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Pinjata
2016-03-06, 07:43 AM
We're starting new campaign in a village with me as a DM and I wanted to file things a bit to accomodate the village to standard D&D setting. First question I have is - why even have a village like 200 miles from a large city? Given the orc and goblin tribes - should villages be clustered near large cities?

Is farming ok enough excuse for having a village like early settler in US had? Should adventurers during every visit flood local economy with gold? How should adventurers be seen? I am also thinking of a ditch, a palisade and local militia defending the settlement. Should be enough to keep those globlins and small bands of orcs at bay.

This is what Ihave so far.

It's 5e but that should not define things too much.

Kelb_Panthera
2016-03-06, 08:02 AM
Don't overthink it.

If you look too closely at the ecology of a D&D world, your brain will turn to mush and run out your nose as you come to the inescapabe realization that such an ecology cannot possibly sustain itself.

Just run it on the medieval peasant, everbody's a dirt-farmer that's never been more than a day's ride from home paradigm and never look back.

Florian
2016-03-06, 08:34 AM
We're starting new campaign in a village with me as a DM and I wanted to file things a bit to accomodate the village to standard D&D setting. First question I have is - why even have a village like 200 miles from a large city? Given the orc and goblin tribes - should villages be clustered near large cities?

Is farming ok enough excuse for having a village like early settler in US had? Should adventurers during every visit flood local economy with gold? How should adventurers be seen? I am also thinking of a ditch, a palisade and local militia defending the settlement. Should be enough to keep those globlins and small bands of orcs at bay.

This is what Ihave so far.

It's 5e but that should not define things too much.

Itīs all about the money, as usual. Yes, thereīre larger cities, but there are just so many jobs there and someone should work the fields, tends the livestock and such. That takes up considerable amount of space, so small thorps/villages must be where the actual production happens.

Second part is the reality of feudal politics. The villagers sell their stuff to the cities and nobility, these in turn sent the army and mercenaries to protect their underlings. As all things are tied not the feudal network, itīs pretty hard to get a foothold here on that level.

So, adventurers and gold. Sure, they could, but what for? What do they want to buy? Local shops will have some regular items, potions and wands in stand-by, true, but those small places are not the real marketplaces anyway, so what do you want to spent the money on?

Itīs a bit like some guy with a Platinum Amex coming to Someplace, Arkansas right now. What you think will happen? Big party at the local diner? Buyout of the John Deere seller?

Nerd-o-rama
2016-03-06, 09:46 AM
The way I see it, there's two layers of economy in D&D. There's the feudal economy that the peasants are part of (grow food to trade to the nobility to pay for your land and the heavily armed goons that protect it), and the Magic Item Economy that adventurers are part of (loot ancient ruins for scads of gold to trade to wizards for extra pluses on your sword).

These overlap when adventurers deal with aristocrats or merchants or magic item crafters or other people who mainly deal in gold, but there's not a lot of things your average agrarian peasant has that adventurers want, and not a lot of things the adventurers have that the peasants could possibly pay a fair price for (and even then their interest would be in like Control Weather spells or mass-produced magic longspears). The whole economy has a vastly uneven distribution of wealth, to the point where it's basically two different societies.

The exception to this might be a local wizard, who sells potions and such to passing adventurers for a premium bit spends most of his time providing minor spellcasting services to locals for whatever barter they can afford. He'd likely be the most cash-wealthy person in the village, unless the local barkeep is particularly savvy about traveling adventurers.

As for why Humble Peasant Villages exist in the first place in D&D with all the Orc Raiders and dragons and such, well, someone's got to grow the food, and no one's invented the combine harvester yet. It works the same way as in the middle ages - food growers spread out across the land and sell their food to the nobility in exchange for the protection of the military (and adventuring) class.

Pinjata
2016-03-06, 09:53 AM
Is it reasonable for a village to have a ditch, a pallisade, peasants with weapons to use them as local militia? Is there any way how could village further protect itself?

Frozen_Feet
2016-03-06, 10:09 AM
The village and the fields are guarded by fearsome woodland creatures the commoners have tamed. Children are not allowed to even walk in tall grass without a guardian beast with them, in fear some giant rat or bug will snatch them. Everyone lives in mortal fear of flying firebreathing lizards, the trees of the forest, or even stones on the ground attacking them.

... oh wait, you didn't ask what life in a standard Pokemon village is like? Well sorreeeee.

LokiRagnarok
2016-03-06, 10:21 AM
Well, in certain parts of medieval Europe, peasants weren't allowed to wield weapons, out of fear they would rise up and slaughter the lords. Also, they probably couldn't afford any.

Then again, there are things that Terry Pratchett, bless him, used to call "agricultural implements". Billhooks, the god ol' pitchfork, ...

Wardog
2016-03-06, 10:36 AM
Is it reasonable for a village to have a ditch, a pallisade, peasants with weapons to use them as local militia? Is there any way how could village further protect itself?

I would think that if the world is dangerous enough for people to need a ditch and palisade, they would build one. (But not if it isn't, because that would take away time, effort and resources from more important things). Although not everyone would necessarily live within it - it could be that people on outlying farms would retreat to them, along as much movable wealth (probably livestock) as they could move in time, if raiders etc were coming.

Alternativly, there could be a central fortified community (where the local nobles would have their headquaters), with unfortified villages scattered around it. In times of trouble, people would retreat here in times of trouble. This sort of thing (https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=iron+age+hill+forts&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj9pITorqzLAhXrB5oKHS7ICooQsAQIPA&biw=1536&bih=708)was pretty common in Iron Age Britain, and presumably elsewhere too.


As for a militia/defenders: if the world was dangerous enough to require it, it would exist. (Or people would move closer to somewhere that had them). Exactly what form it would take would depend on the setting. In some feudal societies, the nobles might not like the peasants to be to militarised - but their wealth coms from the peasants, so if they didn't want the peasants to protect themselves, they would have to provide the protection. But other societies (including some feudal ones) might expect (or even require by law) all people to have arms for community defence.

Ultimately, if the village can't defend itself, it will get raided. And if that keeps happening, one of three things will most likely happen.
1) Everyone will get fed up, and leave in search of somewhere better to live.
2) Everyone will get fed up, and decide to organise a defence.
3) One group of raiders will decide its more profitable to stay and rule. And once that happens, they'll want to protect their turf from other raiders, so they will organise the defence.

Nerd-o-rama
2016-03-06, 11:15 AM
There are going to be two kinds of possible defense of a village like this: paid soldiers in the service of the feudal overseer, or if the feudal lord can't or won't bother to spare them, peasant militia.

The former is infinitely varied depending on the lord's affluence and the strategic situation, but the latter is most likely farmers (Commoner 1s in 3.5) who train during the summer and winter (when not planting or harvesting) in very cheap simple weapons like slings, javelins, longspears and pitchforks that behave like longspears. Palisades and ditches are, as you say, favorable because they're cheap and require no particular skills to build, but they do require labor to build and maintain, so they'll only exist in useful form if there is an immediate need.

johnbragg
2016-03-06, 11:29 AM
Something to consider: The villages that will tend to attract adventurers are in the back-country, less-civilized areas. I just go ahead and declare all "peasants" in those areas Experts, so that ranks in Spot and Listen and Survival and Knowledge: Nature and Ride and Profession: Tanner and maybe proficiency with a shortbow. The farmers of the March are woodsmen, and would have at least a smattering of those skills. (I'd use the D&D skill system instead of Pathfinder here--2 ranks in 12 skills instead of +4 in 6 skills.)

Florian
2016-03-06, 01:11 PM
Is it reasonable for a village to have a ditch, a pallisade, peasants with weapons to use them as local militia? Is there any way how could village further protect itself?

Itīs a bit more complicated.

Things like ditch or palisade actually come in the way of day to day village operations. So nobody outside of a total frontier-environment uses these.

Mostly, youīll have 1 to 3 civic building that can do double duty as some kinds of raid shelter.
Local militia is not a common thing, because itīs pretty dangerous to the lords. Still, lords or the village itself trains and arms their peasant to either serve in the regular army or earn additional payment by providing mercenaries.
Mostly, youīll have a situation where said raid shelters also contain the weaponry and is under guard by some of the lords troops.

Tiktakkat
2016-03-06, 01:18 PM
We're starting new campaign in a village with me as a DM and I wanted to file things a bit to accomodate the village to standard D&D setting. First question I have is - why even have a village like 200 miles from a large city? Given the orc and goblin tribes - should villages be clustered near large cities?

No; villages do not exist for the sole purpose of supporting cities.
Villages exist for the purpose of providing support for the few specialized professions required for an agricultural community, primarily a mill to grind grain and a blacksmith. Larger villages will have dedicated tanners and maybe a few other craftsmen, but that's about it.


Is farming ok enough excuse for having a village like early settler in US had?

Not enough excuse, the only excuse.
Villages provide food almost exclusively. If they manage to provide something else they are better classified as something else. This includes things like mines.


Should adventurers during every visit flood local economy with gold?

Technically, yes. There was even a section in the AD&D DMG about that effect. In D20 it is reflected by the gp limit on settlements.
Historically, you would have maybe 10 sp/inhabitant in a village, with most of that in the form of copper. The economy wasn't barter, but manorialism. Everyone worked to support the "owner" of the village, who used the labor of less-than-free inhabitants to work his fields, and soaked the-reasonably-free inhabitants with constant petty fines for disturbing the peace and such. When the people were starving during the winter or waiting for the first harvest, the "owner" would sponsor festivals, using the food he had stockpiled to keep everyone from dying. He would also take the opportunity to give gifts to those he particularly favored, gaining their support for political purposes.
(In pre-feudal villages the economy was more strictly barter, but the Big Man System was still the primary method of economic politics.)

Functionally, no. Unless you love turning the game into an exercise in bookkeeping, you probably have better things to do than constantly remind the players that all prices for basic PHB equipment are still tripled since they brought that dragon hoard in.
Of course if you really want to go crazy with that, you could always introduce "foreign" coins of different weights, combined with exchange rates.


How should adventurers be seen?

Bold heroes, willing to leave backbreaking, soul-sucking hard labor behind, for the ease and comfort of riding around killing stuff then taking its loot and living like kings.
Except for the people in charge, who will see them as competition for power, especially if the adventurers start handing out gold pieces for information.


I am also thinking of a ditch, a palisade and local militia defending the settlement. Should be enough to keep those globlins and small bands of orcs at bay.

Physical defenses are very social order dependent.
They are very expensive to build and maintain, and get in the way of actually working the fields. Fences, even hedgerows, sure, but full on walls and ditches are difficult to build and maintain.
Militia tend to go different routes by era, ranging from "everyone" owns a weapon, to only "free" yeomen owning weapons, to "everyone" is in the militia but ducks service as best they can. There is possibly some requirement to raise an alarm if a crime is witnessed, then help in capturing said criminal, but such laws can vary considerably.
Generally, ask yourself how feudal the society is, and how constantly dangerous the location is.

Pinjata
2016-03-06, 01:29 PM
Splendid replies, I'm really impressed. Also, we should have common household, Inn with some beds, general shop (fieldwork stuff mainly, some knives and occasional adventurers gear as they are found dead perhaps) and a shrine or a very small church with a priest. Anything else to mention?

Florian
2016-03-06, 01:53 PM
Splendid replies, I'm really impressed. Also, we should have common household, Inn with some beds, general shop (fieldwork stuff mainly, some knives and occasional adventurers gear as they are found dead perhaps) and a shrine or a very small church with a priest. Anything else to mention?

Consider that in PF, even absolute mundanes like commoners can craft magic items. Ok, those will be sold upmarket, more towards the lords as has been mentioned, but they are around.
Upgrade the Inn to be a bigger affair, like mixing in a caravan station and a brewery.
Consider that in a fantasy setting, alchemy is a real thing and villages are actually quite close to the source. A local outlet of the alchemists guild should be fitting.

Now, more of the stone/defensive building: The local Manor House, the Barracks for the lords goons and a Watchtower that doubles as fire watch.

The rest is a bit dependent on what kind of culture it should be. Also keep in mind to include the more magic/supernatural elements of D&D, like the small druid lodge/circle in the woods and the local druids coming over to a visit to bless the fields at appropriate times, and so on.

Coidzor
2016-03-06, 02:02 PM
We're starting new campaign in a village with me as a DM and I wanted to file things a bit to accomodate the village to standard D&D setting. First question I have is - why even have a village like 200 miles from a large city? Given the orc and goblin tribes - should villages be clustered near large cities?

Depends on the region. Forgotten Realms's Sword Coast? Yes. Somewhere more settled where the frontier is further back? No. Someplace like the demiplane of dread? Not always an option for the quantum peasant-monsters.


Is farming ok enough excuse for having a village like early settler in US had? Should adventurers during every visit flood local economy with gold?

Probably, if it's safe enough to farm usually.

If they don't have anything to spend gold on, probably not. They definitely will increase the amount of silver and copper in circulation, which may or may not stimulate the local economy or just be hoarded by the already well to do.


How should adventurers be seen? I am also thinking of a ditch, a palisade and local militia defending the settlement. Should be enough to keep those globlins and small bands of orcs at bay.


If it's close enough to the frontier that orc raids and goblin skirmishes are a thing a few times a year instead of a few times a decade or a once every other decade thing, then they should probably appreciate adventurers who will cull there local population of hostile humanoids as part of adventuring.

Or they'll resent them for killing the orc and goblin tribes instead of just weakening them, so another group comes in and claims the empty territory without a fight.

*shrug*

Vitruviansquid
2016-03-06, 03:05 PM
Well, it depends on how stupid you want to get with DnD's eccentricities.

JoeJ
2016-03-06, 03:09 PM
You might want to start with a realisic medieval village (http://www.amazon.com/Life-Medieval-Village-Frances-Gies/dp/0060920467/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457294855&sr=8-1&keywords=life+in+a+medieval+village) as the baseline, but how far from that you deviate depends enormously on how you want magic to have affected your world. How many people have some sort of magical ability, how powerful are they, and how are they distributed?

Spiryt
2016-03-06, 03:30 PM
I am also thinking of a ditch, a palisade and local militia defending the settlement. Should be enough to keep those globlins and small bands of orcs at bay.



