GWJ Collaborative Fantasy Town

other assumptions

- there is an old collapsed outer wall starting from point 17. only a few standing sections remain.
- 45 is a set of caves built into the cliff-face.
- 48 is the framework of an old ruined temple

Could I utilize the building north of the graveyard/broken wall without a number? Seems like a perfect spot for a Charcoal Burner/Maker. They had to be close to timber industries but far enough away that the constant smoke and smell wouldnt bother people. They also were often demonized by people since they constantly smelled of sulfur and smoke. Much like how tanners were disliked because of the smell. But everyone needs their product. I am assuming thats not a coast line to the north since there is a road out.

Oh check out this poem about a Charcoal Burner by AA Milne. He has a story to tell.

@Igneus - sounds great. I’ll add a tab to the google sheet with additions / edits requested for the map.


How about 16 for a small monastery/ winery?

Fishing mostly but small farm on outlying island. Unique soil makes for good grapes for wine. Island is not safe at night. (Maybe underwater creatures come up?) Secretly a halfway house for people running from powerful baddies. => High turnover of people.

49 might also work... I want near water away from town center.

The Charcoal Maker


Charcoal Maker: Lives on the outskirts of town. Regularly visited by timber sellers, he regularly sells to anyone who uses fire/heat for industrial/commercial purposes e.g.: smithies, bakers, chandlers, coopers. Also some well to do merchants/individuals would use charcoal for heating purposes.

Description: Name: Svenson Burner. Average, dully so. Middle aged human, 40-50yrs old. Balding. Average height but stocky due to working with logs most of his life.

Bio: Svenson Burner lives by himself at the edge of town. He is known to most all industrial people and generally they have a kind word for him and he for them. The exception to this is Svenson is a notorious drunk. While he does not get rowdy, he is boastful. Little in life backs his outrageous claims when drunk. Many of his stories relate to (insert creatures found in woods, think kobald). This stems from a traumatizing incident in his youth of getting lost in the woods, running into a (insert harmless version of creature, juvenile kobald) and being scared witless. While managing to get away from that creature he was never believed for the incident. When not diligently working he can be found and is known in all the local taverns. Upon meeting strangers he will tell them his larger than life stories in exchange for drinks. More than one adventurer has made the mistake of heeding his words and going on a wild goose chase. If they come back to confront Svenson the locals will stick up for their own, telling the adventurer: "its not his fault if the adventurer couldn't find the obvious creatures lair everyone knows its where Svenson said" or "it's their own fault for listening to a random drunk". To the surprise of everyone but Svenson a few adventurers have come back and thanked him for his valuable information. To this Svenson says, "but of course".

Location: number to be determined. The property is on the outskirts of the town. Svensons land is always filled with smoke. It is large enough to have several charcoal pits in various stages. There is a little hut he calls home and several larger sheds and roofed pole shelters for storage. Inside/under the outbuildings will be coal storage, drying timber, axes and other wood working tools.


Sure, grab whatever available building you want.

If you like the idea of seclusion, you can request a detached island south of 19 for the monastery. Monks like their seclusion and it would only be accessible by row-boat (or levitate, etc). Or there could be a rock bridge leading to it. Anything you want.

Edit: If you stick with 16, there’s an opportunity for a secret entrance into the house from the cliffside via a tunnel.


bepnewt wrote:


Sure, grab whatever available building you want.

If you like the idea of seclusion, you can request a detached island south of 19 for the monastery. Monks like their seclusion and it would only be accessible by row-boat (or levitate, etc). Or there could be a rock bridge leading to it. Anything you want.

Edit: If you stick with 16, there’s an opportunity for a secret entrance into the house from the cliffside via a tunnel.


Let's go with that.

Hot damn, Pyx! I wish I was half the cartographer you are.


Starting to think of some ideas for a local Tailor, thinking they set up shop at 38. It's one of the smaller buildings in the richer area but also near the access to the lower area. A tailor would most likely serve higher scale clientele in a medieval setting since lower class working types most likely made/mended their own clothing, so they would be something of a stylist to the wealthy and middle class. Being on the upper plateau puts them near their primary clients, but with the ramp right there, accessible to everyone who wants to shop or commission something.

