Urban Dressing: Port Town

A port town is a living, breathing place full of interesting people, events and businesses. So often, however, the town’s unique character fades into the background.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Urban Dressing: Port 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: Port 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. The incoming tide sloshes beneath the docks; moored ships strain at their mooring lines.
  2. A group of sailors get into a brutal brawl, fists and teeth flying, blood splattering.
  3. A one-man dinghy skims the waves, bobbing across the harbour like a skipped pebble.
  4. A set of sails appears on the horizon, but in the dusky light their colour remains unknown.
  5. A rocky “mound” clinging to the dock wall is actually a barnacle as big as a human head.
  6. Coarse laughter rings out amidst the sound of giant crab shells being cracked with massive hammers.
  7. A dock worker shouts in warning as a crate tumbles and smashes to the cobbles.
  8. A well-dressed dockmaster stands at the end of a pier, surveying incoming vessels.
  9. Every single dock in the harbour appears taken up, and more ships wait out on the water.
  10. There’s not a single ship lashed to the docks, nor any anchored out in the bay.
  11. The sea is choppy today, cloudy green water whipped up by the scouring wind.
  12. A long ledge of grey and black clouds looms on the horizon, coming closer.
  13. Dozens of dorsal fins break the surface of the water, sleek forms lurking below.
  14. Hundreds of tiny, multi-coloured flags are strung between the shops along this street.
  15. A massive ship just swept into the bay, looking like it could contain the whole town.
  16. An imposing military fleet hangs back in the waters just beyond the harbour wall.
  17. A ramshackle ship at the far end of the docks lists slightly to one side.
  18. A man hollers down from where he’s been strung up on a ship’s mast.
  19. Dock guards tromp past, rusted armour grinding and squeaking as they patrol.
  20. Most walls around have a thick layer of salty grime crusting them.

Hooks, Complications & Opportunities

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

  1. A crate hits the ground and cracks open, spilling golden treasure all around. Everyone freezes for a breathless moment before scrambling to scoop up as much as they can.
  2. Warning bells resound across the town, signalling the black sails of pirate ships have been spotted on the horizon. They’ll likely arrive within the hour.
  3. A single, poorly tossed pipe match has set the whole of the docks ablaze, and the party are conscripted into a water crew to help stop the fire at all costs.
  4. These two crews seem determined to slaughter one another. Unfortunate, then, the party are standing right between the groups of murderous sailors.
  5. Deep in his cups, a ship captain asks the party to take back his ship from the mutinous crew that stole it from him. He’ll take them anywhere for free, if they succeed.
  6. A local merchant has highly valuable cargo that needs to be transported down to the docks, but he doesn’t trust any of the usual hired hands to see it done. He asks the party for help.

Praise For Urban Dressing: Port Town

“I did not expect to like this UD – after all, author Josh Vogt has already covered Pirate Towns and I expected a significant overlap – well, surprisingly, this supplement has its very own identity and it is very much distinct from the installment on pirate towns, allowing for synergy nonetheless – quite a feat and worthy of 5 stars and my seal of approval.”

–Endzeitgeist (five stars + seal of approval)

“Well worth the price. Adds Those extra finishing touches to your Port town environments without a lot of work. Can be used for prep or during the game. Very versatile. I use it for D&D 5e and it works just fine.”

–Brent R (five stars)

“If you want a solid GM resource for helping with nautical adventures for a price even a stingy Dutchman would pay, then look no further…”

–Mark C (five stars)

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

Released 22 January 2015; Pages 10

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

Download a Free SampleUrban Dressing: Port Town Sights & Sounds



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