As pointed out, it's pretty unrealistic, as in, undo-able to keep every hamlet and village protected like that.

Building effective refugium generally required some large concentration of power, in hands of someone able to drive a lot of people to build some stronghold.

It would generally be some fortified castle/keep where people from all around the countryside would be able to hide in during trouble.

Then they would be able to get back to their houses etc. - if they were still standing.

If not - well, life was tough.

Of course, situation where every bunch of houses can form some fortification is also possible, but as mentioned, it causes much inconvenience.

More usually, one or two bigger buildings, like local church/monastery or even a mill would have some defensive qualities and be able to provide shelter.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f0/Wancerz%C3%B3w_klasztor_warowny_70.JPG/1024px-Wancerz%C3%B3w_klasztor_warowny_70.JPG

Darth Ultron
2016-03-06, 03:41 PM
Just remember you don't have to make things like Dark Ages Europe.

The amount Of things in a town is equal to what is needed. A town only has an inn if it's on a main road to somewhere, for example.

The same is true of defenses. The town will only have them if needed. How likely is an Orc army to attack?

And don't forget to add a bit of fantasy too. Maybe the town has a good monster protecting it? Or a spell? Or something else...

Tiktakkat
2016-03-06, 03:41 PM
Splendid replies, I'm really impressed. Also, we should have common household, Inn with some beds, general shop (fieldwork stuff mainly, some knives and occasional adventurers gear as they are found dead perhaps) and a shrine or a very small church with a priest. Anything else to mention?

An inn would depend very heavily on whether or not the village was on a significant trade route. If not, there would be no need for them. Visitors would either be put up by the local ruler, friends, or random important people, or would have to pay someone for a spot on the floor.
The "standard" tavern is technically anachronistic, and at best would be subsumed into the inn.

On the other side of that, if there was an inn, and if it were a particularly dangerous area, there is a good chance said inn would be a fortified estate rather than a glorified bar and grill. If travelers are that common and need that much protection from wandering monsters or bandits, then the inn is the first choice of building to get government support for being upgraded to provide it.

A general store is highly anachronistic, however much "required" by most adventuring parties. There is more likely to be a weekly or monthly market to provide the equivalent, but otherwise you need an upgrade to a full town to sustain a daily market or full time store.

Religious buildings will depend on the setting background. There is generally an equal chance that any such services are provided on a part-time basis by someone with a regular job (like farmer), rather than someone supported by contributions or tithes.

Also, as an "on the other hand note", cities in that era are, despite most depictions, best thought of as a collection of really closely packed towns and villages, since they generally were. What are neighborhoods in modern cities were separate settlements in feudal times that gradually grew together, paving over everything, and pushing the farmers and such out into the countryside.

Vizzerdrix
2016-03-06, 04:52 PM
What about having a few non human villlagers? A few centaurs who raise goats and rush to any farms that signal them with smoke, or an ogre who opperates a large grain mill. Maybe such things are more common the further from large cities you get. Im just saying, not every non human is going to want to live in some dank dungeon, waiting for a murder hobo to chop off their head.

Mr Beer
2016-03-06, 05:29 PM
Traditionally every D&D village has a retired fighter of several levels above the PCs, in order to spank them if they get out of line.

JoeJ
2016-03-06, 05:51 PM
For something authentically D&D, the Village of Hommlet (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/17067/T1-The-Village-of-Hommlet-1e?term=village+of+homm&it=1) would be very easy to convert to 5e.

Mabn
2016-03-07, 03:11 AM
traditional defenses may be completely irrelevant. Several years of daily encounters with a group of ornery roosters put the average d&d villager in a position to expect the local orcs and goblins to raid via scry and die tactics.

Lorsa
2016-03-07, 05:38 AM
I thought D&D villages were protected by the "yet-to-encounter-the-main-story" level 1 PCs that lives there. Also, everyone knows raids only happen when said PCs needs to be introduced to the story, so no need to build walls or anything like that.

Nerd-o-rama
2016-03-07, 10:03 AM
I thought D&D villages were protected by the "yet-to-encounter-the-main-story" level 1 PCs that lives there. Also, everyone knows raids only happen when said PCs needs to be introduced to the story, so no need to build walls or anything like that.

But when it's Alastor the Apprentice Fighter's sixteenth birthday, it's time to go hide in the basement and pray.

Lorsa
2016-03-07, 10:48 AM
But when it's Alastor the Apprentice Fighter's sixteenth birthday, it's time to go hide in the basement and pray.

Unless you happen to be Alastor's father/mother/sibling, in which case you are likely to die no matter what you do.

johnbragg
2016-03-07, 11:43 AM
Unless you happen to be Alastor's father/mother/sibling, in which case you are likely to die no matter what you do.

Unless of course you're the Antagonist from the Backstory, in which case you know what's going to happen and can successfully avoid (instigate) it.

Florian
2016-03-07, 01:47 PM
An inn would depend very heavily on whether or not the village was on a significant trade route. If not, there would be no need for them. Visitors would either be put up by the local ruler, friends, or random important people, or would have to pay someone for a spot on the floor.
The "standard" tavern is technically anachronistic, and at best would be subsumed into the inn.

On the other side of that, if there was an inn, and if it were a particularly dangerous area, there is a good chance said inn would be a fortified estate rather than a glorified bar and grill. If travelers are that common and need that much protection from wandering monsters or bandits, then the inn is the first choice of building to get government support for being upgraded to provide it.

A general store is highly anachronistic, however much "required" by most adventuring parties. There is more likely to be a weekly or monthly market to provide the equivalent, but otherwise you need an upgrade to a full town to sustain a daily market or full time store.

Religious buildings will depend on the setting background. There is generally an equal chance that any such services are provided on a part-time basis by someone with a regular job (like farmer), rather than someone supported by contributions or tithes.

Also, as an "on the other hand note", cities in that era are, despite most depictions, best thought of as a collection of really closely packed towns and villages, since they generally were. What are neighborhoods in modern cities were separate settlements in feudal times that gradually grew together, paving over everything, and pushing the farmers and such out into the countryside.


For something authentically D&D, the Village of Hommlet (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/17067/T1-The-Village-of-Hommlet-1e?term=village+of+homm&it=1) would be very easy to convert to 5e.

Sorry, guys, but get a grip on "anachronistic" and "What Gygax said".

If you happen to travel around the "Old World" a lot, youīll come to the point that youīll notice that quite a lot of inspiration was based on the UK, having nothing to do with the rest of the EU.

*shrugs* It sure is easy to propagate the "rural village", but that never existed in any ways.

Typewriter
2016-03-07, 03:32 PM
We're starting new campaign in a village with me as a DM and I wanted to file things a bit to accomodate the village to standard D&D setting. First question I have is - why even have a village like 200 miles from a large city? Given the orc and goblin tribes - should villages be clustered near large cities?

Is farming ok enough excuse for having a village like early settler in US had? Should adventurers during every visit flood local economy with gold? How should adventurers be seen? I am also thinking of a ditch, a palisade and local militia defending the settlement. Should be enough to keep those globlins and small bands of orcs at bay.

This is what Ihave so far.

It's 5e but that should not define things too much.

One thing that I personally feel people forget about in D&D is that everybody - even monsters and NPCs - have motivation for their actions. Why don't Goblins and/or Orcs wipe out every town they stumble across? Maybe it's because they're paid 'protection' money by the villagers. Maybe it's too avoid the attention of the capitals armies. Maybe they're busy fighting other tribes and weakening themselves for no reason other than to kill a few peasants will weaken them.

Whenever I introduce a threat I consider a few things first. Why is it here? Why hasn't it been killed up to this point? Why hasn't it killed everyone long ago? It's usually fairly easy to come up with a few answers that keeps things reasonable.

Tiktakkat
2016-03-07, 05:16 PM
Sorry, guys, but get a grip on "anachronistic" and "What Gygax said".

If you happen to travel around the "Old World" a lot, youīll come to the point that youīll notice that quite a lot of inspiration was based on the UK, having nothing to do with the rest of the EU.

*shrugs* It sure is easy to propagate the "rural village", but that never existed in any ways.

I wasn't aware that the rest of the EU managed the hyper-specialization, abundance of coin, and active trade routes required for the consumer economy that resulted in the development of general stores back in the 10th century. Do tell of examples of that.

As for "What Gygax said", do you have a village to use as a base from an adventure as iconic as Hommlet as his to offer as an alternative?

Coidzor
2016-03-07, 05:55 PM
Unless you happen to be Alastor's father/mother/sibling, in which case you are likely to die no matter what you do.

Which is why you fake your own death, leaving him an orphan, so the wise old mentor bites it instead.

Ah, but he's canny to tropes, you see, and also arranges for his death to be fakes or otherwise mysteriously disappears.

This in turn goes around until Alastor comes of age and either the village is depopulated of everyone but him and he sets out to avenge them or the orcs and such actually do attack the poor sods who lived on the other end of town and kept to themselves too much to have caught wind of what was what.


Sorry, guys, but get a grip on "anachronistic" and "What Gygax said".

If you happen to travel around the "Old World" a lot, youīll come to the point that youīll notice that quite a lot of inspiration was based on the UK, having nothing to do with the rest of the EU.

*shrugs* It sure is easy to propagate the "rural village", but that never existed in any ways.

The Expanded Universe has nothing to do with D&D unless you spend an awful lot of time in the plane of shadow to get to the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Plus it's no longer canon.

The European Union is less relevant to D&D settlements than the United States of America, since at least some of its periods of settling during its westward expansion could be applicable to D&D land, especially if one wants to emphasize Early Modern-skinned tech levels.

Why on earth do you have a bee in your bonnet about referencing one of the oldest D&D villages in a discussion about D&D villages which don't actually have any reason to closely resemble anything historical except as tickles our fancy or furthers enjoyment or immersion without making it too cumbersome to make use of?

Sure, in real-life Gygax would be a fictionalized, quaternary source about agricultural populations in Europe, but we're talking D&D, so his work becomes a primary source(TM).

REVISIONIST
2016-03-07, 07:20 PM
Splendid replies, I'm really impressed. Also, we should have common household, Inn with some beds, general shop (fieldwork stuff mainly, some knives and occasional adventurers gear as they are found dead perhaps) and a shrine or a very small church with a priest. Anything else to mention?

I think an inn and church sit right on the edge of what most would call a town. It may even be the definition of it according to wiki. Better to look
at it from a natural trade route perspective, or even population density. Shore and rivers, and natural routes through rough terrain really describe
where humanoids tend to "settle down". It makes sense to have an inn at crossroad away from a large settlement, but less so in an out of the way
farming area. A "general/trade" store might exist near a mine, but probably wouldn't exist in a small farming community. At best they may have a communal space where they celebrate harvest.

ZxxZ
2016-03-07, 11:09 PM
I always like to think every village, no matter how small has at least 1 spellcaster of at least third level who graduated from a local Wizarding College with a major in "Blessing Corn" and a minor in "Spells to prevent the Pixies from making milk go sour". Tons of uneducated peasants who farm for sustenance, feudal protection, and in some cases spell components. There could be a small hamlet with a (relatively) bustling economic activity revolving around the fact that they have an excellent turnover for dead spiders, bat nipples and salamander giblets. In smaller towns, peasants of a race that is in the minority of an area will generally be seen in the light of "They're nice, but I wouldn't want my son marrying their daughter." or similar mild distrust. Even in the presence of roving Orcish raiders, wolves getting after the sheep/salamanders will generally be the bigger issue, especially with the plethora of roaming adventurers. Villages take a good bit of money graverobbing an adventurer who thought it would be a good idea to fight off the local harpies rather than do the smart thing and leaving them a basket of fish/mutton/salamander every morning. The good thing is that in a setting where there are elves and dwarves living for several hundred years, even if a hamlet is destroyed a bunch of humans will reclaim the land and breed like salamanders all over the countryside to fix it.

Florian
2016-03-08, 09:11 AM
I wasn't aware that the rest of the EU managed the hyper-specialization, abundance of coin, and active trade routes required for the consumer economy that resulted in the development of general stores back in the 10th century. Do tell of examples of that.

As for "What Gygax said", do you have a village to use as a base from an adventure as iconic as Hommlet as his to offer as an alternative?

Internet, communication and such. I apologize if my tone came over as rather harsh or condescending.

My job has me traveling around Europe a lot (Iīm into fine spirits). To use u.s. american terms, I majored in Art History, amongst other things. When I go somewhere, I take personal delight in getting to know the local history and getting a "feel" on the place.

My forte is middle/southern Germany, eastern Switzerland, wester Austria and middle/northern Italy. Incidentally, that are places that have been part of the Roman Empire. (Donīt bother me with anything French)

The thing here is, Iīm always impressed when I visit these places. They were highly interconnected, fiercely independent, armed to the teeth and involved in frisk trade. (If you want, we can talk about specific places, specific trade routes, and so on. Just say so).

I have never, in all of my travels, found a "Hommlet".

johnbragg
2016-03-08, 09:23 AM
Internet, communication and such. I apologize if my tone came over as rather harsh or condescending.

My job has me traveling around Europe a lot (Iīm into fine spirits). To use u.s. american terms, I majored in Art History, amongst other things. When I go somewhere, I take personal delight in getting to know the local history and getting a "feel" on the place.

My forte is middle/southern Germany, eastern Switzerland, wester Austria and middle/northern Italy. Incidentally, that are places that have been part of the Roman Empire. (Donīt bother me with anything French)

The thing here is, Iīm always impressed when I visit these places. They were highly interconnected, fiercely independent, armed to the teeth and involved in frisk trade. (If you want, we can talk about specific places, specific trade routes, and so on. Just say so).

I have never, in all of my travels, found a "Hommlet".

"So."

Also remember, this is an Anglosphere medium, and when the Anglosphere looks back at medieval economics, they look back at English models and, for continental Europe at Francia. I I would love to hear some details about the typical layout of a medieval village in northern Italy or southern Germany. Are we talking stone-walled towns? "Castles" the size of towns? of American McMansions?

