I don’t have a quote for this post, moving on
Session 8 – Even More Carnival
As I was preparing for this post, I remembered that most of the idea I had in my head about a carnival was more from the official Wizards of the Coast D&D 5E Adventure The Wild Beyond the Witchlight. Regardless, I just wanted to note that, and I’ll probably skim through that adventure again pulling inspiration from it more.
Advice to the reader
In order to interpret the structure of my gaming session posts effectively, it is strongly suggested that you peruse A Readers Guide to Play Sessions on The Old Bard, if you haven’t already.
To better grasp what I mean when I bring up Fate questions, you might find it useful to keep the Mythic Fate Chart accessible, potentially in a new window or tab in your browser.
The Story So Far
The party has just met Blyris Bledstone the ringleader of the Menagerie of Curiosities.
Designing The Carnival – Revisited.
We need to take a bit more time to revisit the design of the carnival, so we’ll do that in this post. I actually planned on doing this part during my previous post about Designing The Carnival, but wanted to also get out the introduction of the ringleader Blyris Bledstone as I felt it was a really cool concept.
I was going to spend a great deal of time in Inkarnate or Dungeonfog and build out the carnival map myself but was feeling kind of lazy and decided to search the web for some readymade maps. I happened to land on this post in which someone had already generated something for their own adventure for the Witchlight Carnival and shared.
I like this, and so really what I need to do is apply some labels onto a few of the portions of the map and that’s what the party will see. Before we do that of course, we’ll need to come up with a list of shops and attractions. I have some in mind already, but we’ll use Spectacular Settlements by Nord Games to populate it first. You can click here to read my Investigation Check for Spectacular Settlements. I used this book to build out the town of Dreadmere earlier in my solo game, and it was just damned fun.
To begin, I would say that the carnival is similar to a Trading Post from Spectacular Settlements, so we’ll just jump to that section of the book, page 10, to get started.
Progressing through the chapter on building out a Trading Post utilizes 3 steps starting with Basic Information then leading to Community, Points of Interest and an optional step called Extra Intrigue.
As we build the carnival out, we’ll swap between just pre-selecting some elements and rolling for others as we already have a good idea of what we want. We just want to match it up to a Spectacular Settlement sheet. Additionally, we’ll select things from the tables that are of course “Meant” for a Trading Post, and not a carnival, but because these values provide modifiers used throughout the buildout, we’ll need to select something if we want to fully utilize the build out process from the book.
Step 1: Basic Information.
For Origin, I’m actually going to choose Accidental from the list of origins without rolling. None of the options for Origin supply modifiers, so I don’t really have to select anything from this list, but I think I want to set that as a reminder to myself that there is some mystery, we’ll want to work into the story about how the carnival formed.
For Specialty, I’m going to just leave that open. There is ONE modifier listed for Hospitality, but honestly the options here could cover many things at a carnival, well… THIS carnival that is.
For Age, let’s let the fate of the dice decide for us. 1d20 gives me a result of 11. This falls between 9-13, which deems it to be Mature. So, the carnival was originally built decades ago. There is a modifier of +1 to the visitor traffic roll coming up soon, so I put +1 in the Age box for the Visitor Traffic section on my settlement sheet.
Next up is Condition. We’re going to roll for that as well. 1d20 gives me a result of 2. Blyris Bledstone’s Menagerie of Curiosities is a ramshackle! We’ll have to talk to Blyris about the condition of his establishment. For a Ramshackle, the description states that a few of the buildings look to be falling down. There are no formal roads, only trodden paths. There is also a modifier to the population wealth roll of -6. I put -6 in the Condition box for the Population Wealth section of the sheet under Step 2: Community.
Next up is Visitor Traffic, and we’ll be using that +1 modifier from the age section. 1d20 gives me 9, plus the modifier results in 10 of course. So this lands between 7-14 on the Visitor Traffic Table which is Crowds which states it is typical to see some new visitors most days. I would imagine so! I mean it’s a carnival, right? We have a +2 modifier for the size, so I jot that down in the Visitor Traffic box for the Size section on the sheet.
