area or over a few years the majority would have moved to another community.
Caves would also make and interesting tie in with possibly a Dwarven portion of the community. The Dwarven portion might enjoy the sense of the caves while other races might prefer to move out and work farms or other resources outside of the caves. This could later lead to a future dilema of the town being torn from those that want to keep to the caves and those that want to relocate the town to the nearby ruins.
To me, for a PoL community, Defense seems like the primary pole for the development of a community, providing that the means for survival is present. As I see it, there would be a strong tie between the strength of the community's defense, the population of the community, and the prominence of the community in the lives of the PCs. The last consideration, I believe, is the most important, as it dictates the scale of the creation.
I like the idea of the ruins and cave refugees, but unless the cave network is fairly extensive, the defense offered by the caves would be outgrown quickly, escecially if we're looking to create a city, as opposed to a village.
To support a city based around the cave refugee concept, I couls see any of the following. - large cavern housing the rebuilt city with well fortified entrances, perhaps with an underground river. - An area with lots of caves or a place where caves could be constructed, like a limestone cliffside
That having been said, my first mental image of the cave-refugee involved a desert city built around an oasis that collapsed into a giant sinkhole, and the sirvivors have rebuilt around the slopes of the hole using debris from the old city and also utilizing the caves in the limestone as well as carving our more. The water of the oasis resettled at the bottom of the hole, and the citizens have constructed a wall around the edge of the sinkhole. .....I think I'll use that... I'll call it 'Crucible'...
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