Kickstarter Spotlight: Spectacular Settlements

I talk quite a bit about world building and the importance of a living, breathing world in your tabletop RPGs.  Spectacular Settlements is a comprehensive tool for building settlements in a way that will let the DM build fully realized settlements that can definitively answer not only common questions like “Who is in charge” and “what shops are there?” but also those rare but occasionally important ones like “How many houses are in this town?” and you can back it on kickstarter now!

The creators, Chris Haskins and Andrew Geertsen, sat down and talked with me about Spectacular Settlements, what it does for dungeon masters and how it is different from other world building resources.  I also got the chance to look at some of the early work ahead of time and Spectacular Settlements looks like it’s going to be a very powerful tool for any dungeon master whether they’re new or experienced, and I say this as a DM who rarely uses tools like this.  Whether you’re building the primary settlement for your adventure or hastily throwing together a city that you hadn’t expected the players to visit for quite some time, the building tools in this supplement allow for fast, efficient and detailed creation of settlements ranging from trading posts to metropolises.

Spectacular Settlements 3

The humble trading post as it is being outlined by the DM.

A question I decided was very important to ask during the interview was what sets Spectacular Settlements apart from other resources for city building and world development out there.  Part of the answer was, of course, the level of detail.  The Dungeon Master’s Guide, as an example, gives a rough outline of how to develop a city but it’s a small part of a much larger book and leaves a lot of the detail to the DMs imagination.  Spectacular Settlements provides a much more thorough toolkit that lets you determine not only the modifiers for things like goods, services, and encounters but also the details of who does what in town, specifically, and how they are likely to interact with the players and other NPCs.

Spectacular Settlements 1

That same trading post, as it is presented to the players.


The book also sports a collection of over a hundred detailed NPCs to fill your cities with if you don’t want to craft each person and you’re not satisfied with giving a character a normal NPC stat block.  These NPCs are built from concepts and their stat lines are more focused on the players interacting with them in non-combat situations than the NPC blocks in the Monster Manual.  I personally think that this is really useful because I’ve looked at NPCs in core books and often think “Okay, I know how hard they hit, but how hard are they to haggle with?”

What really got me excited about this product more than anything else, though, was the interview itself.  Chris and Andrew are both passionate gamers who created this because it was something they wanted in their own games.  There was a definite sense of a united vision and a lot of passion from the creators.  They described their company, Nord Games, as a collection of avid gamers and it showed when they talked about their product with a genuine excitement.


I’ve looked at the product itself and played around with the current draft of the builder for trading posts (one of the settlement types).  It allowed me to thoroughly create, from scratch, a settlement with details that sometimes I sometimes don’t even think about until my players start asking.  I ended up creating an underground trading post, built in the no man’s land between two warring factions.  The place is supposedly crowding with outsiders and the primary race is mostly friendly, but since the populations were about 60% a primary race and about 40% a secondary race, I started to build the history of this place.  Once a trading post meant for peaceful trade between two feuding, but not warring, races, control over the region was in question resulting in much more violence that has only recently been quelled.  There was more to it, of course, that I might include in a later article.

After my experiences both interviewing the creators and playing around with the content,  I have no doubt that Spectacular Settlements will lead to a priceless tool for anyone trying to create a living, breathing setting.  You can back Spectacular Settlements on Kickstarter here and you can check out Nord Games official site here.

Did you like that article?  If you did, you can follow me on Twitter @ADetectiveGamer to get my sporadic ramblings on games and, occasionally, other media.  For more of my stuff you can check the archives or just click this link to be taken to something else.  Also, I don’t get paid for any of my writing so if you want to support my writing hobby you can buy me a coffee here!  Thanks for reading and I hope you come back!

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