Size just so happens to be the next table we roll on, so 1d20 results in 18, plus our moodier from the previous step gives us 20. Very Large. Up to 100 standing structures. We may have to make the map we have way larger to represent this size. We’ll come back to that at a later time, or we’ll treat the map as showing the main carnival area and just use theatre of the mind for all of the other buildings for now.
The final category for this step is the settlements Environment. We’re not going to roll on this, but instead I’m just going to say the environment is a Forest.
Here are the details we have for Step 1 in the Settlement Sheet for the carnival.
Step 2: Community
Now we move on to building out the community for the carnival. The first step is to determine the Resident Population, so we’ll roll 1d20 for that with a result of 7. This results in an Appropriate. This result states a +0 to the Crime roll. The Crime roll utilizes a few different modifiers from different steps in the build out, so we’ll talk about that in just a bit.
Moving on to Demographics, another 1d20 results in 9. This means there are only two demographics. 60% primary race, 40% secondary race. The book doesn’t have you roll on any tables to determine the races, but I’m going to say that it’s 60% Human, and 40% Elf as the races.
Now for Disposition. What will be the prevailing opinion of visitors to the carnival. I happen to get a 13 on my 1d20 roll for this which results in Neutral. Locals are standoffish, or perhaps hard on the outside, but can be friendly, if you get to know them. I almost didn’t roll for this. Because I would think that attraction hosts would of course be very friendly to carnival visitors, and others might seem Unfriendly, but I like the result of Neutral. I think this is very fitting for what I have in mind.
The next table in this step determines the Law Enforcement. Well, this could be interesting. My 1d20 roll resulted in 2 which means that for Law Enforcement we have this value:
None. This could be good or bad, depending on one’s point of view. Good, if the folk here are just that. Bad when mob justice is carried out on a petty thief.
(-8 to crime roll)
I would think that the Carnival takes care of its own and takes care of any problems as a group. So, this makes sense.
For Leadership, I’m not going to roll. I’m just going to pick Hereditary. A non-elected leader is in power, by virtue of their bloodline. We really don’t know at this point if the Carnival was passed down to Blyris by his bloodline, but this is the most fitting selection here. We really didn’t have to put anything, but it provides some inspiration for later.
Now we get to Population Wealth, and the result of this will ultimately provide the final modifier for our crime roll coming up. My 1d20 roll results in 13. Which is Average. Most of the population have enough to lie a modest life. We have a couple of modifiers here. +0 to crime roll and +0 to quality rolls. We’ll talk about Quality rolls in a bit, however now we’re ready to perform the Crime Roll now that we have all of its modifiers ready.
To calculate the Crime in the carnival, first we roll 1d20. My result is 19, but we need to add the Visitor Traffic modifier of +2, The Resident Population and Population Wealth modifiers are both zero, but we have a -8 from Law Enforcement. This means the adjusted Total Crime Modifier is -6 the grand total for the Crime roll is 13. This also denotes that we use +2 as the urban encounter modifier. We may utilize the Encounter tables from Appendix B in Spectacular Settlements from time to time, but it’s not too important for our purposes right now.
And now here is what the completed section on our Settlement Sheet looks like for Step 2.
Step 3: Points of Interest
Now it’s time to determine the types of Shops and other places of interest. As I’ve noted before, the carnival is going to be a central aspect to our story moving forward so we want it to be a place where the party can return many times like any other town for supplies and quests.
Since we determined that the carnival size is Very Large from Step 1, we need to roll 1d8 + 10 for the number of shop locations. I roll a 3, so the total is 13.
