PART II: EXISTING SETTLEMENT LAYOUT REVIEWS
This section of my Settlements in the Post Apocalypse will look at several sample settlement layouts of interest. My notes on these will be listed in RED.
SETTLEMENTS IN THE POST APOCALYPSE PART I: POST APOCALYPTIC SETTLEMENT RESOURCES
SETTLEMENTS IN THE POST APOCALYPSE PART II: EXISTING SETTLEMENT LAYOUT REVIEWS
SETTLEMENTS IN THE POST APOCALYPSE PART III: NOTES & FINAL LAYOUT
SETTLEMENTS IN THE POST APOCALYPSE PART IV: RANDOM SETTLEMENT TABLES
Hack & Slash Towns & Village
Note specific layouts vary somewhat; uses the Quadruple D layout
Alignment, Size/Type, Notable Information
Population: (with racial breakdown and possibly breakdown by class)
Local (Gods and) Religions:
(Locations / Interesting) Features
Men for Hire
Adventures Seeds & Local News
This bit is included because it's a useful gauge of people's interests. Some people who run cities, said they wanted: Name; overall feel; map; names of major NPC's; tavern or a few shops/key locations/interesting features; shadiest guy in town; who the guy they will run afoul of is; a plot point/adventure seed or two; a descriptive phrase; and resources and obstacles (nee features);
Some people who play in cities, said they wanted to know: Shops; How easy is it to get in and out of town; What is the reaction to our arrival; who lives here; what language do they speak; what religion are they; Is it a village of ghosts where they hate thri-kreen and do they eat ghost candy.
This settlement layout was one of my main inspirations for Post Apocalyptic Settlement layouts. The main issue is that this is quite fantasy-specific on its own. It does cover several awesome features, though I have to admit that I'm not personally sold on the Quadruple D layout (it works, well, but I can't personally warm to it). Also, you'll note that I noted "Symbol" under the entry for Motto. This is because I feel a community symbol supports the settlement description more than a motto (which, I have to admit, would boil down to "Conquer," "Enslave," "Survive," or something similar in a post apocalyptic setting) does. I also feel that there are some settlement features not included which should be, especially in a post apocalyptic setting. More on that later though. I also find the "Names" entry quite useful to help bring flavor to the settlement and aid the GM in coming up with more NPCs, though I'm not sure this feature would translate well to a post apocalyptic setting.
After the Bomb 2E
Current Political & Military Situation:
Roadways(/Gas or Fuel): Added by Road Hogs, Used in MotY
Religion: Added by MotY
Added by Mutants in Orbit (notable entries):
This is my other main inspiration for Post Apocalyptic Settlement layouts. One issue here is the inclusion of "Capital" which, as I'm going for a settlement specific layout, would be superfluous. "Species" is also somewhat extraneous, as I feel the racial breakdown of the settlement should be included in the "Population" entry.
Mutants in Avalon
Local figures of Note:
This variant of the later (mostly) standardized After the Bomb Settlement Layout is notable mostly for the "Resources" entry. Too many of the entries for this layout are setting specific, as it is designed for post apocalyptic nation-states rather than settlements specifically.
Type of Community
Law & Order
Disposition Toward the RDF
Disposition Toward the Zentraedi
Of note in this layout are the "Construction" entry (notable because the associated table has construction types like crashed spaceships being turned into settlements) and the "Disposition" entries (notable because this tells us how the settlement feels about specific groups).
Rifts Australia Outback Communities
Step One: Orientation & Disposition
Step Two: General Type & Size of Community
Step Three: The Attributes & Features of an Outback & Community
A. Weapons and Armor
D. Agriculture and Natural Resources
E. Real Estate & Location
F. Vehicles & Fuel
G. Administration & Social Structure
J. Racial Tolerance
M. Skill Levels & Professionalism
O. Security & Fighting Force
Q. Special Features
While I feel most of Palladium's Organization Design systems have pretty limited selectable features (though generally good descriptions of those features), this is notable because of it's inclusion of several post apocalyptic resources of note; Weapons, Medicine, Water, Fuel, and Power/Energy.
Dead Reign Sourcebook 1: Civilization Gone
Population of the Community
Alignment & Disposition
Type of Fortification
Size of the Zombie Swarm around the Community
Not much to note here, really one of the more bare bones settlement layouts out there.
Darwin's World Wasteland Settlement Generator
Settlement Physical Type
Settlement Population Demographics
Another bare bones layout. With the associated generator, most of the work is still left on the GM to flesh out these settlements.
Gamma World Settlements (Kellri/Scott Hoover)
Cryptic Alliance Connections
A nice, if a bit short, layout that gives good coverage to most of the main features a post apocalyptic settlement needs. Setting specific by design, but quite useful for many different games to quickly generate post apocalyptic settlements.