Malkroth wrote:

Starting to think of some ideas for a local Tailor.

I have this as part of the Jeweler's history/backstory:

"Archibald Fitbiddle (134yr-M-Gnm). Was an accomplished Illusionist / Thief. Settled here after meeting his wife who used to be a tailor in town. He sold the tailor business to (insert name here). Has interesting stuff in his hidden basement. Only lends to people he knows and trusts."

I picked "tailor" at random and can easily change it to something else if you don't want that relationship link for your person. Just let me know.


Butcher / Florist / Baker (26)

Building 26 is a multi-functional shop, split into 2 parts. One third is dedicated to Hammond Carver's butcher shop and the other two thirds is used by his wife, Analise Carver, as a shop to sell the flowers she grows and the goods she bakes.

Hammond barely has enough business to scrape by; it's his wife's delicious treats and breads, along with her incredibly green thumb with the rare flowers, that allows them to survive and even thrive a little. Their daughter, Meghan, works in the florist/bakery with her mother, but doesn't enjoy it much.

When Hammond doesn't have any butchering to do, he can usually be found at the beach fishing and drinking. He's a decent fisherman and dries and smokes any extras that he catches to sell to patrons of their shop. Potential customers who need him know where to find him if he's not in the shop.

Analise has an unnatural (truly - there's some fey in her blood) knack for growing any flowers she sets her mind to, even ones that shouldn't grow in the area. She specialize in aromatics that perfumers seek out for their craft. A fair number of people travel here overland or by boat to buy her crop - enough that she can't fill everyone's requests because their yard isn't big enough to grow all that she would like.

Along with the aromatics, more common flowers are grown that are sold mainly to the locals for special occasions. She likes to use parts of different flowers in her baking, giving her goods an interesting flavor.

Her baked goods are typical fare - breads, pies, muffins, and the occasional cake when requested. They are above average, but not at the level of a professional baker. She bakes more to give her something to do and because she loves the smell. She recently ordered a new oven from the local blacksmith so she can make more items at one time.

Hammond, Analise, and Meghan Carver (26a)

The Carver family lives in building 26a, which is south and slightly west of their shop at 26. The house is furnished with locally crafted wooden furniture, and there are always fresh flowers in a clay vase on the table. Behind the house is a largish garden area full of various species of flower that are able to grow even when not perfectly in season. Next to the small gardening shed is a small meat smoker that (blacksmith name) made for Hammond out of scraps after his son disappeared.

Hammond is a 6' 2" human, 34 years of age, who used to be larger than he currently is. When his son, Billow, disappeared 3 years ago at age 8, Hammond stopped eating as much and has been slowly losing weight. He used to weight 225# but is now a wiry 185#. The townsfolk have noticed that Hammond has been in a mild depression since Billow's disappearance.

Hammond generally wears cheap, dark clothing with a weathered leather apron. He even wears the apron when he's not officially working, most of the time. At all times, on his hip, a razor-sharp butcher's cleaver hangs via a leather thong. It has a protective leather cover over the blade. He owns several knives used in his butchering duties, but his cleaver is is favorite tool. His hair is light brown, but his beard and mustache have hints of blonde and red in them.

Analise is a very cheerful woman (1/4 elf, 29 years old) who mourns the loss of her son as much as Hammond, but internalizes the sadness. If she's not gardening or baking, she can be found walking around town talking to residents with a continuous smile on her face. Her father was a 1/2 elf, and her mother a human, although her mother's family has some fey running through their blood.

Analise is 5'8" tall, with strawberry blonde hair she always has pulled back into a hair clip carved out of a seashell. She usually has a fresh flower in her hair somewhere, unless she recently saw a young girl in town and moved it from her own hair to the girl's. You would never know that Analise had any elven blood in her just by looking at her. Walking around town or working in the store, she mostly wears loose-fitting sundresses if the weather permits. Her fair skin neither tans, nor gets burnt much while gardening. Her eyes are a very light blue that fade to gray on the edges of the iris.

