Heroic Explorations: Adventure Boomtowns

Heroic Explorations: Dungeon Cycle
Video: Coloring hand-drawn line-art maps in photoshop

When a new dungeon is discovered, merchants and craftsmen who specialize in providing goods and services to Adventurers will flock to the area, followed by merchants and craftsmen catering to the first group of entrepreneurs. These men and women will either swell the population of an existing settlement in the event that one exists within a day’s travel. If not, they will establish a semi-permanent camp of their own.

Both cases are generally referred to as ‘Boomtowns.’

What a Boomtown Offers

There are, generally, two classes of service offered in a Boomtown; those geared towards Adventurers, and those provided for the entrepreneurs. Prices are generally higher than they’d be elsewhere, as Adventurers tend to carry more wealth than the rest of the population. The exact degree of inflation depends on how much money Adventurers have withdrawn from the local dungeon.

Services for Adventurers

Prices for goods and services of primary use to Adventurers range from twice to ten times as expensive as they might be elsewhere, based on current inflation and how specialized the goods are for the adventuring trade.

  • Arms Merchants: While the boom and bust cycle of the adventure site is generally too short to have a complicated suit of armor custom made, armorers who specialize in the sale of well-made weapons and armor can make a brisk trade. More in demand are repair services and the manufacture of expendable ammunition like bolts or arrows.
  • Appraisal: Those with the skill to accurately value gems, art objects, and even magical artifacts can earn a good amount of coin, moreso if they can also act as moneychangers to buy gems, precious metals, and foreign and ancient coins at a premium.
  • Henchmen offering various services to Adventurers are a common sight, both those hoping to replace the fallen, and to convince new adventurers that they could use the help.
  • Provisioners provide the unglamourous but necessary supplies of torches, pitons, and rations to adventurers interested in long-term trips into the dungeon site.
  • Taverns provide adventuring companies with the entertainment, dry beds, and perhaps most importantly, drinks they need to unwind. In more established Boomtowns they make double as brothels. They may partner with or operate alongside stables.
  • Temples may offer worship space to the servants and faithful of various deities. These temples may be non-denominational. They may offer magical services, or simply absolution.
  • Healers, Apothecaries, Herbalists, or Barbers can offer medical care to Adventurers who manage to escape the Dungeon without the aid of magical healing.
  • Guides who know the area between the boomtown and the Dungeon, or who simply know what the boomtown itself has to offer. They may also be interpreters for obscure local languages.
  • Teamsters offer their services to transport treasure-laden and often exhausted adventurers from the Boomtown to whatever other civilization lies nearby. If the town is along a river or coast, they may instead be served by Boats for Hire.
  • Fence to handle any recovered treasure not legally traded in the host country. This is more or less an open secret, but it’s not unknown for the authorities to crack down on Boomtowns believed to trade in illegal treasure as a display of force.
  • Linkboys and Torch Bearers
  • Entertainers of various sorts to take the Adventurers minds off of their traumas.
  • Laborers and Porters and other unskilled workers offering sweat for pay.
  • Freelance Wizards offering the sorts of spells useful to adventurers. They won’t usually accompany them into dungeons, but if you need something cast quick, you have options.

Services for Merchants

Establishments designed to cater to non-adventurers will often also offer inflated prices, but not to the same degree, depending on the prosperity of the town. Without the benefit of supply chains, everything in the boomtown is imported, so prices can range from fifty-percent more to double normal.

There will be some lower-end duplicates of the services available to Adventurers — and while Adventurers won’t be forbidden from visiting, say, the laborers’ tavern, they will be strongly encouraged to drink in the more upscale (and expensive) taverns provided for them.

Many of the merchants will work in their own shops, others will build temporary housing, live out of carts or tents. There may be a hastily constructed boarding house or two.

Hunters will work the land around the area to provide any taverns or restaurants with fresh meat. They will also sell to grocers, who distribute to other merchants who do not themselves have foodstuff distributors.

Some towns will appoint a marshal to keep the peace between the different merchants and their families. In other cases, a strong willed Dungeon Keeper may act as judge or moderator.

What You Won’t Find

Boomtowns seldom last for more than a season, meaning that they usually won’t support farms or crops. Supplies used in the manufacture of goods will be shipped in from afar, which means that intermediate steps in a good’s production cycle are less likely to be found. While there will be a tavern, it is less likely that there will be a brewery or alehouse, as no grain is produced locally. While there will be a smith, there will not be a smelter, and he’ll do more repair work than manufacturing.

Michael Coorlim

Michael Coorlim is a teller of strange stories for stranger people. He collects them, the oddballs. The mystics and fire-spinners, the sages and tricksters. He curates their tales, combines their elements and lets them rattle around inside his rock-tumbler skull until they gleam, then spills them loose onto the page for like-minded readers to enjoy.
Michael Coorlim

Latest posts by Michael Coorlim (see all)

Heroic Explorations: Dungeon Cycle
Video: Coloring hand-drawn line-art maps in photoshop

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.