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-03-08, 11:11 AM
I always like to think every village, no matter how small has at least 1 spellcaster of at least third level who graduated from a local Wizarding College with a major in "Blessing Corn" and a minor in "Spells to prevent the Pixies from making milk go sour".
Isn't that what the local witch learns during their apprenticeship, along with skills like Knowledge (Midwifery), Knowledge (Animal Husbandry), Knowledge (Herbal Remedies), Knowledge (which Fungi are edible, which are toxic and which make you see lime green Hippos wearing tutus and riding unicycles) and so on?

You'd need to have some farming, but it might not be the villages main reason for being - it could be mining, logging, the produce of farming - wine, beer, leather/wool from animals etc, it's close to a couple of trade routes and so useful for caravans and merchants to meet there, some religious figure was born, died or did something important nearby and the village has grown up to tend to the shrine at that point, it's servicing (or even part of) a nearby fort or some noble's country house and so on.

Chnapy
2016-03-08, 11:17 AM
I very much like the Romanian take on rural defence, where villages are built around a fortified church. And those churches are basically to castles what a dwarf priest is to a human fighter : smaller, stouter, and just as tough.

fotografieaeriana.eu/img-oferte/Fotografii-aeriene-Biserica-fortificata-Prejmer-Brasov--1285490067_3_huge.jpg
onestep4ward.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/prejmer-fortified-church.jpg
romaniatourism.com/images/cosmin-danila/prejmer.jpg

I'd post actual links but it seems that new guys can't do that

Whenever raiders came (be they roving mercenaries or some other lord's, both i've come to understand were quite common at times) people from around there would gather at the church, hide in the outer wall which had rooms and cellars built in, and just stone whoever approached (or shoot at them with the occasional bow) through arrow slits and murder holes. Add in a double set of BigAssDoors encompassing a small vestibule as the only entrance, and a courtyard after that and before the church itself. The result is probably not very good against siege engines but we're talking raiders here, and not armies.

I'd rule the town around it would house the few craftsmen along with part of the peasants, while the rest are living in farms away from town and coming over maybe once a week for some market. Market which would be your best shot at a few non-mundane items, save for what the churchmen could provide you with. If the village is too small for an inn, the travellers could sleep at the church itself (well, in the fortifications), and maybe the courtyard could also be where the smith is, considering that's one store raiders would be particularly tempted to pillage.

Florian
2016-03-08, 12:10 PM
"So."

Also remember, this is an Anglosphere medium, and when the Anglosphere looks back at medieval economics, they look back at English models and, for continental Europe at Francia. I I would love to hear some details about the typical layout of a medieval village in northern Italy or southern Germany. Are we talking stone-walled towns? "Castles" the size of towns? of American McMansions?

Well, if you want to get into this...
Just do remember that "us germans" are what Tolkien called "Orcs" in LotR. (And what Hobgoblins are based on in D&D)
If you want to get more in-depth into it, Tacitus "Germanikus" should be public domain and readily available.

To understand this, you must know that germanic/baltic/slavic states have always been the aggressor, the ones on the move, the ones taking actions. Thatīs because we never had the "feudal" system going like in Britain or France, so people wereī t shackled down with arbitrary burdens. Also unlike the stuff we deal with in those countries (and D&D), people were actually highly trained in martial combat and any "dirt farmer" was also either a Landsknecht or crossbow sniper. A village could either produce crops or be converted into a fighting platoon overnight without hassle. Modern german language still contains a lot of allures to that time. When we talk about a "Pappenheimer", meaning a reliable fighting guy, we talk about some foot soldier in full plate carrying a two-hander, if you know what I mean.

Based on that kind of aggressive culture, defensive nature is foreign to us, because they simply canīt hold. You do not fortify anything below a full-blown city or a defensive chokepoint for strategic value. Not because you think you can hold that position, which you canīt, but because you want to delay until allies reach you.

Unlike France, we have never sported a high number of highly elaborate fortifications. Whatīs the point, really, if your whole population can double as highly trained soldiers? That, again, is the difference to the whole "feudal" system and also the difference to the D&D background.

Before you say "but..": Please do remember that we are the second densest populated country _after_ the Black Death killed 90 percent, after the 100 year wars killed 80 percent, two thirds of our population has been killed (twice) during two world wars, and so on. That might not be interesting in modern terms, but for the periods we talk about, that showcases pure might.

That should give you an idea on what I mean when I say that offensive action was unstoppable and could just be delayed.
You will be able to find some nice city walls or fortifications, but they all were along major trade routes and had strategic value, nothing more.

Call that into question? Then please note that we managed to fight a century of constant non-guerilla war in-between us und still stand.

Trade has always been frisk. When the Roman Empire came and conquered the germanic/baltic/slavic states, they "just" managed to redefine the highways of trade, the main roads.

That led to the formation of the "Hanse"-states. Fortified city-states that controls the sea-traffic.....

(And if you ever wondered how a small country could be in the middle of two world wars, youīll find the root to the answer in what I wrote)

I can go on from that point, but I think you get my drift and also why I absolutely donīt get the low-key and defensive nature D&D propagates.

Edit: Some basic afterthought. People seem to only know and think about french-style absolute monarchy. Homini Hominem Lupus and all that lead to this. That wasīt really wide spread and dinīt happen all over europe. Until the industrial revolution happened, people had more freedom than we talk about nowadays, thatīs why the democracy movement took so long to happen in places.

Tiktakkat
2016-03-08, 06:50 PM
Well, if you want to get into this...
Just do remember that "us germans" are what Tolkien called "Orcs" in LotR. (And what Hobgoblins are based on in D&D)
If you want to get more in-depth into it, Tacitus "Germanikus" should be public domain and readily available.

Orcs and hobgoblins are more Mongol than Germanic.


To understand this, you must know that germanic/baltic/slavic states have always been the aggressor, the ones on the move, the ones taking actions. Thatīs because we never had the "feudal" system going like in Britain or France, so people wereī t shackled down with arbitrary burdens.

So then you don't know that Britain and France are Germanic states.
Or that the Germanic Franks eventually "turned back" and conquered "Germania".
Or that the Germanic states directed a considerable amount of the aggression toward the Baltic/Slavic states, creating a feudal system like in Britain and France, shackling people down with arbitrary burdens.


Also unlike the stuff we deal with in those countries (and D&D), people were actually highly trained in martial combat and any "dirt farmer" was also either a Landsknecht or crossbow sniper.

If they were also a landsknecht, you are talking well into the Renaissance, well after the time period assumed by most D&D settings.
As for "everyone" being such, I'm sure that's a nice conceit people in those places like to convince themselves of, but it is far from supported by the history, wherein villagers were commonly pillaged by rampaging armies. The population drop in "Germany" during the 30 Years' War being particularly demonstrative of that.


A village could either produce crops or be converted into a fighting platoon overnight without hassle.

Again, a conceit. Raising crops is very time dependent. Turning everyone into a fighting platoon overnight could easily mean a complete failure of the crop, leading to starvation.


Modern german language still contains a lot of allures to that time. When we talk about a "Pappenheimer", meaning a reliable fighting guy, we talk about some foot soldier in full plate carrying a two-hander, if you know what I mean.

Lots of languages have lots of words for a reliably fighting guy, meaning someone heavily armed and ready to unleash the pain. I would point out how many there are in English, but that is a modern Germanic language.


Based on that kind of aggressive culture, defensive nature is foreign to us, because they simply canīt hold. You do not fortify anything below a full-blown city or a defensive chokepoint for strategic value. Not because you think you can hold that position, which you canīt, but because you want to delay until allies reach you.

Ummm . . . nobody fortifies anything but a defensive chokepoint for strategic value.
Whether or not you also put up a wall around a settlement depends primarily on the cost. A village can afford a wooden stockade, but only a town or city could afford a stone wall.


Unlike France, we have never sported a high number of highly elaborate fortifications. Whatīs the point, really, if your whole population can double as highly trained soldiers? That, again, is the difference to the whole "feudal" system and also the difference to the D&D background.

Unlike France, Germany did not have the kind of central government that could build a high number of highly elaborate fortifications on the same scale until the 19th century.
The whole population could not double as "highly trained" soldiers. Training takes considerable time, enough to preclude also being a full time farmer. While Germany (Prussia actually) managed a significant effort toward universal conscription and basic training to create a reserve, that only happened in the 18th century, and did not produce highly trained soldiers, but rather not-completely-ignorant reservists.


Before you say "but..": Please do remember that we are the second densest populated country _after_ the Black Death killed 90 percent, after the 100 year wars killed 80 percent, two thirds of our population has been killed (twice) during two world wars, and so on. That might not be interesting in modern terms, but for the periods we talk about, that showcases pure might.

The Black Death, 100 Years' War, Wars of the Roses, Wars of Religion, and other wars did a number on the populations of France and Britain too.
In no way does that showcase pure might. It just showcases pure slaughter and plague.


That should give you an idea on what I mean when I say that offensive action was unstoppable and could just be delayed.

If offensive action was so unstoppable, how was it stopped so many times?


You will be able to find some nice city walls or fortifications, but they all were along major trade routes and had strategic value, nothing more.

Again, the same as in Britain and France.


Call that into question? Then please note that we managed to fight a century of constant non-guerilla war in-between us und still stand.

And? The British colonies/U.S. fought nearly 4 centuries of near-constant guerilla war.
England took centuries to become the U.K.
France took centuries to become a centralized monarchy again after Charlemagne.
What you are talking about is far from unique.


Trade has always been frisk. When the Roman Empire came and conquered the germanic/baltic/slavic states, they "just" managed to redefine the highways of trade, the main roads.

The Roman Empire never came and conquered the Germanic/Baltic/Slavic states.
The Holy Roman Empire kinda, sorta, partially conquered some Germanic/Baltic/Slavic states, but mostly didn't in the face of the Baltic/Slavic states fighting back and the Turks showing up and almost conquering the HRE.


That led to the formation of the "Hanse"-states. Fortified city-states that controls the sea-traffic.....

So you do mean the Holy Roman Empire, which is quite distinct from the Roman Empire.
The Hanseatic League did develop because of the scope of the HRE, but it mainly functioned during the Renaissance, making it a bit too late as a prime example for village construction.


(And if you ever wondered how a small country could be in the middle of two world wars, youīll find the root to the answer in what I wrote)

Belgium is smaller than Germany and managed to be in the middle of two world wars.


I can go on from that point, but I think you get my drift and also why I absolutely donīt get the low-key and defensive nature D&D propagates.

Not really.
You are confusing late Renaissance to Early Industrial towns, cities, and countries with Medieval to Early Renaissance villages.


Edit: Some basic afterthought. People seem to only know and think about french-style absolute monarchy. Homini Hominem Lupus and all that lead to this. That wasīt really wide spread and dinīt happen all over europe. Until the industrial revolution happened, people had more freedom than we talk about nowadays, thatīs why the democracy movement took so long to happen in places.

Some of us are quite aware of the wide range of possibilities in monarchies, along with aristocracies, and how both relate to the mish-mash known as feudalism. None of which has any particular relevance to how villages were formed and what they did.
As for having more freedom, Austria didn't abolish serfdom until 1781, and Prussia didn't abolish it until 1807; it was obsolete in England and Wales by the 16th century.

Wardog
2016-03-11, 04:38 PM
I think an inn and church sit right on the edge of what most would call a town. It may even be the definition of it according to wiki. Better to look

I think in England, at least, the presence of a church defined the difference between a hamlet and a village.

I think a town was defined by having special rights, such as the right to hold a market or fair, or even to be completely free from feudal rule.

Mark Hall
2016-03-12, 01:31 AM
I think you should first look at why the village was founded so far from "civilization"... what's out here that's worth it?

A pretty traditional AD&D answer is "This village was founded by a High Level Fighter and his retainers. His intent was to claim territory and raise his own nobility." But, then, you have to wonder WHEN it was founded by this high level fighther... and I'd make that a generation past. So, you had a fighter of 9th or 10th level, but his kids weren't PC material. Nor were the kids of his closest leaders. But their kids? The founders grandkids? They've got The Right Stuff. But you're in the wilderness, and there's no one to help you.

So, your village starts with a burh (a defensive ditch, the berm made out of that ditch, and a pallisade). There's some equipment around, but it's old and needs to be maintained. Some merchants come in every few months (usually they come in spring and again in the fall, selling you what you need when winter has broken, and buying your harvest before winter sets in), but there're things that need to be done now. Local humanoids, monsters recently disturbed, etc... things the militia could deal with, but couldn't completely stop.

JustSomeGuy
2016-03-12, 08:13 AM
Semi on topic: it seems to me that i can't go more than 5-10 miles across rural countryside (on the hampshire berkshire border, but generally holds across britain from my memory excluding uninhabited areas like the south downs and the dales/moors) without coming across a very old, very large church. Whether they 'made' a town, conferred special status, developed naturally as a communal place of trade/travel etc. they look pretty big and kind of hard to make with just hand tools. How long would ittake and how many people were needed, it seems like a massive time sink and investment for there to be so many of them so frequently across half the country. Even working on an assumtion they were gradually made larger and more extravogant as time passed (like castles starting as a woodtower with a wall and progressively being improved by each generation), how could so few locals spare so much time and resources, or alternatively, how did The Church (tm) fund and organise them all?

Basically, how come there are so many churches compared to the population given how much time, money and resources they'd need?

noob
2016-03-12, 08:54 AM
There is priests walking around and casting a bunch of stone walls for building churches(I have seen a priest in my adventurer team do that once)

sktarq
2016-03-12, 01:03 PM
Because Churches in England (unlike say Karelia) were traditionally built of stone, had to fit most people within a couple hours walk (and preferably more in case things grew) and we're expected to take a generation to build. If however the population moved away (as soil exhaustion set in most commonly) than a new one would have to be built in the new population centre. Finally because it is/was taboo to collect spolia (stone for rework) from holy buildings, that church ownership of land played hell on claiming fallow land (and thus resettling near a church had decent odds of old claims being pulled out), and that they were built tougher than pretty much anything else their ruins have survived hugely disproportionately leaving the effect you see and note.

