You know, thinking about settlements as having ability scores has me thinking about growing communities like advancing characters. What do most characters want? Health and prosperity, I imagine — like the communities they build.

Ninety-five percent or more of all the characters inhabiting a given world are noncombatants — not adventurers. Likewise, I think the majority of settlements will lack a military, or more than the most basic defenses — a small militia, or a police force perhaps, made up of its citizens — but certainly not a full-time army.

Most communities will lack a “class” that confers combat abilities.

Instead, they require a number of abilities that help convey who they are, what they do, how well they do it, and what happens in the event of a catastrophe — often, that’s when the true character of a community is revealed (as with people).

Here’s what I came up with for “community ability scores.”

  • Industry (Strength)
  • Resources (Dexterity)
  • Population (Constitution)
  • Commerce (Intelligence)
  • Leadership (Wisdom)
  • Identity (Charisma)
  • Under other circumstances population might be considered another type of “resource,” but in this case I mean population to refer to the overall health of the people in a community (as suggested in my earlier post), not a raw number.

    Incidentally, there’s nothing in these scores to suggest that a community itself couldn’t relocate — and there’s nothing to suggest an age or even the size of the community. I figure those details are unimportant when determining the value of the community to the PCs — all of those details are merely implied.

    Now, I keep saying this stuff is supposed to be for player use, but what does any of this actually mean to the PCs? Well, I’m glad you asked!

    See, these scores — when combined with other randomly generated, or hand-selected features — should play well with the Trades system I’ve been talking about recently, giving PCs a direction to go in when deciding on a set of non-adventuring goals. So, what happens when a community levels up?

    For starters, I imagine it probably gets “bigger.” There are a lot more questions to be asked, but seriously if dungeons, characters, and settlements can all be generated in roughly the same manner — to be populated by random monsters and loot, we’re well on our way to a nice, concise tabletop Roguelike.