Settlements

Ulm, Germany". Signature and title verso. Oil on canvas, 32 x 24 cm Date 1875 Henry Thomas Schafer (1854-1915)
Ulm, Germany”. Signature and title verso. Oil on canvas, 32 x 24 cm Date 1875 Henry Thomas Schafer (1854-1915)

The best way to handle a settlement in your game, of course, is to plan it out, placing every shop and every home, naming every NPC, and mapping every building. Yet settlements are the most complicated locations you’re likely to ever feature in your game, and the prospect of fully detailing one is daunting, especially if your PCs are likely to visit multiple settlements.

Presented below are basic rules for a more streamlined method of handling settlements in your game. Essentially, these rules treat settlements almost as characters of their own, complete with stat blocks. Using these rules, you can generate the vital data for a settlement quickly and efficiently, and with this data you can handle the majority of your players’ interactions with the settlement.

Note that for particularly large cities, you can use multiple settlement stat blocks to represent different districts within a city. This allows you to have neighborhoods with distinct characteristics inside one city’s walls. GMs should feel free to add other new elements to create the cities they desire.

The Settlement Stat Block

A settlement stat block is organized as follows.

Name The settlement’s name is presented first.

Max Liebermann (1847-1935) Title: Dutch Village road
Max Liebermann (1847-1935) Title: Dutch Village road

Alignment and Type A settlement’s alignment is the general alignment of its citizens and government—individuals who dwell therein can still be of any alignment, but the majority of its citizens should be within one step of the settlement’s overall alignment. Alignment influences a city’s modifiers. The type is the size category the settlement falls into, be it thorpe, hamlet, village, town (small or large), city (small or large), or metropolis. In most cases, rules play off of a settlement’s type rather than its exact population total. A settlement’s type determines many of its statistics (see Table: Settlement Statistics).

Modifiers Settlements possess six modifiers that apply to specific skill checks made in the settlement. A settlement’s starting modifier values are determined by its type. This value is further adjusted by the settlement’s alignment, government, qualities, and disadvantages. Note that introducing settlement modifiers to your game will somewhat increase the complexity of skill checks by adding a variable modifier each time the PCs visit a new town or city consider the use of these modifiers an optional rule.

Qualities All settlements have a certain number of qualities that further adjust their statistics – think of qualities as feats for settlements. A settlement’s type determines how many qualities it can have.

Danger A settlement’s danger value is a number that gives a general idea of how dangerous it is to live in the settlement. If you use wandering monster chart that uses percentile dice and ranks its encounters from lowest Cr to highest CR, use the modifier associated with the settlement’s danger value to adjust rolls on the encounter chart. A settlement’s base danger value depends on its type.

Settlement Population Ranges

A settlement’s population is left to the GM to assign, but you can use a settlement’s type to help you determine just how many folks live in the city. Since the actual number of people who dwell in a settlement has no impact on game play, the number you choose is largely cosmetic—feel free to adjust the suggested values below to fit
your campaign.

Settlement
Type
Population
Range
Thorp Fewer
than 20
Hamlet 21–60
Village 61–200
Small
town
201–2,000
Large
town
2,001–5,000
Small
city
5,001–10,000
Large
city
10,001–25,000
Metropolis More than
25,000

Disadvantages Any disadvantages a settlement might be suffering from are listed on this line. A settlement can have any number of disadvantages you wish to inflict on it, although most settlements have no disadvantages.

Government This entry lists how the settlement is governed and ruled. The type of government a settlement follows affects its statistics.

Population This number represents the settlement’s population. Note that the exact number is flexible; a settlement’s actual population can swell on market days or dwindle during winter—this number lists the average population of the settlement.
Note that this number is generally used for little more than flavor—since actual population totals fluctuate, it’s pointless to tether rules to this number. After the settlement’s total population, a breakdown of its racial mix is listed in parentheses.

Notable NPCs This section lists any notable NPCs who live in the city, sorted by their role in the community, followed by their name and then their alignment, gender, race, class, and level in parentheses.