Concrete
2016-03-12, 01:30 PM
One interesting thing to explore could be non-hostile relations with nearby humanoid monsters. After all, not everyone is a warrior.
The village could serve as a connection point to the rest of the world for more tribally minded societies.
Maybe nearby Kobolds operate a mine, and found that the best way to get tools is to trade with the village. Sure, burning it down would give them some influx of wealth, but also ensure that no traders would travel that way again.
A wandering orc tribe might stop there once a year, drop of the pelts of whatever they have been killing for the last season, and leave with whatever the villagers have agreed to import for them. The next time the traders come around, the villagers sell on their pelts, in part for stuff the Orcs requested for next time, and more stuff they themselves need.


This would help explain protection (most potential malefactors find them useful, the rest would not want to upset the former), also, why they chose to live so far from civilisation, and how they sustain themselves.


Another reason to put a village out of the way is tax reasons. The village where I grew up was originally built where it was so that by the time the tax man came around, the villagers would have heard of it and squirreled away most of their produce in root cellars built out in the forest or on an island in the nearby lake.

wumpus
2016-03-12, 01:40 PM
Don't overthink it.

If you look too closely at the ecology of a D&D world, your brain will turn to mush and run out your nose as you come to the inescapabe realization that such an ecology cannot possibly sustain itself.

Just run it on the medieval peasant, everbody's a dirt-farmer that's never been more than a day's ride from home paradigm and never look back.

Two ways to look at it:
The rules build the society. Works well in SF (well literature, sci-fi movies don't count). Doesn't work so well in RPGs. If you go this way you wind up with the Tippyverse (and then have to explain why scry-and-die didn't wipe out the society).
The rules exist to create the society: Makes more sense to an old school AD&Der. If the rules imply scry-and-die, then assume that a [NPC] wizard helpfully knew a ritual that intercepts teleportation. Basically assume that the campaign setting is at least as stable as it implies and make rules on the fly to keep it so.

Presumably, you can infer two things about a D&D village:
It has good farmland (or nobody would bother starting it).
It has decent natural defenses. Whatever the defensive value is, it has been good enough until now. This might be walls, farmers leveling up due to raids, or low-level constant bless spells radiating from the temple. But every now and then it requires some murderhobos to thin out the local orc population (or a local mad necromancer, or whatever the plot point is).


Well, if you want to get into this...
Based on that kind of aggressive culture, defensive nature is foreign to us, because they simply canīt hold. You do not fortify anything below a full-blown city or a defensive chokepoint for strategic value. Not because you think you can hold that position, which you canīt, but because you want to delay until allies reach you.

Unlike France, we have never sported a high number of highly elaborate fortifications. Whatīs the point, really, if your whole population can double as highly trained soldiers? That, again, is the difference to the whole "feudal" system and also the difference to the D&D background.


This is rather odd, because before gunpowder defensive fortifications *did* work. Citation: crusader castles (presumably all sides were aware of Frankish, Teutonic, Arab, and Greek tactics against such things). They work even better if your army consists of your farmers, let your farmers sit around besieging the castle and you get hungry fast. I wonder if it has to do with the geology of Germany? If you can easily tunnel under the castle (sapping), it will go down fast. This method was sufficiently common to be well known and I wonder if it was common in eastern France. No matter how many soldiers, storming a castle is a bad idea (simply assume they will all die. Maybe not all of them, but its a good rule of thumb).

While castles were mostly built for a lord to hold *this* area for himself and his progeny forever, it wasn't the only use. Henry Longshanks famously conquered Wales by building enough castles that he could control the area. The difference here is that you needed enough troops in reserve (in Hank's case, probably in England) that could relieve the castles as necessary. My guess is that there wasn't anybody with enough of an advantage (especially enough of an advantage long enough) to do something similar (you need at least as many troops as the ones you are oppressing).

sktarq
2016-03-12, 03:04 PM
Actually I'd say the earlier Rhine Valley and Bavarian Castles (Not the post gunpowder era ones) worked fine if not very well. The Baltic Trading Leagues preference for fortifications (if not castle type ones) well into the Renaissance also speaks for the continued usefulness of fortifications. If anything the efficacy of fortifications from Charlamane to Napoleon or Bismark can seen as significant factor in lack of unified powers on the German plain. It was too easy for defenders to leverage their numbers an thus block a single group from gaining dominance.

Darth Ultron
2016-03-12, 03:18 PM
I always like to think every village, no matter how small has at least 1 spellcaster of at least third level who graduated from a local Wizarding College with a major in "Blessing Corn" and a minor in "Spells to prevent the Pixies from making milk go sour". .

This is the way I do a game world. Though with magic you do quickly leave ''just like Ye Old Earth'' behind.

I have magic of levels 1-3 common, depending on the area. I have a lot of spellcasters in the world, but that does not translate into tons of super all powerful arch characters. First off a lot of the spellcasters are non-combatants with classes that have no combat abilities. And second of all, most people just are not that smart. And third, not every spellcaster is not even close to being optimized.

So take Tovon, he is a 3rd level hedge wizard. He does not have any of the combat type spells listed, but does have dozens of unique, flavorful spells. He only has an intelligence of 10. And he has nothing ''powerful''. Still, he does provide a ton of magic to the world.

johnbragg
2016-03-12, 06:49 PM
This is the way I do a game world. Though with magic you do quickly leave ''just like Ye Old Earth'' behind.

I have magic of levels 1-3 common, depending on the area. I have a lot of spellcasters in the world, but that does not translate into tons of super all powerful arch characters. First off a lot of the spellcasters are non-combatants with classes that have no combat abilities. And second of all, most people just are not that smart. And third, not every spellcaster is not even close to being optimized.

So take Tovon, he is a 3rd level hedge wizard. He does not have any of the combat type spells listed, but does have dozens of unique, flavorful spells. He only has an intelligence of 10. And he has nothing ''powerful''. Still, he does provide a ton of magic to the world.

If you want to develop this a bit--there is plenty of magic, but not combat-optimized magic--I have something called "brevet levels". In a magical world, everyone is at least a little bit magical. Everyone in the community chips in a little bit of magical power, and that power is invested in certain people so that there are captains-of-the-guard and high priests and mage guilds. That's why your NPC 7th level wizard is totally unoptimized--he got to be 7th level by scribing and researching and casting useful spells, not by murderhoboing through dungeons and wildernesses.

Berenger
2016-03-13, 06:34 AM
A village could either produce crops or be converted into a fighting platoon overnight without hassle. Modern german language still contains a lot of allures to that time. When we talk about a "Pappenheimer", meaning a reliable fighting guy, we talk about some foot soldier in full plate carrying a two-hander, if you know what I mean.

What? No. That's as false as nearly every statement in your entire post. First, when we talk about a "Pappenheimer", it refers to a person with a predictable behavior. While this behavior once referred to steadfast loyalty (in battle and for not paying attention to malicious slander about Wallenstein) displayed by Graf zu Pappenheim's soldiers, the meaning of the term has long since shifted to an ironic expression for a known culprit, a "usual suspect". Second, those soldiers were a company of cuirassiers, not including any "foot soldiers in full plate carrying a two-hander". Third, they served during the Thirty Years' War. If the typical village of that time could mobilize platoons of trained defenders on short notice, those same villages wouldn't have been ravaged by roaming bands of soldiers, brigands and deserters time and time again until it stopped to be funny...

Coidzor
2016-03-13, 02:25 PM
If you want to develop this a bit--there is plenty of magic, but not combat-optimized magic--I have something called "brevet levels". In a magical world, everyone is at least a little bit magical. Everyone in the community chips in a little bit of magical power, and that power is invested in certain people so that there are captains-of-the-guard and high priests and mage guilds. That's why your NPC 7th level wizard is totally unoptimized--he got to be 7th level by scribing and researching and casting useful spells, not by murderhoboing through dungeons and wildernesses.

Now I'm just imagining a hag or something stealing that magical energy or those brevet levels, either enthralling the Town's notable or depowering them,leaving the place weakened or defenseless.

Cue Le Heroes.

2D8HP
2016-03-15, 12:35 PM
If they were also a landsknecht, you are talking well into the Renaissance, well after the time period assumed by most D&D settings.

I checked Wikipedia and the "Landsknecht" is from the 15th and 16th century. Since "Plate Armour" exists in the 5e D&D Players Handbook with a 1500 gold piece price, and in my 1978 1e Players Handbook the "a Paladin in Hell" illustraton (and many others) has what looks like 15th and 16th century armour, and the society usually described seems to match the Renaissance as well, why not?
You may object that D&D usually doesn't have the gunpowder cannons of the Renaissance era, but it doesn't have the cannons used in the Medieval hundred years war, but it definitely has the Longbows then used!
So why no gunpowder? Spellcasters instead!

Tiktakkat
2016-03-15, 01:05 PM
I checked Wikipedia and the "Landsknecht" is from the 15th and 16th century. Since "Plate Armour" exists in the 5e D&D Players Handbook with a 1500 gold piece price, and in my 1978 1e Players Handbook the "a Paladin in Hell" illustraton (and many others) has what looks like 15th and 16th century armour, and the society usually described seems to match the Renaissance as well, why not?

Because the society doesn't.
At least it says it doesn't, and tries to be Medieval. That it regularly fails is a rather different extended discussion however.

Further, if you examine your 1979 1e DMG, you will find this:

Plate Mail is light chain with pieces of plate - cuirass, shoulder pieces, elbow and knee guards, and greaves. Weight is well distributed. (Plate armor is a full suit of plate which is no more weighty and a bit less bulky, considering what is known as "field plate". If you allow such armor in your campaign, use the same weight, with o 9" movement base and a base armor class of 2 sans shield. Such armor would be very expensive, c. 2000 g.p.).
This was expanded upon in 1e Unearthed Arcana.
The introduction of Renaissance plate armors into AD&D was a later addition, moving the time period covered up, with the illustration in the PHB being a slightly anachronistic bit of artistic license.


You may object that D&D usually doesn't have the gunpowder cannons of the Renaissance era, but it doesn't have the cannons used in the Medieval hundred years war, but it definitely has the Longbows then used!
So why no gunpowder? Spellcasters instead!

I wasn't objecting to what D&D has, I was objecting to the conflation he was making of clearly later era elements of social development with that present in most D&D settings.

As for gunpowder, it has a very distinct effect on military technology, most especially making plate armor rapidly obsolete, but also significantly affecting the relevance of defensive walls.
Whether or not magic has a similar effect is a yet another long and involved digression from the specific topic at hand.

Zombimode
2016-03-15, 01:18 PM
To understand this, you must know that germanic/baltic/slavic states have always been the aggressor, the ones on the move, the ones taking actions. Thatīs because we never had the "feudal" system going like in Britain or France, so people wereī t shackled down with arbitrary burdens. Also unlike the stuff we deal with in those countries (and D&D), people were actually highly trained in martial combat and any "dirt farmer" was also either a Landsknecht or crossbow sniper. A village could either produce crops or be converted into a fighting platoon overnight without hassle. Modern german language still contains a lot of allures to that time. When we talk about a "Pappenheimer", meaning a reliable fighting guy, we talk about some foot soldier in full plate carrying a two-hander, if you know what I mean.

Pretty much everything you said does not match with what I know about "german" history (and by that I mean the history of the eastern francish realm and it successor states which ultimately became what is today known as "Germany") and my experiences up to the meaning of "Pappenheimer" (which is know to me as a derogatory term).

Darth Ultron
2016-03-15, 06:01 PM
The problem with trying to use real world history for a D&D world is the D&D world is not reality.

Most places in Europe, lets say just England and France to narrow it down a bit, had very few 'monstrous' predators, inhuman neighbors, unexplored dangerous places and naturally anything magical or supernatural.

And the reason why Europe developed the way it did is that it did not have such extreme things. For example no monster like a dragon ever destroyed a town in Europe. So it's a bit odd to use history as an example.

Just take Europe -2000 and what it was like, but then add in all the monsters and magic and fantasy of D&D. Now think how things would develop over the next 3000 years. Would London or Paris even exist in the exact same way they did in 1300?

JAL_1138
2016-03-15, 11:06 PM
In the TSR era, at least, the common folk would live in utter terror of housecats, dogs, common barnyard animals, sufficient (single-digit) numbers of squirrels, large waterfowl, etc., etc...

Steampunkette
2016-03-16, 02:29 AM
Think of it this way.

Go to a remote part of the US. Let's say North Dakota.

Find a small town, pick a random direction, and walk in that direction until you run into a town with a population of 300 or more.

Chances are you'll walk for days before you find the next town.

Just because goblins and orcs, dragons and catoblepas exist doesn't mean they're that much more common than humans. Even in our wildly highly populated world there are plenty of places you could get lost until you died without running into another person. And you could do so while completely unaware you're within a mile of a town just behind some hills, or through a forest.

Your average fantasy village is just your average village in the same pseudo historical time period. Some vastly small number of villages have to deal with monsters or goblinoids just due to proximity to an orc or goblin village. But those communities are usually destroyed by the conflict, or made vassals to the stronger community.

Mark Hall
2016-03-16, 12:30 PM
The problem with trying to use real world history for a D&D world is the D&D world is not reality.

I prefer to view most of D&D as being a lot more akin to Westerns, rather than medieval history, anyway.


Think of it this way.

Go to a remote part of the US. Let's say North Dakota.

Find a small town, pick a random direction, and walk in that direction until you run into a town with a population of 300 or more.

Chances are you'll walk for days before you find the next town.


Not necessarily. Now, I don't know ND, but at least in Kansas, if you're following a river or a road, you'll probably run into a town within a day's walk... because the towns are spread out such that someone is seldom more than half a day's walk from town.

Jay R
2016-03-16, 02:25 PM
Historically, a single family heads off into the frontier, and finds a place with fertile fields, a stream, and good hunting. Presumably, these are people willing to defend themselves against nature. There are no marauders there because there is nothing to maraud.

Soon others looking for good land settle down there, too. It's still too small and out of the way to attract brigands. These few families defend each other against any dangers that show up. Since teh wilderness around them won't support large raiding parties, the only raiders are very small units - dangerous but not deadly.

It slowly grows, but as its value grows, so does its defensive abilities.

If they get rich enough before they get strong enough, they may get overrun, and that's why you sometimes come upon abandoned villages. But it's hard for an isolated village to get rich enough for that to happen. The ones still thriving are the ones that have (up until now) successfully defended themselves.