Now, since there is going to be some magical properties associated with this carnival and it’s a central area, I want to specifically select a few types of shops from the shop types table. So, I’m just going to hand pick the following types of shops first and foremost:
- Magic Shop – Armor
- Magic Shop – Books
- Magic Shop – Clothing
- Magic Shop – Jewelry
- Magic Shop – Weapons
- Magic Shop – Miscellaneous & Curiosities
We’ll leave the other 6 to chance.
Even though magic shops are very rare, and the Shops Table limits those to 10% chance of them being one, we will provide the shops, but what they actually HAVE will be limited. When we want to determine via a Fate Question in Mythic if a particular shop has an item, we’ll choose something like Very Unlikely for the modifier on the roll. However, as the story progresses… they party just might be sent to a specific shop for something from the story. You’ll have to stay tuned for what those are.
So, let’s finish up with the remaining 6 shops. We need to roll 1d100 for these and the first result is 36, so we have a Smithy. Another roll for a result of 5 gives us a Butcher. 14 for a Carpenter, 50 for a Wainwright, 87 for a Rare Trade Goods, and lastly 66 for a Cobbler. We automatically get a General Store on the settlement sheet, so I jot all of these other shops there.
Next up is Services. We automatically get an Inn. We didn’t specify a specialty for the carnival type, so we won’t default a tavern and leave that up to chance. Since our carnival is Very Large, we need to roll 1d6 + 7 for the total number of services. My roll gives us 4 for a total of 11 services. We’ll roll 1d100 and choose 11 services now.
- The first roll is 97, so that’s a Hired Help – Priestly Guidance
- 95 gives us a Hired Help – Magic Mercenaries
- 20 for a Doctor/Apothecary
- 23 would be for another Doctor, so we re-roll for 77 which gives us a Tavern. Yay Drinks!!
- 14 for a Bathhouse
- 45 for a Club. That seems fitting.
- 63 presents us with a Stable.
- 45 gives us another Club. We didn’t take a second doctor, but I think having another club might be fitting for the carnival.
- 41 allows us to have another Inn. I think we should have a separate Inn as well. I think we can work up some quests regarding 1 inn vs the other
- 89 presents us with Hired help – Guides and Trackers
- 42 gives us another Inn. I think we have enough Inns so I’m going to re-roll for for a result of 62 which gives us another Stable. I can work in another stable. Perhaps this one has magic beasts?
- Our last 1d100 roll gives us 79 which grants another Tavern. I’m going to go ahead and keep this second tavern. You know, everything starts in a tavern.
I jot all these down on the Settlement Sheet. As I do, I realize we rolled for 12 services instead of 11, but that’s ok, let’s just keep it that way.
For the Hired Help services, we need to determine their size with the roll of 1d12
We get a result of 1 for the first, so for Hired Help – Priestly Guidance we get an Individual Person. That makes Sense. I get a result of 2 for the second one, so another Individual Person for Hired Help – Magic Mercenaries. Lastly, we get a result of 8, so a Team of individuals are for Hired help – Guides and Trackers.
There is also an Optional Quality roll you can roll for each location (shops or services) at the settlement. We MAY randomly roll on this when we introduce each location in the story, but for now we’ll just say that we are good with what we have.
I decide there isn’t going to be a Place of Worship for the Carnival and I’m also going to leave Extra Intrigue empty for now. We may revisit this in the future, but I think we have PLENTY to work with as it stands right now.
Here’s what the Step 3 looks like filled in on the Settlement Sheet.
So that pretty much does it for now on our revisit of building out the carnival. As far as the visible map, what the PCs see. We may just use theatre of the mind for now, and when time allows, we’ll perhaps build out a carnival map after all.
We’re also of course going to utilize Attractions in the carnival, but I’m just not sure what types of attractions and the people that host those attractions will be like. We’ll decide those as the story takes us there and come up with NPCs etc. as needed. However, for now… we have some locations we can work with and have the party start investigating.
Our bookkeeping for this session is already done. We filled out a Settlement Sheet for the carnival! It’s time now to get back to the story and see what the PCs decide to do.
Till the next time!