Base Value and Purchase Limit This section lists the community’s base value for available magic items in gp (see Table: Available Magic Items). There is a 75% chance that any item of this value or lower can be found for sale in the community with little effort. If an item is not available, a new check to determine if the item has become available can be made in 1 week. A settlement’s purchase limit is the most money a shop in the settlement can spend to purchase any single item from
the PCs. If the PCs wish to sell an item worth more than a settlement’s purchase limit, they’ll either need to settle for a lower price, travel to A larger city, or (with the GM’s permission) search for a specific buyer in the city with deeper pockets. A settlement’s type sets its purchase limit.

Spellcasting Unlike magic items, spellcasting for hire is listed separately from the town’s base value, since spellcasting is limited by the level of the available spellcasters in town. This line lists the highest-level spell available for purchase from spellcasters in town. A town’s base spellcasting level depends on its type.

Minor Items/Medium Items/Major Items This line lists the number of magic items above a settlement’s base value that are available for purchase. In some city stat blocks, the actual items are listed in parentheses after the die range of items available – in this case, you can use these pre-rolled resources when the PCs first visit the city as the magic items available for sale on that visit. If the PCs return to that city at a later date, you can roll up new items as you see fit.

Settlement Statistics
Type Modifiers Qualitites Danger Base Limit Purchase Limit Spellcasting
Thorp -4 1 -10 50 gp 500 gp 1st
Hamlet -2 1 -5 200 gp 1,000 gp 2nd
Village -1 2 0 500 gp 2,500 gp 3rd
Small town 0 2 0 1,000 gp 5,000 gp 4th
Large town 0 3 5 2,000 gp 10,000 gp 5th
Small city +1 4 5 4,000 gp 25,000 gp 6th
Large city +2 5 10 8,000 gp 50,000 gp 7th
Metropolis +4 6 10 16,000 gp 100,000 gp 8th

 

Available
Magic Items
Community
Size
Base Value
Minor
Medium Major
Thorp
50 gp
1d4 items
—
—
Hamlet 200 gp
1d6 items —
—
Village
500 gp
2d4 items 1d4 items —
Small
town
1,000
gp
3d4 items 1d6 items
—
Large
town
2,000
gp
3d4 items
2d4 items
1d4 items
Small
city
4,000
gp
4d4 items 3d4 items
1d6 items
Large
city
8,000
gp
4d4 items 3d4 items
2d4 items
Metropolis
16,000
gp
* 4d4 items
3d4 items
* In a
metropolis, nearly all minor magic items are available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guards! Guards!

Source Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide
Pieter de Hooch (1629–after 1684) Title Paying the Hostess Date circa 1658
Pieter de Hooch (1629 after 1684) Title Paying the Hostess Date circa 1658

It’s inevitable – sooner or later, the PCs will want to call upon the town guard or cause a situation where citizens do so instead. Calling for the guard requires a Diplomacy check modified by the settlement’s Law modifier. It’s only a DC 5 check to call for the guard—with a success, the guards generally arrive on the scene in 1d6 minutes. Every 5 points by which the Diplomacy check exceeds DC 5 (rounding down) reduces the arrival time by 1 minute—if this reduces their arrival time below 1 minute, the increments of reduction instead change to 1 round. For example, the party wizard is being mugged  and calls for the guard. The result of his Diplomacy check is a 23, and the GM rolls a 2 on 1d6 to determine how long it’ll be before the guards arrive. Since the wizard rolled three times the amount he needed, the 2-minute wait time is reduced to 8 rounds.

The following table shows example offenses and bribes which, if paid, can sometimes get one out of more severe punishment in a religious lawful evil city.

Offense
Bribe
Public Lewdness 5cp
– 10 cp
Breaking the Peace 1sp
– 25 gp
Larceny
(depending on severity)
5sp
– 100 gp
Assault
10sp
– 50 gp
Murder
(depending on victim)
200
– 20,000 gp
Blasphemy
1,000
– 10,000 gp

Settlement
Modifiers

 

Life in a settlement is represented by six modifiers, each of which adjusts the use of specific skills
within the city.

 

 

Corruption
Crime
Economy
Law
Lore
Society

Settlement
Alignment

 

A settlement’s alignment
not only describes the community’s general personality and attitude, but also
influences its modifiers. A lawful component to a settlement’s alignment increases
its Law modifier by 1. A good component increases its Society modifier by 1.
A chaotic component increases its Crime
modifier by 1.An evil component increases its Corruption
modifier by 1. A neutral component increases its Lore
modifier by 1 (a truly neutral city gains an increase of 2 to its Lore
modifier). Alignment never modifies a settlement’s Economy
modifier.

