Sunday 6 August 2017

A town fit for Murder Hobos

Murder Hobos and Mayhem

Started to think how a murder hobo town might be needed to accompany a goblin mine and realized i had done lots of this before. But here is some extra detail and tables for bigger towns. Also thinking need some maps and a year by year growth diary of a town. Had good weekend brainstorm session too.

People call these shambling heaps towns but one could mistake them for ruins struck by earthquakes, mudslides and storms. Everything covered in mud, often from recycled materials made by incompetent unskilled labour. They stink of piss, vomit, rotten food and old beer. Many locals are in states of alcoholic or drugged stupors or nursing wounds in between expeditions. Those less brave simply labour and carry loot and dig holes as directed by more experienced murder hobos. Many runaways and orphans are atracted to lives of adventure and are pressed into service as linkboys, lantern bearers and pole holders. Half the population is usually outside working some absent for days at a time.
When dungeons and mines dry up murder hobos move out. When families, farmers, church going folk and law turn up most murder hobos move on. Ive also considered some former dungeon monsters would in some towns be slaves but also when nobility and cults destroyed might join the shanty town as labourers, mercenaries and prostitutes. Many murder hobos don't care if your human or not other would hate non humans murdering them and and organising genocidal raids on nonhuman camps. Women are treated poorly and might need to kill quite a few people to get respect or have aggressive defenders.

Old Stuff:
Old murder hobos  - d100 tragic old murder hobos you can meet
Murder Hobo Shanty Towns - d20 businesses, d50 problems, d50 seasonal visitors
Murder Hobo hirelings - d100 mercenaries for hire in murder hobo town
Murder Hobo Shanty Town Events - d100 street encounters
Murder Hobo Shanty Town Problems revised - revised problems up to d100
Murder Hobo Shanty Town Seasonal Visitors - revised visitors up to d100
Murder Hobo Types and Roles - d10 murder hobo types and trivia
Royal dungeoneer corp - notes on how empire does it

Most start as camps with tents but these can grow into hundreds or more, turning area into garbage strewn stinking muddy bog. Some progress into bigger things and get more permanent fixtures. Ones that are started by military or guild are usually better planned as are ones where a strong leader emerges. The bigger town more law and order there is and many grow into normal towns. When big industry arrives and banks and streets and temples and law arrived and set up permanent buildings the days of murder hobos are over and the scum leave. Destroying all local monsters makes area safe enough that farming families move in also the beginning of the end.

d10 Settlement Types

1 Tent town with a few traders and poor health and sanitation, plenty of drunken violence
2 Crude wooded shacks and tents with a few traders and
3 Fortified building surrounded by shacks and tents
4 Wooden pioneer fort in centre of shacks and huts
5 Sprawling out of control town hopelessly disorganised chaos
6 Neat well planned main street with buildings and several two story buildings
7  Fortified town with improvised wooden walls, barricades and watch towers
8 Company town with kit houses, second story buildings, good walls and fences
9 Military town with trenches, good walls and strict grid and organised camps and shacks
10 Church town with temple in centre on hill and good walls with orderly buildings

d10 Leadership
1 Anarchy reigns and people do as they please with violence often resolving things
2 Close knit brotherhood cooperate and share for survival and profit against monsters
3 Leader has emerged by brute strength with gang of cronies
4 Leader has emerged by cunning, charisma and political intrigue including dirty tricks
5 Leader has proven to be right, given good advice and earned respect and allegiance
6 Leader with money has invested in town and bribed way to top with paid thugs
7 Theives guild has taken over in secret with a expendable puppet leader

8 Secret police secretly run with a puppet who makes sure best goods go to the Barron
9 Town elect a leader who makes outrageous promises and is lynched or flees if they fail
10 A veteran adventurer runs town based on experience and superior might

d10 Non Murder Hobos
1 labourer works dirty jobs digging or building or felling trees
2 Drunks damaged by horrors of the pit trying to muster bravery to go back
3 Cripples and sick injured and awaiting chance to get better or no way to leave
4 Orphans and runaways looking for work or too young to be taken below
5 Trader selling booze and food from the city to treasure laden adventurers
6 Shifty thief looking for opportunity disguised as labourer or servant
7 Servant or baggage handler looking after adventurers tent or shack while away
8 Slave or possibly non human caring for masters property
9 Opportunist selling grob and drugs and possibly a prostitute for right price
10 Old timer prospecting for new dungeon holes, hunting game collecting scraps or loot

d20 Industry for bigger murder hobo towns
1 Foundry where dozens of workers melt metal, make tools, manacles and weapons
2 Lumber yard where dozens of workers cut wood and make walls and shacks and other goods
3 Worker Dormitories with rows of beds, latrines and kitchen for poorest workers
4 Barracks for military or mercenaries slightly better than labourers and fortified  
5 Slave yard where slaves are bought and sold and caged up when not at work
6 Waggon maker makes all kinds of wheeled vehichles, pulleys and winches for mining
7 Junkyard where town refuse and dungeon rubbish thrown and sorted by poorest workers
8 Brewery where most beer comes from employing dozens making mash and bottling beer
9 Hospital as there are so many injured and sick at anyone time with many beds
10 Prison where drunken brawlers and killers locked up if they cant pay and put to convict labour
11 Slaughteryard where animals are killed, hacked up, salted and pickled
12 Docks and fisheries where boats provide transport and provide locals with fish
13 Tanners yard where leather is made and made into goods for locals
14 Freight yard where waggons of goods come  and go and crated goods are stored for shipping
15 Hotel several stories with accommodation, meals, bathhouse, saloon, gambling and hookers
16 Graveyard in a busytown will be huge with coffin makers, undertakers, crematorium and shrines
17 Builders busy serving increasing demand for specialized construction with brick and stone
18 Rendering yard where monster and humanoid corpses are boiled up to make flammable oil
19 Warehousing for stored goods, freight handlers and travelling traders, storage for hire
20 Bank and fortified administration for company owned business usually manager lives inside. Most banks are set up by merchant or banking guilds or even churches or big government and they usually bring in more law and order

I am considering making a map with several example towns - a clean developed one run by guilds from the city on the verge of becoming legit. Another horrible crime filled one and a few small satellite tent towns. These maps, all set on a 6 mile hex in the mountains a day away from Shadelport with some adventure plot seeds will make a nice book for my next landmark or sometime. Gives me a little easy to complete project for some time and a starting point for my next campaign. Another possibility is to write a ten year diary of events of how a murder hobo tent camp turns into a respectable mining town over say ten years.

I have run this with a few new player groups who wilsey didn't trust many locals and were horrified by brutish behaviour and filth. Not for nice adventurers but a buffer between monsters and the world of man. I'm not sure If I could sell a novel based on this.


  1. Respectable mining town, eh? I suppose one could seem respectable relative to murder hobo ville!

  2. well in my state big mining towns were very corporate and respectable - possibly because copper is harder to get rich from as a loner

    smelting stripped the state of trees making it one of most deforested states in world


I love and welcome feedback but not spambots
Good feedback and suggestions inspire me to write more