New Settlement Qualities, Governments, and Disadvantages

Homebrew and House Rules

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I'm really digging the settlement rules in the GameMastery Guide. I've been going back over my campaign world(s) and updating the cities using that system. Great addition to the game!

However, I'm left wanting more goodies! ^_^

I have some metropolises (metropoli? hmm...) with qualities left over because not all of the published qualities are really appropriate for the city in question.

My default Pathfinder setting is a fantasized version of Colonial America. Muskets and Monsters, if you will. ^_^

In making up New York, for example, I've chosen the qualities Academic (various colleges), Notorious (as nearly all large port cities are), Prosperous (naturally), and Strategic Location (one of the best natural harbors in the world). However, I still have 2 qualities left to give it and none of the remaining ones really fit, IMO. I could give it Tourist Attraction, I guess, but at this point in history there's no Statue of Liberty, Central Park, or massive skyscrapers. Even if I give it that, there's still one quality I can't fit in.

So, in the spirit of swiping... er... sharing ideas with other Pathfinders, post your homebrew settlement Qualities, Governments, and Disadvantages here!

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Here are some that I've come up with:

Commune: The settlement’s citizens cooperate to share resources, work, and income. In theory, all citizens in the commune are equal, and there is no ruling class. (Crime and Society -1, Corruption and Lore +1).

Counterculture Movement: The settlement's citizens are free-thinking and philosophical, and generally exist on the cutting edge of new social customs. (Corruption and Law -1; Lore and Society +1).

Financial: The settlement is home to powerful financial and mercantile organizations. (Corruption and Law +1; Economy +2; increase base value by 30%; increase purchase limit by 50%).

Government Capitol: The settlement is the seat of a significant government, such as a king's castle or national capitol. (All settlement modifiers +1; increase base value and purchase limit by 10%).

Industrial: The settlement is on the forefront of technological development, containing many mills, factories, and markets. (Corruption, Economy, and Lore +1; increase base value by 10%; increase purchase limit by 20%).

Military Presence: The settlement hosts a major military installation, such as a fort or naval base. (Economy and Law +1; increase base value by 10%).

Organized Crime: The settlement has a powerful thieves guild or is strongly under the influence of a corrupt organization. The organization isn't powerful enough to be a form of government (see Secret Syndicate), but it does have significant sway with the settlement's officials. (Corruption, Crime, and Economy +1; Law -2; Danger +10).

Dead Magic: The settlement was constructed on a natural magical void. (This settlement effectively has the Dead Magic planar trait; see GameMastery Guide, pg. 187).

Dying: The settlement has fallen on hard times and is slowly dying. Its economy is in a shambles and it is a sad shadow of what it once was. Its authorities are apathetic at best and totally corrupt at worst, and its citizens are bitter and disillusioned. (Corruption and Crime +4, Economy -6, Law and Society -4; reduce base value by 30%; reduce purchase limit by 50%).

Wild Magic: Magic does not behave properly in this settlement. (The settlement effectively has the Wild Magic planar trait, see GameMastery Guide, pg. 188).

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Military: The settlement is administered by the military. In essence, the settlement exists only to support the military, and is more of a large fort than a city. (Corruption and Crime -2; Law +2; Danger -5).

Massive Underground: The settlement has an incredibly large sewer system or was built atop a large natural cavern. The subterranean portions of the city are excellent hiding places for criminals and monsters. (Crime +2; Society -1; Danger +10).

Party Town: The settlement has a reputation for hosting wild parties, festivals, and other events. (Corruption +1; Crime +1 [+3 during major events]; Economy +1; Society +1).

Martial Law: A military force has taken control of the settlement. Armed soldiers march in the streets, and citizens are not allowed to congregate in large groups. (Replaces settlement's Government and removes Government adjustments to modifiers; Corruption, Economy, and Society -2; Crime -6; Law +6; Danger -10).

Plutocracy: In this settlement, Wealth is directly tied to political power, either the law allows for bribery as a form of legal process, or votes in a ruling body are purchased instead of elected or assigned. (Economy & Corruption +2, Crime & Law -2)

Under Siege: This settlement is in a dangerous location and needs to devote a major portion of it's resources to defense; those same defenses also protect the populace from itself. (Economy -1, Society -1, Danger -10)
Boom Town: The settlement is located near major mineral wealth. (Economy +2, Crime +1)
"On the Shoulders of Giants": this settlement is built on the remains of a once great city (at least 2 sizes larger); perhaps it was built on discovered ruins, or perhaps the setllement was once a far more important location. (Lore +1, Society +1)

Very cool! Thanks for the contribution. I was starting to think that I was the only one interested in the settlement stuff. ^_^

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm actually working on a list of new ones for a realm booklet I plan to publish (free or pay I'm still not sure) I won't use these without direct permission, but it is good to know that there are others who want more.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I use these rulles alot for areas where my PCs will stay for a while. Some of what I use is similar to what has already been posted. Here are a couple I use:


Commune: The citizens cooperate to form a self-sufficient and equal society. They follow strict rules and hold public forums to ensure everyone's needs are met.(Corruption and Economy -2, Law and Society +2).

