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Giving Your Cities Character

Heroes can spend a lot of time out in the wilderness. There is a lot of action outside of town, what with monsters ravaging the countryside, forgotten dungeons, and that pesky environment to contend with. Eventually, the characters are going to come to a settlement, however. Maybe they just want to grab supplies or have a long rest without worrying about pesky Anhkegs for once. Perhaps the city is actually a focus, and you’re planning to run an urban campaign. Whatever the reason, the forests and plains are giving way to wood smoke and buildings. How do you make this community stand out?

What follows is a simple questionnaire or character sheet for your settlement. Feel free to swap out what you don’t like for what you do. Maybe instead of the cuisine of the city, you prefer to know its fashion. Pick what’s important to you and roll with it. If you did this for every town and city, they’ll be unique places that come alive for the player instead of an endless expanse of generic villages.

Type (circle one): City/Town/Village/Hamlet/Keep/Isolated Dwelling/other:
Ruler/Government type:
Who does it pay fealty to?
How much does that religion matter?
Four Smells associated with the settlement:
Four Sounds associated with the settlement:
Rate the people from poor (1) to rich (10):
Rate the people form unhappy (1) to happy (10):
How do citizens usually relate to outsiders?
What cuisine/dish is the city famous for?
What good(s) does the city produce?
What good(s) does the city have in short supply?
What race has the largest population in the city?
What race has the second largest population in the city?
What race has the third largest population in the city?
Is there anything special about how these populations relate?
Name one good place in the settlement:
Name one bad place in the settlement:
Name one interesting place in the settlement:
Name one potential ally in the settlement:
Name one interesting person in the settlement:
Name on potential enemy in the settlement:
How guarded is the city against outside threats (an army)?
How guarded is the city against inside threats (a guard or watch)?
What is a strange taboo/crime the city has?
All in all, the city should feel:

Digging in the Sand

Bones. So many bones. How many people have been buried here?

You find a rusty long sword and a small, golden vulture head worth 250 gp.

Red Sand

The sand here on the edge of the sacrificial ground is loose and looks recently churned.

Vulture Priest

The Vulture Priests are the enemy of knowledge and enlightenment. They seek to bring the eternal silence, the end of all things. Decay and obedience is their only god.

Armor Class 6 [13]
Hit Dice 1 (4hp)
Attacks 1 × Beak (1d4 or by weapon)
THAC0 19 [0]
Movement 120’ (40’)
Saving Throws D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (1)
Morale 8 (11 when at their temple)
Alignment Lawful
XP 10 
Number Appearing 2d4 (1d6 × 10)
Treasure Type D
Immune to the Divine: The spells and powers of clerics and paladins have no effect on them.
Weapons: They frequently use wickedly curved daggers, which they use for sacrificial purposes.
Soul Clouders: There is a 10% chance that any Vulture Priest can use the sleep spell once per day. The targets are still awake, but they are beset by such a deep depression that it has the same effect as sleep. They may only watch what unfurls around them.