In my recent campaign, I had to come up with a reasonably sized village to base my players out of. I've planned out several starting adventures meant to take the characters from levels one to four. Should the players wish to stay in the area longer, I've planned for the possibility of expanding on their earlier missions.
As a starting "base of operations", Nusquam, had to have the basic necessities needed to support the player characters. They'd need an armorer and weapon smith, a temple for clerical support, a shop to purchase material components for spells, and a tinkerer's shop for those hard to find specialty items (cough cough.. lockpicks). By leaving several buildings uncommitted, there is room for the addition of other needed service providers as necessary. Should the characters require unusual items or services, there is the possibility of traveling merchants and tradesmen.
To help the players, should they become stumped or require guidance, I've included the venerable sage, Grisvaldor. He plays a central part in the campaign as quest giver, advisor, and as means of getting wayward PCs back on track.
As envisioned, Nusquam, is near a trading route, but out of the way far enough that pesky critters can cause problems, and morally ambiguous NPCs can plot questionable deeds without invoking the immediately wrath of the kingdom's military.
|Village of Nusquam - Artist "hornbook1776" from Reddit|
Right Click on picture and Save for larger map
How do you pronounce Nusquam? The locals have settled on saying, Nus-kom or Nus-ka. In Latin, "nusquam" means, "nowhere" or "not anywhere".
The map is left intentionally un-keyed to allow the Game Master to place NPCs and businesses where they feel like. In my experience, personalization is important in adding verisimilitude to a location. Each GM should make every adventure their own, never running something straight out-of-the-box. Several key NPCs are included to help get the ball rolling, but feel free to rename them or change them in any way you wish.
Grisvaldor - Sage and wizard. Lives in a unique little cottage down by the end of town. Locals say he is a retired adventurer, a bit peculiar, but trustworthy. He has come to the defense of the village more than once over the years, but usually serves in an advisory role to the village elders.
Throdan - Dwarf blacksmith, armorer, and weapon smith. Can reasonably identify common magical weapons and armors, though items with a "curse" appear normal. Throdan's daughters take after their human mother and are quite buxom, and flirtatious, a fact that keeps the blacksmith wary and suspicious of handsome young adventurers.
It is a known fact that nobody but Throdan is strong enough to lift and carry his anvil. It is not a known fact that this is accomplished by a locking mechanism installed under his anvil that prevents anyone else from lifting it. This secret has helped keep loose peckers in their owner's knickers and out of his daughters'.
Brother Timmer - A rather homely, but charismatic parish priest. Though a non-adventurer, Timmer has access to up 2nd level spells. He is knowledgeable about the local Druids is suspected of taking part in their seasonal festivals, which conveniently involve wearing masks and hoods during the celebrations.
Bernadette - Apothecary and herbalist. Bernadette is vivacious woman, of indeterminate age. She has access to minor healing magics, and there are whispers that she is a druidess. She and, Brother Timmer, are friendly rivals for the well-being of the villagers, and can often be seen discussing religion and local traditions in public. Many suspect the two are lovers, but everyone respects their privacy and would never spread malicious rumors.
Spell components for most common spells from 1st to 3rd level can be purchased from her. She carries enough components, per week, for the casting of any one particular spell two or three times. She will stock more at the request of regular customers.
Binks - Binksy, as he's commonly called, is the local tinker and mechanic. He keeps the local grist mill running, and fixes mechanical device both great and small. Mistaken for a small human, Binksy is actually part-gnome. He has most of the skills of a 3rd level thief, but does not practice larceny.
There is no "guild" in Nusquam, but Binksy can help hook a character up with some connections "in the city".
Dargo - Barkeep and innkeeper. Once a pirate of some small repute, he retired to run the local tavern after he won it in a honest card game. He's tough, but fair, and quick with a joke or information as needed. He makes a practice of giving free room and board in the common room to PCs that don't cause trouble, in exchange for their help keeping trouble out of his business.