Kritarchy Governed by a judiciary committee and strictly enforced laws. (Law +4, Crime and Corruption -4)

Plutarchy: A small council comprised of the wealthiest individuals direct society. The rule of coin runs this society, with heavy brides and wealth buying position. (Corruption +4, Economy +2, Society and Lore -2)

Theocracy: Ruled by a religious group or viewpoint. The settlement alignment matches that of the primary deity and the laws are often in accord with the dictates of the church. (double the effect of alignment)


Tribal A particular tribe has dominance over the settlement. (Society -4, Law +2)


Haunted All or part of the city is haunted. (the haunt in the selected area is limited to the outdoors because the population has learned to limit the haunt's power)

Secluded No easy way exists to get here. Trade is almost nonexistent and the population is fearful of outsiders. (Economy and Lore -2, Society -4, decrease base limit by 50%, decrease purchase limit by 50%)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I will prolly use the military government. For the qualities I like the financial, industrial, massive underground, military presence, organized crime, and under siege. And for the disadvantages I liked the dying and martial law.

Notsonoble wrote:
I'm actually working on a list of new ones for a realm booklet I plan to publish (free or pay I'm still not sure) I won't use these without direct permission, but it is good to know that there are others who want more.

I am really interested in the booklet when do you plan on publishing it.

Grand Lodge

Just joining in here. Love these ideas. I am running into the exact same problem with my settlements. After a few they all look alike on paper.

Any word on when you will be publishing your booklet?

I have made an online Settlement Creator and with your permission I would like to include some of these options. I have been trying to find more things to add to it and other then these I haven't found much.

see Settlement Creator

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Just discovered this thread yesterday while looking for some community-made settlement qualities. I liked what was presented here so much that I figured I'd 'give back' by whipping up a Settlement Calculator with many of the governments/qualities/disadvantages posted above.

Instructions and the download link can be found here:

Let me know if you find any bugs or have any minor feature requests. It should save a lot of time (and mistakes) over figuring things out on paper.

Also, here's a Disadvantage that I came up with...

Bad Neighbors (Disadvantage)
While the settlement may or may not be tight-knit, dangerous or undesirable elements living in bordering areas have resulted in reduced property values and make it more difficult to earn an honest living. ([i]Crime +1; Economy, Lore, and Society -1; Danger +20; decrease base value by 10%)

This is really cool. You guys have done an excellent job here!

Amazing work, I'm working on a game and was running out of qualities to apply to things, not wanting to reuse any. This helps me out tons.

Hardened: A great disaster of some sort has struck the settlement not too long ago. The populace is demoralized, but more tight-knit as a result.
Society-2; Crime -2; Corruption-2; Law +2.

I think I put too many attributes there, but eh.

Thanks Westy for resing this thread! I'm commenting to dot so I can dig into this over the weekend and see what I can contribute. I love making up settlements; most of my games are just making one, thinking "what adventures could I make around THOSE qualities?" and then going from there.


Monastic Order: a contemplative order resides in or near enough to the settlement to serve the folk living here. They help stabilze and support the economy but their conservative and humble philosophies have been loosely adopted among the populace. (Economy +1, Law +1; Society -2)

Rabble Rousers: a group in this settlement actively rails against the established government and commerce. While not powerful enough to cause full anarchy they have insinuated themselves into the fabric of everyday life, hiding in plain sight. (Corruption +1, Society +1; Economy -1; reduce Base Value and Purchase Limit by 10%)


Spellblight: choose a random Spellblight; this curse periodically manifests in different parts of the settlement from time to time due to a magical calamity which occurred here. (Lore -4; Reduce spellcasting by 3 levels)


Great thread!

We're statting up Ravenloft canon settlements in this thread on the Fraternity boards. We also have designed 2 new qualities there.

Mark, shouldn't Rabble Rousers be a disadvantage?

@Than: I put it as a Quality since the Rabble Rousers don't threaten the whole community. While they may slow down business in the area they aren't enough to cause full anarchy nore are they strong enough to fully overthrow the power they rail against.

