09 December, 2014

Worldbuildng 101 - Part 26: Hot Times, Summer in the City

While filling out these tables, I want each of the random encounters to be something interesting. There is already a good chance that nothing much will catch the attention of the adventurers while they are wandering through the setting, so for the purposes of story we want each of these noteworthy elements to actually be noteworthy and interesting. But this degree of interest can vary…in some cases the random element might be telling us something about the setting, and in other cases it might be telling us about the story unfolding around the characters. If the characters have had their attention drawn to a farmer ploughing their fields, there must be a reason for this…it might not sound interesting at first, but there must be something odd about it otherwise the characters wouldn’t have noticed. Everything is added to these charts for a reason, but it’s typically during the course of play through the three-way interactions of GM, rules, and players that those reasons become apparent. These tables are merely to provide additional seeds for adventure and narrative.

Urban (El Puerto de Isabella)
A – A shimmering portal briefly flickers
  Basic: A magical gem drops out of the portal before it quickly flickers away.
  Heightened: Before the portal vanishes, an elemental imp emerges.
  Extreme: An elemental ifrit marks this location as its territory, threatening violence to any who come near.  
2 – A factional leader approaches
  Basic: This is the leader of a minor faction, with a number of companions (equal to roughly half the number of players).
  Heightened: This is the leader of a minor faction, with a number of experienced guards (roughly equal in number to the players).
  Extreme: This is the leader of the largest faction in the area, with many experienced guards (roughly equal to twice the number of players)
3 – Foul Stench
  Basic: The air is foul and smoky, with hints of something rotten in it. Nothing too much to worry about, but the stink lingers on your clothes until they are thoroughly washed (or incinerated).
  Heightened: Thick and oily, the air causes you to gag. If you stay too long you risk passing out.
  Extreme: The smoke is almost alive, it seeps into your clothes, hair, nostrils. It may be lethal if you linger.

4 – Rats
  Basic: A swarm of rats scurrying near a pile of rubbish (or maybe it’s a dead body).
  Heightened: Dozens of rats line the walls, silently watching you as you approach. You could swear they’ve had their conversation interrupted.  
  Extreme: A were-rat scavenges a pile of rubbish, it is surrounded by a number of large dire rats and awakened rats (equal to roughly the number of players), and a swarm of other rats (equal to roughly ten times the number of players).  

5 – Rumours and Scuttlebutt
  Basic: A news vending urchin offers the latest paper. The headline catches your eye.
  Heightened: A couple passing by make mention of something intriguing they’ve seen in a nearby street.
  Extreme: This person shouldn’t be here. Why are they here and what do they want?

6 – Revelry
  Basic: Some local drunks spill out onto the street.
  Heightened: Armed young drunkards wanting to make a reputation for themselves (equal to roughly the number of players).
  Extreme: An intense bar fight has spilled out onto the street (a number of unarmed participants roughly equal to twice the number of players, and a number of armed participants equal to roughly the number of players)

7 – Town Guards
  Basic: A pair of town guards walking their beat.
  Heightened: A squad of town guards (6) in a rush to deal with a problem nearby.   
  Extreme: A squad of heavily armed town guards (6) rushing at the characters.

8 – Street Vendor
  Basic: A slightly suspicious looking street vendor.  
  Heightened: Local fruit and vegetable vendor with a gathering of locals milling around and gossiping. There’s obviously more than produce being traded here.
  Extreme: Two street vendors have claimed the same territory, you walk into the middle of a turf war. 3 ruffians and a vendor on each side.

9 – Local Gang
  Basic: A few members of a local gang roam the streets (equal to roughly the number of players), not looking for trouble, not yet anyway.
  Heightened: A few armed members of a local gang, are looking to avenge a slight caused by another gang (or generally prove their power in the local area).
  Extreme: A gang war party (equal to roughly twice the number of players), looking to eliminate anyone who might be a threat in the local area.

10 - Stocks
  Basic: A petty criminal in the stocks, generally shouting abuse at passers-by.
  Heightened: The stocks hold a known criminal with a bit of a reputation for regular trouble. A few locals have gathered around the stocks for various reasons, things are a little tense.   
  Extreme: The stocks hold a serial offender, and a small crowd of very tense people have gathered around. It won’t take much for the wrong word or action to start a local riot.  

J – Members of the Clergy
  Basic: A priestess of the Church is ministering to the locals. She seems to be well known and well liked.  
  Heightened: A group of priests and priestesses are offering services to the local community, feeding the poor and healing the sick.  
  Extreme: A church inquisitor and their retinue (armed warrior-priests equal to roughly twice the number of players) are conducting an investigation. Any sign of heresy will draw their attention and be dealt with appropriately.

Q - Inventor
  Basic: Inventor looking for spare parts.
  Heightened: A Clockwork or Flesh Golem protects an inventor’s workshop.
  Extreme: A Golem has broken free of its creator’s control. It is causing havoc in the streets.  
K – Civilised Monsters
  Basic: A lone vampire, minotaur or wererat conducting their regular business in the city.
  Heightened: A vampire, minotaur or wererat and some of their companions (vampire has dhampyr companions, minotaur and wererat have wyldkin comanions, both roughly equal to number of players). The group is involved in a ritualised hunt of some type.

  Extreme: A Blood Elder has emerged from the shadows, blood is about to flow. 
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