Dark Sun: Seared to the bone
In the unforgiving desert, villages exist only in locales that have valuable resources, important trade crossroads, or defensible positions. A mining settlement, a raiding tribe’s base, and a merchant trading post all are considered villages. Independent villages, especially those built by escaped slaves or members of a particular race, are chaotic, colorful places. They have strong or charismatic leaders and allow practices that are frowned upon in city-states (such as the use of primal magic). Of course, given the dangers of the wilderness, any village can disappear or become abandoned overnight.
Some villages are client settlements maintained by city-states, merchant houses, or nobles to provide resources such as minerals or food. Client villages vary in the level of governance (and thereby the oppression and corruption) imposed by the founders. These places are more orderly than independent villages; each has a capable governor, a standing fighting force, and spellcasters or psions who act as guards.