Gamma World Settlement Sheet (Kellri/Scott Hoover)
DESCRIPTION History, Location & General Features
Troop Type ## of Troops Armor & Weapons
DEFENSES Walls, Gates, Towers, Siege Weaponry, Citadels, Bridges
LOCAL LAWS & LAW ENFORCEMENT
Police Troop ## of Troops Armor & Weapons
CURRENCY, TAXES & TREASURY
SEAT OF GOVERNMENT
MUNICIPAL FACILITIES Fire Department, Live Metal Storage, Military Stables, Military Barracks, Execution Site, Punishment Facilities, Arsenal, Hospital, Cemetaries, Morgues, Illegal Items Storage, Information Center, Public Works
CULTURAL FACILITIES Galleries, Universities, Schools, Museums, Libraries
RELIGIONS & CRYPTIC ALLIANCES
IMPORTANT INDUSTRIES & BUSINESSES
ENTERTAINMENT Inns, Taverns, Hostels, Theatres, Sports, Brothels, Festivals
IMPORTANT NPC’S Government leaders, Cryptic Alliance members, masterminds, crimelords, etc.
NEWS, RUMORS & EVENTS
This is a full featured post apocalyptic settlement layout that covers just about everything. My only possible complaint is that it is probably too all-inclusive, running to six pages, I want something a bit smaller (one page; not counting any maps) for most of my settlements, though this works great for major campaign settlements.
Nuclear Sunset: The Southwest
Settlement Name (Current, Pre-War) & Population
Major Economic Activity:
While useful, this layout relies a bit too much on setting specifics in its use, though it should be easily adaptable to just about any setting. I prefer to have more detailed information myself.
Myth Advocate Atomic Dawn
Note: There are three different examples here, each with slight differences:
Atomic Dawn: New Memphis
Atomic Dawn: Corvitas
Places of Interest
Atomic dawn: Alamo Empire
Law and Order
*This does not indicate wild tribes, and outlaw bands in the wilderness, only official numbers.
These different examples provide a wide variety of good coverage, similar to the basic After the Bomb layout, though differently defined. I should note is that there should be more standardization here in the layout formats. Also, even adapting for different post apocalyptic currencies, there really is little utility in having an entry for "Total Gold," I've seen it in some fantasy settlement layouts as well and can't really conceive of bothering to keep track of such an item. The "Inspirations" entry is quite useful as it helps build the scenery of the settlement, though I'd probably use it as a single sentence in the settlement's description paragraph.
Aftermath City State Layout
This layout is used to good effect in describing the communities and areas of the City State. I feel the entries have a sort of generality that lends itself well to being individually detailed.
Exodus Southwest Wasteland Guide settlements
Population: (with racial breakdown)
Attitudes on Outsiders:
A quick, if somewhat limited, layout that covers the some needed post apocalyptic settlement features.
Broken Earth (PF edition)
Landmark, Standard, or Hidden
I'm not quite sure what to make of the utility of this layout. It is somehow limited and not in a good way. I think several of the entries here are better represented by other entries from the other layouts reviewed. I should probably note the "Tech Levels" entry though, since I would include this type of entry in my settlement layouts.
ELFMAIDS & OCTOPI
Note: This is a compilation of features from several different random tables on the site.
How homogenous is this community?
Psychonian Racial stock
How are they ruled?
Religion & Magic
Ruins or Tech Level?
Who Dwelled Thar?
Types of Community
Interesting Local Resource
Small Town Special Features
Medium Town Special Features
Large Town Special Features
Small Town Defense
Medium Town Defense
Large Town Defense
Since this is a compilation of features, I can't say the layout is too inclusive or too bare bones. Entries of note include "Aggression" (as a variant of Disposition), and the Small/Medium/Large Town Special Features (since each larger size includes the features of the smaller sizes).
TME Crossroads Region Gazeteer
Population: (with racial breakdown)
Water & Sanitation
Military & Defense
Visitors to SETTLEMENT
Resources & Industry
This type of layout gets somewhat bogged down by the settlement descriptions covering several pages of information. A mostly good selection of entries, though I would easily dump "Brief History" and probably combine "Dangers" with "Visitors to Settlement" as a random encounter table for the settlement. The "Accommodations" entry is useful to note, as is the addition of "Sanitation" to the "Water" entry.
Twilight 2000: Twilight Encounters
Size and Defense:
Twilight 2K has some pretty bare bones layouts for settlements, though individual settlements can be quite detailed (Free City of Krakow comes to mind). Of real note here is the "Crisis" entry, since it gives one a reason to come up with random adventure hooks related to the settlement.
Judges Guild Layout
Note: Uses a horizontal layout for ease of reference.
Probably the most bare bones layout, since it is designed to cover basic details of dozens or hundreds of settlements in a hexcrawl sandbox. While quick and simple, some of the details would probably be better left to a different layout, especially for a post apocalyptic setting.
There are a lot of different usable features and layouts here, depending on one's needs. For barest bones quick settlement information recording, I'd recommend a modification of the Judges Guild layout. For in-depth coverage of a post apocalyptic settlement, I'd recommend Kellri's Gamma World Settlement Sheet, though reworked to be setting neutral. I plan on going in between those two extremes in my desired layout, looking at something which will generally fit on one page, yet be detailed enough to provide me with the information I need to run the settlement. (Although I should probably note that I *STILL* haven't finalized my desired layout at this time. I'm aiming for between ten and twenty entries that cover the features I want to note or describe.)