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A Village In The Making

A while back, I listened to the Icewind Dale trilogy while on my commute and it spurred in me a desire for a campaign storyline that was possibly a little more traditional than some of what I was currently playing. To that end, I started working on a campaign idea that I called “What Once Was Lost”. The first step in that was to create a homebase for the PCs to work out of. In today’s blog post, I’m going to discuss the different sections of my write-up and the what each section’s purpose is.

Name: Algun’s Crossing

Size: Small Town (roughly 1,000 people)

Racial Breakdown: Mostly human with a smattering of halflings and dwarves

Industries: Small scale mining, fur trade

The write-up starts off with a small stat block, just to keep things organized. This was written using some of the Pathfinder guidelines, but I tried to leave it generic enough that I could use whatever system I wanted. I still haven’t decided on a system, so keeping things generic is good. The industries section is mostly fluff, but could provide character ties and it fits well in my head to know what the locals care about to help drive story ideas. Animals suddenly avoiding the area? Then the fur traders will probably get the PCs involved.

Notable Religions: Llewarin (God of the Hunt), Ansara (Goddess of the Forge)

I decided to create my own deities because I wanted to flavor things my own way. This isn’t set in any specific campaign world and my plan is to create the rest of the world as needed to service the campaign. And yes, I just throw letters together to make up names that sound good to my ear.

Named for it’s now long-forgotten dwarven founder, Algun Stoneshield, Algun’s Crossing grew up around a crossing in the Ironflow River nestled in the Silver Fells, the foothills of the Wyrmridge Mountains. As the only crossing for miles, Algun’s Crossing originally played an important role in the trade coming from the dwarven hold of Brighthammer. Its fortunes suffered a dangerous reversal when the dragon Sangorthorax (or more commonly “Fangmaw”) assaulted Brighthammer with its kobold troops. The dwarves of Brighthammer were completely unprepared and the hold fell to the dragon. Few dwarves escaped and the ones that did collapsed the tunnels into Brighthammer and left to wander the world in shame.

Now we’re getting into the history of the area. This paragraph mostly contains reference information for me. The bulk of this paragraph would not be immediately shared with players with the exception of the regional names. That said, if I had a player who was playing a dwarf from outside the area, I might take them aside and see if they were interested in playing one of the descendants of the Brighthammer refugees. They might know the name of the hold as it had been passed down, but they have no idea of the hold’s location. Kobolds primarily composed Sangorthorax’s army when it assaulted Brighthammer, but in the intervening centuries, there’s no telling what the dragon has gathered to its banner, so I don’t feel constrained by that. I do intend to use kobolds as an early opponent and with the right system, kobolds can show up in later sessions as powerful members of the first army. The words “kobold lich” just popped into my head, so there’s all sorts of possibilities.

The passage of time has not been kind to the exposed reminders of the dwarven hold. While Brighthammer still exists in obscure records in other dwarven holds, it is completely forgotten by the people of Algun’s Crossing.

This paragraph is a consistency thing. I want to give a reason why the town has forgotten what lies in the hills. The fact that there are exposed reminders reminds me to drop hints in the form of strange stone formations and the like. The reference to obscure records also indicates the possibility of a travelling adventure to another hold to research the history of Brighthammer.

For a long time, it was taboo in the village to explore the nearby caves in the mountains, but gradually over time the reason for this taboo was lost and the village began attempting to exploit the meager veins of metal in some nearby caves.

The village also carries on a small scale fur business with the plentiful game in the area. This trade along with the small metal forging operation keeps the citizens of Algun’s Crossing comfortable, though not exactly wealthy.

The final two paragraphs expound a little bit on the industry of the town. The mining paragraph is a lead-in to my first adventure idea and the taboo-breaking nature of the mines may have some of the old folk in the town talking. The fur business paragraph is almost a throw-away except it establishes the town’s relative affluence, which is important when contemplating what sort of things the PCs can and can’t buy in the town.

That’s how I organize the initial burst of my idea. It isn’t much, but it’s enough to get my brain going and give me a framework to work around. I’ll probably turn this into a series as I organize more information for the campaign. Hopefully, I’ll say something useful sometime.

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