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Friday, October 13, 2017

Dungeons & Dragons - Argol's Comprehensive Guide to Infrastructure

 
You can buy Argol's Comprehensive Guide to Infrastructure right here.

Today we'll take a look at a DMs Guild product that focuses on building settlements and fortresses in a D&D campaign.

This is something I've been interested in from my firt campaign. One day, the group sat down and mapped out their sections of the keep they had decided to have built. This became Moonstone Keep, which still stands in my setting today.

In my current Planescape campaign, the heroes own three businesses, a mansion in Sigil and two mansions in the Elemental Plane of Earth. I came up with a vague system to track their income and expenses, but it' pretty shabby.

This book goes into great detail, outlining a very deep system that allows your group to grow a settlement or structure all the way through their adventuring careers. Many times, groups end up with lots of gold and nothing to do with it. This book gives them something very cool to put their wealth into.

The first question I had is: "Who's Argol?" The author told me that Argol is one of his D&D characters. I like when people present their own iconic D&D creations, that's one of the fun things about the DM's Guild.

There's a list of different types of settlements. As an example, a hamlet is 2 farms, 10 homes, 2-4 market stalls, 2 mines, and adequate defenses. This will house 40-80 citizens.

If you want to start building a place, you buy a plot of land. You pay for it using build points", an abstract way to select types of places you want to build.

There are level requirements mixed in. You must be 4th level to own a settlement, 8th level to run a hamlet (which costs 10,000 gp, aka 10 build points), and 18th level to run a large city (which would cost 55,000 gp).

It costs 1,000 gp for a build point. My character, Endarian Nimbus, has over 20,000 gp, so I could buy a big pile of these. He's 11th level, so he could get himself a village, which is 12,500 gp and requires 10th level.

The village has 350-1500 citizens, 85 homes, and each home has an average of 2 adults and 1 child.

You'll need to pick rulers. I imagine the group would have some NPC friends they could put in charge, or they themselves could do it. Your settlement could have barons, mayors, a senate, whatever they want.

Then we enter the construction phase, where you'll determine what you're making and how long it takes to get all of this built.

There's an optional rule for "town satisfaction". If the group hasn't paid for maintenance on the town, there's a chance it' a ghost town or overrun by bandits.

There are tons of details on how to handle merchants, guilds, and farms. It's got lists of types and the benefits of having them.

You can buy an "immense" plot of land. Building a megadungeon costs 450,000 gp! You're probably better off clearing out a dungeon and just taking it for yourself, right? This book seems to define a mega-dungeon as an underground dwarven fortress, not Undermountain.

The construction time on a mega-dungeon is 8 years! Building a mansion takes 1.5 years.

There's a page of things to add to your mansion, like a library, a greenhouse, or a wine cellar.

Hey... what's this?! "Adultery Based Entertainment"?? In my Planescape campaign, the characters own and operate three such establishments. The description goes over the benefits and elements involved with having these sorts of places in your settlement. Unfortunately, there's no amusing list of adult boutiques and services.

Towards the end of the book, there's a chart of influential events. Part of this system involves tracking your group's influence. This can go into the negatives. If the group hits -100 influence, you roll on the "banes" chart.

Banes include the murder of a visiting political figure, an outbreak of disease, a riot, or a natural disaster.

When the group hits +100 influence, they roll on the "boons" chart. Boons include baby boom, peace, gold rush, arcane wellspring (magic becomes abundant!), or you gain a wonder of the world.

It says that you roll on this chart whenever there is some kind of change, like an invasion or a political shift.

Overall

This book is very well-made. It looks very much like the Player's Handbook, right down to the charts and sidebars.

The system is very deep. It's not something you'd do in 5 minutes per session, its a system that is going to be a big part of the campaign. It's definitely not just an expansion of the downtime business rules.

I think this guide should have a one page summary or outline as to how the whole thing works, as I got a little confused about when to do things and how exactly I determine an influence score.

I love the events, they seem like they could drive a whole campaign.

Basically, if your group is into number crunching, they'll like this a lot. It seems like this type of campaign really isn't done nearly as much as it should be, so it's definitely worth checking out!

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