Urban Dressing: Plague Town

The sound of hacking coughs, the pain-filled moans of the dying and the wails of the survivors mourning their dead echoed through the town. Plague – in all its savage, terrible majesty – has come to the town…

By Bradley K. McDevitt

By Bradley K. McDevitt


Tired of your towns and cities being boring, bland places in which your PCs show little or no interest? Want to bring them alive with cool, interesting minor features of note? Then Urban Dressing is for you! Each instalment in the line focuses on a different kind of town and gives harried GMs the tools to bring such locales to life with interesting and noteworthy features.

This instalment of Urban Dressing presents loads of great details to customise the decadent towns in your campaign. Designed to be used both during preparation or actual play, Urban Dressing: Plague Town is an invaluable addition to any GM’s armoury!

Urban Dressing: Plague Town presents the following information:

  • One table (100 entries) presenting the sights and sounds of the town.
  • One table (100 entries) presenting sample business found in the town.
  • One table (100 entries) presenting sample folk found in the town.
  • One table (20 entries) presenting hooks, complications and opportunities.


Use the two tables below – extracts from Urban Dressing: Plague Town by Josh Vogt – to breathe life into your adventures.

Sights & Sounds

Use this table to generate the sights and sounds the PCs experience as they move about the port town.

  1. A cart trundles by, driven by a man in black robes. The cart is laden with at least twenty bloated and stiff corpses.
  2. A group of purple-and-red robed priests stride through the town, calling upon all to worship an obscure goddess of disease.
  3. A wooden pyre has numerous bodies stacked upon it. Oil is being poured over the mound while a man stands nearby with a torch.
  4. Bodies lie in the street, arms and legs skewed, joints swollen, eyes eaten by the crows.
  5. A pack of mangy dogs races by, snapping and snarling at anyone who gets too close.
  6. A wailing child sits at a windowsill, apparently abandoned.
  7. A woman stumbles down the street, ragged clothing revealing countless open, weeping sores on her skin.
  8. Several columns of thick, black smoke writhe above the town, showing where bodies are being burnt.
  9. Every hour on the hour, day and night, the temple bells clang, tolling for the dead.
  10. Guards hack at an infected citizen trying to scramble over the barricades around the quarantined quarter.
  11. Beggars shuffle around you, forming a circle that blocks your path as they reach for food.
  12. Soldier use longspears to drive infected people to one of the quarantine warehouses.
  13. A pair of dead lovers lie in the street, stiff limbs locked in a final embrace.
  14. Through a window, a family are visible slumped around a table, dead to the last.
  15. One of the guards on the street corner starts hacking and coughing uncontrollably.
  16. A normal-looking person suddenly keels over and begins vomiting copious amounts of blood.
  17. Several women wrapped in filthy rags hobble by, making disturbingly squishing noises.
  18. All doors and windows here are boarded up; a few are chained shut as well.
  19. Screams of the dying soar over the town at all hours, and nothing can drown them out.
  20. A surgeon has a patient on a stone slab and is sawing off an infected limb as the subject shrieks in agony.

Hooks, Opportunities & Complications

Although the PCs may simply “want” to visit the plague town, sometimes fate intervenes. Use this table to determine what opportunities or complications the PCs encounter.

  1. A small subsection of the town’s populace – perhaps a specific race or those dwelling in a certain place – seem immune to the plague. This seemingly strange occurrence is creating much tension between the well and the infected.
  2. Not an hour after stepping into the town one of the party is already showing symptoms of the deadly plague. Of course, this could just be a coincidence or the PC could be genuinely ill.
  3. It doesn’t matter that the PCs arrived weeks after the plague broke out. Being the only strangers around makes them an easy target to blame for the disease. An unruly mob soon forms and the PCs must use violence or diplomacy if they wish to remain in town.
  4. A disease-maddened mob has gathered and whipped itself into a frenzy. On seeing the party, they attack without mercy.
  5. The local priest refuses to give the party any supernatural protection against the plague unless they meet his request for a hefty “donation” to the church coffers. Alternatively, he is desperately short of gravediggers…
  6. Among the dozens of bodies piled into a heap, a PC notices one of the corpses appears to be struggling, trying to crawl out from beneath the mound. This could be a townsfolk wrongly thought to have died from the plague, or an undead monstrosity recently risen.

Praise for Urban Dressing: Plague Town

“The tables are inspiring and whether you play “Seven Days to the Grave”, “The Reaping Stone”, the classic “Shades of Grey” or any other scenario featuring plagues (or a subdued endtimes vibe – not a band, but a whimper) – this pdf just blows it out of the park. Like Babe Ruth at the top of his game, this pdf hits every ball and knocks it out of the stadium. This is the best Urban Dressing Josh Vogt has delivered so far, the best in the whole series.”

–Endzeitgeist (five stars + seal of approval)

A Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible GM’s Resource by Josh Vogt

Released 13 November 2014; Pages 10

PDF ($2.45) d20pfsrd, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, RPGNow, Warehouse 23

Download a Free Sample Urban Dressing: Plague Town Sights & Sounds


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