City plan w/ branches & bridges
Notable sites about town:
Armourer - Berts - sells armour made from treated wood and chitin
Weaponsmith - Short Rons - sells weapons with blades of laminated chitin
Apothecary - House of Dreams - mostly serves the hallucinogenic and relaxing herbs the locals favour but can provide medicines and components
Magical services are provided by the Guild of Wings
Candlemaker - Long Rons - always pays decent prices for wax
- Largest, most central - Skymother - multi-denominational, Lady of Gentle Air
- Rigid - Stormfather - frequented by those who seek more structure than the laissez-faire Skymother cult
- The Balancer - a Janus offshoot - uneasily tolerated within the town though attendance raises eyebrows
The Skymothers Bower - the largest inn and eatery
The Brimming Chalice - the worst tavern down by the sky-docks
Household Gods & Goods - makes homeware and idols for house shrines
Amther Rope & Ship-fittings - the only ship-fitters, also runs the drydocks and has a lock on all ship-tied work in town.
City-building prompts from the zine:
Political faction - uplift faction, druids, dedicated themselves to educating the dragonflies, to make this place more hospitable, interesting. Rivalled by paladins who think fighting the thicket is their duty
Loose your money in the Lotus House - blossom, insect based intoxication combined with nautical high stakes gambling
Speakers Hollow - where people go for news, the tree bole with decent acoustics
Secretive guild - the splendid wings, make spelljamming kit, hide their secrets; known for the quality of their craft and insufferable arrogance in their purple robes
Hot meal & clean bed - Skymothers Bower - Inn beside the Skymother temple, pilgrims and solid townsfolk
Bad meal & flea-filled bed - The brimming Chalice - cheapest place by the docks, view of the docks, sailors out of cash
Religious centre - skymothers - prayer offerings most days, occassional service, read scripture, be thankful, goss and socially mingle
Significant NPCs using the DNA (Distinguishing Trait, Needs, Agenda) method:
Amther Anfi the docks master, a short-haired air-genasi of indeterminate gender dressed in utilitarian gear, who runs the dockyards in a flurry of activity. Fourth generation dock-master and desperate for the resources needed to keep the Spelljammers in the air, they is constantly hustling to get them and not above brutal arm-twisting for the good of the community.
Mother Mottles - a rotund, jolly halfing with elaborate hair who operates the Skymothers Bower and ensures that everything goes smoothly there. She can find anything a reasonable guest might want and is a silver-tongued calmer of tempers and keeper of the peace. She steadfastly shuts the world out of her inn, though most of the town comes to her instead.
Bexley the keeper of the Brimming Chalice, an elf whos miserable demeanour blends perfectly with the ragged skyshipmen who frequent his establishment. An inveterate gambler, he won the Chalice in a dice game and since then nothing has gone right for him, a curse keeps him trapped in the building and he has not figured out how to give away or lose the bar to free himself.
Amzel Terumi priest of the balance. An intense air-genasi with a prominent tattoo of a scales across his chest. Amzel is the one who takes on the 'unbalanced' situations that petitioners bring to the temple where they seek a blade or a vial to make a difficult situation go away. Amzel knows how good he is and charges accordingly though he would take on most of the jobs for the thrill.
Amtrel Keslit a wiry old air-genasi, weather-beaten through her time outdoors and cheerfully open to strangers. A natural teacher, she can most often be find organising expeditions to educate and uplift more of the dragonfly natives. She will tell anyone interested all about her plans to ensure the dragonflys know as much as any of the new-comers, enough to keep control of their own destiny.
Rumours - these generated themselves while working through the rest of the workflow:
- Brimming Chalice (dive tavern) is a front for some shady business, how else is it still in operations with the swill it serves?
- Some card and dice games in town have stakes up to and including your soul
- Some sporeballs from the Thicket have been stashed in town for political leverage
- The Balancers will do anything for a sufficient price
- The deep-system rangers are hunting the creature they claim to protect and acting as pirates and getting rich at all our expense
- Stormfathers cult is going to force a takeover of the town
- Long Ron will sell you bad candles
- The dragonflies are keeping secrets, where the best hunting and resources are, and steer outsiders away from those parts of the forest
- The dragonflies are up to something, beyond just building their city. Why do they need a city anyway?
Available Hirelings also using DNA:
Chennukar - awakened giant-dragonfly scout - the oldest known dragonfly on the planet, every day he pushes up the understood ceiling for how long they can live. Incredibly knowledgeable about his world, legend among his people, he wants to be paid in knowledge quid-pro-quo for his work. While he agrees with Amtrel Keslit that the dragonflies must learn fast if they are to control their own destiny, he thinks they ought not wait for the air-genasi to teach them but must learn on their own, for example by guiding strangers and questioning them.
Amgreth Inulmar - serious air-genasi, atypically big, brawny and serious. Hates the laissez-faire attitudes of most of his kin. Stalwart devotee of the Stormfather, will only hire on with groups that guarantee him the chance to get in serious fights and work off his rage at his feckless people.
Amswit Penchel - missionary air-genasi - will bring strangers willing to help them move and guard supplies along as they tour the outlying missions at no cost. Constantly twitchy about what they need to get done with no coin or time.
Joreth de Colomville - flying carpet operator - an eager young elf with one of the few means of magical flight that the Guild of Wings does not control. Constantly fending off the guild and desperate for cash, they will transport anyone for reasonable fees.
Chaffetar - head-porter dragonfly - a non-descript dragonfly, except that his speech appears self taught with more dockside vernacular than the usual mission school grammar. A natural leader among dragonflies he can get anything organised, found or moved for the right coin. Convinced that coin, not knowledge, is the key to freedom Chaffetar and his crews are not beyond renegotiating rates and shares of plunder at moments when they have leverage.
I was really impressed at how the prompts helped un-stick this part of campaign building. I came to this with almost no momentum, I did not know how this city air-genasi twice refugees was going to have enough going on to contain adventure. By the time we ran through all this process we had identified lots of other elements that complemented the city core concept and the place had sprung to life in a very unexpected way. I have a lot more time for this process that set a living fly-wheel running, one that will through off adventures over time, compared to the building of a dungeon that is a more static thing.