Hello again, we got work to do today, so let's get started! Some of the stuff you'll read here are things I learned from Dungeon Master's Guide, and others are those I figured out myself.
In Dungeons & Dragons, settlements have been divided into eight size categories:
- Thorp ( 20 - 80 inhabitants )
- Hamlet ( 81 - 400 inhabitants )
- Village ( 401 - 900 inhabitants )
- Small town ( 901 - 2000 inhabitants )
- Large town ( 2001 - 5000 inhabitants )
- Small city ( 5001 - 12000 inhabitants )
- Large city ( 12001 - 25000 inhabitants )
- Megalopolis ( >25000 inhabitants )
Note that the number of inhabitants you see here only includes adults, so the final number of inhabitants would be 10% - 40% more.
Now, when you decide how big your settlement will be, it's time to start creating it step by step (size of the settlement usually depends on the number of inhabitants).
Advice: The larger the settlement is, the more opportunities, in the means of experience-earning and money-making, it gives. Putting the characters in such an environment, full of opportunities, could make them stay there for longer than you expected, thus disrupting DM's plans.
Next step is to figure out the geographic aspect of the settlement's location. They are almost always founded near water, and on a high terrain, compared to the surroundings. Nearby mountains could affect climate, give valuable resources, and even provide protection. Simplified, people need water, food, protection and resources to build an economy on. In fact, there are very few settlents which are self-serving communities, and do not import nor export products. Those are mainly Thorps and Hamlets, and maybe some Villages.
- Water comes from rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, wells, etc.
- Food comes from farming, fishing, livestock, etc.
- Protection comes mainly from high ground and distance to cities which could provide military support.
- Resources could be any, or all of these three, plus a lot of things including natural and human resources.
That's it for part 1, next time we go under the hood ;)