GURPS · Town Creation

Creating Halewater II: Which NPCs?

Town Plan
This is the map we created last time.  It’s not complete, but it’s ok for now.

In my last post I created the small hamlet of Halewater.  Over the next few posts I’m going to create some of the key NPCs.  But which NPCs to create first?

To decide, let’s review what we know about Halewater so far.

Potential Adventure Hooks

Halewater already has a few good adventure hooks.  Let’s list them:

  • Infernal Past – Halewater is a sleepy, peaceful, safe little hamlet at the moment – but some time long, long ago it had some kind of run-in with demons.  There are various traces of this around town:
    1. There’s an old folk custom that says you have to shade your eyes when you look at the standing stone in the center of the ford, supposedly to “ward off the demons who live in the stone”.  No-one really believes in the demons, but the custom lives on.
    2. The largest structure in town – the Fiveway House – is a half-timbered structure built into some very ancient stone foundations.  The foundations are laid out in a radial pattern, like the spokes of a wheel, and may have something to do with warding against demonic influences.
    3. The smithy is built out of stones salvaged from ancient ruins that date back to the same period as the foundations of the Fiveway House.
  • Conflict between the Miller and the Five Families – The Miller is the King’s representative in Halewater – he collects the taxes and enforces the peace.  The Five Families are the wealthiest families in Halewater, and have been for generations; they govern the day-to-day affairs of the Hamlet.   Sometimes the interests of the King/Miller and the more local interests of the Five Families come into conflict.
    1. Today the big conflict is over grazing rights on the Halewater Common.  The Miller claims that the King’s Law gives everyone the right to graze their animals on the Common (including poor folk, but also wealthy passing traders).  The Five Families claim that, by ancient custom, this right belongs solely to the residents of the Fiveway House (i.e. them).
  • Conflicts among the Poor – The poorest folk  live the hovels at the northern edge of the hamlet.  Last time we discovered that there is some kind of dispute among them – but we don’t yet know what.
  • A famous sage – A relatively well-known sage, witch, or similar lives just outside of town, to the South.  Who are they, and what are they doing in sleepy little Halewater?

Those are the main adventure hooks in the hamlet so far.

What does this teach us?  Well, as far as NPCs go, it tells me that I ought to prioritize creating the following NPCs:

  • The miller
  • Some members of the Five Families
  • Some of the poorer folk in town (whoever is involved in this unknown conflict)
  • The Sage/Witch/Wise person who lives to the south
  • The blacksmith.

Naturally there are other NPCs I could make – even a tiny hamlet has more than just these few people – but knowing the main adventure hooks in town tells me that I ought to prioritize these ones.

So – that’s the task I’ll be carrying out in a few snatches of free time over the next few days!  If this is the sort of thing that interests you, then stay tuned…

EDIT: Here’s the next post in this series, in which I create the Miller and a couple of members of the Five Families.





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