Filling in a Fictional Community

(C) 2020, JJ Shaun
The lands surrounding the Happy Harpy.

I’ve spent the week working on my fantasy tavern and inn called the Happy Harpy. In fleshing out the characters that make up the residents of this remote outpost, a couple of stories have been rolling around my head. One is set in the time of the main story, and one in the past when Katazira establishes the original tavern. Right now, I have multiple story lines crashing together, so I need to sort things out in my head before I share.

Sometimes, when I can’t think of what to write, I’ll turn to the other creative exercise that helps me “see” the story—the map. I showed a partial map, but have since expanded on the original. Again, it’s not quite complete, but I’m getting there. I just need to find a few more crayons.

As I worked on the character sketches, and thinking about what an “oasis” between two major trade cities might need, I realized that the compound needed to be a lot bigger than I had originally imagined. In a pre-industrial civilization, wagon travel would probably be prevalent. Roads would probably be dirt, or cobbled at best. I can tell you from experience that a dirt or gravel road eventually gets washboards and ruts which could be rough on wagon wheels.

A way-stop between two cities would probably need a wheelwright, a wainwright, a cartwright, and probably a blacksmith that could craft a variety of metal goods from weapons and armor, to nails and hinges. It might need an infirmary to treat travelers injured by the denizens of the forests from either Thayur or Ademala.

The more I think about where the outpost is located, the more stuff I think I might need—especially considering the enclave is at least three hundred years mature. In fact, twenty-five residents might not be enough. I’ll have to run a few scenarios through my mind to see how things shake out.

Under the best of conditions, the overland speed of a wagon caravan is 15 or so miles (~24 km) a day. Not very fast when compared to today’s breakneck speeds. And that range was even less if weather moved in. My fantasy tavern is halfway between two major cities—on a good day’s travel.

Work on the Adaran continent is progressing. I’ll share more maps, information, character notes, and introductory stories as work progresses. In the meantime, enjoy my latest attempt at map making.

2 thoughts on “Filling in a Fictional Community

  1. After several hundred years an establishment of this reputation would accumulate a number of people seeking a life outside the cities. They would live and work nearby but want the safety and resources of a secure location in times of trouble.

    Villagers would farm and hunt the land and sell food to the inn. Otherwise, you would need to ship everything in. The village and farms would also provide building materials, workers and other support.

    There may be a small church and shrines, perhaps overseen by a friar or low-level priest.


  2. After several hundred years it would likely have attracted a small village of people who seek the safety of a known refuge. This village would farm and hunt the area to supply food and workmen to maintain the inn. There may even be a small temple and several shrines nearby, perhaps overseen by acolytes or a lone friar.


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