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D&D 3E
City-building help needed... 
4th-Nov-2005 03:06 pm
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I'm looking for some resources to help with some city-building...

Background: This one huge metropolis for a D&D 3.5e campaign... looking to be, oh... 20 to 35 miles in diameter, give or take. Think more of a city-state, if you will.
Right now, my resources include the DMG, DMG II and the web enhancement for the DMG concerning districts.
Mind you, this is one grand undertaking.
I'm looking for some other resources concerning city-building for RPGs, especially D&D 3.5e. Books from other campaign settings can be suggested.
I haven't completely figured out about the layout of the city, apart from the central area being where the government meets and operates... though other suggestions will be taken into consideration here.
Oh, did I mention that The City is the only area that the PCs know? For as long as anyone can remember (at least 1000 years), most of what the population has known is The City. There's a buffer zone of another 15-20 miles before Outer Markers are reached, beyond which lies The Unknown... where scouting and exploration parties have gone, and only a few have returned. (I'm working on ideas with that as well.)

I'm going to need a city where PCs can work and have adventure, but they'll also eventually end up heading out of The City as well...

Ideas, comments, suggestions most welcomed.

xposted to d20games, dnd3e, dnd_creations, dnd_games, my LJ
4th-Nov-2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
I really like the idea of the unknown.
4th-Nov-2005 08:11 pm (UTC)
Left comment in one of the crossposts...
4th-Nov-2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
I recommend viewing Judge Dredd again.
4th-Nov-2005 08:22 pm (UTC)
D00d! What if beyond the unknown was a modern or futuristic world that knew very little about magic!?!

4th-Nov-2005 08:24 pm (UTC)
Nice idea... however, I already have plans for the Unknown to have magic that may not work as correctly as it does in The City...
4th-Nov-2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
Still a valid setup.
4th-Nov-2005 08:26 pm (UTC)
Is there a river running through the city?

If the City is self-contained, how do people eat?
4th-Nov-2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
Love that Soylent Green!
4th-Nov-2005 08:42 pm (UTC)
Was thinking about that...

The buffer zone (for lack of a better term) outside the city holds most of the farming/agriculture (while still being close to the Walls for protection).
4th-Nov-2005 08:47 pm (UTC)
Check out my diagram in your other post. I think this is a sound plan. City-state i believe you said in your original post. A river going through town is a good idea though.
4th-Nov-2005 08:29 pm (UTC)
Ah, I love city building.
Doing some right now, in fact :)

What exactly do you need help on? Any specific details?

I love the idea of The City being all the PCS have known (reminds me a bit of Judge Dredd or a Hive City from Warhammer 40K).

Also, I recommend checking out 'A Magical Medieval City Guide' which is a (rather large) section of 'A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe' available for free from rpgnow.com (if it's still available).
It provides all sorts of crunchy help in regards to building a city.

Hope that helps!

4th-Nov-2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
I appreciate this thread.

I was working on a similar 'large city' (although not quite AS large), so a thread like this will (hopefully) have the stuff I need.

Only other thing I could suggest is you drop it into the roleplayers community, just to get a little more input.
4th-Nov-2005 11:23 pm (UTC)
City resources I have found useful include:

• "Citybook" series by Flying Buffalo/Blade. These are systemless fantasy sourcebooks, each with dozens of establishments for your City, from the "butcher, baker, candlestick maker" of Citybook I (still my favorite) to themed books like "Deadly Nightside" "Port of Call" and so on. Each establishment can be used individually, or plot hooks connect them to each other. I have run entire campaigns using these books, with 3.x, GURPS, Hero, and other systems. My #1 suggestion.

• Seven Cities is, I believe, the name of the book, published by Penumbra. Not quite as useful as it could be for you, because while it includes 7 fully developed places, they start at "hamlet" and get as big as "Large City" before stopping short of "Metropolis." Frankly, a city that big would be a book on its own. But you might find the cities that are here useful as neighborhoods for your own.

• Old school D&D supplements like City-State of the Invincible Overlord (Judges Guild), the original Thieves World box set (Chaosium, I think). These are mostly good to us now as maps and an idea-pot, since the encounters are all hopelessly mired in 1st edition stuff, and were little more than window dressing for obligatory dungeon crawls anyway.

• Middle Earth sourcebooks for the Rolemaster MERP line; I like the Gondor book myself, for its maps and personalities. While one would like to think that these cities would be too "Tolkien-ish" for our purposes, the sad truth is that for most of its history ICE's MERP was basically just generic high fantasy with a Tolkien patina, and the Gondor sourcebook is as cool a fantasy city as you will find anywhere, with very little modification required were it to be dropped into another setting.

Good luck,
5th-Nov-2005 02:27 am (UTC)
I'm going with a similar idea, with a completely urban setting existing within the world (so a giant city which can contain either pieces of adventures, or an entire campaign).

The biggest problems are of course food and water; you need to have some logistics for that. I'm currently thinking of designing the city like the LA area, with a lot of smaller "cities (or areas)" linked together, maybe using small rivers or mountains to break them apart. So it's less like one giant city once your inside, as much as a very urban area.

Using the advice from the City Building Guide thing Wizards put out, break it into chucks. So you have the outer areas (and their subareas, and their subareas), and so on. Just so it's easier to have a handle on.

Another good resource someone else pointed out a while ago: http://www.io.com/~sjohn/demog.htm

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