Now that we have an overview of what Gransys and its settlements look like, let’s take a more detailed look at a few specific locations in it, starting with its settlements. Rather than providing an exhaustive list, I’ll describe a few representative examples using GURPS City Stats rules. These will include the two settlements we get in the original game, but also other made-up examples. We’ll go by the order in which these communities are discussed in GURPS Fantasy, from smaller to largest. This first article covers villages and baronies, but it starts with a note on isolated homesteads.
Gransys is a dangerous place at the best of times, never mind during a draconic incursion. With all the bandits and wandering monsters prowling around, an isolated homestead has about the same life expectancy as a snowball in an oven. Some people still try, though. We find some of these in the original game: every single one is an abandoned shell that is at best deserted, and at worst home to the monsters or bandits who emptied it.
This is the minimum viable settlement size in this dangerous land. Villages in Gransys tend to house 200-300 people, living in wooden houses with thatched roofs. These houses are made so they can be torn down and rebuilt relatively easily in response to environmental changes or to move closer to newly-productive land.
Villages have a small chapel of the Faith built out of stone, manned by a single priest. The chapel’s grounds also contain the village’s graveyard. Villages not located near a river or stream will have a well.
The vast majority of villagers are farmers, cultivating the land in a roughly 1 mile (1.6km) radius around the village itself. Few villagers travel much beyond this radius, and even fewer go out further than the manor of their local lord. Some will be artisans such as blacksmiths and tinkers who are capable of supplying the village’s everyday needs. Smaller villages might lack even these, relying on traveling peddlers who make a regular circuit between a set of villages.
Baronies control about three adjacent villages, with the baron’s manor located in one of them. Between servants, guards and the baron’s family, manor houses contain about 50-60 people. Manorial villages also host markets are irregular intervals, which draw inhabitants from neighboring settlements. Tribute collectors go forth from the manor once a year to make a circuit of the barony’s villages. Part of this tribute is sent on to Gran Soren, and part goes to support the barony itself.
The in-game map of Gransys doesn’t leave much room for villages or manors, but as we already saw it’s compressed by a factor of 10 or so. Using the distances we figured out earlier leaves plenty of space for these new settlements. Most of them will occupy the “plains” on the map - stretches of relatively flat and open terrain. Some will be near forests and occupy themselves with logging and hunting - the latter especially on the north, which would bring in furs for trade.
Example: Grandvine Barony
Individual villages, especially if they’re peaceful, are rarely interesting locations to visit. So I cheated a bit for the example and statted up a three-village barony using GURPS City Stats. It’s a little outside the intended scope of the rules, but the numbers involved are small enough that they still work out. I’ve also omitted the Language entry from the stats, as we’re not working with multiple languages in this particular adaptation.
Grandvine Barony got this name due to the high quality of its manor’s vineyard, but that was a long time ago. Located a few kilometers west of the ruins of Aernst Castle, the barony has been hit especially hard by the bandits who made the castle their base a few years ago. These ruffians took control of the trail linking South and Central Gransys, and regularly attack tribute and trade caravans going through it. They also sometimes raid the barony’s two outlying villages.
Baron Alecto has a handful of trained soldiers at his disposal, but they are not numerous enough to face the bandits directly. Combining them with a peasant militia might work, but either way it would lead to losses he considers unaceptable. Ser Alexa, his daughter and only heir, is much more impetuous. Having just completed her knightly training, she wishes to rally the neighbouring lords, raise the militia, and mount an assault on the ruined castle. Standing on her way are her father’s concerns and the fact that the neighbouring lords are much less personally affected by the bandit problem, being further away from them and not that interested in sending tribute to the Duke in the first place.
Population: 1200 (-1)
Physical and Magical Environment
Terrain: Plains; Hygiene: -1; Normal Mana (Common Enchantment)
Culture and Economy
Literacy: Broken; TL: 4; Wealth: Struggling (x1/2); Status: -1 to 3
Government: Dictatorship, Feudal, Municipality; CR: 4 (Corruption -1); Military Resources: $30K; Defense Bonuses: +4