Meghan, their 8 year old daughter, is outgoing and loud with adults but doesn't really like playing with the other kids in town except for an impoverished boy, Seymour, that lives in a tiny shack with his father and mother. Hammond doesn't like her playing with the kid, but hasn't bothered her too much about it recently. Analise believes all folk should get along and mingle and gives the kid some bread, etc. sometimes after she closes shop. Meghan isn't thrilled to help her mother in her shop and has an odd fascination with the water. She believes she wants to captain her own ship some day and often gets in trouble for going down to the dock and mingling with the dockworkers when she is supposed to be doing an errand for her mother. The dockworkers like her a lot and treat her well.

Meghan has a mop of short, unruly red hair that she never takes care of. When her hair was long, Analise used to brush it and pin it up but Meghan always comes home with her hair all astray and the pins or clip missing. Analise finally just cut it short and that made both of them happier. Although Meghan has red hair, she tans very well, inheriting her skin from her father. Her green eyes are quite bright and stand out more in the summer months.

Billow, the missing son, was last seen walking northeast along the area below the Smithy. When the family suspected he was missing, they asked Ramsey McFadden to track him. Ramsey deduced that Billow fell into the water near the cave at 45 and drowned, although a body was never recovered.

Jeweler / Moneychanger / Moneylender (31)

Archibald Fitbiddle lives and works out of building 31, which is relatively near the ocean/bay/lake to the west. "Archy" passes the time in [insert town name here] as a jeweler, with side businesses as a moneychanger and rarely as a moneylender to people in town that he knows and trusts. His moneychanging fees are incredibly low at 1% for locals and 2.5% for non-locals. When he does lend money, it is with no interest, but he will occasionally ask for favors from the borrower until the debt is paid off.

Archy buys, sells, and appraises gems and jewelry. He can do minor fixes to items, but not anything that requires a lot of work. If Archy likes you, you will get a very fair deal, but if he doesn't like you, he won't do any deal with you.

If a customer brings a child into his shop, Archy will entertain them with minor illusions and sleight of hand tricks, sometimes ignoring the customer a little too much while he plays with the children. He has a quiet demeanor, and is very charismatic, so even if a customer does get a little miffed at his antics with the kids, he is able to swing them into a better mood, eventually.

Archy, a 134 year old male gnome rogue/illusionist, settled here after many years of adventuring and has many (mostly true) stories that he could share, but normally doesn't. On his last adventure, his party of 5 had just killed a powerful necromancer and it's small army of undead and were resting to regain their strength and spells when a swarm of Ankhegs erupted from under the camp. His best friend, a dwarven warrior named Carbide Nutcracker, was torn into multiple pieces during the battle, and 3 of the retreating Ankhegs took different parts of him with them down into their burrow. The priest of the group (Rinkin Umor, 33yr-M-Hum) was also killed before Archy, Magdaline Frue (38yr-F-Hum-Monk), and Agranor Diamondscale (50yr-M-DragBorn-Pal) slew many of them and ran the rest off. They were unable to recover Carbide's body and needed to get Rinkin resurrected, so they returned to the closest city.

Archie decided to return Carbide's rings (since the Ankhegs didn't take his left arm) and his sword to his widow, Elbita, in [insert town name here]. After doing so, he decided to retire in this town.

He is quite wealthy, although he doesn't present himself as such by not flaunting his wealth. Most of his wealth is hidden in the basement of his shop/house - a basement that didn't exist when he bought the place. Not long after settling here, he married a younger gnome woman tailor that he adored. The woman was well-to-do, having inherited money from her father, and owned a tailor shop at location 38. She died a couple years later during childbirth and the baby was stillborn. Archie sold the tailor shop to [insert name here] and never pursued another relationship afterwards.

(note - the backstory with the tailor shop is waiting for approval from Malkroth and subject to change)

Archie is an upstanding member of the local merchant guild and although he is quiet, when he does speak at meetings, his words and ideas are respected by the other members.

When the town has its annual autumnal festival, Archie comes out of his quiet shell for one night and performs a great illusionary show to the children detailing the story of some local legend. The show happens after dusk on the evening of the last day of autumn and follows a great feast (to which Archie donates money helping pay for the food and drink each year). Each year he changes the show slightly so the kids that have seen it still look forward to the newest version every year.

