The best way to handle a settlement in your game, of course, is to plan it out, placing every shop and every home, naming every NPC, and mapping every building. Yet settlements are the most complicated locations you’re likely to ever feature in your game, and the prospect of fully detailing one is daunting, especially if your PCs are likely to visit multiple settlements.
Presented below are basic rules for a more streamlined method of handling settlements in your game. Essentially, these rules treat settlements almost as characters of their own, complete with stat blocks. Using these rules, you can generate the vital data for a settlement quickly and efficiently, and with this data you can handle the majority of your players’ interactions with the settlement.
Note that for particularly large cities, you can use multiple settlement stat blocks to represent different districts within a city. This allows you to have neighborhoods with distinct characteristics inside one city’s walls. GMs should feel free to add other new elements to create the cities they desire. A Settlement Sheet is included in the back of this book to record the details of your own settlements.
A settlement stat block is organized as follows.
Name The settlement’s name is presented first.
Alignment and Type A settlement’s alignment is the general alignment of its citizens and government—individuals who dwell therein can still be of any alignment, but the majority of its citizens should be within one step of the settlement’s overall alignment. Alignment influences a city’s modifiers. The type is the size category the settlement falls into, be it thorpe, hamlet, village, town (small or large), city (small or large), or metropolis. In most cases, rules play off of a settlement’s type rather than its exact population total. A settlement’s type determines many of its statistics (see Table: Settlement Statistics).
Modifiers Settlements possess six modifiers that apply to specific skill checks made in the settlement. A settlement’s starting modifier values are determined by its type. This value is further adjusted by the settlement’s alignment, government, qualities, and disadvantages. Note that introducing settlement modifiers to your game will somewhat increase the complexity of skill checks by adding a variable modifier each time the PCs visit a new town or city—consider the use of these modifiers an optional rule.
Qualities All settlements have a certain number of qualities that further adjust their statistics—think of qualities as feats for settlements. A settlement’s type determines how many qualities it can have.
Danger A settlement’s danger value is a number that gives a general idea of how dangerous it is to live in the settlement. If you use wandering monster chart that uses percentile dice and ranks its encounters from lowest Cr to highest CR, use the modifier associated with the settlement’s danger value to adjust rolls on the encounter chart. A settlement’s base danger value depends on its type.
Disadvantages Any disadvantages a settlement might be suffering from are listed on this line. A settlement can have any number of disadvantages you wish to inflict on it, although most settlements have no disadvantages.
Government This entry lists how the settlement is governed and ruled. The type of government a settlement follows affects its statistics.
Population This number represents the settlement’s population. Note that the exact number is flexible; a settlement’s actual population can swell on market days or dwindle during winter—this number lists the average population of the settlement. Note that this number is generally used for little more than flavor—since actual population totals fluctuate, it’s pointless to tether rules to this number. After the settlement’s total population, a breakdown of its racial mix is listed in parentheses.
A settlement’s population is left to the GM to assign, but you can use a settlement’s type to help you determine just how many folks live in the city. Since the actual number of people who dwell in a settlement has no impact on game play, the number you choose is largely cosmetic—feel free to adjust the suggested values below to fit your campaign.
|Settlement Type||Population Range|
|Thorpe||Fewer than 20|
|Metropolis||More than 25,000|
Notable NPCs This section lists any notable NPCs who live in the city, sorted by their role in the community, followed by their name and then their alignment, gender, race, class, and level in parentheses.
Base Value and Purchase Limit This section lists the community’s base value for available magic items in gp (see Table: Available Magic Items). There is a 75% chance that any item of this value or lower can be found for sale in the community with little effort. If an item is not available, a new check to determine if the item has become available can be made in 1 week. A settlement’s purchase limit is the most money a shop in the settlement can spend to purchase any single item from the PCs. If the PCs wish to sell an item worth more than a settlement’s purchase limit, they’ll either need to settle for a lower price, travel to A larger city, or (with the GM‘s permission) search for a specific buyer in the city with deeper pockets. A settlement’s type sets its purchase limit.
Spellcasting Unlike magic items, spellcasting for hire is listed separately from the town’s base value, since spellcasting is limited by the level of the available spellcasters in town. This line lists the highest-level spell available for purchase from spellcasters in town. A town’s base spellcasting level depends on its type.
Minor Items/Medium Items/Major Items This line lists the number of magic items above a settlement’s base value that are available for purchase. In some city stat blocks, the actual items are listed in parentheses after the die range of items available—in this case, you can use these pre-rolled resources when the PCs first visit the city as the magic items available for sale on that visit. If the PCs return to that city at a later date, you can roll up new items as you see fit.
|Type||Modifiers||Qualities||Danger||Base Limit||Purchase Limit||Spellcasting|
|Thorpe||–4||1||–10||50 gp||500 gp||1st|
|Hamlet||–2||1||–5||200 gp||1,000 gp||2nd|
|Village||–1||2||0||500 gp||2,500 gp||3rd|
|Small town||0||2||0||1,000 gp||5,000 gp||4th|
|Large town||0||3||5||2,000 gp||10,000 gp||5th|
|Small city||+1||4||5||4,000 gp||25,000 gp||6th|
|Large city||+2||5||10||8,000 gp||50,000 gp||7th|
|Metropolis||+4||6||10||16,000 gp||100,000 gp||8th|
|Community Size||Base Value||Minor||Medium||Major|
|Thorpe||50 gp||1d4 items||—||—|
|Hamlet||200 gp||1d6 items||—||—|
|Village||500 gp||2d4 items||1d4 items||—|
|Small town||1,000 gp||3d4 items||1d6 items||—|
|Large town||2,000 gp||3d4 items||2d4 items||1d4 items|
|Small city||4,000 gp||4d4 items||3d4 items||1d6 items|
|Large city||8,000 gp||4d4 items||3d4 items||2d4 items|
|Metropolis||16,000 gp||*||4d4 items||3d4 items|
|* In a metropolis, nearly all minor magic items are available.|
Life in a settlement is represented by six modifiers, each of which adjusts the use of specific skills within the city.
