Tour of Hobbs’ Harbour

Welcome to Hobbs’ Harbour. Founded 118 by three fishermen looking for more abundant fishing waters. Travelling north nearly 60 miles they found a lagoon where the fish would swim in and around as they prepared to head up river to spawn. They returned home with their boats full and convinced their families to move north. The captain of the lead ship was Nathan Hobbs, a human of 54 years who had been fishing since he was 12. It was agreed that they would name the village and the natural harbour after Nathan and thus Hobbs Harbour was founded.

HobbsHarbour_edited-1

As you can see the map is a hand-drawn map, which I really like because the version with the numbers can be handed to the party members and it becomes a in-game hand out without much work. If you’re having trouble with drawing your map, find a real-world location and copy it’s features.

I took the time to key each building with a number so that for the most part the numbers travel east to west on the south side of the road and then west back to east on the north side of the roads then the three farms numbered separately. Yes, numbering every building even though at this point we don’t know what’s happening behind those closed doors. I imagine that the smaller, square buildings (4, 6 or 9 for example) are single-family residences.

Start by identifying the city hall, churches or any other general public structures.

1 – City Hall
3 – Church
13 – General Goods (equipment)
16 – Blacksmith (armour/weapons)
20 – Public Stable
21 – Inn/Tavern
39 – Tavern

These seven structures are the most important places a party of adventures are going to want to go so these will be the first set of buildings that will need to be detailed. The best way to do this would be to use a STAT BLOCK, much like those used to define monsters. The following can be used to describe any structure.

<<Number>>. <<Name of the Structure>>
Owner: 
Employees: –
                      –
                      –
Purpose/Products:
Price: (based on PHB prices, example +10%)
Hours of Operation:
General Description:
Possible Quest:

Any other important information include it in the description. Details that came to light during a session can be added to the description between sessions so that where the characters return they will remember the NPC because you’re playing them correctly. Create a new text-based document and drop one of these blocks for each structure in town. For now, leave it in it’s current form. When you want to flush out the location, you can fill in the details.

16. Alapiediah’s Metal Works

Owner: Almar Alapiediah (human, 47, blacksmith)
Employees: Tanner Rockhold (dwarf, male, 17, apprentice)
                       – Elynn Alapiediah (half-elf, female, 16, store clerk)
Purpose/Products: Housewares (such as nails, hinges, etc), fishing gear, boat equipment, light weapons, light armour, shields
Price: PHB prices +10%
Hours of Operation: dawn to dusk
General Description: Alapiediah’s family arrived with the first wave of settlers knowing that the village will be in need of the blacksmith. Almar is the third generation Alapiediah to work this forge. Once she’s old enough it will be passed down the Elynn, but the dwarf, Tanner will run the forge. Housewares and products to keep the boats fishing is what brings in a profit year after year. He’ll make light armour or weapons when their is an order for it, but he does keep three short swords and five quiver of arrows (with short bows) in the shop for emergencies. Elynn is very energized and wants to learn everything that Tanner is learning but her father doesn’t believe she can handle the forge.
Possible Quest: Almar requires firewood to keep the forge going and Tanner is completing a delievery. The party is hired to cut down three quarts of firewood, but are attacked by a forest-base creature while completing the task.

Since the party will be starting their adventuring career in this village it is a very good idea to ensure that there are enough village-based quests to give them the experience needed to get to levels 3 and four.

Next time, we are going to take one of the quests and create a unique adventure made specifically for the village.

 

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Our First Village

Starting with this post I am going to build a Fantasy World and you’re welcome to follow along with me. When building a fantasy world there are two ways the creator can go, Big Picture down to Thumbnail or back the other way. I’m going to start with building my thumbnail, a single village, and work my way to the Big Picture. Keep all focus on the village, politics as it affects this village, religion as practised by the single church in town. Maybe a second religion is represented by a small shrine located elsewhere in the village. There are some questions that we need to answer before we begin to draw the map.

What is the population of the village? I am going to make an assumption of 5 individuals represent the average family. So a population of 200 people is 40 families (average). We’re only going to create the families as we need them, but knowing that there is a limit ensures that we will, at some point, be finished. So, the population of my village is 194 people.

Why was the village founded? The world is full of villages and they each serve a purpose. For example, there are fishing villages, farming, mining and lumber villages. There are villages that serve a distant point on a trade route. For any settlement, there must be enough fresh water for the population to survive. Wells, lakes or rivers serve these purposes. I like the idea of a fishing village, much like the villages of Nova Scotia, Canada or Maine, USA. This means when drawing the map the village will need to be on a major water source.

Who rules and why? A village can be ruled by a elected official like a mayor or a council, or both. The Lord of the land may have appointed the leadership, as a titled Noble. Maybe the leader is in fact the founder of the village, a former adventurer who was awarded land and a title for serves rendered. The is the first taste of the bigger world’s political system, but it doesn’t need to be a large taste. I’m choosing to go with a mayor appointed by the land owning noble.

Where do they rule from? The village may have a town hall where village meetings are held or the mayor may make rulings from his living room. The town hall could take any shape, an old tavern, a tower or small keep. Maybe it was the first building built on the site or maybe it’s the only structure made completely with stone. In my village, the mayor and his appointed council rule from a town hall building that is used for many village events, including a safe house in the basement to protect the population in case of attack.

What commercial products are available? If it’s a lumber town then the main export is lumber, a fishing village is fish and a farming community may be hay or fruit or maybe sheep’s meat, but what are the imports? Is it difficult, time consuming or expensive to get supplies to the village? If so, then the prices are going to be increased to account for the difficulty in keeping the village stocked. Do they citizens wait for a caravan come through the village twice a year, or do they have their own craftsmen who supply the village. Such a small village, I will have a miller, baker, blacksmith, seamstress and a cobbler otherwise the villagers must wait for the trade caravan to pass through in the fall, on their way to the south. This establishes that the village is northern and it’s possible they see snow in the winter.

Why was the village founded and when? Did a single fisherman bring his family north and built a house and started to fish here and then settlers followed him after hearing of the great supplies of fish available in these waters? Did the lumberjacks settle this village as they moved through the forest cutting down trees to build the structures the kingdom needed? Where farmers and settlers were moved to this land by the king to increase the food supply? Every village has a history. A fishing boat with three onboard followed the fish north and was amazed when the stock of fish increased the further north they went. After fishing their fill the boat returned home and the three men convinced their families to move north so they can fish the waters. The town hall was built first to house the families. The fisherman became wealthy on their catch and three independent homes where built. As word reached the south, other settlers arrived and the village was founded 88 years ago.

What is your village’s name? This is a very personal answer, one that may not easy to discuss. Look at a map at real-world villages that are similar to your own to see how they are mapped. Often a farming village can be named after the first farmer that had settled on the land such as Conner’s Corner or Conner’s Farm. Maybe it is named after a nearby feature such as a river, Conner-on-the-Jalama. It could be named after a member of the founder’s family, Sarah Hill. I took a look at Nova Scotia for some ideas. I decided to name the village after my grandfather, Hobbs’ Harbour.

With just these questions answered, are you able to visualize this village. I sat down and drew up my first visual of this village, as seen on the left. I’m not sure if these is the final version as I really don’t like how simple the coastline is, I might sit down and redraw the village. With about forty family I need to make sure there are enough homes for them, including houses in the village, residential on the second floor above the commercial as well as farms outside the village, but within the town line. In the next instalment we’re going to discuss the map and the various structures and how we can build the support system needed without going overboard.