Archie will disappear for weeks at a time and sometimes up to a month with no notice. He has Elbita Nutcracker (location 47) look in on his house/shop to make sure all is in order while he is gone. Once a year, he meets with his old friends Rinkin, Magdaline, and Agranor on a small island where Magdaline now lives with her partner Missy, which is a week's travel across the water to the west.

Archie's clothes are all tailored, and were purchased from various places that he has traveled. His attire is generally colorful, but not garishly so - except when he is performing at the festival, then all bets are off. His hair is gray and not very controlled, but also not unkempt. He has no beard, but sports a long, thin mustache that is curled with wax.

I'm thinking of creating a low-ranking lawman that isn't very likable and is part of an evil underground organization in the town. If anyone likes the idea and wants to flesh out whatever the organization is, toss some ideas around. There have to be _some_ bad guys in town, right?


Yeah, sorting out organizations would help. I'm particularly interested on how we are looking at religion/churches in the town. Been thinking I need to add in a low level cleric/priest to flesh out my little drama I'm dreaming up between my chandlers and town guard.

Edit: Is #12 on the map a graveyard or should it be more ruins? Was thinking #8 on the map would be a church if it is the former.

pyxistyx wrote:
bepnewt wrote:

Freakin’ Wow.

We’re there any assumptions you had when you made it? Examples:

- 38-44 is a wealthier area or perhaps larger businesses
- 12 is a graveyard
- 27 is a farmer’s market
- 33 is a general goods / trader / shipwright
- 1 is an Inn / Tavern

Stuff like that. If there’s anything you had a specific thought about, mention it here before stuff getS claimed.

Did I mention Wow? Thanks, Pyx. Seriously.


actually yeah pretty much spot on with all of those.
i'll bagsee me 19 and 34 for now (remote lonely cliffslide manor and a tower)
i can add more slots later when i do a proper version of the map anyway.

pyxistyx wrote:

other assumptions

- there is an old collapsed outer wall starting from point 17. only a few standing sections remain.
- 45 is a set of caves built into the cliff-face.
- 48 is the framework of an old ruined temple

Mantid wrote:

Yeah, sorting out organizations would help. I'm particularly interested on how we are looking at religion/churches in the town. Been thinking I need to add in a low level cleric/priest to flesh out my little drama I'm dreaming up between my chandlers and town guard.

Flesh out anything that interests you that is a bite-sized chunk. A town this size is going to have followers of diverse religions/gods/pantheons so feel free to detail a place of worship (or 2... or 3...). Most religions represented in the town won’t have distinct buildings but the most prominent ones will. I’d bet there’s at least one water-focused god that has a place of worship here.

I’m going to focus on getting the couple people I’ve added to the google sheet done. If someone wants to make some “dark” organization, I’d like to make one of the guys that is part of it. He’d be a not-too-smart grunt, probably used for simple tasks like vandalism because he’d screw anything else up.

I am going to have a couple young adults in town worship some Wiccan-type figure, more as their own joke, but then find out sh*t can get real when the figure you are calling to in partial jest responds.

@Pyxi - is this a coastal town on an ocean or lake? What was in your noggin when you drew it up?


Before I start coming up with any content for the town, I was wondering if there was still the intent for coming up with some sort of generalized information like town-wide current events or history, or some sort of cultural overview, or any other kind of framing that needs to be kept in mind for consistency?

Farscry wrote:

Before I start coming up with any content for the town, I was wondering if there was still the intent for coming up with some sort of generalized information like town-wide current events or history, or some sort of cultural overview, or any other kind of framing that needs to be kept in mind for consistency?

If we were doing this in real-time where we could meet and discuss those things and bang then out quickly, I would want to be more deliberate about history and events. With a forum and a lot of us being busy IRL with other things, I’d rather just wing it. If someone has the time to come up with a neat history that others can incorporate into their backstories, that’s awesome. Just be prepared for people to suggest changes to further whatever narrative they had going in their head for the pieces they were creating. “Yes, and...”

