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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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.
    It´s all about the money, as usual. Yes, there´re 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, it´s 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?

    It´s 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?

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    Goblin

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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?

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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, ...
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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 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.

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    Goblin

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.
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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.)

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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?
    It´s 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, you´ll 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 it´s 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, you´ll have a situation where said raid shelters also contain the weaponry and is under guard by some of the lords troops.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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?

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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*
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Well, it depends on how stupid you want to get with DnD's eccentricities.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    You might want to start with a realisic 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?
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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...

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    For something authentically D&D, the Village of Hommlet would be very easy to convert to 5e.
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    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.
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorsa View Post
    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.
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    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.
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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorsa View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiktakkat View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    For something authentically D&D, the Village of Hommlet 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, you´ll come to the point that you´ll 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.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: What would life in standard D&D village be like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    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.

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