You know the moment when you see a great product, slap your head, and wonder why you didn’t come up with the idea first? That’s kind of how I feel about the new Hamlet on a Page product line from Fishwife Games. Simply brilliant.
When I was GMing frequently, I would run into a situation where I really needed a village or town in the middle of a map that I was making up on the fly. (I subscribe to the “see where the PCs go and fill in as necessary” school of GMing.) So I would randomly make up an inn, a tavern, and a general store and that would be the “town” of Blah-Blah-Blah for that moment in time. Unfortunately those “spur of the moment” towns would sometimes grow wildly out of control, but that’s a topic for another day.
What David Woodrum and Fishwife Games have done is created a single page supplement - Hamlet on a Page: Millburg – that includes a map of the town with numbered locations, a description for the town (including the name of the village elder), and a simple description of each location on the map (“Wooden Bridge”, “Temple”, “Blacksmith”, etc.). The map is in color and it literally all fits on a single page. And it’s system-agnostic so you’re not trying to adapt D&D town stats for some other RPG rules system.
Though it’s a great idea, this particular product isn’t without its minor issues.
First, I tend to print things to include in a gaming notebook and when I printed this on my good old black and white laser printer, it’s tough to tell what the various items are on the map. (“Is that water or a road?”) It would be helpful if the water on the map perhaps had some wavy lines indicating that it is in fact water, or an idea of which direction the river might be flowing. It looks great when viewed electronically, but needs some more thought about the printed side of things.
Second, I’m not quite sure how to interpret the “population” figures beside each map location. What exactly does “9. Fisherman (3)” mean? Does that mean that there are three fishermen at location 9? What does “11. Inn (10)” mean? Are there 10 people in the inn? How many work there? How many are guests? Perhaps there should be a second page with additional details about the town and the people who live there? If the population is important I think it needs a bit more explanation.
That said, I still think this is a brilliant idea. And for $1.00, how can you go wrong? Poof, you have a hamlet you can include in any fantasy campaign. Hopefully we’ll see more of these covering different types of settlements.
For more about the Hamlet of Millburg and Fishwife Games check out…
- … the Fishwife Games Facebook page.
- … the Hamlet on a Page: Millburg product page at RPGNow.
- … and all the rest of the products from Fishwife at RPGNow.