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There is a lot of material written on random generation of dungeons for play. But inevitably characters have to return from the to spend those ill-gotten gains. And where else but a nearby settlement, be it village, town, or city?

Obviously the larger the settlement the more involved or recursive the process could become. But does anyone have some good methods for quickly generating or stocking a village or town? For example, information like (but not limited to):

  • Local leader (e.g. minor noble, major noble, church official, usurping villian, etc)
  • Defensible structures (wall, keep, castle, etc)
  • Number, size, and affiliation of temples
  • Number and size of taverns or inns
  • Major export / economic focus

My goal is to be able to generate something like the Keep in the Keep on the Borderlands (or at least a sketch that could be developed into something similar). For reference, I've consulted AD&D 1st edition, D&D 3.5 DMG, A Magical Medieval City Guide, and Judge's Guild Ready Ref Sheets. Now I'm looking for you help and recommendations. Thanks.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Been a while since I've used these and I think most are 3rd ed at best but they are good to have around for ideas. I still use the tavern one all the time.

For taverns try:

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The Random Village Generator from is exactly the level of detail I was looking for. The other resources are very welcome as well. Many thanks. – Adam Flynn Aug 30 '10 at 13:53
hackslash is not a broken link :/ – o0'. Feb 20 '11 at 11:06
@Lohoris fun to answer myself-from-3-years-ago, but now it is. – o0'. Apr 30 '14 at 13:48

Check out Kellri's CDD#4. It has a good section on settlement design (written for AD&D 1e, but easily adaptable to other editions).

Another resource that's less useful for the nitty-gritty details but is great for inspiration is the Settlements and Countries section of Tables for Fables. It's eclectic and not very well organized, but it's a treasure trove of ideas.

Lastly, I haven't used it, but tons of people swear by AEG's Ultimate Toolbox.

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Medieval Demographics is one of my goto sites on generating material.

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Yes, Medieval Demographics Made Easy is pure awesome. I have both Fief and Town on my wishlist. – gomad Feb 24 '11 at 0:44

This has become my favorite resource for generating towns:

It does pretty much everything you describe here.

To give an example of the level of detail provided, it tells who is likely to be at a tavern at any given time in the day, including staff, entertainers, and patrons.

Combine that with the RPG City Map Generator, and you are set.

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