Just like the rest of life, sometimes it's time for a do-over. Thus begins a…
One night last week I had an idea on how to approach the next One Spot (and future One Spots) from a slightly different perspective. Rather than focusing on each one of these as a distinct location, perhaps it would help to compose an abstract method of seeing them as part of a more coherent whole.
Now I don’t necessarily want to design a whole town that these sites merge into, since that could diminish their ability to stand alone. I don’t want them to be dependent on the other products, but I do want to build in the ability to hook these together like pieces of a puzzle should a GM wish to do so. That “connected yet disconnected” aspect makes this a difficult concept to pull off.
So instead of drawing out a whole town with streets, a backstory, a location, etc., I decided I would simply start grouping these into three main categories: Old Town, “Between,” and New Town (with a possible “Outside” category as well). These are large buckets, so let me describe what I mean for each.
Old Town has been there the longest. These locations may have been part of the original construction when the town was just forming. Inevitably a few of these locations survive as institutions with a long history, but many also just fade away. Those that fade might have their building materials reclaimed for new construction and be torn down piece by piece or they may stick around and go through cycles of abandonment and reuse.
New Town is the opposite. These are the places with the most new activity from the townspeople – especially the folks with money. So any new politics going on in town would stem from locations here. Fancy stores. Banking. And so on.
The places “Between” are those locations that have a foot on each side of this divide. They’re not necessarily “new” and not always “old.” This is the area where folks like the Thieves’ Guild will thrive, as they want places to hide (Old Town) and connections to the lifeblood of the community (New Town).
And “Outside” would be anything that doesn’t fall into these categories. I suspect that if there was a Mage’s Guild (a group I may call “The Arcanists”), they would show up outside the main categories because everyone would be afraid of them.
If we were to categorize the One Spots so far, that list would look like this:
The Reeve (One Spot #3) would fit into Old Town nicely, but I realized that if the newer power of the town is in New Town, the Mayor would likely also want some protection on that side of town. So there would be some sort of a Guard Post (or a mini-Reeve) focused entirely on keeping the “money” safe – so any officials, important merchants/stores, etc.
The relationship between the old and the new would be tenuous at best, so this presents some intriguing story possibilities.
But this way of looking at the One Spot world also raised the spectre of a few holes. I think One Spot #4 may be a Barber/Surgeon who lives/works “Between”. And One Spot #5 may be another tavern – the Gilded Stag – which serves as the HQ for the Thieves’ Guild that’s been mentioned more than a few times so far throughout the series.
Does this get me a bit further along in the design of One Spot #3: The Reeve? Yes. And it provides a nice open-ended framework for other entries in the series as I move forward without literally tying these locations together too tightly.