Corruption Corruption measures how open a settlement’s officials are to bribes, how honest its citizens are, and how likely anyone in town is to report a crime. Low corruption indicates a high level of civic honesty. A settlement’s corruption modifies all Bluff checks made against city officials or guards and all Stealth checks made outside (but not inside buildings or underground).
Crime Crime is a measure of a settlement’s lawlessness. A settlement with a low crime modifier is relatively safe, with violent crimes being rare or even unknown, while a settlement with a high crime modifier is likely to have A powerful thieves’ guild and a significant problem with violence. The atmosphere generated by a settlement’s crime level applies as a modifier on Sense Motive checks to avoid being bluffed and to Sleight of Hand checks made to pick pockets.
Economy A settlement’s economy modifier indicates the health of its trade and the wealth of its successful citizens. A low economy modifier doesn’t automatically mean the town is beset with poverty—it could merely indicate A town with little trade or one that is relatively self-sufficient. Towns with high economy modifiers always have large markets and many shops. A settlement’s economy helps its citizens make money, and thus it applies as a modifier on all Craft, Perform, and Profession checks made to generate income.
Law Law measures how strict a settlement’s laws and edicts are. A settlement with a low law modifier isn’t necessarily crime-ridden—in fact, A low law modifier usually indicates that the town simply has little need for protection since crime is so rare. A high law modifier means the settlement’s guards are particularly alert, vigilant, and well-organized. The more lawful A town is, the more timidly its citizens tend to respond to shows of force. A settlement’s law modifier applies on Intimidate checks made to force an opponent to act friendly, Diplomacy checks against government officials, or Diplomacy checks made to call on the city guard (see sidebar).
Lore A settlement’s lore modifier measures not only how willing the citizens are to chat and talk with visitors, but also how available and accessible its libraries and sages are. A low lore modifier doesn’t mean the settlement’s citizens are idiots, just that they’re close-mouthed or simply lack knowledge resources. A settlement’s lore modifier applies on Diplomacy checks made to gather information and Knowledge checks made using the city’s resources to do research when using a library.
Society Society measures how open-minded and civilized A settlement’s citizens are. A low society modifier might mean many of the citizens harbor prejudices or are overly suspicious of out-of-towners. A high society modifier means that citizens are used to diversity and unusual visitors and that they respond better to well-spoken attempts at conversation. A settlement’s society modifier applies on all Disguise checks, as well as on Diplomacy checks made to alter the attitude of any non-government official.
A settlement’s alignment not only describes the community’s general personality and attitude, but also influences its modifiers. A lawful component to a settlement’s alignment increases its law modifier by 1. A good component increases its society modifier by 1. A chaotic component increases its crime modifier by 1. An evil component increases its corruption modifier by 1. A neutral component increases its lore modifier by 1 (a truly neutral city gains an increase of 2 to its lore modifier). Alignment never modifies a settlement’s economy modifier.
Just like nations, towns and cities are ruled by governments. A settlement’s government not only helps to establish the flavor and feel of the community but also adjusts its modifiers.
Choose one of the following as the settlement’s government. Several options have been added from various 3rd Party Publisher sources. Disregard if you prefer purely Paizo options.
A single individual chosen by the people rules the community. This leader’s actual title can vary—mayor, burgomaster, lord, or even royal titles like duke or prince are common. (No modifiers)
The settlement’s ruler is a figure-head for a distant colonial power: a magistrate, governor, or minor landed noble. He or she may have limited autonomy in running the colony, but ultimately answers to the colony’s founding power. Colonies are typically seen as resources for their founding government, not having much political power or influence.
The colony’s government is more concerned with making sure trade with and taxes paid to the homeland flow efficiently then the welfare of the colony’s inhabitants.
Increase Corruption +2, Economy +1, Law +1.
A group of councilors, often composed of guild masters or members of the aristocracy, leads the settlement.
Increase Society +4; Decrease Law and Lore –2.
Power is concentrated in the hands of a single family or a small group of closely related, inter-married families. These elites have ruled the settlement since its inception, and manipulated the power structure to ensure they remain in power.
Increase Corruption +1, Law +1. Decrease Society -2.
An individual or group with potent magical power, such as A high priest, an archwizard, or even a magical monster, leads the community.
Increase Lore +2; Decrease Corruption and Society –2; increase spellcasting by 1 level.
The settlement is an armed garrison that exists solely to serve the military forces deployed there. It may be a massive military base and training complex, a wilderness fortress or a keep that patrols a major trade route, depending on its size. The settlement may even be an ordinary town or city that recently fell under military rule after a coup or uprising that led to the declaration of martial law.
Increase Law +3. Decrease Corruption -1, Society -1.
The community’s ruler is a single individual who either seized control or inherited command of the settlement.
Increase Corruption and Law +2; Decrease Crime and Society –2.
An unofficial or illegal group like a thieves’ guild rules the settlement—they may use a puppet leader to maintain secrecy, but the group members pull the strings in town.
Increase Corruption, Economy, and Crime +2; Decrease Law –6.
Double the modifiers for the settlement’s alignment. The settlement gains any one of the following qualities as a ‘bonus’ quality: desecrate/hallow, Holy Site, Pious, Racial Enclave, Racially Intolerant, Unholy Site.
The wealthiest and most influential merchants rule this settlement. Wealth is seen as a sign of good character, ethics and even divine favor. The poor have few, if any rights that the wealthy are bound to respect.
