Monday, November 20, 2017


Tik Tok's home: my mate Tom's D&D world from when he was 16.

Saw Skerples' recent post answering the famous Jeff Rients 20 Campaign Questions, and the infamous Scrap Princess 20 questions too. Figured I'd ask 20 more...

0. Why were settlements founded here? Was it simply at the confluence of waterways or trade routes? At the furthest navigable point upstream or port? Near a source of natural wealth that provided enough incentive to build here? At a strategic location, providing access to or intelligence about a particular region? As a political statement or show of power? Was it settled a long time ago? Has the settlement outgrown its original purpose? How has it been changed?

1. What are the local funeral customs? What happens if these customs are not followed? What happens to the bodies of the abandoned dead? Are there supernatural repercussions? If it is found out that someone left a dead companion behind, how are they treated by the locals?

2. How do neighbouring settlements communicate with one another? Is it by word of mouth from traveller to traveller? Or have they acquired something more developed, such as beacons, a courier service, or even magic? How trustworthy and reliable are these communications? Are they publicly available, or controlled by and restricted to the powers that be?

3. How dramatically does your campaign location change from season to season? What are the natural indicators of different seasons (apart from changing temperatures and possible snow). What constellations ride high in which season? What animal migrations take place? What animals spawn or rut or die? What meteorological events take place (tornadoes, or auroras, seasonal floods, etc), and how do the locals observe or celebrate these events?

4. What are the three biggest local celebrations each year? What is it they're celebrating? How do they celebrate? Is there a change in laws or social customs during these events? Can you sum up the experience of each celebration in five key words?

5. Where is the safest place for someone to stash a considerable sum of coins and treasure? How much do they charge, who guards it in return, and what do they do with your wealth while it's in their care? Will you profit from giving them your wealth, or is there a risk that it will be less when you return? What happens to those who cannot pay their debts? 

6. What is the local standard of medical technology in replacing missing bits and body pieces? What if an injured adventurer was to pay top dollar for something considerably more fancy? Is there a seer or inventor in the region more than willing to push the boundaries in prosthetics and artificial limbs for reasonable patronage? Is there a magical alternative available? Are they in competition?

7. What are some local superstitions? How serious are the locals in practicing them? What is said to happen if they are not followed? Has anyone flagrantly ignored them, and to what result?

8. What is the scariest local myth? How old is it? Is there any truth to it? Has anyone in living memory come face to face with it? Has anyone attempted to put the myth to rest? Did they succeed? If not, what happened?

9. Who collects tribute and taxes for the powers that be? How often do they visit the local area, or do they have a permanent establishment? What happens to those who fail to pay up? What is the policy on taxing one-off gains such as recovering a treasure hoard or magical artefacts? How powerful are the enforcers?

10. What are the best places to get a drink round here? What makes these ones better than the rest? What are the house specials? Who else likes to come here? Who's on hand if things get a little rough? What's the house policy on possibly dubious activities, like gambling and companionship? Anything real shady going on here?

11. Where can you buy animals round here? Any local breeds got a reputation, if so what for? Any individual animals famous enough to enter local legend, and what'd they do to get there? Are they for sale and at what cost? What if something a little more exotic was required, where could they be found?

12. What is the local settlement missing? Is it something they're making do without, or is it something they're in dire need of? Is it something that can be imported? or is something more permanent, like a building or infrastructure that they desperately need someone to provide? Are they in the process of collecting funds for it? Or is simply something the people wish for but will likely never have?

13. What is the local mascot of the town or region? How did they come to have this particular mascot? If the mascot is a living creature or local phenomena, how do the locals treat encounters with the mascot's counterparts? What is the mascot famous for?

14. Where's the best place to pick up a few hired hands? Are there any locals with a reputation for a particular job? Any locals known to be particularly mercenary folk, willing to do anything for a bit of coin? What are their reputations? Good, bad, ugly? Any old sellswords who need to make ends meet?

15. What's the local take on the end of the world? Does it follow the standard dogma as espoused by the dominant religion? Or does it feature a number of local deviations? Or is it entirely different? How long til the end of the world, according to local gossip? Anyone actively capitalising on fear mongering or prophecy?

16. Is there a local hedge wizard, witch, or shaman of no great power but one who cares for the locals and helps deal with their tribulations? Where do they live? How can they be contacted? What services can they provide, and what do they charge in return? What do the locals think of them? Do they possess heath lore and ancient knowledge only, or are they truly magical? 

17. What games do the locals like to play? Is it easy to learn? Do they like sports, games with animals? Boardgames? Games of skill? Games of strength or other prowess? Are their favourite games something widely encountered? Or something only played locally? Who are the local champs? Can you make money winning local tournaments? Can you make money gambling on the outcome (and is gambling legal anyway)? Who runs the gambling?

18. What crimes are punishable by death? Who gets to decide guilt or innocence? Who gets to decide if the guilty are to be executed? What local methods of execution are used? Do they use different methods of dispatch for different crimes? Is there a preference for a swift, clean death, or a painfully slow one? Are they public affairs or private ceremonies? What happens to the guilty if the execution fails? 

19. Have any great disasters destroyed local settlements? What were they, how long ago did they happen? Did they rebuild or relocate (or not survive at all)? Are the locals still recovering or has it since entered into local legend? Did many people die? How has the disaster affected local attitudes and laws? Is the disaster something that commemorated? Is there any physical signs of the disaster still present? Do the locals live in fear of the disaster happening again?

20. Where can you find maps of the region? Are there many available? Are they publicly available or only for a select few? How accurate are they? Are they all sourced from the same original map (and thus contain the same errors) or from different sources (and thus contain different and often conflicting pieces of information)? Is anyone maintaining up-to-date maps of the region as settlements grow and change and new areas are colonised, or are they all out-of-date by several decades or even centuries? If so, who is surveying the area, who is providing the cartography, and for what purpose is the map maintained? What features are illustrated that are no longer present? What features are absent?