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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Further Thought on One-Page Town Templates

I’ve looked at everyone’s requests for what ought to be part of a one-page town template and condensed them into what I think works.

Some things, such as walls, aren't part of the text describing a town because the map tells you this. At most, you only need notes if these are unusual in some way.

Some things are highly specific to one person’s way of doing things: some of these, such as rating towns in terms of hit dice, could be generalized: for example, if you rate Village as 1 die, Town as 2 dice, City as 3 dice, you can multiply by two or three to fit into other schemes. Whether this is tied to a population size or a military rating is up to individual GMs. Other suggestions, such as using the six ability scores as town ability scores, are too specific to one person’s style and are left out of the template below; they can be added in Miscellaneous or written directly on the map by the GM using the one-page town.

I'm assuming margins on each side are 0.75 inches or 18.95 mm. If we call the area inside the margins the "page", we can define structures -- blocks -- on the page relative to page height and page width. There are three main blocks arranged vertically on the page:

  1. Title Block: Across Top, full width of page

    Town Name, author’s name.

    These may actually be in separate DIVs or sections, so that the Town Name can be flush left and the author's name flush right.
  2. Map Block: Below Title-Block, full width of page, 42% of page height
    Contains two more DIVs or sections arranged side-by-side, flush left and flush right:
    • Map: 57% of page width, flush left
    • Map Sidebar: 40% of page width, flush right
    This leaves a 3% gutter between the two sections. Below this structure is a Legend Block that extends the full width of the Map Block. There may be a horizontal rule separating the Legend from the next block.
  3. Main Text Block: Below Map Block, full width of page, remainder of page height
    Divided into a Town Quarters block that is arranged in two columns, evenly split, and a Miscellaneous Notes block below that that is is single-column mode.
Annotations on the map:
  • walls, palisades or ramparts
  • towers, other structures or important locations
  • moats, streams and bridges
Contents of Map Sidebar:
  • descriptive phrase and dice rating
  • one-sentence background or theme
  • population table (class/race/type breakdown)
You can swap Map and Map Sidebar.

Legend below Map:
Notes on anything unique about the above: walls made of glass or iron, for example.
Town Quarters:
  • Noble Quarter (ruling class, name of baron/prince/mayor NPC, if any)
  • Common Quarter (main labor type, any legal restrictions)
  • Trades Quarter (price shifts, surpluses, shortages)
  • Special Quarter (town specialty, if any)
Recent Events, Town Secrets, Unusual NPCs, and any unusual cultural info
Licensing Notes  can be placed at the bottom.

I'll see about making a template along these lines in the next couple days.

1 comment:

  1. I apologize for the late comments, but I would encourage everyone to remember what's important when doing their towns/villages/etc: relationships. These places are not adventure locals, they are social environments. As suce the most important part is how the people interact with each other.

    The old crone loves the simple mayors son who burns down crops because he's being blackmailed by the new wirey merchant who ... you get the idea. This interlocking web of relationships and beliefs and the like is what makes a social environment really come alive. We don't need to know that costs are 14% above normal, or how much soup costs. We need to know flavor and relationships.