Increase Corruption +2, Crime +2, Economy +3. Decrease Society -2.
This idealistic settlement was founded upon lofty ideals. In theory at least, all members of the community have a voice in its government, and a settlement council meets to ensure the ideals of the community are followed.
Increase Society +2, Lore +1. Decrease Corruption -2, Crime -1.
Settlements often have unusual qualities that make them unique. Listed below are several different qualities that can further modify a community’s statistics. A settlement’s type determines how many qualities it can have—once a quality is chosen, it cannot be changed.
Note that many of the following qualities adjust a town’s base value or purchase limit by a percentage of the town’s standard values. If a town has multiple qualities of this sort, add together the percentages from modifiers and then increase the base value by that aggregated total—do not apply the increases one at a time.
Several options have been added from various 3rd Party Publisher sources. Disregard if you prefer purely Paizo options.
The settlement has access to extraordinary natural resources: rich farmland, a deep lake, excellent hunting grounds nearby or even a convenient source of magical sustenance. The local food surplus makes the settlement a major exporting hub, and increases the standard of living for its inhabitants.
Increase Economy +1. Reduce the purchase price of most forms of locally-grown food and livestock by 25% or more.
Special Restriction Lawful communities only
The settlement religious or moral convictions force it to deny some of the world’s more common vices. The settlement prohibits a common vice: usually alcohol is prohibited, but other abstinent settlements might ban stronger drugs, tobacco, prostitution, or even ‘indulgent’ foods like fine pastries, meat, or similar.
Increase Corruption +2, Law +1, Decrease Society -2.
The settlement possesses a school, training facility, or university of great renown.
Increaese Lore +1. Increase spellcasting by 1 level.
Proximity to a famous adventuring location has long drawn curious adventures from across the land.
Increase Society +2. Increase purchase limit by 50%.
Similar to the Magical Polyglot effect, a magical aura hangs over the settlement. All creatures of the Animal type gain the ability to speak and think while within the settlement’s borders. Animals act as if their INT scores were 6, and gain ability to speak Common; they lose these benefits as soon as they pass the settlement’s borders. There are likely to be few butcher shops within the settlement’s borders .
Decrease Economy -1, Increase Lore +1. Increase spellcasting by 1 level. Add the settlement’s Lore modifier to Handle Animal checks made within the settlement.
Special Requirement Racial Enclave (creatures with the Anthro subtype)
This settlement is a haven for those with fur and feathers. Fascinatingly inhuman Anthros walk the streets; the settlements are powerful boar-men or lion anthros; its prostitutes are glamorous bird or cat-women, its wizards a hybrid between ferret and man, and so on .
Decrease Society -1. Increase Lore +1. Increase spellcasting by +1 levels when casting Transmutation spells only.
Non-anthro characters can become both Anthros and citizens by undergoing a day-long religious ritual led by the settlements druids or clerics. The ritual requires the donation of goods or treasure to the community worth at least 5,000 gp. At the end of the ritual, the supplicant loses his or her original racial traits and becomes an Anthro. Select an Order and spend build points as normal to build an Anthro character.
The sale of a certain kind of rare item is heavily restricted. This may be items of a magical, technological, or psychic origin.
Increase Economy +2. Reduce base value by 50%, purchase of such items is limited to black markets.
The settlement is renowned for the excellence of its local artists, performers and craftsfolk.
Increase Economy +1, Society +1. Add the settlement’s Economy modifier on all Craft checks, not just those made to earn a living.
The settlement is host to an infamous madhouse or asylum (or perhaps a prison, gaol or notorious workhouse). The presence of these dangerous, mad souls has hardened the townsfolk, making them suspicious of strangers and paranoid about the possibility of an escape or other tragedy.
Increase Lore +1, Decrease Society -2.
The citizens are open, friendly, and tolerant, and react positively towards visitors.
Increase Lore +1, Society +1.
The settlement abuts a massive, historically significant graveyard, massive tomb or mausoleum complex. Its monuments are well maintained, and a powerful ancestor cult exists within the city, either in replacement or addition to traditional religions.
Special Restriction Lawful communities only
The settlement’s civic watch or police force is infamous for its brutality, effectiveness, cruelty and corruption.
Increase Corruption +1, Law +2. Decrease Crime -3, Society -2.
The settlement is well known for its culture of artistry, particularly among actors and musicians.
Increase Society +1. Decrease Law -1. Always counts as a prosperous city for the purpose of perform checks.
Source Distant Shores
Most of the citizens have darkvision, and thus nights provide no cover for thieves and other criminals.Merchants lose little inventory to dishonesty.
Increase Economy +1. Decrease Crime -1.
Special Restriction Evil communities only
The settlement’s vast wealth and proud, ancient heritage has made it a haven for corruption and sin.
Increase Corruption +1, Crime +1, Economy +1, Society +1, Danger +10. Increase Base Purchase Limit by +25%.
The settlement is bolstered by its strong traditions, but its citizens have difficulty interacting with visitors.
Increase Law +2. Decrease Crime -2, Society -2.
The settlement is strategically situated to make it easier to defend, giving its inhabitants confidence and making the settlement a major local trade hub.
Increase Corruption +1, Crime +1, Economy +2. Decrease Society -1.
Increase Society +1. Decrease Law -1.
Special Restriction Good or Evil communities only
The entire settlement is under the effects of a permanent desecrate or hallow effect (choose only one) of incredible power. This effect can be suppressed in small areas within the settlement. The caster level for the effect is equal to 20 + the settlement’s size modifier, for the purpose of dispelling.
Increase Lore +2, Danger +13. Increase spellcasting by +2 levels when casting divination or necromancy spells only.
