I wanted to take today’s Resources For Every DM to change things up a bit, but not too much. Many of these posts have contained books, websites, and podcasts that are specifically RPG related. I want to step back from that and include a few things that are not necessarily designed for use as RPG resources. Each of these will be incredibly useful to a DM who is designing an area or world. It’s the little details that can get ignored in a lot of cases, but can help make great moments and define your world. In order to do this I have some websites to bookmark for you, expanding on the popular internet resources part 1.
Ok, so this site was explicitly designed for role-players. However, it is the best resource I have found for the topic at hand (see “made easy”). For this site you should have a bit of a grasp on utilizing numbers and percentages, as the author uses these throughout the page. Don’t worry if you don’t though, it still a really helpful site. S. John Ross does a great job of exploring the basics of medieval demographics. He takes the time to explore the numbers of people that would live in an area at the time, how densely populated the region would be, and what those people would require. Using this page you can go through the numbers, figuring out how much space needs to exist as farmland, how many castles would be around, how many actual ruins should exist, and to what extent services like tanneries are required. If nothing else, this site gives you an idea on how to create some realism in your fantasy kingdom. Adding centuries of history and magic can tweak these things, and you can of course deviate from real norms. But this provides you with the ground work of a kingdom, giving you either an idea or exact number for the things your kingdom needs if it’s as big as you claim it is.
This is something every DM or GM needs to take a look at. It is the kind of thing we all joke about. It is a giant list of what it means to be an overlord. It’s the same rule book all villains seem to use. They become incredibly powerful, but always fall in the end. This list tells you why by presenting a guide for what not to do when you are a villain. For example rule 25 considers the ultimate weapon flaw. Never create one, no matter how useful and effective if it requires a major vulnerable spot, no matter how small and inaccessible it is. Death Star anyone? The best way to use this list, in my opinion, is to pick a few rules and seed those into the villain. Pick one to be the flaw of the villain where he doesn’t follow the rule and it will eventually spell his downfall. As the players pick up on them and predict the obvious, they can be surprised when the expected doesn’t happen and vindicated when one finally does.
I have started using this to try and make the inns of the game come to life a little more. Inns and taverns are a staple place for adventurers to go and there is no reason not to make them special. This can be done in lots of ways, but the food and drink is one of them. Aside from that, different regions have different crops and animals that feed people. Inns and taverns, especially, have regular fare that is easy to cook, lasts, and can be produced in large amounts (generally speaking). Even today, there is a reason french fries and chicken wings are standards in bars and restaurants. This website provides you everything you need to be able to flesh out food in your world. Aside from what your taverns serve, the site can help you define the agriculture and culinary advancement of the world. It also reveals who has access to certain things. Do nobles have coffee? Peasants? Laborers? Does it depend on the location? The Food Timeline can help you decide.