Friday, February 2, 2018

Rolling through Regions

Every Story needs to take place somewhere. This somewhere is not the entire continent, or world. It is a small region. Some landmarks, a few cities, some history, nothing more. Most Stories and Adventure Modules don't need a predefined world and DCC is built around the idea of creating the world from within. Taking the focus towards the individual places and persons.

This system i present you here will provide you with a randomized region for fantasy roleplaying. While some of the designs and ideas are directly catered towards Dungeon Crawl Classics, the regions provided here can easily used inside every fantasy setting or system.

A huge shoutout to Last Gasp Grimoire, which inspired this Setting with its amazing City and Village Generator.

Let's get started.

1. Prepare the Region.

We need some tools for creating our region. We need a normal piece of paper, some pens and dice. Specifically d4, d6 and d20. Which dice of which sort you take is up to you but for trying out the system i recommend 6 of each. Put all the d4, d6 and d20 on a pile or into a bag. Now we can start.

2. Roll the dice.

Pull a hand full of random dice out of the bag or from the pile. Throw them all onto your sheet of paper. Those refusing to land on the sheet of paper will have to find their way back on there. Just pick them up and place them somewhere or roll them again until they stay there. Every Die will represent something in the region. The d4 form the landscape, the d20 create the settlements and the d6 fill the region with places of interest.

3. Create the landscape.

Every d4 represents a big area of terrain. Take the die out and draw the landscape corresponding to the number rolled onto the map.

1 - Mountains
2 - Forest
3 - Lake
4 - Hills

The size of the landscape is up to you but if you can't decide. Reroll the d4. The number that comes up shows the diameter in inch. If landscapes overlap with other dice, then so be it. If a dice is close to the edge of the map you can expand the landscape out of the map. A Lake might become the sea by doing so.

4. Create Settlements

Every d20 is a settlement. The number rolled represents the size of the settlement. Everything below 10 has to be considered a town or smaller, while 11 or higher represent cities. Draw a Settlement of corresponding size and write the Number next to it. If you want a more in depth city creation look at the Optional Steps after this.

5. Create Special Places

Every d6 represents a special place. Higher numbers mean more important, mythical or dangerous places. There are two systems of which to choose. They obviously can be mixed without further adjustment.

5.1. Place Adventure Modules

This method replaces the d6 with pre made adventure modules. Every die represents the location at which a Module takes place. The recommended character level for the module equals the number rolled -1. Note that thiss will not provide with adventures for characters of level 6 or higher. Level 0 reffers to Funnel Modules, which are more or less specific to Dungeon Crawl Classics.

5.2. Place "Special Places"

Just get creative! Ancient ruins, secret wizard lairs, ruined chapels. The higher the number, the bigger the danger, the greater the reward. Within the optional steps, a set of random tables can be found which provide inspiration. If planning on using them, mark the number of the dice at the location.

6. Create Roads and Rivers

We begin with the largest settlement. If the Size of the Settlement (the number on the d20) is bigger than 10 connect it to 1d4+1 other Locations. This proritizes close settlements and big settlements over special places. If the settlement is "close" to the edge of the map, there is a 50% chance that one road will lead out of the region. For settlements with a size of 10 or lower, if they have no roads yet, create one. Afterwards, no matter how many roads there are, roll a die. At a odd number draw a road between the settlement and another random place.

Every mountain spawns 1d4-1 rivers. Also, there are 1d4-2 rivers, which spring from somewhere else or come from outside of the region A river begins at the spring and then flows towards a random place, be it a settlement a lake, or a special place. At every place reached roll for another one towards which the river will continue. Rivers will never go closer towards their spring. If all "valid" targets are closer to the spring than the previous targets it simply flows out of the map. Rivers crossing each other join up and become a single river.

7. Finishing touches

The map you have now is a rough sketch of your region. Giving names to places will transform it into a place to play at. If you don't wish to give more details to cities and special places, then you are done. If you want to do so, then either follow these optional steps or any other method you see apropriate.

Optional steps:

The following steps are not required in Order to create a functioning region. Often they have to be chosen in order to fit the narrative, but sometimes rolling them out can lead to more creative fun.

O1. Who rules here?

Every Region needs a Ruler. In order to determine the Ruler roll a d20 and add the size of the largest settlement ontop. Then consult the following table.