The settlement is known for the excellent quality of the animals bred there, from the mundane (horses, mules, cattle, pigs) to the exotic (talking tigers, Pegasai, griffons). People come from far and wide to purchase livestock, draft animals, mounts and animal companions.
Increase Economy +1. Increase Base Value and Base Purchase Limit by +20% when dealing with mounts and associated gear. Characters can purchase mounts or live stock in the settlement at a +10% discount.
Special Restriction Non-chaotic communities only
This settlement is home to powerful banks, mints, trading houses, currency exchanges and other powerful financial and mercantile organizations.
Increase Economy +2, Law +1. Increase Base Value and Purchase Limit by +40%.
Special Restriction Chaotic communities only
The city’s libertarian laws make it a haven for fugitives and outcasts of all kinds, from runaway children, serfs who escaped their lord’s lands, criminals and escaped slaves alike. Foreign adventurers and bounty hunters cannot arrest or capture fugitives within the settlement’s borders.
Increase Crime +2, Danger +5. Decrease Law -2.
The settlement caters to vice and greed.
Casinos, gaming houses, opium dens and bordellos are all common here, and serve as the town’s major industry.
Increase Crime +2, Corruption +2, Economy +2, Law -1. Add +10% to the settlement’s Purchase Limit.
Special Requirement Theocracy or Utopian Experiment governments only
The settlement has no real government; instead it is ruled by religious codes and omens. Gods or other powerful spiritual beings or outsiders intervene directly in the settlement’s politics and daily life. Ordinary citizens are possessed by spirits to speak decrees, unmistakable oracles appear as flaming messages written on walls or in the sky, or perhaps each and every citizen has prophetic dreams that tell them what they must do in the coming day for the settlement to thrive.
Decrease Corruption -2, Society -2. Add one dice to the number of medium magic items for sale in the settlement.
The settlement has an extensive road network. These roads are well-maintained and allow for quick movement of troops and merchandise.
Increase Economy +2.
A variety of trade and mercantile guilds control the town’s industry and trade. These guilds are highly specialized (a printer’s guild, an eggler’s guild, a swordsmith’s guild, a diamond cutter’s guild,ect), and usually semi-hereditary, with children following their parents into the guild.
Increase Corruption +1, Economy +1. Decrease Lore -1.
The settlement hosts a shrine, temple, or landmark with great significance to one or more religions. The settlement has a higher percentage of divine spellcasters in its population. (Corruption –2; increase spellcasting by 2 levels)
The settlement is isolated, perhaps physically or even spiritually. Its citizens are fiercely loyal to one another. (Law +1; Crime –1)
The settlement is justly famed for its markets: almost anything may be for sale here! The settlement’s Base Value and Purchase Limits are treated as if the settlement was one size category larger. In the case of a Metropolis with the Legendary Marketplace quality, double the settlement’s Base Value and Purchase Limit.
Increase Economy +2, Crime +2.
This settlement is a magical place, carved from the living heart of an ancient forest. The trees form themselves into homes, and branches bend to provide the settlement’s inhabitants with food, in the form of magical, druid-tended fruits and berries.
Increase Lore +1, Society +2, Decrease Crime -2, Economy -4. Increase Spellcasting by 4 levels (druidic spells only).
Source Gallows of Madness
The people of this settlement have a deep-seated hatred for a specific group or faction. Any such individual who makes their presence known in town is attacked within 1d4 hours, and either violently out of the settlement or executed. Similarly, residents look upon those who deal with this enemy faction with suspicion, and they must pay 200% the normal price for goods and services and may face mockery, insult, or even violence.
The settlement is a haven for spellcasters due to its location; for example, it may lie at the convergence of multiple ley lines or near a well-known magical site. (Increase base value by 20%; increase purchase limit by 20%; increase spellcasting by 2 levels)
The settlement is blessed with a magical aura that allows all sentient creatures within its borders to understand one another as if they shared a common language. This permanent magical effect is similar to the tongues spell, and has no effect on written language, only the words spoken by the settlement’s inhabitants.
Increase Economy +1, Lore +1, Society +1.
The settlement is known for its dramatic, sweeping architecture, monumental statuary and is built to a scale alien to most Medium size humanoids. Perhaps the settlement was once a domain of giants, or simply a human metropolis hewn to an epic scale for the sake of grandeur.
Increase spellcasting by +1 level. Add +1d8 to the number of the most expensive category of magic items the settlement offers for sale, as determined by its size.
Source Distant Shores
The populace is devoted to the armed forces. Civil and military law is intertwined, punishments are harsh, and loyalty to the state is expected.
Increase Law +4. Decrease Society -4.
The entire settlement can move, albeit slowly, not much faster than an average man could walk. Perhaps it floats on a cushion of magical air, hundreds of feet above the landscape, is a fortress- castle growing from the back of some impossibly large creature, or is some kind of enormous steampunk or magi-tech tank.
This city is designed to patrol its kingdom or territory, responding to threats and offering the city’s defenses to those in need.
Reduce Corruption -1, Economy -1, Society -1. Increase the Base Value and Purchase Limit of the settlement by 25% when trading weapons and armor.
This mobile settlement is designed to retreat from danger, moving to a safer location when threatened by natural disasters, invasion or famine threatens.
Increase Economy +1, Decrease Society -1.
Divine indulgence or perhaps just a corrupt church selling indulgences has made this settlement famous (or infamous) for its lax morals. Select 1d4+1 acts that would normally be considered sinful or immoral; these acts are not crimes or sins within the settlement, and committing these acts does not violate a paladin or cleric’s moral code, so long as the offense is limited to within the settlement’s borders.
Increase Corruption +1, Economy +1. Decrease divine spellcasting by -1 level.