Also, go watch the raiders in The Seven Samurai or its remake, The Magnificent Seven. They aren't out to kill the villagers - just to take food from them occasionally. They want the village to survive, just like a farmer wants the fruit trees to survive.

MrZJunior
2016-03-16, 03:44 PM
Splendid replies, I'm really impressed. Also, we should have common household, Inn with some beds, general shop (fieldwork stuff mainly, some knives and occasional adventurers gear as they are found dead perhaps) and a shrine or a very small church with a priest. Anything else to mention?

You should probably include a mill to convert some of that food they are growing into a usable format. Probably a bakery or something like that off on its own to help prevent the spread of fire.

McStabbington
2016-03-16, 04:15 PM
You should probably include a mill to convert some of that food they are growing into a usable format. Probably a bakery or something like that off on its own to help prevent the spread of fire.

I would actually say "mill" before I would say "inn." About the only reason why you'd have a village is to get the goods and services that the farmers or herders can't get on their own or with the help of 1-2 other people of general skill. So you're basically talking a miller to process the grain, maybe a few specialists like a blacksmith or a barber/veterinarian, a hedge wizard/cleric that can do some healing or say a few prayers, and that's the foundation of your village. Everyone else is there purely for scenery or because it's a locale where the farmers and herders either gather together when it comes time to defend themselves or winter over. I would imagine it would hardly be uncommon to have a "village" with no more than 20 people, children and elderly included, in normal times.

Mark Hall
2016-03-16, 06:13 PM
A lot depends on how and why it was founded. If you've got settlers forming a homestead, then a mill is more likely. If you've got prospectors working a resource rush, then an inn is more likely.

Telok
2016-03-16, 07:05 PM
Think of it this way.

Go to a remote part of the US. Let's say North Dakota.

Find a small town, pick a random direction, and walk in that direction until you run into a town with a population of 300 or more.

Chances are you'll walk for days before you find the next town.

Eh, I'd be very dubious about assigning population center density based on the American automobile centered midwest that was originally settled in an unusual manner. Plus random directions are pretty likely to miss many close settlements almost anywhere that isn't urban/suburban.

People travel on paths, I think that the distance along the road/river to the next settlement is more important. That's normally going to be a day or a half-day of walking away. Even if it's further away someone is likely to spot a good place for an inn or waystop and decide to make some money off it.

Darth Ultron
2016-03-16, 08:30 PM
I prefer to view most of D&D as being a lot more akin to Westerns, rather than medieval history, anyway.


I use Colonial America myself.

Coidzor
2016-03-16, 09:59 PM
I use Colonial America myself.

You can even have nods at both sometimes.

Storm_Of_Snow
2016-03-17, 04:46 AM
I would actually say "mill" before I would say "inn."
There could be a mill in a central village or town that everyone brings their grain to - whether that's because it's one under a waterfall or in a particularly windy area and thus is so effective it's not worth building more elsewhere, or because the local land owners thugs go out and burn down anything someone else tries to build, so everyone has to use his mill, even though he charges what he likes.

An inn however, can be set up anywhere there's enough room for a couple of tables, a serving area and a barrel or two - it could be a room in someone's home.



About the only reason why you'd have a village is to get the goods and services that the farmers or herders can't get on their own or with the help of 1-2 other people of general skill. So you're basically talking a miller to process the grain, maybe a few specialists like a blacksmith or a barber/veterinarian, a hedge wizard/cleric that can do some healing or say a few prayers, and that's the foundation of your village. Everyone else is there purely for scenery or because it's a locale where the farmers and herders either gather together when it comes time to defend themselves or winter over. I would imagine it would hardly be uncommon to have a "village" with no more than 20 people, children and elderly included, in normal times.

20 people across various generations would be 3-4 families (say husband, wife, one grandparent and a couple of kids living under one roof). That's a hamlet, not a village. Personally, I'd put it at between 50 and a maximum of a couple of hundred for a village, some of whom may live in outlying areas rather than close to the village green or chief's domicile.

Blacksmith would be a definite, and you'd have a healer-type somewhere in the area (larger villages would have a church/temple, smaller ones would likely share one at a central location, and there may be a witch or similar somewhere).

Mark Hall
2016-03-17, 09:04 AM
I use Colonial America myself.

I hadn't thought of that. In what ways do you see similarities?

wumpus
2016-03-17, 09:16 AM
I would actually say "mill" before I would say "inn." About the only reason why you'd have a village is to get the goods and services that the farmers or herders can't get on their own or with the help of 1-2 other people of general skill. So you're basically talking a miller to process the grain, maybe a few specialists like a blacksmith or a barber/veterinarian, a hedge wizard/cleric that can do some healing or say a few prayers, and that's the foundation of your village. Everyone else is there purely for scenery or because it's a locale where the farmers and herders either gather together when it comes time to defend themselves or winter over. I would imagine it would hardly be uncommon to have a "village" with no more than 20 people, children and elderly included, in normal times.

I would expect that humans would tend to form villages simply to interact with more people. They are also far more likely with farmers than with herders, as the limit to the size of a village is how long it takes to walk to your fields (farmers might walk past one or two fields to their own, but don't expect them to lose a significant part of the day just to live in the village). Herdsmen might be an exception. Assuming they build a fixed house, their animals are going to wander fairly far. Expect the village to be largely farmers with a few herdsmen keeping their flocks well outside the village (this presumably puts them low on the social order, think "cowherd" not "rancher").

Segev
2016-03-17, 09:35 AM
The mill seems like a good place to start centralizing a village from a collection of scattered farms. It would be a natural first specialization, and it would be a place where all the farmers come together. From a narrative standpoint, "the miller's daughter" seems a common love interest for protagonists, as well. Possibly because, due to its central location and business with all the nearby farms, the mill may be the wealthiest business in "town." By the time other specializations show up, the miller has a head start on wealth, and, if he's any kind of businessman, probably is also the userer who helps establish other local, centralized businesses (e.g. the smithy). So "miller" and "local rich dude" go hand-in-hand, making the "miller's daughter" the local equivalent of a princess.

Wardog
2016-03-17, 06:49 PM
You don't necessarily need a mill or a bakery to make bread. It's perfectly possible (and for much of history, standard) for individual households to grind their own corn with a quern (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quern-stone), and to bake their own bread. A mill would probably imply either a relatively large economy (to make it worthwhile), and/or the local lord forcing people to use his mill rather than grind corn themselves.


An inn (as opposed to a tavern or ale-house that might primarily serve the village itself) would imply sufficient travelers to make it worthwhile. If (almost) noone ever goes there, those that do would probably have to rely on a friend giving them a place to sleep, or on a culture of hospitality that says any stranger that asks for it gets it.

(I'm not sure if this would be historical, but I could also imagine the local lord or bigwig offering/requiring travellers to lodge with him - on the grounds that they would either be important enough, or dangerous enough, that he would want to know what they are up toand to keep an eye on them).


To reitterate what a few others have said - a village would not require a nearby town to exist. A village (in the traditional, pre-modern sense) was basically a small settlement that would usually be focused on a "primary sector of the economy" - usually farming, sometimes fishing. Most people would either be farmers/farm workers, or people who provide goods and services required by farmers (blacksmiths, cartwrights, thatchers, etc). If there were enough resources locally, such a village could probably be mostly self-sufficient. If there were other towns or villages nearby to trade with, life would probably be better (because they could support more specialists making useful but non-essential items), but it wouldn't be a necessity. (A town or city, on the other hand, would require outlying villages to produce food for it. Some villages were focused on other primary industries, such as minng or quarrying, and those would require trade to be viable).

Darth Ultron
2016-03-17, 07:00 PM
I hadn't thought of that. In what ways do you see similarities?

1.Vast areas of unknown land. And I do mean unknown. Someone standing on the east coast had no idea what was even a single mile inland.

2.Native Americans = non humans, from elves to orcs and all in between.

3.No central government, or very little government. Sure there was law if you were in a town...but a couple miles away there was nothing.

4.The constant state of war on the frontier.

5.The idea, maybe myth, that there were great undiscovered treasures in the wilderness. Cities of gold, fountains of youth, and so on.

6.America nicely does away with all the baggage of Europe. No feudalism, knights, royalty, and all that. A farmer in America owned the land he had, and was not a peasant working a lords plot of land.

7.You get lots of ''Adventurer'' examples, people who fought a lot and became legends.

McStabbington
2016-03-17, 08:30 PM
You don't necessarily need a mill or a bakery to make bread. It's perfectly possible (and for much of history, standard) for individual households to grind their own corn with a quern (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quern-stone), and to bake their own bread. A mill would probably imply either a relatively large economy (to make it worthwhile), and/or the local lord forcing people to use his mill rather than grind corn themselves.


Possibly, but there are lots of other reasons to centralize. For one thing, the baking of one's own bread assumes everyone owns their own grain grown on their own land. Medieval farming communities, however, often relied heavily on the commons, which were communally farmed from land owned by the liege lord. For another thing, they may build a mill simply because it's closest to the granary which would almost by definition be communal. Nobody makes enough surplus to use their own granary, and you have to figure these people are stockpiling food and grain for winter and the spring sowing. I'm not saying people don't have their private stocks and don't do at least some of their own milling, but there are plenty of reasons other than "one family has a monopoly" to coordinate their farming. Really, you got to figure if nothing else, these people are helping each other with their harvests. Fall harvesting is back-breaking labor, and it has to be done fast because a single massive rainstorm can spoil an entire reaped crop.

D+1
2016-03-17, 09:40 PM
Don't overthink it.

If you look too closely at the ecology of a D&D world, your brain will turn to mush and run out your nose as you come to the inescapabe realization that such an ecology cannot possibly sustain itself.

Just run it on the medieval peasant, everbody's a dirt-farmer that's never been more than a day's ride from home paradigm and never look back.

Pretty much this. I'd add that really you can justify WHY things are the way you WANT them by whatever means you think will dupe the players... I mean, whatever enables them to suspend disbelief by not looking at it any more closely than you do yourself. There doesn't even have to BE reasons - it just IS what it IS. Let the players/PC's decide that it needs to be changed and they themselves are the ones to undertake that task, whether by emptying the wilderness of all the Bad Things or whatever.

The economics make no sense. The demographics make no sense. The politics make no sense. Hell, the TERRAIN often makes no sense. That's IF you look at things too closely and decide that there MUST be a reason for everything.

It's fantasy. Just go with it.

Kami2awa
2016-03-18, 03:22 AM
1.Vast areas of unknown land. And I do mean unknown. Someone standing on the east coast had no idea what was even a single mile inland.

2.Native Americans = non humans, from elves to orcs and all in between.

3.No central government, or very little government. Sure there was law if you were in a town...but a couple miles away there was nothing.

4.The constant state of war on the frontier.

5.The idea, maybe myth, that there were great undiscovered treasures in the wilderness. Cities of gold, fountains of youth, and so on.

6.America nicely does away with all the baggage of Europe. No feudalism, knights, royalty, and all that. A farmer in America owned the land he had, and was not a peasant working a lords plot of land.

7.You get lots of ''Adventurer'' examples, people who fought a lot and became legends.

I believe this was Gary Gygax's original intent, that a D&D world had the atmosphere of the Wild West, with small outposts of civilisation with dangerous wilderness in between, and bands of wandering mercenaries and "lawmen" (i.e. the PCs). Among other things, it explains the lopsided economy - it's the distorted economy you get during a Gold Rush.

Mark Hall
2016-03-18, 08:20 AM
1.Vast areas of unknown land. And I do mean unknown. Someone standing on the east coast had no idea what was even a single mile inland.

2.Native Americans = non humans, from elves to orcs and all in between.

3.No central government, or very little government. Sure there was law if you were in a town...but a couple miles away there was nothing.

4.The constant state of war on the frontier.

5.The idea, maybe myth, that there were great undiscovered treasures in the wilderness. Cities of gold, fountains of youth, and so on.

6.America nicely does away with all the baggage of Europe. No feudalism, knights, royalty, and all that. A farmer in America owned the land he had, and was not a peasant working a lords plot of land.

7.You get lots of ''Adventurer'' examples, people who fought a lot and became legends.

Actually very similar to my arguments for a Western.

Segev
2016-03-18, 10:29 AM
I believe this was Gary Gygax's original intent, that a D&D world had the atmosphere of the Wild West, with small outposts of civilisation with dangerous wilderness in between, and bands of wandering mercenaries and "lawmen" (i.e. the PCs). Among other things, it explains the lopsided economy - it's the distorted economy you get during a Gold Rush.

That, plus it being a semi-veiled post-apocalyptic world. All those ruins of one or more ancient civilizations which had more powerful magic are clear signs that some calamity befell the continent (if not the world) as a whole. It can't have just been "normal" decline, or others would have risen in their place and their rivals would have waxed as they waned, and everybody would still live in one of their successors, growing mightier on the wealth of the prior generations. So something had to happen to destroy them all roughly simultaneously and make their wealth and might so unsustainable that people left it behind when the moved out to what became the new pockets of civilization.

wumpus
2016-03-18, 11:22 AM
You don't necessarily need a mill or a bakery to make bread. It's perfectly possible (and for much of history, standard) for individual households to grind their own corn with a quern (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quern-stone), and to bake their own bread. A mill would probably imply either a relatively large economy (to make it worthwhile), and/or the local lord forcing people to use his mill rather than grind corn themselves.


The two things recorded about mills and milling are that people really hated manually grinding grain (one of the biggest drives to slavery could very well have been to get someone else to do this hateful task). The other is that people also universally hated paying someone else to mill their grain (I'm suspecting the one hating the miller's pay wasn't the one expected to grind it himself). There was a [possibly mythical] dynamic in the medieval village where the blacksmith was the most respected man and second richest in the village (who worked even harder than the farmers) and the miller was the richest and possibly least respected man in the village.

I had a book assigned by my History of Science and Technology which described a "medieval industrial revolution" around water mills. Basically they were booming around 1066 (the Domesday book was an important way of measuring the growth of mills) and continued until there was eventually a temporary wood shortage (which was "fixed" by the black death and a break in chopping down trees) and finally switching to coal. Much later, when it occurred to me that this entire industrial revolution was based on automating "women's work", I could no longer find the book (it is fairly difficult to separate me from a book once acquired). I'm still wondering what that meant and how it happened (the traditional view was that women were seen as an inexaustable source of labor in the middle ages and hardly valued for such. In practice this was obviously not true (since so much capital was invested in replacing such labor)).