Things inside a settlement
Result Who rules?Modification
2 - 4 Anarchy. People here have somehow arranged with each other. Stranger might find the inner workings quite confusing.none
5 - 8 Clans. Old families rule this land. They are not noble and not wealthy but their rule has been accepted by the people.none
9 - 12 A Chief. A Warlord or some other form of archaic king rules here. His laws might be erratic but they work.none
13 - 16 Rulers from the outside. Some Ruler from a distant land have all the saying in this land. There won't be any direct rule, just an embassy within the biggest settlement. Roll another d20 and add it to your previous roll. This determines the outside rulers.Embassy in biggest settlement
17 - 20 Religious Leaders. This region is governed by the Church of (1d6) 1-2. A lawful god. 3-4 A neutral God. 5 A chaotic God. 6. A demon lord.Add a Temple of the entity to every settlement
21 - 24 The Merchants Guild. Trade is the essence of this land, as it is owned by wealthy tradersAdd a Merchants Guild building in every settlement
25 - 28 Place of the People. The People Rule over their own land. Decisions are made by (1d6) 1. an assembly, voted for by the people. 2. the rich and wealthy. 3. the military leaders. 4. the noble. 5. the oldest. 6. the literate and scholars.Add a public meeting hall to the capitol
29 - 32A mighty Person. This region is controlled by (1d6). 1. a powerful mage. 2. a powerful noble. 3. a holy person of a random god. 4. the child of a king. 5. a military leader assigned to this place. 6. a young rebel, who overthrew the old regiment (roll again to determine the former rulers)Add a fortress befitting the ruler to the capitol
33 - 36 The Count rules. While neither as noble, nor as powerful as the king, the count and his family reign over all settlements in this region, with no one above them.Add a Castle to the capitol
37 - 40 The King rules. A mighty King reigns supreme. Not only is this region under his rule, he also reigns over all the land surrounding it. This is the centre of a big kingdom.Add a Castle or even a palace to the capitol

Note on the table: This table does assume, that humans are in charge, but if this is not the case by design, then there is a 10% chance of the ruler beeing a dwarf, elf or halfling. If  one of those rule the land there is a 50% chance, that the population mostly consists of his race.

O2. Give life to Settlements

Settlements are not well defined within this method. If you want to give them more Detail, then you can use the system provided here. You need to know the size of your settlement in order to use this system:

 - Determine Population.

Each Settlement is populated by about 50 * [size]² People. You can adjust the numbers for larger, big cities by increasing the power to the size to 3 or even 4.

 - Determine whats inside the Settlement

Settlements consist of more than just huts to live in. First of all. Every settlement has a building for those who reign there. To randomly determine other buildings or places of importance look at the list provided here. Roll a d20 for each entry. If you roll lower than or equal to the size of the town, then such a building is present within the town. A natural twenty never adds anything.

Things inside a settlement
Guilds Temples* Military Shops
Guild of Magicians Temples of lawful gods Soldiers Academy Legendary smith
Guild of Mercenaries Temple of neutral gods Walls** Salesman for everything magic
Guild of Merchants Temple of chaotic gods Castle** Thriving Black Market
Guild of Thieves (Secret) Cults

 * Cities can have multiple temples. If your settlement gets a temple decide if it si for one or many gods. If it is for only one, then roll again for a temple of the same alignment, until you roll too high or run out of gods.

** Cities with a size of 11 or bigger automatically have walls around their centre. This adds another layer of walls. Also every city, ruled by a Chief, Count, King or anything similar automatically has something like a castle. This option then imporoves its looks or fortification.

O3. Randomize your mysteries

This little table can provide you with a randomized special area. You just have to roll a number of six sided dice, equal to the number rolled for the special place (between one and six d6) and compare it to the table. Reroll for each individual column. This tablehas four different entries that make each Place special. The Place itself, it's dominant feature,and its current inhabitants. You may roll twice for feature and / or inhabitants in order to give to place more character. Substract or add 1d6 on your second roll.

Random special place table
1EncampmentabandonedRoll 2d6 instead
2Swampforgottengiant spiders
4Townovergrowngoblinoids and orcs
11Templecovered in mistcultists
13Arenacrystallicmagical [2d6]
15Ritual SiteunholyShapeshifters
16Wreckage of a shipsentientdemons
18Holy Siteflamingdragons
19Citygravity defyinggiant [3d6]
20Portal to another realmtoxicUn-Dead [2d6+7]
21Magical Treemovingmutated [3d6]
22The Underdarkteleportingspirits
23Ancient Battlefielddemonicvampires
24Dragons Laircursed by a godCreatures from the underdark
25Treasure hoardflying[4d6] from another plane
26Pyramidontop of another site shadows
27Corpse of a giantshrinkingthe child of a god and a demon
28Portal to another Planepitch black a unspeakable horror
29Throne of a dead goddevouringimmortals
30Inside a living creaturemulti-dimensionala crossbred between [2 * 5d6-1]
31Birthplace of a racefrom the futurethe last of his race
32Demonic Riftmade of pure goldtime travellers
33A Cloudplace of negativesa demon lord
34Megadungeonteleportinga 10 000 years old mage
35Portal to another timeolder than timea forgotten god
36Home of a deityextraplanarchickens


O4. Hexcrawls

By throwing all the dice onto a Hexmap one can easily create a hexrawl out of this. I recommend taking more special places then and adding some coins or other markers at which random encounters will occur. 

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