Source Distant Shores
The settlement is a seat of power for one or more living mythic characters, granting each of the mythic characters additional influence so long as they reside here.
Decrease Corruption -2. Increase each resident mythic character’s effective mythic tier for the purpose of granting spells to followers.
The citizens mind their own business and respect a visitor’s privacy.
Increase Society +1. Decrease Lore -1.
The settlement has a reputation (deserved or not) for being a den of iniquity. Thieves, rogues, and cutthroats are much more common here.
Increase Crime +1 and Danger +10; Decrease Law –1; Increase Base Value by 30% and Purchase Limit by 50%)
By local law, any weapon larger than a dagger and all wands and rods must either be peacebound or stored at the local sherrif’s office or jail (at the settlement’s option) for the duration of the visit. Peacebonding a weapon involves winding a colored cord tightly around the weapon and its scabbard, and then impressing the local seal in wax. Removing the peacebond requires a full round action before the item can be drawn. (Disable Device DC 12 to untangle the bond as a move equivalent action; bond hp 5, no hardness)
Increase Law +1, Decrease Crime -1.
The settlement simply isn’t always there!
This magical settlement might only appear in the moonlight, appear out of the mist on particularly holy or infamous dates, or only appear in this plane during thunderstorms or on particularly hot days. At other times, the settlement simply doesn’t exist on this plane; powerful, plane-crossing magic is required to access the settlement outside of the ‘proper’ time. The highly magical settlement is insular and clannish as a result of its isolation from the outside world.
The settlement is known for its inhabitants’ good manners, friendly spirit, and deep devotion to a deity (this deity must be of the same alignment as the community).
Increase spellcasting by 1 level; any faith more than one alignment step different than the community’s official religion is at best unwelcome and at worst outlawed—obvious worshipers of an outlawed deity must pay 150% of the normal price for goods and services and may face mockery, insult, or even violence)
Natural or artificial planar gates near the settlement make it a cross-roads for planar travel. Creatures from across the multiverse, both malevolent and benign, can be found here, as can their artifacts.
Increase Crime +3, Economy +2, Danger +20. Increase spellcasting by two levels, and the Base Purchase Limit by +25%. In addition, the Planar Crossroads settlement is the point of origin for many breed of monstrous player characters. Reduce the ECL of any monstrous player race if that race has its origin in this settlement, making heroic versions of these creatures more common in the region.
Special Restriction Lawful communities only
The community’s design was determined in advance, every detail planned out before the first keystone was laid. Streets are wide, straight and laid out on an orderly grid, neighborhoods and districts are segregated by purpose, as are the living quarters of the city’s inhabitants.
Decrease Crime -1, Society -1. Increase Economy +1.
Thanks to a magical fold in space and time, the settlement exists in a place far too small to sustain it. A sleepy hamlet might be found in an old mansion’s disused pantry, a huge fortress might hide the space between two old oaks, or a planar metropolis might be contained within a single cramped alley of a much less important city-state.
Decrease Economy -2. Increase spellcasting by +2 levels. Depending on the nature of the settlement and its relationship with the outside world, the settlement might be impossible to find. It may skill checks to even find the entrance to the settlement: usually a DC 20 Knowledge (local) or Knowledge (the planes) check. The settlement’s size modifier is applied to this check, albeit inverted. After all, it’s easier to find a Metropolis (DC 16) than a Thorpe (DC 24).
This settlement is home to a greater than usual percentage of children, making it energetic and lively.
Increase Crime +1, Society +2.
The settlement is a popular hub for trade. Merchants are wealthy and the citizens live well.
Increase Economy +1; Increase Base Value by 30%; Increase Purchase Limit by 50%.
The community is prejudiced against one or more races, which are listed in parentheses. (Members of the unwelcome race or races must pay 150% of the normal price for goods and services and may face mockery, insult, or even violence)
Decrease Society -1.
Members of one or more races, chosen when the settlement is founded, is especially welcome in the tight-knit and homogeneous settlement. Members of this race can purchase goods and services in the settlement at a 25% discount.
The settlement is built amid the ruins of a more ancient structure. The settlement might be little more than a collection of tents and yurts erected in ruined plazas, or a thriving metropolis whose stones were recycled from long-forgotten temples and fortresses. While ruins provide a ready source of building materials, near-by dungeons to plunder and ancient artifacts to explore, they might also provide a hiding place for modern dangers or old curses.
Increase Economy +1, Lore +1. Add +1d3 to the amount of magic items in any category the settlement’s size would allow it to normally offer. If the settlement’s size would not normally allow it to have magic items of a particular category, it always has at least one randomly chosen item of that category for sale. However, if a buyer rolls a natural one on any Appraise or Diplomacy check made to examine or purchase a locally bought magic item, that item is always cursed.
The settlement is known for its widespread religious tolerance, and many faiths have temples, cathedrals or monasteries here. Religious debates in the public square are common.
Increase Lore +1, Society +1. Increase divine spellcasting by +2 levels.
Source Distant Shores
A surplus of a certain community has made for very competitive markets in those kinds of goods. This commodity and items primarily made from it can be purchased for as little as half the normal cost. The additional cost of making an item with alchemical compounds related to that resource (for instance, alchemical silver for silver or cold iron for iron) is halved in this settlement’s marketplaces.
Source Distant Shores
Foreigners who settle in this settlement are prohibited from owning property in certain districts and sometimes pay a higher price for goods. This disdain rarely involves violence towards foreigners, though the city guard monitors strangers to ensure they don’t cross the boundaries of the city without appropriate paperwork.
Decrease Corruption -1, Lore -1.
The settlement’s inhabitants are renowned for their stunning beauty and charm, and the location has been made famous in dozens of romantic songs, poems and bawdy limericks. Affairs of the heart are common here, among the town’s hotblooded, lusty inhabitants.
