View Full Version : Maintaining a small city...any thoughts?

2011-05-31, 02:12 PM
So in a RL game my friends and I are playing we recently knocked the current leadership out of this small port town.
Background- It is a small port town that at on point had a population that fluctuated between 3,000-5,000 people depending on the season and trade routes. Due to a plague and several powerful Necromancers the city is now the home to pirates and a temple to Talos that had moved in to take control of the rising undead population that started soon after the plague.

So we destroyed all of the priest of Talos and took out their warriors and after that none of the pirates are messing with us. Several members in are party are Necromancers also they just follow Thasmudyan so controling the undead won't be a problem for now. But none of us really have experience in the mechanics of maintaining control here... We learned the hard way the first time if we don't take command now someone else will step in and take what we fought for.

So any thoughts/ideas on how to handle this situation? Our party is large enough that we can leave people in place to try and keep whats left of the city in check but really we just want to keep enough control that we can keep out people like the priest of Talos that were there before... But if anyone has any ideas on how we should/could handle this we are open to ideas:smallbiggrin:

2011-06-01, 07:26 AM
First you'd need to adress first needs - food, clean water. Where does it come from (fishing, farms) and are those viable options given the low population? If you can't provide a stable flow of food and water, there'll be a revolt tomorrow. Could you use the undead as free labour?

Then income - why do people want to live here? It seems the most logical option is trade. Is the traderoute still active? Are there any local valuable commodities (oysters/pearls, mines)? If you can, I suggest to rebuild the harbor (with free undead labour) so trade can visit the town again. Spread the word that the harbour is working again and the city will relive (despite undead).

Now, when the city has adressed its primary needs and income/a way of life, you can form the government. This is up to you - will the party form a band of mayors? Perhaps they can hire a sheriff, and you assign a duke (or be one yourself). Make sure your government has a power base (small castle, safehouse) and is armed/trained enough for the expected dangers (who would try to take over your town?) like pirates, or given the money, perhaps you can turn the pirates into privateers or your own friendly navy.

As for the church of Talos, invite a friendly church and have them prevent new bad churches from entering the city.

2011-06-01, 07:29 AM
If you don't have experience with administration, get some people who do. Most of the cities officials are probably still alive and they know how to run the place, and they have all the contacts. Focus on getting their support and loyalty, they know best what to do.
The same goes for any other power groups that want to take control. Those who have the local politicians and nobles on their side have control over the city. It's vital that you get them on yours and keep them there.

2011-06-01, 09:56 AM
Yeah we are still trying to track down any members of the former government at this point, before we arived the Temple had taken over almost every aspect of the cities government and was using the undead population to keep out intruders and to keep what was left of the community in check. Water and rations won't be a problem there is a large city two days ride south that we have allies in that can help us restablish the trade routes from the port. The harbour itself is still in good shape but most of the boats that come to dock now are running cargo that can't be brought into most other cities ie: contraband and stolen goods. But for now it is still income for the city and we are in no rush to throw out potental allies that aren't undead.
As we are playing in a Forgotten Realms setting any thoughts on a more neutral/neutal evil priesthood that could be invited in? Our party is split pretty evenly between a neutral nature based following(rangers and other followers of Pan a homebrew my DM introduced) and most of the other half the party is Necromancers, but our both our Gods don't really have following that are out in the open and establishing public temples...

2011-06-01, 10:16 AM
Create civic organizations; guilds, burrows, a town council, volunteer firefighters/police. People tend to be the most happy when they feel they belong to something, and by creating lots of different organizations you make the city mostly self regulating.

With 5,000 people the easiest ways to do it would be to organize a militia where each squad elects its own officer. The officers then elect a militia leader that reports to you but deals with the daily stuff themselves. This gets all of the patriotic people on board together and gives them a sense of civic pride. Have each squad be made of neighbors from the same block so that they feel connected to their living quarters and are less likely to be abusive.

Now you have to deal with the merchants, artisans and local farmers. Have each group elect a member to a council that makes laws on the daily running of the city, which is a really small council at first. However make a statement that new organizations that make a hall can elect someone onto the council with your approval. This will make interest groups go to you for access to government, which allows you to maintain control of the city despite not being in direct control of the government.

