Staffing a Fantasy Outpost

(C) 2020 JJ Shaun
The gate to the Happy Harpy

I’ve spent the last week creating characters to fill my fantasy outpost, the Happy Harpy. Making up the characters has been an exciting exercise. I have a good idea of how a small group can interact over time. (I spent four years on two different Navy each ships with crews of about 1300 people. When we were out to sea, we were all we had.)

As I was fleshing out some of the non-player characters (NPCs), I saw drama and tension among the people that live and work at the Happy Harpy. For example, not many of the residents of the outpost have a good relationship with the Captain of the Guard, Fenmenor Galonidel, a high elf of high self-esteem. He isn’t one to foster friendships among those he considers his “inferiors,” and he sees almost everyone at the outpost his inferior. For all of his stiff-backed prejudice, Galonidel has managed to build respect for a (very) few of the non-elven residents and has formed a friendship (of sorts) with Katril Ironfist, the cook.

When another high elf appears at the gate wanting to guard the post, Galonidel is almost giddy. Finally, someone else from Rithraunen, the elven home city. What he doesn’t realize is that not only is Virris Siannidel dumb as a post, but his decisions aren’t always the best. There is a reason the young elf never rose out of the infantry.

I see a story coming for the Happy Harpy. One that will probably take place when no travelers have opted to stay, a rare occurrence. In fact, I see several.

I’ve given thought to how the Happy Harpy was established. I know how the original tavern was destroyed and rebuilt. I know how long the principle NPCs have lived at the outpost, and I know each of their roles as staff. At least one person has been at the station since it was established. She has seen it all.

One criterion of anyone applying to defend the outpost is that they must know how to fight. I’m still thinking about the details of each character, and I’m sure more drama among the employees will come to light. I’m still working out why anyone would want to live at a remote outpost. I have an idea, I want to run it by a few fellow Game Masters (GMs) to see if it’s viable.

I expect the next week or so will be much the same as the last week—fleshing out the inhabitants of the Happy Harpy. I can’t wait to see what other friendships and conflicts appear.

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