This kind of thing is best when stories are interwoven between collaborators. Having a basic framework to create in would be great, but it can’t be so detailed that it stymies creativity. The best thing about this is the word “Fantasy” - that leaves a lot of leeway for interesting things!

My opinion is just “go for it” unless unless it’s something crazy-big that impacts the whole town. One of my backstories added a once-a-year autumnal festival. It does involve the whole town, but isn’t very intrusive. If I had wanted to pen something like “every year around Spring, a Kraken floods the town and damages most of the buildings, repeating the process every week until a gnome is sacrificed to it” I would discuss that with everyone because of the town impact.

If you notice that you’ve created something that contradicts what someone else has written, discuss it with them. Or, maybe it’s just 2 different viewpoints in one set of facts. Instead of saying “Joebob stole one of Jimmy’s cows”, where Jimmy is your person and Joebob is someone else’s, maybe change it to “Jimmy is certain that Joebob stole one of his cows.” That makes it less fact and more personal viewpoint.


I was thinking coastal, bepnewt. Hence the more substantial built-up dock.

Here is another one if I may, a beggar:

Beggar: Lives in the back alleys and sewars. Unkempt and smelly, dresses in rags. Lives off of the generosity of others, appears to be lacking in full awareness or living in paranoid fear. Will randomly shout into and at shadows. Arrived in town several years ago, before then was unknown to this area.

Description: Goes by Hawker, due to the bundle of tied rags resembling a bird he keeps on his shoulder. Human of undetermined age. Average height, scrawny/wiry build. Seen often begging through out the merchants quarter. Shows up in really unexpected places. Attempts to remove Hawker from the town has only resulted in him appearing back in town the day following his removal. Guards are never aware of how he enters the city and he has never been seen to leave willingly. Successful attempts to follow Hawker have only resulted in boring days for the follower, watching hawker meander through town. Other attempts have ended in Hawker evading even the most skilled trackers quickly.

Bio: Hawker's real name is Seranis Thatcher. She is in the employ of a nearby city state, Hammerwall. Her mission is to gather information for the eventual attack. She is fiercely loyal to her home. She is an accomplished thief and spy all in the name of Hammerwall. Inside her hawk bundle is a figure of a bird that alerts her when she is someones focus. When she becomes someone's focus of attention the bird vibrates to let her know. It is a high value magic item that also increases her awareness. She has several disguises allowing her to move around town, but Hawker is her most useful. Who really sees the homeless?

Good deal. It sets up an open-ended potential conflict for the town without forcing a big event on a DM/GM that uses the town. Towns need some normal people, but it is the interesting people that make RPG towns... uh... interesting.

I approved your google sheet request.


Personally world building one of the best parts of RPG's. Especially fleshed out nobodies.

Are we posting things here, waiting until there's some repository, or is it to our discretion?

For now, add a row in the spreadsheet for each of your buildings with basic information. Then post the details here.

There is a column in the spreadsheet to add a link back to the detail comment on the forum.

We will eventually find a place to aggregate the info and can copy/paste everything over at that time.


SpacePProtean what were you thinking for the wharf/market area? I have an idea for a harbor master corrupt (redundant I know) politician.

I think it's funny... all I am thinking of is 'good guys' and was initially put off by the 'bad guys' being put in the town... then I was like... 'oh' we need people to be against...

Igneus wrote:

SpacePProtean what were you thinking for the wharf/market area? I have an idea for a harbor master corrupt (redundant I know) politician.

I figured someone else should do the harbor itself, what I've done with the wharf is limited to basically a fish market for locals, so go for it.

In fact, deets (spoilered due to length):


The Freeport Hamlet Farmer’s Market is fairly typical of any local farmer’s market--a collection of stalls and plots, slightly varying in size, operating from sunup to sundown, populated by rotating sellers and frequented by locals and visitors. Each stall or plot is available daily for a small fee, and while officially all fees are flat, paying a little more will see the seller placed in a more desirable spot. Stalls are, obviously, simple, but well maintained--tables, low fences, and rods and posts suitable for the hanging of awnings and signage. Different days will see different sellers present, a mix of local farmers (some of whom have regular preferred days, while others show up when they feel the need) and traveling merchants (who typically stay for a few days before moving on), and some days are more popular than others. While exotic goods are sometimes available, most of the goods on sale are staples. There is always a spice vendor, often part of a larger spice caravan.