Think colonial America just before the revolution. Most folks in Boston just suffered British taxes as best they could, though they didn't like it. A few dozen rebellious souls however ran about the town, garnering suppoort and generally being naughty. Of course AFTER a little riot and a man got killed, then the Rabble Rousers did become a bit of a disadvantage for the Redcoats...

The advantage of disadvantages is you can tack on as many as you like...

The design question is when is a quality considered a disadvantage? Does it have to do with fluff? Or with the crunchy benefits?

Pros and cons balance = Quality
Pros outweigh cons = Quality
Cons outweigh pros = Disadvantage

This is the guideline I use.

Thanael wrote:

Great thread!

We're statting up Ravenloft canon settlements in this thread on the Fraternity boards. We also have designed 2 new qualities there.

Mark, shouldn't Rabble Rousers be a disadvantage?

I'm honored to have contributed to Ziedenburg. These stat blocks are awesome and super handy; I may have to swipe a couple as quick ref's for my homebrew campaign :)

Do you have the 3e ravenloft gazetteers? They do offer a lot more info about these towns...

The only Ravenloft thing I have is the 3.5 Van Richten's guide to the Shadow Fey and then a couple print copies of the old guides: Guide to the Created and Guide to the Ancient Dead (I may be off on the titles). The Created was about golems and the Ancient Dead was about liches, mummies and other such high-level sentient undead.

Most of my older stuff I steal from occasionally is Greyhawk stuff.

Great stuff! Definitely going to use some of this in my homebrew.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a Favored Industry quality? Like "this town is known as a great place for bows" or "the tiny village of Varostadt has but one claim to fame - the Mad Mutagen Brewery and Pub" or something like that?

Rabble Rousers would be a disadvantage for most. Maybe instead of Corruption it should be Crime. As corruption is more to do with city officials and guards. Crime seems more like what Rabble Rousers would be using to rebel. At least when looking at it from the City Side.

Maybe we should wait and see what Ultimate Campaign brings in.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

These are going to come in handy.

I am adding these options to my Settlement Creator.

See this thread.

Sovereign Court

Interesting. I'll get back to this later, I've got a couple of ideas to kick around. (verbose dot)

nairb wrote:

I am adding these options to my Settlement Creator.

See this thread.

Sweet! I love your Creator.

Grand Lodge

Some of these are actually pretty good. Might use some of these for my settlements in my homebrew world. Though I am a little curious why the martial law is a disadvantage. But, useful for my gnomes.


Martial Law is different from Military Control.

Martial Law would typically be similar to the U.S.S.R. during WWII. Where as Military would be more along the lines of Sparta.

Monastic Order, Rabble Rousers, and Spellblight didn't make the cut in any of the Settlement Creator sections... Sad Face.

Oh well; back to the drawing board I guess.

Mark, all the new stuff from this thread will eventually be added. Check back in around a week or so and it should all be done. I only get a chance to work on it every once and a while.

All new things from this thread have been added to the Settlement Creator.

If anyone knows of more new settlement options let me know and I will add those also. I am open to suggestions on what to make it do next or to improve its usefulness.


Each Settlement has a score from -10 to +10 max in each category
Half of this number is used to modify skill checks
Each attribute affects one type of skill check

Settlement Modifiers (alternate)


modify social checks to Bribe city officials
Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate
not a fan of Stealth checks

modify DC to Pick Pockets and Avoid Detection
Sleight of Hand
high crime should make it harder not easier given supply/demand dynamics

modify Job checks to make money
Craft, Profession, Perform, Sleight of Hand
Sleight of Hand is a job skill after all

modify checks to Call Guards (base DC 5, 1d6 minutes)
Diplomacy, Local
Knowledge Local can sub in here, put the Intimidate bit under Society

modify Research checks
Appraise, Heal, Knowledge, Linguistics, Spellcraft
all of the above are researchable 'knowledge' skills

modify checks to Influence attitude of citizens
Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate
discarded the Disguise part



Corruption - Bribe
Crime - DC to Steal
Economy - Jobs
Law - Call Guards
Lore - Research
Society - Influence


Artist Colony-Along one or 2 streets there is every kind of craftsman and artist studio. +2 to economy. +5 to find a crafting hireling.

I always thought that there should be an anarcho-capitalist ( option where free exchange and free associaition rules. Essentially, it is a government if Ron Swanson ran it. It would be like law -2, society-2, economy +4. There would have to be private security firms or something similar for town guards. It would make for some fun roleplay too. Imagine a society of Ron Swansons.

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