 

 

 

 

 

Settlement
Government

 

 

Rembrandt (1606-1669) Title The Syndics of the Amsterdam Drapers’
Guild, known as the ‘Sampling Officials’ Date 1662

Just like nations, towns
and cities are ruled by governments. A settlement’s government not only helps
to establish the flavor and feel of the community but also adjusts its modifiers.

 

 

Government
Corruption Crime Economy
Law Lore
Society Other
Autocracy – – – – – – –
Colonial +2 – +1 +1 – – –
Council – – – –2 –2 +4
Dynasty +1 – – +1 -2
Magical
–2
– – +2 –2 increase
spellcasting by 1 level.
Military -1 – – +3 – -1
Overlord +2
–2 +2 -2
Secret
Syndicate
+2 +2 +2 -6
Theocracy Double
the modifiers for the settlement’s alignment. The settlement gains any one
of the following qualities as a ‘bonus’ quality: Desecrate/Hallow
, Holy Site, Pious, Racial Enclave, Racially
Intolerant
, Unholy Site.
Plutocracy +2 +2 +3 – – -2 –
 

Utopian
Experiment

 

 

-2

 

-1 – – +1 +2 –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Settlement
Qualities

 

Settlements often have
unusual qualities that make them unique. Listed below are several different
qualities that can further modify a community’s statistics. A settlement’s type
determines how many qualities it can have—once a quality is chosen, it
cannot be changed.

 

Note that many of the following
qualities adjust a town’s base value or purchase limit by a percentage of the
town’s standard values. If a town has multiple qualities of this sort, add together
the percentages from modifiers and then increase the base value by that aggregated
total—do not apply the increases one at a time.

 

 

Abundant
Abstinent
Academic
Animal
Polyglot
Anthropomorphizing
Artist’s
Colony
Asylum
City
of the Dead
Cruel
Watch
Decadent
Defensible
Desecrate/Hallow
Eldritch
Famed
Breeders
Financial
Center
Free
City
Gambling
God
Ruled
Good
Roads
Guilds
Holy
Site
Insular
Legendary
Marketplace
Living
Forest
Magically
Attuned
Magical
Polyglot
Majestic
Mobile:
Frontlines
Mobile:
Sanctuary
Morally
Permissive
Notorious
Peacebonding
Phantasmal
Pious
Planar
Crossroads
Planned
Community
Pocket
Universe
Population
Surge
Prosperous
Racially
Intolerant
Racial
Enclave
Resettled
Ruins
Religious
Tolerance
Romantic
Royal
Accommodations
Rumormongering
Citizens
Rural
Sacred
Animals
Sexist
Slumbering
Monster
Small-Folk
Settlement
Strategic
Location
Superstitious
Therapeutic
Trading
Post
Tourist
Attraction
Unaging
Under-City
Unholy
Site
Untamed
Well
Educated
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Settlement Disadvantages

Just as a settlement can have unusual qualities to enhance its statistics, it can also suffer from disadvantages. There’s no limit to the number of disadvantages a community can suffer, but most do not have disadvantages, since a settlement plagued by disadvantages
for too long eventually collapses. A disadvantage can arise as the result of
an event or action taken by a powerful or influential NPC or PC. Likewise, by
going on a quest or accomplishing A noteworthy deed, a group of heroes can remove
a settlement’s disadvantage.

 

 

Anarchy
Atheistic
Bureaucratic
Nightmare
Cursed
Fascistic
Hunted
Ignorant
Impoverished
Magically
Deadened
Magical
Dead Zone
Mutagenic
Plagued
Rampant
Inflation
Soul
Crushing
Polluted
Wild
Magic Zone

Sample
Settlements

 

While it’s nice to be prepared,
and planning out cities can be fun in and of itself, it’s not always possible
to generate specific settlement stat blocks for every town and city that the
PCs might visit. Sometimes the PCs decide to venture off in search of supplies
instead of heading straight for the next dungeon, other times they make selling
their newly acquired loot their highest priority. The following sample settlements
are designed for precisely such occasions. Rather than a specific name, each
of these sample settlements bears a generic title that indicates what kind of
settlement it is or where it might be located.

