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SlashRunner
2011-07-07, 05:15 PM
Well, I have a week until our next session, and I decided to fill in the setting I'm using/making a bit more. So, do you guys have any suggestions as to how one would make a very large city? Like, at least several hundred thousand, if not a million inhabitants? I clearly can't design each nook and alley by hand, so should I just think up a bunch of random NPC personalities and allocate them randomly?

Frozen_Feet
2011-07-07, 06:24 PM
Take a map of any large city your players would not be familiar with. Copy it by hand and color it with fancy shades, switch all real names for fantasy ones. Profit.

In actual use, it's best to mark down some biggest locations of interest, like the bank, the library, or the town hall. (Again, witness most modern city maps.) Detail those places. Rest of the time, just wing it! The players go to a dark alley? Think of any time you've been on a dark alley and retrofit the experience to the setting. Take notes of every place you texture this way during the game, so you won't forget them. :smallwink:

SlashRunner
2011-07-07, 06:49 PM
Take a map of any large city your players would not be familiar with. Copy it by hand and color it with fancy shades, switch all real names for fantasy ones. Profit.

In actual use, it's best to mark down some biggest locations of interest, like the bank, the library, or the town hall. (Again, witness most modern city maps.) Detail those places. Rest of the time, just wing it! The players go to a dark alley? Think of any time you've been on a dark alley and retrofit the experience to the setting. Take notes of every place you texture this way during the game, so you won't forget them. :smallwink:

Ok, time to grab a map of Skopje. That's like the most obscure city ever, and both my parents are from there.

Almagesto
2011-07-07, 07:11 PM
Creating a city out of nothing can also be a rewarding experience - since the locations, distrubution, and overall feeling is going to be exactly what you want. But yeah, getting a map and go from there is actually the best way to do it.

In my sessions, most of the time I would just just play in large towns or small cities. If you will create a metropolis then I can recommend you limiting the characters' knowledge of the city early on. Think about Assassin's Creed or something - you don't get to "see" the full extent of the city unless you explore or find a way to map it (e.g. buy a map, magic, get on high places and look). Also, it gives you A LOT more time to think about every "section" of the cities. WotC's official book on cities - Cityscape - is useful in that regard (the rest of that book, especially the distribution of the pages, sucks btw); it helps you in viewing a city as a mixture of districts, each composed of sections that can range from shacks to a gladiatorial arena.

I hope this helps.

bloodtide
2011-07-07, 07:28 PM
1.Write out the couple of things that come to your mind. You want a big temple to the White Unicorn, write down whatever you think you might need.

2.Try to think of where the players might go, and design a little of that. If they like to bar hop, then make a couple taverns with a couple twists.

3.Make random plots, buildings and NPCs. Try not to tie them down to anything, but leave them vague. Then if you suddenly need something, you have it ready. For example, make two 'abandoned warehouses' full of stuff, or make a townhouse, or a generic store. And it's always good to have vague NPC's around.

Masaioh
2011-07-07, 07:29 PM
I have created a large metropolis for my setting, but it is essentially the centre of the setting in the same manner as the continent of Faerun is in FR. I prefer to create things in broad strokes, so I wasn't coming up with individual NPCs, but entire factions instead.

My advice is for you to take the unique features of your setting, condense them and slightly exaggerate them. If this city is meant to be the focal point of a continent- or setting-wide economy, it should really be like the setting itself, except downsized like a scale model, metaphorically speaking.

Mark Hall
2011-07-07, 09:15 PM
Ok, time to grab a map of Skopje. That's like the most obscure city ever, and both my parents are from there.

One thing you might look for are Chamber of Commerce promotional maps. GIS for "Cartoon Maps of Cities" and you get some basic maps to work with. Just replace the various markers in the town with appropriate things for your city. City halls becomes the Lord's Palace. Police HQ becomes the Guards. Stick a sewer manhole at every McDonalds. That sort of thing.

Earthwalker
2011-07-08, 05:55 AM
I am running a city campaign at the moment. I will make one suggestion. Do not make a map, or if you do. Do not allow your players to have a full map of the city.

Work out the areas / districts you want. Write about them and the important people in each area. Interesting features and so on.

When the players move around the city describe the trip, how long it takes what the area is like when they get there.

Try to describe the city and its areas. Let them get to know the way to places by description and not by a map.

This might just be the way I prefer to run things, and how my players are. But if given a map a wonderful living city is reduced to just working out the distance from point a to point b and getting there.

Thrawn4
2011-07-08, 06:42 AM
Keep two things in mind:
1. Cities develop according to the needs of their inhabitants. War=walls and armouries, trade=harbour or a lot of crossroads, spiritual guidance=a lot of temples... of course it might be nice if you can see that things actually change, e. g. an old wall nobody cares about anymore because it's a time of peace.

2. Even the smallest village has a trademark, a legend or a habit. Find something for your city.

Cicciograna
2011-07-08, 09:04 AM
This could be nice for you:
http://www.stargazersworld.com/2009/02/27/roleplaying-city-map-generator/

paladinofshojo
2011-07-08, 11:36 AM
If it's a capital city, ensure it has a huge ornate castle or manor where the monarch lives. However, that's just about the only requirement, it really depends on the environment that your city is. If it's in a desert, make your city out of adobes and have long, twisting, narrow streets aswell as bazaars and market places to buy things....to top it all of, there should be a wall around the entire city made of stone....If it's in a forested area, the "city" can get away with being just a regular ol' town with a big castle on the overlooking hill.....gates are optional but it usually is just a simple wooden or stone fence (Hadrian's Wall) that isn't as grand as the desert city's......

Xyk
2011-07-11, 01:23 AM
Here's a great generator (http://www.mathemagician.net/town.html) for all your citizens and buildings. The building names are kinda silly, but it does pretty well.

Almagesto
2011-07-11, 05:16 AM
Also, try changing an old map into what you find interesting. I took a map of ancient rome and modified it retaining nothing but the geography and a few of the buildings.