Havelocke
2016-03-18, 12:37 PM
I like to think of it this way.

"its your world, make it your own"

So who is to say that the farming village was not built near a partially ruined Elven watch tower? I couple of teenage boys with sharp eyes and a bow could see pretty far up there and ring a bell if trouble happens. Instead of a Elven tower, what about a dwarven brewery? The D&D world had a long history of past empires rise and fall, many settlements were built around those ruins. A fortified temple or monastery would not be out of place. The town farms, and donates some to the monastery for the monk's protection. Or they donate to the church so their paladins and clerics defend the town. In more rural settings Rangers, Wardens or even Druids could defend a farming village from a distance. Some ancient magical doo-dad repels the undead or anything "evil" sort of like a large circle of protection buried under the village.

Adventurers are seen with both fear and excitement. Many villagers lead dull lives of hard labor and listening to tales of heroics (even if made up) would delight them. Many would sell food stuffs, possibly simple adventuring gear like torches, rope, hooks. There may be a weekly market where people swap goods but not necessarily a general store unless the village is near a main road where travel is more likely (just passing through to the City of Overthere thanks). I agree with the earlier comments of possibly having to bribe the local Orcs and Goblins to leave the village alone by sacrificing livestock or worse (pick your evil machination here).

Ultimately, make it your story.

2D8HP
2016-03-18, 09:30 PM
Have Orc Anarcho-Syndicalist communes straight out of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail ("See the player character repressing me? Come see the violence!").

Nightcanon
2016-03-19, 01:46 AM
Internet, communication and such. I apologize if my tone came over as rather harsh or condescending.

My job has me traveling around Europe a lot (Iīm into fine spirits). To use u.s. american terms, I majored in Art History, amongst other things. When I go somewhere, I take personal delight in getting to know the local history and getting a "feel" on the place.

My forte is middle/southern Germany, eastern Switzerland, wester Austria and middle/northern Italy. Incidentally, that are places that have been part of the Roman Empire. (Donīt bother me with anything French)

The thing here is, Iīm always impressed when I visit these places. They were highly interconnected, fiercely independent, armed to the teeth and involved in frisk trade. (If you want, we can talk about specific places, specific trade routes, and so on. Just say so).

I have never, in all of my travels, found a "Hommlet".

I've lived in 2 places at opposite ends of England that met the Hommlet template of an inn at a crossroads, a church (in one case, a pre-reformation one dating back to about the 13th C), and some sort of big house (one of these places had the local 18th C big house, now a country hotel, the other a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, since rebuilt in stone and now ruined, AND a Georgian mansion). Both places had a street or two of agricultural cottages, a larger farmhouse or two, and not much else. Neither had a druid grove or 5th level mage, though both were with a few miles of important places of pilgrimage.

Wardog
2016-03-19, 08:03 AM
I believe this was Gary Gygax's original intent, that a D&D world had the atmosphere of the Wild West, with small outposts of civilisation with dangerous wilderness in between, and bands of wandering mercenaries and "lawmen" (i.e. the PCs). Among other things, it explains the lopsided economy - it's the distorted economy you get during a Gold Rush.

Greece, as depicted in their old myths and legends would be a good match too, I reckon. Lots of very small kingdoms, where for example you can have a poor fisherman who is the brother of the local king, a particularly wealthy king might be one who owned an large herd of cattle (which also makes the Wild West comparison good), and "go on an adventure and kill some monsters" is the expected way for a prince to prove himself worthy of his inheritance.

Migration Era Europe might be a good comparison as well, because you would have the ruins of the old civilizations (Rome), lots of wandering barbarians, lots of empty(ish) land for people to be carving out kingdoms in, and enough people travelling long distances that the cultural mashups that you get in a lot of fantasy settings could actually make sense.


The other is that people also universally hated paying someone else to mill their grain (I'm suspecting the one hating the miller's pay wasn't the one expected to grind it himself). ... and the miller was the richest and possibly least respected man in the village.


Supposedly there was a medieval joke that went:
Q: What is the bravest item of clothing?
A: A miller's shirt - because every day it has a thief by the throat.

I think the wealth and hatred of the miller is due to the monopoly laws I mentioned earlier.

Darth Ultron
2016-03-19, 12:32 PM
Actually very similar to my arguments for a Western.

True, the wild west works, I just like to avoid the whole ''hollywood wild west'' sort of thing.


That, plus it being a semi-veiled post-apocalyptic world. .

This is an important part of the game world.

Mark Hall
2016-03-19, 03:19 PM
True, the wild west works, I just like to avoid the whole ''hollywood wild west'' sort of thing.

See, whereas I see the Hollywood Wild West as being the essence of D&D... down to being able to determine what decade a western is from, depending on how they view Native Americans.

McStabbington
2016-03-19, 04:35 PM
Supposedly there was a medieval joke that went:
Q: What is the bravest item of clothing?
A: A miller's shirt - because every day it has a thief by the throat.

I think the wealth and hatred of the miller is due to the monopoly laws I mentioned earlier.

Well, kind of. It is true that they did not particularly like being held by the short and curlies by the miller. But there was also the fact that they did not like anyone who lived by extracting wealth from laborers. Farming is backbreaking labor; to then have a fifth of your harvest siphoned off as a price of milling the grain you raised? Well, that not only is infuriating on its own; it gets downright terrifying when you get to February or March and see your food stores dwindling while he's still feasting. Now suppose that the miller is happy to hand you back some of your own crop for a profit? Oh, yeah, that's a recipe that in famine years leads to lynchings.

Long story short, medieval societies were very, very heavily reliant on physical labor. Almost everyone did some kind of direct labor, and almost all of that labor was directly related to the raising of food. One of the consequences of this was that anyone who appeared not to be doing that much labor, or whom gained their livelihood purely through transaction at the expense of labor, was utterly despised. That's precisely why the blacksmith might have been one of the wealthiest men in town, but he was never looked down upon for his trade: it's extremely labor-intensive work, and everyone could see the man pulling his weight in the community. And by the same token, it's exactly the same reason why banking was so frowned upon in the middle ages, to the point that collection of interest was considered not just illegal but an outright sin.

Segev
2016-03-21, 02:21 PM
Well... collecting interest was actually an "outright sin" because there were a number of Church officials who had some fairly expensive lifestyles their station as "servants and representatives of God" absolutely "required" them to maintain...and they thus borrowed money to do so. Kings and nobles had a similar tendency. So obviously, expecting interest on those loans would be "greed." (This is not a commentary on the actual religions certain corrupt officials thereof purported to represent; evil men are evil, and can corrupt anything they touch.)

Strangely, too, most nobles were NOT looked down upon for their taxation of the laborer. Probably because they could and sometimes would violently punish such disrespect. Nobility was thus lauded. To some extent, the blacksmith may benefit socially there, as well: the miller may or may not be all that physically threatening. Do you really, REALLY want to be the guy who is the first in line in the lynch mob when your target is known for one-handing hammers that other men might have trouble lifting with two hands, and is built like the bull ox you use to till your fields?

Sadly, angry people cast blame on scapegoats they view as safe/easy targets. Swift to point to somebody who won't retaliate violently (if at all) as a horrid monster who abuses his power and privilege (by which they mean, "is doing better than I am and not enabling me to do what I want to do"), but hesitant to call out the brute and savage that does everything they claim to despise. Even swift to DEFEND the latter, calling anybody who would denigrate them "boorish" or other names. "Disrespectful" or "heretical" were popular when the feared wrongdoers were nobility.



That said, I suspect that the miller was not usually despised if he was not an arrogant jerk about his wealth, and that it varied from town to town. Though yes, it's easy to assume that "anybody" can run a mill, whereas not "just anybody" can run a smithy. So drive out the miller, and maybe you can be the new guy with the cushy, easy, high-paying job. Drive out the blacksmith and...well, now who's going to fix those pitchforks you just ruined driving him out?

Tiktakkat
2016-03-21, 09:45 PM
Well... collecting interest was actually an "outright sin" because there were a number of Church officials who had some fairly expensive lifestyles their station as "servants and representatives of God" absolutely "required" them to maintain...and they thus borrowed money to do so. Kings and nobles had a similar tendency. So obviously, expecting interest on those loans would be "greed." (This is not a commentary on the actual religions certain corrupt officials thereof purported to represent; evil men are evil, and can corrupt anything they touch.)

Collecting interest was actually an "outright sin" because that is what the sourcebook said.
At least to some degree. There are a bunch more technical issues involved, including the difference between "legal rate of interest" and "illegal rate of interest/usury".
The cupidity of people within the system led to the laws regarding interest being used as a tool of control and oppression rather than as an element of faith.


Strangely, too, most nobles were NOT looked down upon for their taxation of the laborer. Probably because they could and sometimes would violently punish such disrespect. Nobility was thus lauded.

More because the economics of the period relied heavily on the Big Man system, in which status was gained by being able to give stuff away, similar to the Potlach concept found in Native American societies.
That the stuff given away was gained by what was often excessive and abusive taxation and fines was generally overlooked, at least as long as the stuff being received as a "gift" was essential to survival (ie, food in the middle of winter).

Bohandas
2016-03-24, 11:29 AM
Don't overthink it.

If you look too closely at the ecology of a D&D world, your brain will turn to mush and run out your nose as you come to the inescapabe realization that such an ecology cannot possibly sustain itself.


It could be argued that it's not meant to. It's sustained by constant divine intervention.

With regard to ecology specifically, I imagine a major duty of the druids being to conjure replacements for extinct or extirpated animal populations.

Darth Ultron
2016-03-24, 05:52 PM
It could be argued that it's not meant to. It's sustained by constant divine intervention.

With regard to ecology specifically, I imagine a major duty of the druids being to conjure replacements for extinct or extirpated animal populations.

Even the most basic D&D world is not a closed Ecology like Real World Earth. In D&D there are other places that have life and/or beings.

Though it's hard to say any ecology is ''pure'' natural. After all, as soon as any intelligent being does anything then it's not natural. Farming is not ''natural'', for example. We humans on Earth picked a couple of plants and modified and altered them over the years to make food crops. Humans did the same things with animals. And the humans in the D&D world did the same thing.....

.....except the humans were not the only intelligent race. And there were lots of fantasy creatures and monsters were around. And they had magic.

So, for just an easy one: giant animals. D&D is full of giant animals, though the books are mostly full of ''predator'' types. But if it's possible for giant animals to exist, why would not someone make giant food animals? A giant chicken or cow could feed a ton of people. Even just going ''by the book'', a giant rat has a ton of meat on it. And yet, by the book, it would seem that no one had ever thought of this...

Segev
2016-03-25, 09:42 AM
So, for just an easy one: giant animals. D&D is full of giant animals, though the books are mostly full of ''predator'' types. But if it's possible for giant animals to exist, why would not someone make giant food animals? A giant chicken or cow could feed a ton of people. Even just going ''by the book'', a giant rat has a ton of meat on it. And yet, by the book, it would seem that no one had ever thought of this...

Keeping larger animals tends to be more difficult. They're harder to overpower, and require sturdier containers. Chickens are only really easy to maintain because they're small enough to punt. Let them run around when they're big as a small barn and...yeah.

Maybe that's what high-level commoners do, though: put their higher BAB and skill ranks to work wrangling huge farm animals.

JoeJ
2016-03-25, 11:06 AM
So, for just an easy one: giant animals. D&D is full of giant animals, though the books are mostly full of ''predator'' types. But if it's possible for giant animals to exist, why would not someone make giant food animals? A giant chicken or cow could feed a ton of people. Even just going ''by the book'', a giant rat has a ton of meat on it. And yet, by the book, it would seem that no one had ever thought of this...

Now I'm suddenly wondering what giant space hamster tastes like.

Darth Ultron
2016-03-25, 12:28 PM
Keeping larger animals tends to be more difficult. They're harder to overpower, and require sturdier containers. Chickens are only really easy to maintain because they're small enough to punt. Let them run around when they're big as a small barn and...yeah.

Maybe that's what high-level commoners do, though: put their higher BAB and skill ranks to work wrangling huge farm animals.

Not all ''giant'' animals are building sized. Most giant animals are only two sizes larger. And society would need to be much different then ''just like Old Earth''. So Farmer Joe with a pitchfork and a straw hat won't have a coup full of giant chickens. But smart, clever and hungry people would find a way. Even just giant chicken eggs can feed a lot of people.

And there would be ''animal experts'', NPC's with skills, abilities and even magic. So like a druid type without all the crazy combat stuff.


Now I'm suddenly wondering what giant space hamster tastes like.

Chicken....

Tiktakkat
2016-03-25, 12:36 PM
Keeping larger animals tends to be more difficult. They're harder to overpower, and require sturdier containers. Chickens are only really easy to maintain because they're small enough to punt. Let them run around when they're big as a small barn and...yeah.

Yeah indeed:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Food_of_the_Gods_(film)


Now I'm suddenly wondering what giant space hamster tastes like.

Spaham

(That is the canon name for it.)

Segev
2016-03-25, 01:01 PM
Not all ''giant'' animals are building sized. Most giant animals are only two sizes larger. And society would need to be much different then ''just like Old Earth''. So Farmer Joe with a pitchfork and a straw hat won't have a coup full of giant chickens. But smart, clever and hungry people would find a way. Even just giant chicken eggs can feed a lot of people.

Even so, there are reasons people keep chickens as well as cows, goats, etc. Smaller livestock can be more easily contained in smaller areas.

If you mean "dog-sized chickens," maybe. But at that point, it's not really going to be "unusual" enough to warrant drawing player attention to it.

Darth Ultron
2016-03-25, 01:15 PM
Even so, there are reasons people keep chickens as well as cows, goats, etc. Smaller livestock can be more easily contained in smaller areas.

If you mean "dog-sized chickens," maybe. But at that point, it's not really going to be "unusual" enough to warrant drawing player attention to it.

Cows and goats are not exactly ''small''. And not all ''livestock'' is docile.