 

 

Capital City

Pieter Cornelis Dommersen (1834–after 1912) A gothic cathedral in a medieval cityPieter Cornelis Dommersen (1834–after 1912) A gothic cathedral in a
medieval city

N
large city

 

Corruption +0; Crime +2; Economy +5; Law +2; Lore +5; Society +2

 

Qualities academic, Holy
Site
, Prosperous, Strategic
Location
, Tourist Attraction

 

Danger +10

 

Demographics

 

Government Autocracy

 

Population 18,000 (14,000
humans; 1,000 dwarves; 1,000 halflings; 500 elves; 1,500 other)

 

Notable NPCs

 

Captain of the Guard Jiranda
Hollis (LN female human fighter 5)

 

High Priest Fallor Pollux
(LG male human cleric 10)

 

Lord Mayor Alton Ralderac
(N male human aristocrat 4)

 

Marketplace

 

Base Value 12,800 gp; Purchase
Limit 75,000 gp; Spellcasting 9th

 

Minor Items 4d4; Medium
Items 3d4; Major Items 2d4

 

City of Thieves

Apollinary Vasnetsov (1856-1933)
Apollinary Vasnetsov (1856-1933)

CN small city

Corruption +3; Crime +5; Economy +4; Law –6; Lore +3; Society +1

Qualities Academic, notorious, Racially Intolerant (halflings), Tourist Attraction

Danger +15

Demographics

Government secret syndicate

Population 10,000 (6,000 humans; 1,500 halflings; 1,000 half-orcs; 750 dwarves; 750 other)

Notable NPCs Crimelord Kamus Rix (NE male half-orc fighter 2/rogue6)

Headmistress of the Wizards’ Academy Alamandra Talais (N female human wizard 13)

Puppet Mayor Pavo Tumbor (LE male human aristocrat 2)

Marketplace

Base Value 6,000 gp; Purchase Limit 37,500 gp; Spellcasting 7th

Minor Items 4d4; Medium Items 3d4; Major Items 1d6

City-State of Intrigue

Carl Graeb (1816-1884)
Carl Graeb (1816-1884)

LE metropolis

Corruption +7; Crime +5; Economy +2; Law +0; Lore +5; Society +1

Qualities Holy Site, notorious, ProsperousRumormongering CitizensStrategic Location, superstitious

Danger +20; Disadvantages anarchy

Demographics

Government anarchy

Population 55,000 (31,000 humans; 10,000 halflings; 8,000 elves; 2,000 half-elves; 1,000 gnomes; 3,000 other)

Notable NPCs

Backbiting Socialite Viviana Dartmoor (LE female human aristocrat 4/sorcerer 3)

Powerless Queen-Regent Cordella I (NG female human aristocrat 3)

Social Critic Narcil Sharptongue (CN male half-elf bard 6)

Marketplace

Base Value 27,200 gp; Purchase Limit 200,000 gp; Spellcasting 8th

Minor Items all available; Medium Items 4d4; Major Items 3d4

Creepy Backwoods Hamlet

Ansicht von Berchtesgaden. Öl auf Leinwand. 76 x 94 cm. Date by 1905
Ansicht von Berchtesgaden. Öl auf Leinwand. 76 x 94 cm. Date by 1905

NE hamlet

Corruption +1; Crime -5; Economy -2; Law +1; Lore -1; Society -8

Qualities insular

Danger -5; Disadvantages Cursed

Demographics

Government overlord

Population 23 (23 humans)

Notable NPCs

Patriarch Father Humms (CE male human ranger 3)

Village Idiot Junior Humms (CN male human barbarian 1)

Witch Mother Twixt (NE female human adept 4)

Marketplace

Base Value 200 gp; Purchase Limit 1,000 gp; Spellcasting 2nd

Minor Items 1d6; Medium Items -; Major Items –

Dwarven Trade Town

Böhmisches Dorf mit Blick auf eine Burgruine (wohl Hirschstein/Stary Herstejn), Aquarell über Bleistift, 1854. Ca. 27 x 38 cm Date 1854 anonymous English painter
Böhmisches Dorf mit Blick auf eine Burgruine (wohl Hirschstein/Stary Herstejn), Aquarell über Bleistift, 1854. Ca. 27 x 38 cm Date 1854 anonymous English painter