Remember, running a city is boring day to day. Even if that were interesting, it would be fairly despotic to not allow people access to the government. This way they get to elect their own lawmakers, but you maintain a toe hold in the government.

2011-06-01, 11:01 AM
Yeah we are all for getting the city become self reliant again ASAP, but i think one of our biggest problems also is we are now having to go thru and take command or destroy all of the undead that no longer has anyone to take orders from. A large portion of the citizens were killed by the plague and many retreated from the city to the nearby farm lands to try and avoid sickness/undead. So we will in effect we have to get more people to move back and bring in new people to try and counter act the heavy losses of people. We were considering burning down the oldest houses where the most people died of the sickness and the homes are abandoned and many locals are frightened to go in because they are supersitious and worry that they could bring another round of plague. Lots of damage was done in the housing areas in the aftermath of the plague caused by panic and looting of those who ran instead of helping during the outbreak. If we level one area that would bring in employment to have new construction and money isn't a big issue in our group, we have been saving for a rainy day:smallwink:

2011-06-01, 11:07 AM
I would suggest clearing the houses rather then destroying them; the cost aside by leaving open houses up you have a draw for people to move into the city. "Get a free house!" is a much better slogan then "build a house!"

What level is your party? If its level 11 you could have your Cleric systematically Hallow the city and put Remove Fear in the Hallow, which would make your citizens fearless and willing to move back into the houses. It would cost quit a bit, but it would prevent any further undead incursions, weaken the undead already there, and would be another selling point for people to move there. Adding in things like Daylight so that you have a city where it is never night would also be a major draw.

2011-06-01, 01:11 PM
After you address the essentials ka_bna mentioned you can turn to increasing trade.

How afraid of you are the pirates? You could probably negotiate a favorable cut of their profits by providing them with a safe harbor, or you can play on this fear and appropriate some of their ships and captains as the start of a new trade fleet that can trade in legitimate goods. Where do your exports go? If this is Faerun there are plenty of powerful coastal cities that you can make money off of.

2011-06-01, 01:37 PM
The pirates are low on our list of worries they can be bargined with much more easily than say a ghost thats pissed that it died in its home... Part of the reason we want to level that area of the city.

Currently the local exports that are still in business have made deals with the piarates to move there goods and farmers are having to travel to the next town to sell most of there goods at market.

As for our parties level we average around 9-10 at this point. So we would have to outsource to to clear mass amounts of undead, plus half the party would be opposed to ousting too much of the undead. We mainly want to get rid of the ghost problem in the housing area and clear out a few vampires that took up living at the edge of town. Those two issues are what is keeping the night life in the city to a minimum. If we get rid of the more intelligent of undead the rest are easily controled by our group.

2011-06-01, 01:43 PM
Sounds like you need an exterminator.

2011-06-01, 06:11 PM
I wish i had a flame thrower, or a couple kegs of greek fire oil...:smallbiggrin:

2011-06-01, 06:43 PM
Alchemists Fire, Produce Flame. Knock yourself out

2011-06-02, 03:29 AM
Surround the problematic block/area(s) with walls, so it is at least contained. If your nightlife is not really moving, it should be enough. Next you can attract adventurers with quest to exterminate them. After the adventurers are done, they even may linger around the city to help you!

Pro's: you can create employment, because the walls need to be constructed. And people feel safer behind walls, especially knowing that adventurers are exterminating behind the walls.
Cons: Just hope the ghosts don't fly through the wall (though why would they?)

2011-06-02, 09:12 AM
Getting other adventuring groups would help and it would bring in more people so that does sound good, plus if you pose enough of a threat vampires can be bargained with. And so far during our searches of the city no Ghost has wandered out of the one area(fingers crossed it stays that way)

I was considering if the vampires won't leave or agree to some sort of treaty to stay in the city then nothing is stopping us from sealing off the keep during the day, use stone shape or something else along those lines to trap them inside, it would be a fix in the short term.