It would be ''unusual'' enough to change the world. And there are lots of animals.

D&D also has giant people and they can care for giant animals that would not be so big to them. Just a couple giant people could keep whole herds of animals for normal sized humans.

Plus remember giant plants too.

Havelocke
2016-03-25, 02:50 PM
dire chickens....I must add this to may next game.

Coidzor
2016-03-26, 01:54 AM
I believe a similar premise is at play in Necromancer Games' adventure "Feast of the Gobbler," a Thanksgiving adventure.

Arbane
2016-03-27, 12:42 AM
If you mean "dog-sized chickens," maybe. But at that point, it's not really going to be "unusual" enough to warrant drawing player attention to it.

Turkeys? Or Emus?

goto124
2016-03-27, 02:16 AM
Penguins.

Dogs come in many sizes...

Excession
2016-03-27, 04:01 AM
Penguins.

Dogs come in many sizes...

Also, an emperor penguin can weigh as much as a labrador.

Bohandas
2016-03-27, 08:42 PM
Turkeys? Or Emus?

Don't forget ostriches

Segev
2016-03-29, 05:39 PM
Again, if you're going for ostriches or the like, why not goats or cows? There's a reason people keep chickens when larger livestock are available.

Coidzor
2016-03-29, 11:14 PM
Turkeys? Or Emus?

Imagine a world where emus were actually domesticated instead of, well, capable of defeating Australia's armed forces.

Imagine turkeys that have been altered through breeding and magic to lay eggs as often as chickens.

Imagine goats altered to have milk that tastes more like cow's milk. Or horse's. Or human's.

Tiktakkat
2016-03-30, 01:41 AM
Imagine a world where emus were actually domesticated instead of, well, capable of defeating Australia's armed forces.

You mean like . . . chocobos!

Coidzor
2016-03-31, 05:47 PM
You mean like . . . chocobos!

"Wark!" Or as the kids say today "kwei."


Beware the Dreaded Gazebo!

Nah, those are too fancy for just villages. Need at least a township.

RollynT.Glal
2016-04-03, 12:01 AM
In the crunchiest terms the standard D&D village (assuming 3.5 rules) would have a population of between 401 and 900 adults and between 10 and 40% children depending on the dominant race. While smaller settlements were historically more common, if only because the more people you put in a place the harder it is to control them, I will use every average roll and number when creating this village. I will also make the dominant race human for simplicity's sake. The interesting bits of a D&D village come into play when one considers the effects of NPCs with greater ability than the standard Medieval peasant.

So let's start out with an adult population of 650 with 162 children (25%). The vast majority of these people will likely be dirt farmers with the expectation being that they are purposefully unoptimized to the point that they don't receive much more than the 1 sp/day granted to an unskilled migrant worker. Food is a major consideration when making a settlement, without mass production and mass transit you can only really live as far away from the farm as the farmer is willing to travel.

Who runs the village? Well villages have only a +1 to their Power Center roll so "Average D&D Village" has a "Conventional" power center, which is not currently a front for a "Monstrous" power center. So let's say there's a LN local lord with a walled keep at the heart of the town and since his family has the money and by extension the sword-arms in town, they run things.

The feudal set-up had a lot of things going for it. Serfs are uneducated and so don't know there's a better life out there as they toil day after day. The surplus is sent to the lord in a thinly-veiled protection racket, who uses what he needs and sells the rest up the chain to higher and higher lords. It also means power struggles between lords are common and bloody.

So who fights in these struggles? Why the little people of course! There are 8 full-time guardsmen in our village, and they are led by the highest levelled warrior (4th lvl). They typically hang around the keep, watching out for anyone who shouldn't be on their lord's land. When someone starts going around killing locals, they're likely to look into it. But unless the culprit is caught red-handed the guards are likely to either drop it, because one dead commoner is a lot less important than the risk of missing an army bearing down on you, or they lynch the first person they think did it.

If that rival army comes to our village the local lord calls up his militia. There are approximately 32 more able-bodies that will answer that call. These might be men who have trained with weapons the last time trouble came to town, but more than likely they're young men who've never held a real spear in their hands a day in their life.

Now the really fun part. A village actually gets a penalty to the highest level its populace can have, without even the benefit of the Thorp or Hamlet where there's a chance at a high levelled Ranger or Druid to protect the town. So in "Average D&D Village" we have the following (keep in mind this does not count children):

Adepts - 1 2nd level, 3 1st level
Aristocrats - 3 1st level
Barbarian - 1 1st level
Bards - 1 2nd level, 2 1st level
Cleric - 1 2nd level, 2 1st level
Commoners - 1 9th level, 2 4th level, 4 2nd level, 561 1st level
Druids - 1 2nd level, 2 1st level
Experts - 1 6th level, 2 3rd level, 18 1st level
Fighters - 1 3rd level, 2 1st level
Monk - 1 1st level
Paladin - 1 1st level
Ranger - 1 1st level
Rogues - 1 3rd level, 2 1st level
Sorcerer - 1 1st level
Warriors - 1 4th level, 2 2nd level, 30 1st level
Wizard - 1 1st level

So did you see all those spellcasters? They're going to drive the most drastic changes between the typical medieval village and "Average D&D Village". Did you notice that 9th level Commoner and 6th level Expert? They are going to be doing some interesting things too.

Those Clerics all the way up there certainly stir things up. Just in core that 2nd level Cleric has the potential to cure wounds that would otherwise be life-threatening four times a day, and can further immediately stabilize four more people in critical condition so they can be healed later. The other Clerics are just gravy at that point. Now I know the Clerics can't always be in a position to save anyone who might get hurt immediately, so casulties will still happen, but the potential is there to save 20 people from death A DAY. And all of this is assuming the clerics are simply playing heal-bot.

That Wizard is also a game changer. Even at First level our friendly neighborhood generalist Wizard has written every single cantrip and a minimum of 4 1st level spells into their spellbook. Now while they can cast the spells themselves a couple times a day, the real prize here is Scribe Scroll. As long as the Wizard has the opportunity to earn 25 xp/day (which is child's play in a world where PC's should expect 4 CR relevant encounters a day) they can spend their every waking moment scribing a 1st level scroll.

Now that's at full capacity so it's likely going to be much less but the fact remains that our resident wizard is a scroll factory. Whether the scrolls are kept or sold doesn't change the massive amount of wealth being created by just one member of the village.

Speaking of money where is all of it? Well, like every D&D village, this one has a 200 gp limit. Most items under this limit can be found within the town with some effort. This means as long as there's a means of production for a specific item and it costs less than 200 gp the village theoretically can use it as fast as they can churn it out. This is great news for our Wizard because there will always be a market for their scrolls.

Now our final "Big Players" highlights will be our 9th level commoner and 6th level expert.

Earlier I said that most commoners are dirt farmers, and that the game expects us to purposefully ignore optimal choices for them as a means of keeping them ignorant, oppressed and poor. Those 9 levels however make it nearly impossible to punish this particular commoner in such a way. Surely this champion of the people has some special skills right? Whether its crafting, handling animals or even just exceptional dirt farming this individual has managed to beat out all competitors to be top dog.

Even with average intelligence and a steady spread of skills, our commoner can still get a +4 bonus on a couple skills. That's not very impressive right? WRONG. In the hands of a commoner +4 is insane. If that bonus is put in the right skills our commoner will probably be having little aristocrat babies before too long. Profession (Dirt Farmer) for instance nets 7 gp/week with no capital investment. That's 10 times what everyone else in town expects to earn.

Our Expert has it even better. Expert implies focus and specialization which translates to the potential for even higher skill checks. In addition to higher bonuses experts have one of the better skill lists in the game, in that the experts themselves get to choose which skills they want to pursue. This time our Expert has chosen to max out their Craft check. With a +9 bonus even just by "practicing their trade" we can net 9.5 gp/week or regularly churn out anything that isn't an alchemical item, a composite bow with a strength rating of +5 or higher, or a "complex" item like a lock. And again as long as it retails at less than 201 gp the expert craftsman can expect to flip it.

TLDR:
The trick is really to treat every person like an individual. Give them some reasons to live, wants and needs and they'll sort themselves out. The bulk of the commoners want a better life but their lack of education and ability harshly limits how much of "better" is possible. So then move onto the "real" people with levels and things. Use those levels and things to claw your way to a better life and see how that's changed things.

Tiktakkat
2016-04-03, 11:18 AM
Not bad, but a few things contradict other basic assumptions, starting here:


The vast majority of these people will likely be dirt farmers with the expectation being that they are purposefully unoptimized to the point that they don't receive much more than the 1 sp/day granted to an unskilled migrant worker. Food is a major consideration when making a settlement, without mass production and mass transit you can only really live as far away from the farm as the farmer is willing to travel.

If food is such a major consideration, it is likely all those dirt farmers will be quite optimized to farm their dirt.
In the default pseudo-economy, a portion will be day laborers who don't have land-rights, whether free or obligated, and will only make 1 sp/day, but they will all tend to be quite optimized for that task.
Of course being optimized to farm dirt will make one rather useless for other, more profitable and adventure focused tasks.


The surplus is sent to the lord in a thinly-veiled protection racket, who uses what he needs and sells the rest up the chain to higher and higher lords.

More likely said lord is sending it up the chain as part of the same feudal power structure (protection racket).


It also means power struggles between lords are common and bloody.

Not exactly.
Since those dirt farmers are the ultimate source of wealth, killing them means killing the source of the wealth. So keeping them alive is generally a good idea.
Conversely, killing other lords reduces direct competition for consumption.
Of course offing them gets you a bad reputation among the other lords, and increases your chance of a bloody end.
Thus the trick is to win without too much blood loss, unless of course you go the medieval equivalent of murderhobo, which wasn't the default but was also not totally unusual.


If that rival army comes to our village the local lord calls up his militia. There are approximately 32 more able-bodies that will answer that call. These might be men who have trained with weapons the last time trouble came to town, but more than likely they're young men who've never held a real spear in their hands a day in their life.

Theoretically, though that isn't what your demographic list shows.
I count 35 total warriors (including the 8 expected to be guards), and 10 non-spell-casting PCs, 11 spell-casting PCs, 4 spell-casting NPCs.
That is 60 high quality combatants, with another 24 experts and aristocrats as backup before we get to the kids more likely to stab themselves than raiding goblins.
Actually, that kind of makes you wonder just how much chance that pack of raiding goblins has, or why they village needs to hire some pack of wandering murderhobos to deal with the lair of said raiders.


And all of this is assuming the clerics are simply playing heal-bot.

Provided you handwave someone paying them for all that NPC spell-casting.
Mind you, in a "rational" village they should be casting freely for the inhabitants, but RAW pseudo-economics demands payment.


(which is child's play in a world where PC's should expect 4 CR relevant encounters a day)

Except these aren't PCs, they are NPCs.
And that is relevant encounters per adventure, not just sitting around a village.
If they did get those encounters at that rate then basic mathematics is going to have those wizards going epic in 9 months (18 months if they scribe every other day).


Now that's at full capacity so it's likely going to be much less but the fact remains that our resident wizard is a scroll factory. Whether the scrolls are kept or sold doesn't change the massive amount of wealth being created by just one member of the village.

Well certainly it could help pay the clerics for all their healing.
And one would expect a good portion to get drained as feudal dues.
The problem with the rest is exactly how does it function as wealth?
Certainly the dirt farmers aren't going to be trading in wizard scrolls as if they were copper pieces, so what place will it have in the economy?


This means as long as there's a means of production for a specific item and it costs less than 200 gp the village theoretically can use it as fast as they can churn it out. This is great news for our Wizard because there will always be a market for their scrolls.

No, it means they can use it, not that they do use it. Such things can wind up on the shelves for years until some random adventurer wanders through to restock.
Which then invokes you forgetting to account for the gp limit, which limits how much can be sold or purchased in the village before they run out of spare stuff just lying around waiting for adventurers to purchase.
If it were otherwise, the whole previous point about food being an issue would be moot, as the village would just funnel everything into the wizards scribing scrolls, then convert those into enough food for everyone to need clerical help to avoid being possessed by gluttony demons.

Now our final "Big Players" highlights will be our 9th level commoner and 6th level expert.


If that bonus is put in the right skills our commoner will probably be having little aristocrat babies before too long. Profession (Dirt Farmer) for instance nets 7 gp/week with no capital investment. That's 10 times what everyone else in town expects to earn.

Actually . . . yes. That is precisely what happens, though not with the aristocrat babies.
That dirt farmer will get gloriously rich and own tons of land. So much that he cannot dirt farm it by himself. So what does he do? Why he is the one who employs all the other 1st level commoner dirt farmers, paying them 1 sp/day!


And again as long as it retails at less than 201 gp the expert craftsman can expect to flip it.

Again, not really, particularly with some of your examples, like the alchemical materials.
Never mind "it is under the gp cap", there is simply not going to be all that much demand for tanglefoot bags in the average village.

There is quite a bit you can do with a village along these lines, just remember not to go too far relying on RAW math to justify certain optimization choices. Not everyone can in every village can tend grape vines or what not because they sell for the most on the tables.

sktarq
2016-04-04, 12:50 AM
Firstly for small settlements (thorps, hamlets, and villages) much of the population lives outside of town in farmsteads. The town may well only have a few buildings (governance area (lords manor, town hall etc), temple, market square, a half dozen specialists perhaps plus spouses and 2-6 kids per family. In total a 200 person settle might have only 60 people in the "town" itself and most of those kids.



Theoretically, though that isn't what your demographic list shows....
Actually, that kind of makes you wonder just how much chance that pack of raiding goblins has, or why they village needs to hire some pack of wandering murderhobos to deal with the lair of said raiders.
So the goblins attack a farm of two at a time. A couple of guards heading back after dealing with a drunken brawl or domestic that is disturbing the neighbors. Pretty soon fear matter mores than actual total combat ability. also the militia you describe may be able to take on the goblins but the village would be unprotected at the time and village life would come to a standstill.



Provided you handwave someone paying them for all that NPC spell-casting.
Mind you, in a "rational" village they should be casting freely for the inhabitants, but RAW pseudo-economics demands payment.
it demands payment for PC's. . . that is not necessarily the case for members of the in group society, it is a loophole that allows for more rational behavior and also for same holy order free spellcasting.