LG large town

Corruption +0; Crime +0; Economy +2; Law -1; Lore -2; Society +5

Qualities pious, ProsperousStrategic Location

Danger +5

Demographics

Government council

Population 2,500 (2,000 dwarves; 400 humans; 100 other)

Notable NPCs

Forgefather Gundar Dorgrun (LG male dwarf cleric 12)

Guildsmistress Bilda Keldam (LN female dwarf aristocrat 3/expert 3)

Militia Captain Karnag Thosk (NG male dwarf fighter 4)

Marketplace

Base Value 2,800 gp; Purchase Limit 15,000 gp; Spellcasting 6th

Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 2d4; Major Items 1d4

Elven Town

Raphael (1483-1520) Title: The Madonna of Foligno (detail)
Raphael (1483-1520) Title: The Madonna of Foligno (detail)

CG small town

Corruption -2; Crime +1; Economy +0; Law +0; Lore +2; Society -1

Qualities Magically Attuned, Racially Intolerant (dwarves, half-orcs, humans)

Danger +0

Demographics

Government magical

Population 1,300 (1,000 elves; 100 gnomes; 100 half-elves; 100 other)

Notable NPCs

Archwizard Talandrel Illarion (NG male elf wizard 14)

Dungsweeper Hrak (CG male half-orc druid 4)

Famous Thief The Crimson Rose (CN female half-elf rogue 7)

Marketplace

Base Value 1,200 gp; Purchase Limit 6,000 gp; Spellcasting 7th

Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 1d6; Major Items –

Failing Fishing Village

Attributed to Adriaen Brouwer (circa 1605/1606-1638) Title: Village Scene with Men Drinking
Attributed to Adriaen Brouwer (circa 1605/1606-1638) Title: Village Scene with Men Drinking

LN village

Corruption +0; Crime –4; Economy –1; Law +2; Lore +1; Society +0

Qualities Rumormongering Citizens, superstitious

Danger +0; Disadvantages impoverished

Demographics

Government Autocracy

Population 70 (63 humans, 6 halflings, 1 half-elf)

Notable NPCs

Mayor Tanner Basken (LG male human expert 3)

Sheriff Ira Skeen (LN female human fighter 1/ranger 3)

Soothsayer the Beachcomber (N male human druid 2)

Marketplace

Base Value 250 gp; Purchase Limit 1,250 gp; Spellcasting 1st

Minor Items 1d4; Medium Items 1d2; Major Items —

Sleepy Crossroads Thorp

Hermann Pohle (1831-1901) 1876
Hermann Pohle (1831-1901) 1876

NG thorp

Corruption -4; Crime -4; Economy -4; Law -6; Lore -5; Society 1

Qualities Strategic Location

Danger -10

Demographics

Government council

Population 16 (13 humans, 2 halflings, 1 dwarf)

Notable NPCs

Landlord and Innkeeper Jaycen Halls (NG female human bard 4)

Smith Erlan Urnst (LN male dwarf expert 4/warrior 1)

Trading Post Owner Mr. Harlen Gnoat (NE male human expert 2)

Marketplace

Base Value 55 gp; Purchase Limit 500 gp; Spellcasting 1st

Minor Items 1d4; Medium Items -; Major Items –

Section 15: Copyright Notice – Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide

Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide, © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Cam Banks, Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Jim Butler, Eric Cagle, Graeme Davis, Adam Daigle, Joshua J. Frost, James Jacobs, Kenneth Hite, Steven Kenson, Robin Laws, Tito Leati, Rob McCreary, Hal Maclean, Colin McComb, Jason Nelson, David Noonan, Richard Pett, Rich Redman, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Amber Scott, Doug Seacat, Mike Selinker, Lisa Stevens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, Penny Williams, Skip Williams, Teeuwynn Woodruff.

 

Section 15: Copyright Notice – Cityscapes: New Settlement Options for the Pathfinder RPG

Cityscapes: New Settlement Options for the Pathfinder RPG © 2012, Otherverse Games; Author: Chris A. Field.

Chapterhouses

Dedicated Prison

Fortress of Justice

Manorhouses

Prison

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