April 21, 2010 by deadorcs
I’m pretty excited about my wife and I’s trip to Savannah, GA coming up in a very few days, so trying to keep my mind focused on blogging ideas has been pretty challenging. However, I want to wrap up this series of posts I did, so that I can get on to some other things.
Before I begin I want to give another shout out to Phil Cooper over at Barely Readable Diary for his Settlement Census Tool. Phil took the numbers I came up with and built an easy to use web app for determining population demographics. Awesome work, Phil! Everyone else, go check that out.
Now that you have your settlement’s population identified, there’s really only one last step: identify who all these people are. I realized (as I was working on this issue) that for small communities, this probably isn’t too much of an issue. However, with larger towns and cities, identifying every Telgar, Dogek, and Hamaget is going to be nigh impossible.
When I was first spit balling this idea around on Twitter, @ChattyDM mentioned an existing conceit in 4th Edition regarding NPCs. Basically, you don’t stat them out unless you expect to encounter them in combat. I can see the wisdom in that, but I think it’s important to identify major NPCs even if you don’t expect them to participate in combat.
Well, there are a couple of reasons. The first one involves companions. A group of heroes never knows when they might need a companion. Maybe one of their number has a serious injury and needs to wait on a healer. Perhaps the Ogre they thought would be no problem, requires a little more “confidence” than they originally expected. Either way, statting up your visiting “adventurer” types is a useful idea.
The second reason is that sometimes things happen. Maybe the heroes really angered that Ogre and now he and his Goblin minions are coming into town to “rough things up a bit”. Having some villagers stat ready can save some time when you need to muster reinforcements.
Granted, these are unusual circumstances. You really don’t need to stat out every farmer in the country. Unless your heroes are going to door to door selling Amway, it won’t be necessary. If your heroes ARE going door to door selling Amway, statting up the NPC is practically required. After all, a fight is going to break out. Also every wag in the city doesn’t need to be documented either. Cities often have thousands of people. Stats for every one would be pointless and time consuming. Consider your adventure, and stat out only those individuals that are likely to have an impact on the heroes.
Well, that’s pretty much were I’m at in regards to population demographics and 4th edition. As with all things 4e, its a detail that you can add to or subtract from as much as you like. Now go forth and populate those settlements!
Until next time…
Game excellently with one another.