So a core premise of the campaign would be that the village is a sort of shared character among all the players. Of course your individual characters are your own, but the village is a communal baby that ye all must feed with treasure until it is fat and handsome. All the mangy settlers that live there are their potential future dungeon runners, and they must love them.
|"Fan the flames, mould the metal; we are raising an army"|
When the party returns to town, packs laden with loot, they spend their gold on character XP as they would carousing, but, with the added benefit of investing that gold in the town's establishments, eventually leveling up their capabilities as well. Each player may invest their establishment XP however they want, and it is up to the group to decide among themselves if they will pool their resources towards a common goal. It could also be fun for the DM to attach other goals to the leveling requirements for establishments, like acquiring a magic anvil for the blacksmith, or an eldritch tome for the wizard.
It occurs to me that the town persisting in strength of utility regardless of character death is an interesting potential counterbalance to an XP penalty for said character death. It might shift some player investment from the individual characters and onto the town itself, because like, the town can't die. That is, until the denizens of the dungeons they've been delving gather an army and march on the village...
Anyway, I came up with a handful of establishments to get started with. For now they have 3 vaguely defined levels of investment, but I feel like some could warrant more, such as the Wizard's Tower and the Temple.
- Lv 1 - Offers a really slim selection of basic stuff like, rope, backpacks, torches, etc.
- Lv 2 - Sells more advanced adventuring gear like lanterns, telescopes, and collapsible 10ft poles.
- Lv 3 - Art, gems, and other non-coin treasure items are worth double character XP
- Lv 1 - Can only repair weapons and armor, not make them. Can only craft tools.
- Lv 2 - Sells weapons and armor, can temporarily enhance a weapon for 1 session?
- Lv 3 - Attracts an occasional wandering arcane artisan, selling 1d3 random magic items.
- Lv 1 - Can identify magic items.
- Lv 2 - Apprentices available as hirelings. They can cast detect magic once per day and come with an area of expertise such as languages, monster lore, or alchemy. Also, random potions are available for sale.
- Lv 3 - Offers permanent enchantments, such as flight, darkvision, remove the need to eat, skin as stone, detect a monster type, etc.
- Lv 1 - Sells holy water, Can cure poison and mundane disease
- Lv 2 - Cures blindness/deafness and petrification, and cure magical disease
- Lv 3 - Can reincarnate/raise dead, Removes curses
Tavern (The idea is that vagrants and mercenaries pass through the township in greater numbers as it becomes more famous. Also I wrote the hirelings with Maze Rats + GLOG magic in mind)
- Lv 1 - 1d6 hirelings available from tier 1 per visit to town. Heal 1 hit point per day spent resting.
- Lv 2 - 2d6 potential hirelings available from tiers 1 and 2, 3 points healed per day spent resting.
- Lv 3 - 3d6 potential hirelings from any tier, 5 po ints healed per day spent resting
Tier 1 Hirelings
- Porter - Morale: Poor, Cost: 1 coin/day - Carries stuff for the party
- Torch Bearer - Morale: Poor, Cost: 1 coin/day - Holds a torch
- Ruffian - Morale: Poor, Cost: 2 coin/day - Wields a single handed weapon, does not own armor or a shield.
- Marksman - Morale: Fair, Cost: 5 coin/day - Wields both a ranged and single hand weapon, owns no armor.
- Man at arms - Morale: Fair, Cost: 5 coin/day - Wields a single hand weapon and shield, wears light armor
- Halberdier - Morale: Fair, Cost: 5 coin/day - Wields a two handed weapon, wears light armor
- Dwarf - Morale: Fearless, Cost: 10 coin/day - Darkvision, wields two handed weapon, wears heavy armor, 1/2 damage from magic
- Elf - Morale: Fearless, Cost: 10 coin/day - Wields one handed weapon, wears light armor, knows 2 random spells, has 2 magic dice
- Cleric - Morale: Good, Cost: 10 coin/day - Wields one handed weapon and shield, light armor, can cast heal and turn the unholy, 3 magic dice
- Wizard - Morale: Fair, Cost: 10 coin/day - Single hand weapon, no armor, can cast fireball and sleep, 4 magic dice
- Ranger - Morale: Good, Cost: 10 coin/day - Two single hand weapons, ranged weapon, light armor, can cast cure poison, 1 magic dice, passively detect magic beasts