Increase Society +1. Double the amount of minor magic items available for sale in the marketplace. Such trinkets are a popular, if expensive, token of affection here.
One or more members of a royal dynasty call the settlement home. As such, security is extremely tight, and the local economy has taken flight, as merchants catering to the nobility have sprung up.
Increase Economy +1, Law +2. Decrease Society -1. Increase the Purchase Price of high quality or luxury items, such as jewelry, fine clothes or food, entertainment, weapons and all magical items purchased in the settlement by +10% due to widespread inflation.
The settlement has a tradition of rule by the strongest individual.
Increase Law +2; Decrease Society –2.
The settlement’s citizens are nosy and gossipy to a fault—very little happens in the settlement that no one knows about.
Increase Lore +1; Decrease Society –1.
The settlement, no matter its size, has never lost its sleepy, small-town atmosphere. The settlement sprawls across a wide, mostly open area, and despite the distances between homes and buildings, neighbors look out for one another.
Decrease Economy -1, Crime -1, Danger -5.
In this settlement there is a great taboo (punishable by death, exile or other severe penance) about killing a particular breed of beast. Depending on the settlement, the sacred animal might be innocuous (house cats, ravens), irritating and mischievous (monkeys) or a stubborn hazard on the roads (horses, cattle). The animals have free run of the settlement.
Increase Lore +1; Decrease Corruption -1, Economy -1.
The settlement’s laws have completely disenfranchised one gender or the other: the oppressed sex has no more legal rights than a pet or a slave, and cannot buy property. While within the settlement, members of the oppressed gender cannot legally make purchases of items worth more than 5 gp, and are usually ignored by the settlement’s inhabitants, and may suffer mockery, violence or legal persecution.
Decrease Society -2.
The settlement is home to some form of powerful and ancient monster- a slumbering behemoth, a dark god imprisoned by magical means, an ancient war-robot kept in stasis, or some other, currently inert threat. The inhabitants of the settlement expend vast effort keeping their monstrous prisoner contained, and by doing so, they have developed an impressive mastery of arcana.
Increase Lore +2, Society +1, Increase Spellcasting by 2 levels.
At the Gamemasters discretion, the slumbering monster might be awakened. Doing so removes this quality, and afflicts the settlement with the Hunted disadvantage instead. The slumbering monster must either be destroyed or re-imprisoned by PC actions to restore this quality to the settlement.
This settlement is designed for the comfort of a mostly gnome or halfling population. Its doors and ceilings are built for the comfort of the smaller races, and can be absolute murder on the foreheads of taller humanoids. Everything in the settlement, from furniture to forks, is sized for small creatures.
Increase Law +1, Lore +1. Medium-sized and larger creatures treat the Settlement’s Crime and Society statistics as a penalty due to their difficulty in maneuvering or sneaking around in the miniature Settlement. Small or smaller creatures treat the Settlement’s Crime and Society statistics normally.
The settlement sits at an important crossroads or alongside a deepwater port, or it serves as a barrier to a pass or bridge. (Economy +1; increase base value by 10%)
Source Down the Blighted Path
The settlement is primarily built underground, sheltering it from enemies but also isolating it culturally.
Increase Law +1; Decrease Lore -1, Danger -5.
The community has a deep and abiding fear of magic and the unexplained, but this fear has caused its citizens to become more supportive and loyal to each other and their settlement.
Increase Law and Society +2; Decrease Crime –4; reduce spellcasting by 2 levels.
Source Distant Shores
The settlement provides aid to its citizens. A number of programs provide food and shelter to he less fortunate. Everyone in the settlement is guaranteed at least two meals a day and a place to sleep with a roof over their head.
Increase Society +2.
Citizens are quiet and keep to themselves. Crimes often go unreported.
Increase Crime+2. Decrease Lore -2.
The settlement is known for its minor healing properties- medicinal hot springs, clean, invigorating mountain air, a plethora of locally grown healing herbs and fruits, or perhaps some divine blessing. Whatever the reason, hospitals, nurseries, retreats and sanitariums are common within the settlement.
Increase Economy +1 and Lore +1. Heal checks made within the settlement’s borders also receive the settlement’s Lore modifier if positive.
The settlement’s primary purpose is trade.
Merchants and buyers from all over the world can be found within the settlement.
Double the Purchase Limit for the settlement.
The settlement possesses some sort of landmark or event that draws visitors from far and wide.
Increase Economy +1; Increase Base Value by 20%.
The settlement’s magical aura prevents those within its borders from aging. They do not suffer the ravages of time, and do not physically age. Usually, several kibbutz or schools near the settlement, but not within its borders are established, to allow the community’s children to age to adulthood before they take their unchanging place in the settlement’s immortal society.
Increase Lore +4, Decrease Society -3. Increase spellcasting by +1 level, when casting spells of the necromancy school only.
The settlement is built atop a dangerous subterranean structure, filled with monsters and a haven for criminals and outcasts. This under-city might be a massive sewer system, disused railway or subway tunnels, ruined and forgotten basements or dungeons, or a nearby mine or natural cavern system, perhaps even one that descends miles beneath the earth.
Increase Lore +1, Danger +20.
The settlement serves as an unholy site for an evil god or philosophy. Worshipers of the evil deity flock to this settlement.
Increase Corruption +2. Increase spellcasting by +2 levels.
The area around the settlement is still mostly untainted, unclaimed wilderness. This settlement may be a remote logging village, a trading post sprung up around a desert oasis or a small mountain keep, for instance.
When rolling for random encounters within the settlement, instead of using an urban random encounter chart solely, alternate between the urban encounter chart and the wilderness encounter chart (or chart) most appropriate to the surrounding terrain. The settlement’s Danger rating applies to both encounter charts.
