city in the desert the monster problem

daddykaos563  asked:

Is there a step by step guide to build a village, town or city for a DND game? I have trouble getting my ideas down on paper. I feel a guide may help.

This is how I make mine:

  • Pick if I want it to be coastal, in a forest, desert, etc.
  • Pick a cool name.
  • Decide if this town is mostly for passing through, or if major things are happening here.
  • Decide if they’re cut off from other towns or near others.
  • Decide on population, race majorities and minorities.
  • Pick how the town makes money, what are its imports and exports if any.
  • Who is the leader? How do people like them?
  • What is the towns major problem? Starvation, rats, monsters, etc?
  • How strict are the guards? Do the villagers trust outsiders? Do they hate any race or class?
  • Come up with a bar, inn, weapon, and armor shop name and staff for each. If they’re known for anything, what are they known for?
  • How does this town get along with outsiders/other towns?
  • Any well known locals? What are their names, what are they known for?
  • If your players are good, evil, or neutral how would the townsfolk react? How would your players react here?

A lot of times some of this info is never asked about from my players. I recycle and use that info for other towns if need be. Half the time no one asks about the armor shop, or the potions shop. But its nice info to have on hand.

I also sometimes make mini flash cards detailing the important bits like:

Inn: Sleepy Fellow. Run by Ma. 5 copper a night. Worlds best pillows, they’re always stolen. Ma is sick n tired of it and will gut any thieves.


Here are some little extra tips and tools, too.

  • Plan your city around your landscape. If its a thin and spindly island, you’re not going to have a ton of open space. If the city is in a desert, there are probably very tall walls to keep the sand from blowing in, or the houses might be below ground, etc.
  • Here is a cool map maker to help visualize things.
  • Think about what you’d typically find in a town. Inn, bar, and leather working shops will be basically anywhere. Larger towns will for sure have armor, weapons, potions, etc. Farmer’s markets, hospitals, etc. are also usually present.
  • What kind of town is it? Is it peaceful, do they forage and lack trade routes? Is the town large, have a large guard presence?
  • How does the town make their money? Hunting, gathering, self sustaining, making crafts?
  • I use this sometimes to give me town ideas. I don’t really hit generate tbh, just the options alone help me out a lot.
  • How can your town serve the quest[s] and your players? Is it the main place where quests are given/done? If so, it might need to be more fleshed out. If they’re just passing by you don’t need a lot of detail. Maybe just one quirk or two to make each town unique. e.g. “Every Thursday is bring your pet to work day” for the local guards.