Here at Geek & Sundry, we’re all about helping GMs create rich and vibrant worlds for their players to explore. That’s why we’re featuring Nord Games’ Spectacular Settlements Kickstarter project which is currently in its homestretch, having raised its initial goal of $10K of funding in its first 3 hours. It’s now smashed through a pile of stretch goals and is pushing towards next stretch goal of $60K as of this writing.
A GM’s life is tough. Fulfilling the needs of demanding players, creating compelling story options for their characters, and challenging them with formidable foes is no small task. Beyond that, you’re also responsible for building an entire world, creating vibrant settings and encounters within that world, and then filling it with NPCs who provide services, sundries, and information to characters.
Yes, murder hobos tend to camp out in the bush when adventuring, but even the least civilized adventuring party has to stop into small villages, towns, and cities at some point. A GM who prides themselves on creating rich worlds with vibrant NPCs may find it easier to create a generic town if you simply need a tavern stop to progress the story. But as seasoned GMs know, every session, including ones where your players run around a town buying things for an hour or two, offer opportunities for rich roleplaying and new story hooks if you choose to breathe life into those settings. And that’s where Nord Games’ Spectacular Settlements 5e supplement can help GMs quickly put together richly populated settings that are neither generic nor tedious to create.
“At its core, it’s a way people can build or drop in incredible, spectacular settlements into their worlds, and they’ll have some interesting jumping off points for roleplay,” Chris Haskins of Nord Games and one of the designers and authors of the book described. “You can actually have a quite a lot of interesting storytelling and roleplay, and potentially encounters – urban encounters that happen right there in the settlement.”
“We want to keep it usable,” co-author Andrew Geertsen emphasized, crystalizing exactly how this supplement will benefit GMs. “Spectacular Settlements was built from the very start to act as an engine to create a unique frame upon which you can hang the canvas of your settlement. Our aim was to make sure that when you (the GM) use the abundance of random tables to generate the details of your settlement, you will have all the details that form a solid foundation to build upon, but it leaves all the creative questions up to you. You get to decide why the aspects of your settlement are the way they are and use the results you got in creating the settlement as clues to the hidden personality of this place you’ve just conjured. This book is an engine of inspiration.”
The Spectacular Settlements book offers GMs a plethora of tools to create, for lack of a better term, spectacular settlements for players to explore, visit, revisit, defend, or even destroy. With the number of stretch goals the campaign has reached, the supplement currently boasts a settlement generation tool to allow GMs to easily create a settlement using all the options available in the supplement (offering options for trading posts, villages, towns, cities, keeps, castles, capitals and strongholds), 64 total pre-generated settlements across all the settlement types that you can drop into any adventure, points of interest you can place within these settlements (shops, churches/temples and so forth), as well as 120 pre-generated NPCs to populate these settings with. They’ve also committed to investing in great artwork for the book, and when the project reaches $60K, they’ll also include 64 top-down settlement maps.
“We design things we want to use in our own games,” Chris said, describing what prompted Nord Games to embark on this project. “When I start looking back at my notes and realizing, ‘Oh, I want to know what kind of law enforcement is in this particular kind of settlement’ or ‘Oh, I want to know what quirks of a particular NPC that’s going to be in this settlement there’s so many moving parts. It’s a lot easier to have something — a piece of a Game Master’s toolbox […] that presents them to you in some sort of a structure.” He provided a piece of insight all GMs can benefit from: “When you have those details and players ask a question and you have an answer to that, it makes the world a whole lot more interesting.”
Nord Games isn’t new to the Kickstarter scene, nor are they new to creating tools and supplements for GMs, having successfully funded and fulfilled several 5e-related campaigns including the Game Master’s Toolbox Treasure Decks and Wandering Monsters Decks, as well as Artifices of Quartztoil Tower, an encounter module for 5e.
With all the content the Spectacular Settlements supplement will contain, the project team is estimating the size of the book to be around 350 pages, a massive sourcebook in its own right. For $20, Kickstarter backers can get the PDF version, and for $40 backers can get the full print version, in its hardcover glory.
To secure your copy of Spectacular Settlements and support the expansion of the book through stretch goals, you can back the Kickstarter, but you only have until Wednesday, June 26 at 9PM Pacific to do so.
This post is sponsored by Nord Games.