The settlement’s inhabitants are incredibly well educated and known for their sharp wits.
Increase Lore +1, Society +1.
Source Distant Shores
The wealthy and poor of this settlement are segregated. High wealth districts gain +2 lore but-2 society. Low wealtch areas gain +2 society but -2 lore. Some ares may be unchanged. The entire settlement gains +2 corruption.
Just as a settlement can have unusual qualities to enhance its statistics, it can also suffer from disadvantages. There’s no limit to the number of disadvantages a community can suffer, but most do not have disadvantages, since a settlement plagued by disadvantages for too long eventually collapses. A disadvantage can arise as the result of an event or action taken by a powerful or influential NPC or PC. Likewise, by going on a quest or accomplishing A noteworthy deed, a group of heroes can remove a settlement’s disadvantage.
Several options have been added from various 3rd Party Publisher sources. Disregard if you prefer purely Paizo options.
The settlement has no leaders—this type of community is often short-lived and dangerous. (Replaces settlement’s Government and removes Government adjustments to modifiers; Corruption and Crime +4; Economy and Society –4; Law –6; Danger +20)
The gods have abandoned the settlement.
This effect is identical to Magical Dead Zone (below), but only affects divine magic. Outsiders cannot be summoned anywhere within the borders of the settlement, by any means.
Special Restriction: Lawful communities only
The settlement is a nightmarish, confusing and frustrating maze of red tape, official paperwork and petty tyrants in positions of minor power, who relish enforcing all the useless little rules.
Decrease Economy -2. Increase Crime +2, Corruption +2.
All financial transactions in the settlement require a successful DC 10 Diplomacy check. If the check is unsuccessful, the character has broken some settlement law, and must pay a fine of 5 gp x his character level. If the check result is a natural 1, the offense is ‘particularly heinous’. Roll 1d6 on the following chart to find out what the punishment (and the way around it) is.
Some form of curse afflicts the city. Its citizens might be prone to violence or suffer ill luck, or they could be plagued by an infestation of pests. (Choose one modifier and reduce its value by 4)
Special Restriction: Lawful communities only
The settlement is governed by a totalitarian regime. Sadistic and legally all-powerful soldiers walk the streets, enforcing the settlement’s brutal laws. Outsiders are mistrusted and undesirables often simply disappear.
Increase Law +4, Decrease Society -4. If the settlement has either the Pious or Racially Intolerant qualities, the town’s military or police forces will usually kill, imprison or enslave undesirables.
The settlement is very heavily taxed and has fewer resources available than a settlement of its size normally has.
Decrease Society -2, base value by 10%, purchase limit by 50%, spellcasting -2. Available magic items as per settlement 1 category smaller.
A powerful group or monster uses the city as its hunting ground. Citizens live in fear and avoid going out on the streets unless necessary. (Economy, Law, and Society –4; Danger +20; reduce base value by 20%)
The people of this town are uneducated, dull-witted and worse, they consider their ignorance to be an admirable quality.
Decrease Economy -3, Lore -6, Society -3.
Because of any number of factors, the settlement is destitute. Poverty, famine, and disease run rampant. (Corruption and Crime +1; decrease base value and purchase limit by 50%; halve magic item availability)
For some reason, the magic in this region is weak. Local leylines are warped and the magical eco-system is fragile.
Decrease Lore -1, Economy -1. Decrease spellcasting by four levels. Reduce the amount of all magical items sold in the marketplace by -2 per category. If this reduces the randomly determined amount of magical artifacts for sale to 0 or below, items of that category cannot be found in the settlement.
There is no magic here. Spells do not function, and the entire settlement is a dead magic area, as described in planar traits.
As long as the settlement remains under martial law, a 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM curfew is in effect. Additionally, as long as the citizens must follow the edicts and proclamations, the city stifles and suffers.
Increase Law +2. Decrease Corruption-4, Crime -2 , Economy -4. Danger +10. Halve all values for marketplace entries.
Requires the Use of Accidents of Birth v2 (Otherverse Games, 2011).
Strange energies or pollutants staining the area make this place a haven for deformed and superhuman freaks. Mutagenic vapors fill the sky, making sunsets strangely colored and eerily vibrant, or strange chemicals have tainted the ground water, or perhaps mutation causing crystals are found in the bedrock beneath the settlement.
Anyone who spends more than 72 continuous hours in the settlement must succeed at a Fort Save or begin mutating. The Fort Save begins at DC 10, and increases by +1 each successive day until the character either succumbs to the town’s mutagenic effects or leaves the area for at least one week, to purge the accumulated toxins or energies from his system.
The leadership of this settlement retains oppressive control.
Decrease Lore -6, Society -6.
The community is suffering from a protracted contagion or malady. (–2 to all modifiers; reduce base value by 20%; select A communicable disease—there’s a 5% chance each day that a PC is exposed to the disease and must make a Fortitude save to avoid contracting the illness)
Common to boom towns sprung up around a rich mining camp or profitable dungeon, and settlements undergoing a revolution or military junta alike, this settlement’s economy is out of control.
Decrease Economy -4, Increase Corruption +2, Crime +4.
In addition, before making any purchase, no matter how small, roll 1d6 and consult the following chart.
The settlement has an oppressive, frightening atmosphere. Its architecture is eerie and seems somehow wrong or corrupt. The people are strange and furtive.
Anyone who spends at least 24 hours within the settlement suffers a -2 penalty on WILL Saves for as long as they remain in the area and for 24 hours after leaving the area.
The settlement’s magical or high-tech industry has stained the sky with sickly grey smog, poisoned the waters with dark slime and made the ground less fertile. Sickness and misery abound.
