Tuesday, October 14, 2014

[Urbis] Help me build a Halfling Survivalist Compound!

I've decided to put some more effort into detailing the Spring Seeds Farm, especially since the party may ignore one character's prejudices against halflings and investigate the compound any day now.

To recap, this farm complex was founded by a halfling splinter sect following the God of Agriculture who believe that they are their god's "chosen people" since halflings are more fecund than other "civilized" (i.e. agriculture-practicing) races. And to make sure that they "inherit the world", it is their holy duty to have as many children as possible. However, the Evils of the Modern World are constantly tempting halflings off the right and pure path, leading to an inordinate number of youngsters running off the the Big City and whatnot.

To prevent this, one halfing patriarch (a fairly powerful priest) convinced four extended families to come with him to this remote northern wilderness so that they could practice their faith (and agriculture) free of any distractions. They have the most productive farm in hundreds of miles around, and their closest link to "civilization" is a coastal trade outpost which is 30 miles away even over the most direct route (which goes through forested hill country). They trade with the outpost for metal tools they can't create by themselves, but otherwise keep contact at a minimum.

This region is not safe, however - there are wandering monsters and nomadic tribes who would certainly be interested in the food stores of the farm complex. Furthermore, the village elders encourage an "Us versus Them" attitude to keep the community unified against any impure outsiders - and they conduct regular drills so that they can make optimal use of their defenses in real emergencies.

So, what should this compound contain? Let's do some brainstorming! The good folks at RPGNet already had some ideas, but I am open to further suggestions.

Main Buildings

These will be immediately apparent to observers. Note that only the barn, temple, and communal hall will be large enough for humans to stand upright, and the halflings will be unwilling to let a human get into them.
  • Temple to Kortus
  • Communal burrows for the four extended families, each housing perhaps 30 halflings (including children)
  • Communal hall (for dances and non-religious celebrations)
  • Kindergarten (there will obviously be many, many kids...)
  • School (Smaller than the kindergarten, for the moment.)
  • Barns
  • Granaries


These buildings and other constructed elements are primarily defensive in nature.
  • Observation/guard towers (useful for sniping intruders with crossbows from afar)
  • Halfling-sized tunnels connecting everything. These will have the occasional doors in case anyone tries to smoke them out.
  • Underground warehouses with plenty of food and other stockpiles in case the aboveground storage sites get raided
  • Underground safehouses for the women and children.
  • Crisscrossing hedges which give cover to halflings and allow them to snipe from anywhere - but humans will frequently have to crouch to get cover. Many will have thorns.
  • A ditch surrounding the entire compound - not intended as a serious defense, but more as a demarkation of property. "This land is ours, and as long as you stay outside of it, we are going to do just fine..."
  • Ladders to the roofs and towers are just large enough to accomodate someone of halfling size or weight, but won't support larger characters
  • Dog Kennels
  • Covered pit traps for people larger and heavier than halflings


The farm is in a fairly cold climate, which should be kept in mind for figuring out which plants (crop or otherwise) the halflings grow. On the other hands, the plant magic of the priests can make a difference.
  • Potatoes
  • Rye
  • Beans
  • Herbs, in special herb gardens
  • Pumpkins

Lifestock and Animals

  • Fierce guard dogs
  • Geese (as an alarm system)
  • Cows
  • Chicken
  • Sheep
  • Pigs

Defensive Tactics

  • Most of the male population will have crossbows, with slings being a popular backup weapon (they are also common among adolescents).
  • At night: Using slings to lob magically glowing stones to the locations of the intruders so that they can be sniped with impunity.

Supernatural Defenses

I don't want to go too overboard with these - most of the defenses should be entirely mundane, and they should largely be so effective because the inhabitants drill regularly. However, the patriarch is a powerful cleric (the equivalent of a 10th level Pathfinder cleric), and he has two younger priests (3rd level) assisting him - so some minor supernatural defenses are entirely appropriate. Some kind of animated plants, maybe?

That's what I've got so far. Any other suggestions?
Note: A list of all Urbis-related posts can be found here.

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