Actually . . . yes. That is precisely what happens, though not with the aristocrat babies.
That dirt farmer will get gloriously rich and own tons of land. So much that he cannot dirt farm it by himself. So what does he do? Why he is the one who employs all the other 1st level commoner dirt farmers, paying them 1 sp/day!
Also that commoner may well run the local drinking hole, he may farm rare spell components that produce high value off of a minimal land area or may be the woman who knows all the gossip, how to mend almost anything, acts a matchmaker, etc. . .



There is quite a bit you can do with a village along these lines, just remember not to go too far relying on RAW math to justify certain optimization choices. Not everyone can in every village can tend grape vines or what not because they sell for the most on the tables.
actually much of the town could tend grape vines. . . there are regions where vineyards are the primary agriculture.

Tiktakkat
2016-04-04, 12:07 PM
So the goblins attack a farm of two at a time. A couple of guards heading back after dealing with a drunken brawl or domestic that is disturbing the neighbors. Pretty soon fear matter mores than actual total combat ability. also the militia you describe may be able to take on the goblins but the village would be unprotected at the time and village life would come to a standstill.

That "militia" is 5 standard PC parties. Going to 6 man teams and counting the NPC class villagers at half a person, you get 10 oversized parties (2 PC class villagers, 8 NPC class villagers), each of which should roll over the typical starting adventure that is expected to take 4 PCs less than a week to complete. Even sending 2 or 3 entire groups for the overkill is going to have a minimal effect on the defenses or economy of the village.
RAW demographics get a bit goofy when you consider them in such a context.


it demands payment for PC's. . . that is not necessarily the case for members of the in group society, it is a loophole that allows for more rational behavior and also for same holy order free spellcasting.

That would only be a loophole if the rules were written that way.
Instead it is a campaign specific or house rule.


Also that commoner may well run the local drinking hole, he may farm rare spell components that produce high value off of a minimal land area or may be the woman who knows all the gossip, how to mend almost anything, acts a matchmaker, etc. . .

He needs someone to sell those spell components to.
The rest are reasonable.


actually much of the town could tend grape vines. . . there are regions where vineyards are the primary agriculture.

Much of a town in a region.
Not everyone in the region - or the whole country.
Yes, I had someone argue that based on RAW. That, along with the militia example, and the spellcasting/crafting issue, are why you have to be careful about relying too much on RAW for setting and plot design.

Wardog
2016-04-06, 02:22 PM
Actually, that kind of makes you wonder just how much chance that pack of raiding goblins has, or why they village needs to hire some pack of wandering murderhobos to deal with the lair of said raiders.


Fighting goblins is still dangerous. People might get hurt, or even killed. And it takes up valuable time that could be better spend working (or drinking in the tavern, etc). Plus, it requires tactics that merely having enough levels doesn't necessarily provide.

Hiring some people who know what they're doing, and who you don't care if they get killed, is probably easier and safer all round.

Tiktakkat
2016-04-06, 08:02 PM
Fighting goblins is still dangerous. People might get hurt, or even killed. And it takes up valuable time that could be better spend working (or drinking in the tavern, etc). Plus, it requires tactics that merely having enough levels doesn't necessarily provide.

Hiring some people who know what they're doing, and who you don't care if they get killed, is probably easier and safer all round.

21 of those villagers have PC levels.
By definition, they know what they're doing compared to NPCs, particularly if they are 2nd or 3rd level.
35 of those villagers with NPC levels are warriors.
Again by definition, they know what they're doing compared to other NPCs, especially if they are above 1st level.
The comparison I made was specifically to the intro adventures that feature goblins that PCs typically go on, rather than to adventures for 4-6th level PCs. Naturally they will still require wandering murderhobos to deal with those.
Well, assuming their success doesn't attract other settlers and grow their village to a small town, enhancing everyone's level (or attracting higher level townsfolk) in the process.

Yes, it takes time.
Of course cowering (whether or not you are getting drunk in the process) also takes up valuable time that could be better spent working.
Conversely, hiring wandering murderhobos requires money, which requires extra work to have surplus, and which would better be spent on extra rounds at the bar.
Clearly the villagers will have to decide on which course of action they favor. What is important to note is that they have a choice, as they could, by the numbers, handle the task themselves.

BayardSPSR
2016-04-06, 09:39 PM
Fighting goblins is still dangerous. People might get hurt, or even killed. And it takes up valuable time that could be better spend working (or drinking in the tavern, etc). Plus, it requires tactics that merely having enough levels doesn't necessarily provide.

Hiring some people who know what they're doing, and who you don't care if they get killed, is probably easier and safer all round.

Add the fact that farming communities tend to be dispersed, making it likely that the raiders will get in and out with loot before the villagers have organized a defense, the lack of an incentive to risk your life for your neighbor's cow (existential threats are a different matter), and the fact that being armed and able to fight isn't the same thing as being able to project force effectively. Imagine modern Afghanistan or Mughal India, rather than colonial America. Actually, considering the endemic political violence in American society prior to WWII, maybe colonial America was more like modern Afghanistan than we idealize it as being.

soldersbushwack
2016-04-06, 10:25 PM
All towns depicted so far take place in an idealized place in the Material Plane (probably some thankless piece of dirt in Grayhawk is most appropriate.)

I think that according to the standard D&D cosmology the largest planes are the Abyss, the Elemental Chaos, Limbo and the Far Realms.

The standard D&D village is therefore likely to consist of incomprehensible and horrific monstrosities.

BayardSPSR
2016-04-06, 11:04 PM
All towns depicted so far take place in an idealized place in the Material Plane (probably some thankless piece of dirt in Grayhawk is most appropriate.)

I think that according to the standard D&D cosmology the largest planes are the Abyss, the Elemental Chaos, Limbo and the Far Realms.

The standard D&D village is therefore likely to consist of incomprehensible and horrific monstrosities.

Between 401 and 900 incomprehensible and horrific monstrosities, of which 10% to 40% are children, and so on.

Speaking of incomprehensible and specific monstrosities: 3.5 RAW.

Tiktakkat
2016-04-07, 12:05 AM
Add the fact that farming communities tend to be dispersed, making it likely that the raiders will get in and out with loot before the villagers have organized a defense, the lack of an incentive to risk your life for your neighbor's cow (existential threats are a different matter), and the fact that being armed and able to fight isn't the same thing as being able to project force effectively. Imagine modern Afghanistan or Mughal India, rather than colonial America.

So . . . you mean places where people would routinely go off on revenge raids against outsiders attacking their village?
Places where a good number of the villagers have some degree of competence with arms - enough that they can launch a viable assault on another village?
Places where status in part depends on a willingness to go off on a raid because a neighbor, who is likely related to you in some fashion anyway, had his cow raided?
Places where a dozen armed men constituted an effective projection of force?
And of course places where those successful in such minor village-focused skirmishes are likely to go on to be wandering murderhobos - I mean "adventurers" - themselves?

I could also imagine places like Ireland and Scotland up through the Renaissance, China and Japan in any civil war era, Italy past the Renaissance up until the Napoleonic era, or a number of other eras when similar factors were in play.

Coidzor
2016-04-07, 12:27 AM
The Cattle Raid of Cooley is Ireland's National Epic, after all, isn't it?

BayardSPSR
2016-04-07, 01:07 AM
So . . . you mean places where people would routinely go off on revenge raids against outsiders attacking their village?
Places where a good number of the villagers have some degree of competence with arms - enough that they can launch a viable assault on another village?
Places where status in part depends on a willingness to go off on a raid because a neighbor, who is likely related to you in some fashion anyway, had his cow raided?
Places where a dozen armed men constituted an effective projection of force?
And of course places where those successful in such minor village-focused skirmishes are likely to go on to be wandering murderhobos - I mean "adventurers" - themselves?

I could also imagine places like Ireland and Scotland up through the Renaissance, China and Japan in any civil war era, Italy past the Renaissance up until the Napoleonic era, or a number of other eras when similar factors were in play.

Yeah, exactly - something that is meshes well with many of the tropes of heroic fantasy, but isn't well represented by a fixed ratio of full-time professionals distinct from the resident experts/dirt-farmers/aristocrats, let alone anything resembling a formal "town guard." A minor landowner/protection racketeer who happens to be better armed than everyone else, with several servants (remembering where the words "knight" and "samurai" come from) also better armed than anyone else, absolutely - but I'm not aware of that being the D&D standard. Not that it necessarily should be; some anachronisms or implausibilities have functions (like the universal currency of standard value).

As an aside, "effective projection of force" is relative in the extreme. A settled village being raided by a nomadic population is going to have a hard time retaliating.

Segev
2016-04-07, 08:16 AM
As an aside, "effective projection of force" is relative in the extreme. A settled village being raided by a nomadic population is going to have a hard time retaliating.

Oddly, this is sort-of how Rome got started: they were tired of having a hard time retaliating, so they developed means to project force.

Beleriphon
2016-04-07, 09:06 AM
For what a typical fantasy village looks like I'd personally make it look like The Witcher 3. Its actually a surprisingly realistic take on what a medievalish village looks like, as well as the surrounding country side, as well as what a large (Novigrad) and medium (Oxenfurt) sized medieval city would look like.

Tiktakkat
2016-04-07, 12:15 PM
Yeah, exactly - something that is meshes well with many of the tropes of heroic fantasy, but isn't well represented by a fixed ratio of full-time professionals distinct from the resident experts/dirt-farmers/aristocrats, let alone anything resembling a formal "town guard." A minor landowner/protection racketeer who happens to be better armed than everyone else, with several servants (remembering where the words "knight" and "samurai" come from) also better armed than anyone else, absolutely - but I'm not aware of that being the D&D standard. Not that it necessarily should be; some anachronisms or implausibilities have functions (like the universal currency of standard value).

As an aside, "effective projection of force" is relative in the extreme. A settled village being raided by a nomadic population is going to have a hard time retaliating.

I know that isn't the D&D standard.
I'm saying that if you go with the D&D standard demographic then you get pretty close to exactly that, with more than enough villagers able to maintain a formal "town guard", launch retaliatory raids (cattle or otherwise), send out posses to catch the bank robbers, project some reasonable force, and everything else they generally managed to do historically but always seems to get foisted off on random wandering PCs who are instantly trusted with such serious tasks and promised awesome rewards because "plot".

BayardSPSR
2016-04-07, 08:43 PM
I know that isn't the D&D standard.
I'm saying that if you go with the D&D standard demographic then you get pretty close to exactly that, with more than enough villagers able to maintain a formal "town guard", launch retaliatory raids (cattle or otherwise), send out posses to catch the bank robbers, project some reasonable force, and everything else they generally managed to do historically but always seems to get foisted off on random wandering PCs who are instantly trusted with such serious tasks and promised awesome rewards because "plot".

Yes, and I'm saying that you're right, and elaborating that I also believe "that" is more compatible with what we both seem to think of as standard PC tasks, while "pretty close to exactly that" seems like it would rationally produce "thanks, but we've got a team of full-time security guards so we don't have problems PCs could help with."

EDIT: To clarify, my first post in this thread was supporting the claim that incoming raiders would likely succeed in getting away with loot even if a village's population would be sufficient to win a straight fight, and my second post was a separate joke about RAW being silly if you read it literally and without common sense. The particular rules you've been referring to in the context you're describing is, as you say, close to what I'm imagining to be realistic, but I believe that the class/level/pseudocapitalism-related rules and assumptions built into D&D's rules tend to diminish the verisimilitude, which is why I personally dislike those rules and assumptions.

Tiktakkat
2016-04-08, 10:14 AM
Yes, and I'm saying that you're right, and elaborating that I also believe "that" is more compatible with what we both seem to think of as standard PC tasks, while "pretty close to exactly that" seems like it would rationally produce "thanks, but we've got a team of full-time security guards so we don't have problems PCs could help with."

EDIT: To clarify, my first post in this thread was supporting the claim that incoming raiders would likely succeed in getting away with loot even if a village's population would be sufficient to win a straight fight, and my second post was a separate joke about RAW being silly if you read it literally and without common sense. The particular rules you've been referring to in the context you're describing is, as you say, close to what I'm imagining to be realistic, but I believe that the class/level/pseudocapitalism-related rules and assumptions built into D&D's rules tend to diminish the verisimilitude, which is why I personally dislike those rules and assumptions.

So then:
"Ironically, the attempted near-realism makes it rather unrealistic, as well less playable."

With each of us coming at that from different sides of the problem but agreeing on the final analysis.

Coidzor
2016-04-08, 11:12 AM
So then:
"Ironically, the attempted near-realism makes it rather unrealistic, as well less playable."

With each of us coming at that from different sides of the problem but agreeing on the final analysis.

Yeah, there's a reason that a fair amount of handwavium or individual tinkering seems to be invariably required.

2D8HP
2016-04-08, 02:59 PM
Now I'm suddenly wondering what giant space hamster tastes like.

As good as gazebo?

BayardSPSR
2016-04-08, 05:59 PM
So then:
"Ironically, the attempted near-realism makes it rather unrealistic, as well less playable."

With each of us coming at that from different sides of the problem but agreeing on the final analysis.

Exactly. We're both saying "it's sort of realistic," and just emphasizing the words differently.

Tiktakkat
2016-04-08, 08:32 PM
Exactly. We're both saying "it's sort of realistic," and just emphasizing the words differently.

Then :smallcool: and :smallbiggrin:

Gamgee
2016-04-09, 04:47 AM
Like the Witcher 3 villages. Stay in the city limits, if a big monster comes along kill it, if you can't do it yourselves then hire someone who can asap before your village is wiped out, and otherwise work the fields if peaceful. Then get wiped out by some war a king or Emperor starts.

Beleriphon
2016-04-09, 09:37 AM
Keeping larger animals tends to be more difficult. They're harder to overpower, and require sturdier containers. Chickens are only really easy to maintain because they're small enough to punt. Let them run around when they're big as a small barn and...yeah.

Maybe that's what high-level commoners do, though: put their higher BAB and skill ranks to work wrangling huge farm animals.

Giant chicken
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phorusrhacidae