Increase Corruption +2, Economy +4.
Anyone who spends at least 24 hours within the settlement suffers a -4 penalty on Fort Saves made to resist disease for as long as they remain within 5 miles of the settlement and for 1d4+1 days after leaving the area (or until they receive any amount of magical healing while out of the polluted region).
The settlement is built over an area of wild and unpredictable magic. The entire settlement is considered a wild magic area, as described in planar traits. Magical beings and spellcasters tend to avoid this dangerous township.
Decrease spellcasting by -2 levels.
While it’s nice to be prepared, and planning out cities can be fun in and of itself, it’s not always possible to generate specific settlement stat blocks for every town and city that the PCs might visit. Sometimes the PCs decide to venture off in search of supplies instead of heading straight for the next dungeon, other times they make selling their newly acquired loot their highest priority. The following sample settlements are designed for precisely such occasions. Rather than a specific name, each of these sample settlements bears a generic title that indicates what kind of settlement it is or where it might be located.
Capital CityN large cityCorruption +0; Crime +2; Economy +5; Law +2; Lore +5; Society +2Qualities academic, holy site, prosperous, strategic location, tourist attractionDanger +10DemographicsGovernment autocracyPopulation 18,000 (14,000 humans; 1,000 dwarves; 1,000 halflings; 500 elves; 1,500 other)Notable NPCsCaptain of the Guard Jiranda Hollis (LN female humanfighter 5)High Priest Fallor Pollux (LG male humancleric 10)Lord Mayor Alton Ralderac (N male humanaristocrat 4)MarketplaceBase Value 12,800 gp; Purchase Limit 75,000 gp; Spellcasting 9thMinor Items 4d4; Medium Items 3d4; Major Items 2d4City of ThievesCN small cityCorruption +3; Crime +5; Economy +4; Law –6; Lore +3; Society +1Qualities academic, notorious, racially intolerant (halflings), tourist attractionDanger +15DemographicsGovernment secret syndicatePopulation 10,000 (6,000 humans; 1,500 halflings; 1,000 half-orcs; 750 dwarves; 750 other)Notable NPCsCrimelord Kamus Rix (NE male half-orcfighter 2/rogue 6)Headmistress of the Wizards’ Academy Alamandra Talais (N female humanwizard 13)Puppet Mayor Pavo Tumbor (LE male humanaristocrat 2)MarketplaceBase Value 6,000 gp; Purchase Limit 37,500 gp; Spellcasting 7thMinor Items 4d4; Medium Items 3d4; Major Items 1d6City-State of IntrigueLE metropolisCorruption +7; Crime +5; Economy +2; Law +0; Lore +5; Society +1Qualities holy site, notorious, prosperous, rumormongering citizens, strategic location, superstitiousDanger +20; Disadvantages anarchyDemographicsGovernment anarchyPopulation 55,000 (31,000 humans; 10,000 halflings; 8,000 elves; 2,000 half-elves; 1,000 gnomes; 3,000 other)Notable NPCsBackbiting Socialite Viviana Dartmoor (LE female humanaristocrat 4/sorcerer 3)Powerless Queen-Regent Cordella I (NG female humanaristocrat 3)Social Critic Narcil Sharptongue (CN male half-elfbard 6)MarketplaceBase Value 27,200 gp; Purchase Limit 200,000 gp; Spellcasting 8thMinor Items all available; Medium Items 4d4; Major Items 3d4Creepy Backwoods HamletNE hamletCorruption +1; Crime –5; Economy –2; Law +1; Lore –1; Society –8Qualities insularDanger –5; Disadvantages cursedDemographicsGovernment overlordPopulation 23 (23 humans)Notable NPCsPatriarch Father Humms (CE male humanranger 3)Village Idiot Junior Humms (CN male human barbarian 1)Witch Mother Twixt (NE female human adept 4)MarketplaceBase Value 200 gp; Purchase Limit 1,000 gp; Spellcasting 2ndMinor Items 1d6; Medium Items —; Major Items —
LG large town
Corruption +0; Crime +0; Economy +2; Law –1; Lore –2; Society +5
Qualities pious, prosperous, strategic location
Base Value 2,800 gp; Purchase Limit 15,000 gp; Spellcasting 6th
Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 2d4; Major Items 1d4
CG small town
Corruption –2; Crime +1; Economy +0; Law +0; Lore +2; Society –1
Base Value 1,200 gp; Purchase Limit 6,000 gp; Spellcasting 7th
Minor Items 3d4; Medium Items 1d6; Major Items —
Corruption +0; Crime –4; Economy –1; Law +2; Lore +1; Society +0
Qualities rumormongering citizens, superstitious
Danger +0; Disadvantages impoverished
Base Value 250 gp; Purchase Limit 1,250 gp; Spellcasting 1st
Minor Items 1d4; Medium Items 1d2; Major Items —
Corruption –4; Crime –4; Economy –4; Law –6; Lore –5; Society 1
Qualities strategic location
Base Value 55 gp; Purchase Limit 500 gp; Spellcasting 1st
Minor Items 1d4; Medium Items —; Major Items —
Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide, © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Cam Banks, Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Jim Butler, Eric Cagle, Graeme Davis, Adam Daigle, Joshua J. Frost, James Jacobs, Kenneth Hite, Steven Kenson, Robin Laws, Tito Leati, Rob McCreary, Hal Maclean, Colin McComb, Jason Nelson, David Noonan, Richard Pett, Rich Redman, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Amber Scott, Doug Seacat, Mike Selinker, Lisa Stevens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, Penny Williams, Skip Williams, Teeuwynn Woodruff.
Cityscapes: New Settlement Options for the Pathfinder RPG © 2012, Otherverse Games; Author: Chris A. Field.