Additionally there is the Wharf, which is much less ordered than the Market--basically a dock where fishers can dock and sell their catches directly from their boats.

Both of these are overseen by Jamus “Ludo” Ludoviggo, who often calls himself “The Merchant of Merchants,” but is also often surreptitiously called “Lord Pilot Fish.”

Ludoviggo is a 50-ish human, large and overweight in that usual middle-aged way, with a deep but clear voice and a gregarious demeanor. He dresses richly, though nothing extremely ostentatious (he does have to spend a lot of time moving around outside). His role is to coordinate things at both markets--collecting fees, assigning spots, arranging maintenance, and (for the wharf) ensuring smooth traffic. Additionally, he resolves minor disputes, altercations, and arguments, trying to keep the peace so that the (guard, sheriff, whatever the enforcers of law are) needn’t become involved, and keeping an eye out for illicit activities. He has four underlings in his employ who assist him.

Most of his time is spent looking to one market or the other. Despite being a constant presence, however, Ludo is very “hands off” with the markets’ vendors (though he does know them all by name) once their daily fee has been paid. Instead, he keeps an eye out for notable customers--nobility, the rich, successful adventurers, and so on. Ludo is a very ingratiating man, in the modern parlance a “clout chaser,” cozying himself up to those with more esteem, making great shows of pride in connecting them with his “very good friend” who can see to their needs (after meeting them once, Ludo calls everyone “my very good friend”). His method is not sycophantic or fawning, but rather to seem impressive himself, styling himself “The Merchant of Merchants,” the man who knows everyone and thus knows how to find what anyone could need in the market.

Ludo maintains a very thick veneer of legitimacy, and has no commonly known connections to criminal elements. Still, it is widely speculated that such connections exist, both due to his role, but also because his behavior is fundamentally suspicious. PCs of the Criminal background will likely conclude that he is not any sort of gang leader or kingpin, but is someone such people would very much like to know. While he will trumpet his role in keeping the market on the up-and-up to the nobility and authorities, he is nowhere near above accepting bribes to look the other way on smuggling and the sale of contraband, though he is cautious enough to see that such activities are limited, discrete, and ideally undertaken by outsiders who will be on their way soon.

No one seems to have appointed Ludo or granted him his position--he was simply there one day 15(?) years ago, but his system resolved so many problems, the vendors accepted him. He is widely tolerated by the vendors, though his habit of swooping in on prominent customers earned him the nickname “Lord Pilot Fish,” which started at among the fishers, but spread to the market vendors. Ludo stays at one of the nearby inns.

The 4 hirelings in Ludo’s employ are not quite goons, though they do have a goonish air. Each was previously a mediocre mercenary, and appreciates easy, low risk pay. None carry weapons beyond utility knives and truncheons, and though they know how to fight, none pose much of an actual threat to an experienced adventurer. They will signal prominent people to Ludo, and will, when opportunity presents, seem to be resolving disagreements against such people, giving Ludo the chance to intervene and “fix” things for his new good friend.

The hirelings are:

Philozan - a female blue dragonborn equivalent to in her 40s, typically in a foul mood, she will try to brush people along their way as quickly as possible. Drinks heavily when off duty.

Kadash - a male dwarf equivalent to in his 20s, missing all the teeth on the left side of his mouth (battle wound). Business-like and efficient in dealing with people.

“Sticky Wicket” (also called innumerable variations: “Stick,” “Wick,” “Sticky,” “Wicky,” “Sitcket,” etc.) - a male half-elf equivalent to in his 30s, has the classic sneery look of a shifty guy up to no good.

Rolf - a male human around 18. An exceptionally large local-ish lad, hired on by Ludo after the loss of his family’s farm. Pitied by the other locals.

If any of you ever wants to create another random town, this medieval fantasy town map generator is pretty cool.