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Last week, my group leveled up their DCC RPG characters and we all rolled up a Judges Guild village together. It was kind of a funky place, and it seemed pretty at odds with what the word “village” conjures up in my mind in a fantasy context, but on balance I liked it. I also remember baing skeptical about random Judges Guild castles, too, and when I rolled up Castle Yonezana here on Yore, my skepticism vanished. I think it’s time to roll up a village here.

These posts are fun to do, so I’ll probably wind up working my way through the whole Campaign Hexagon Sub-System series. But first, a village!

There are two village books in the Campaign Hexagon series, Village Book I and Village Book II, but the only random tables in the second one are for heraldry. I don’t really care about heraldry, so I’m going to stick to Book I.

My copy has “MILBANK” written on the inside cover, so I assume Ms. or Mr. Milbank is the one who spot-colored the cover with colored pencil, and perhaps the one who got chocolaty fingerprints on it, too. I love buying old gaming books used — they always have some character!

Das village

  • Wall Sections: A 1 gets me 2-12 wall sections, and I roll 12. There are no non-walled village options, which says a lot about the assumed setting.
  • Wall Thickness and Type: Another 1, which is 10′ thick earthen walls with 1″ diameter bronze grates set into them.
  • Wall Height: As in the castle tables, this is just a formula. It yields 20′ high walls, and the grates are 12′ high. Interesting — why make the grates so big? (They could be as tall as 36′, which would require a reroll since it exceeds the wall height.)
  • Wall Length: Another formula based on a roll, and my 12 makes each wall section 120′ long. On DCC night, we had a player with a math degree who could figure out the enclosed area in his head…but that player wasn’t me. Off to Google, then! First I figure out that this isn’t a dodecahedron, because duh that’s a three-dimensional shape. This is a dodecagon, assuming the walls are placed symmetrically. A couple minutes got me to Calculator Soup, where I plugged in the side length and hit Calculate to get an area of 161,224 square feet. Google tells me that’s about 3.7 acres, and I know an acre is roughly the size of an American football field. Call it four acres for simplicity, and this is still a fairly small fortified village. (I found that to be the case on DCC night, too.)
  • Wall Characteristics: I love this table, which includes features like crumbling, glass embedded, and secret gate. My 11 gets me parapets, which I dig. Earthen walls with parapets — probably made from logs, then.
  • Wall Defenses: I rolled an 18, for dart thrower. Neat! That could mean something like a scorpio (a precursor to the ballista), or a more fantastical option. Either way, these villagers have dart-shooting siege engines, or something similar, atop their walls.
  • Number of Streets: A 5 gives me 4-40 streets, and my follow-up roll produces 8. Eight streets in an area about the size of 4 football fields is pretty easy to visualize, and I’m starting to get a feel for this place.
  • Street Width and Type: I’ve rolled a 1 on all of these “anchor” tables, and this one’s no exception. A 1 means their streets are actually trails 1′ wide. That’s super-narrow! “Dirt” is another possibility for type of street, so I take “trail” to mean something like a hiking trail, which makes me think of hobbits. I’m filing that away for the moment.
  • Street Length: Like wall length, this is a roll with a formula; I get streets 100′ long. Given the enclosed area and the fact that there are 8 of them, I assume there are some twists and turns to this village’s trail-streets.
  • Technological Level: This is an important table, because so much of the village’s nature and character hinge on this roll. “Technological level” is kind of a weird term, too: It describes the lower-numbered entries pretty well, but they’re all more like types of governments than tech levels. Here they are:

  • Anyhoo, I got a 4: Agrarian. That will give me 2 rolls for government works down the line.
  • Population Level: A 15 on percentile dice gives our village a population of 100, with 3 shops. A hundred people living in 4 acres feels pretty tight, but perhaps they don’t all live inside the walls, or they have large families?
  • Shops: There’s a sub-table for each tech level, so I flip to Agrarian and roll 3 times: 18, 11, 19. (If I’d rolled the same result I could have rerolled or, perhaps more fun, included multiples of the same type of shop.) That’s sail maker, carpenter, and brick layer. Now my wheels are spinning: If this was a randomly-encountered village in a hexcrawl, and it happened not to be near water, why is there a sail maker? With a carpenter and a brick layer in town, why do they have earthen walls and tiny hiking trails for streets? I love thinking about that sort of thing on the fly, trying to pull together dissonant elements to make an interesting whole. These books are great for that.
  • Government Works: Maybe the village’s 2 government works will make the picture clearer. Off to the sub-table for Agrarian, where an 8 and a 6 give me a tax office and a waterworks. The latter makes me picture Roman aqueducts and other irrigation projects, while the former makes the village feel locally important. Let’s give the place a name before pulling it all together.
  • Name Prefix: Taken together, the book notes that there are 368,000 possible village names in these charts. And some combinations are going to be a hoot. Let’s see what we get for the first half. A 16 sends me to table 16, where a 2 gives me “Pure.” Awesome.
  • Name Suffix: An even roll sends me to the second set of 20 tables, where 2d20 gives me the suffix “mine.” “Puremine,” then. I can work with that. Because I’m 12, I scan the charts and see that “Crystalcock” was also a possibility (as was “Purecock,” tee hee). These names are the quirkiest part of an already-quirky process, and I love them. Four pages of pure joy.

After the main tables comes a half-page of charts for rolling up individual buildings (material, room height, rooms, room sizes, etc.), but that seems like overkill unless the village is about to get used, so I’m going to stop there.

I’m surprised there are no tables for leadership, population, or the like. Those were a big part of getting a feel for Castle Yonezana, and I miss them here. Still, it’s not as though I can’t add a few details of my own.

Here’s what Puremine looks like to me.

The Village of Puremine

Situated atop a natural aquifer of crystal-clear water, Puremine is named for purity of the water its wells bring up from the earth. It started out as a family farm, but demand for its water — notably for brewing ale and for use in wizards’ experiments — has turned it into a boomtown.

The population has swelled to a hundred souls, and taxes levied on the water and the surround farms have been used to pay for enclosing Puremine in high earthen walls. Puremine lacks proper streets, and the villagers still get around on the old footpaths that crisscrossed the land before the walls went up.

In addition to its well-works, Puremine boasts fertile farmland (outside the walls), a carpenter (whose expertise helped construct the palisades atop the walls), and a sail maker’s shop. The latter does a brisk trade with the riverboats that ply the nearby waterways.

With no formal garrison or real organized government, Puremine has become wary of its neighbors — and of bandits. When a shady ex-soldier showed up with two wagons loaded with old siege engines, the villagers pooled their silver and bought a dozen scorpios to line their walls. Of course, no one really knows how to use them…

Do your own thing

I looked at Puremine and saw a vulnerable boomtown, which is an interesting thing for any party in a hexcrawl to stumble upon in the wilderness. You might well look at it and see something completely different — an ancient halfling village, its houses built into grass-covered hills, irrigating its carefully tended fields with magical spring water, perhaps.

I like Puremine, and after a couple dozen rolls, a few minutes of noodling, and another few minutes writing up its brief description, it feels like a real place to me. It’s also a lot more interesting than “You find a village. There’s an inn with a stable.” The Campaign Hexagon series is two for two so far, and I’m excited to roll up another location.

I wound up ordering Island Book I and Caves and Caverns to complete my set, so that leaves me a a temple, a cavern system, an island, and a ruin to generate randomly in future posts.

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