Don't remember if I've asked this before. We know how the referee would describe the party's movement through the dungeon with something like "10', 20', 30', right turn, 40', 50'" and so on. How would, say, Gary describe movement through a town, where exploration of the town was the point? What would a sample of the ref's words look like?
It's certainly easier on the DM. Rather than having a detailed city/town map, one can just have a general overview of the area showing districts or quarters, then just use city "geomorphs" for specific encounters (if required). For movement/time tracking, one can just say it takes one full turn to go from one district/quarter to another. Easy-peasy.
Post by Vile Traveller on Aug 23, 2017 19:28:33 GMT -6
I like the random urban approach in principle, but in practice treating a city just like a dungeon has always worked better for me (admittedly only with my homebrewed cities where I knew where everything was). This is especially true for pseudo-medieval "cities" with only a few thousand people.
I give my players a blank map of the town, which they can gradually fill in during their adventures. The map is accurate in a big picture sense, but may not include every small alley, house and courtyard. In our current campaign, the largest town looks like this:
When the players want to move through town, I ask them to describe which route they are taking, and roll random encounters / insert planned ones as they go. For example (from our last session): PC: We need to go to the houndmonger now. The knights of Yolanthus Kar will seal up that opening if they discover it first. GM: Which way are you going? You are still at The Murk. It is late afternoon, fishing boats are pulling into the harbour, and sailors are looking for places to get drunk." PC: We go around - along the harbour to the Golden Plate, to the market, then across the bridge and southwest into the eastern part of town. The peddler told us the dog pound is near the Masters' Guild. GM: <rolls random encounter on a 1:6> You round the harbour. There is a lot of foot traffic, and revellers are all around you. PC: We watch for pickpockets. GM: <rolls to see just in case, but nobody makes a try; then rolls a random encounter, coming up at nothing> The market is almost deserted except for the beggars congregating around a pillar with a statue on top of it, and music coming from the upper terrace of The Nine Doors. GM: ...you continue, and arrive in the poorer part of town. Lanterns are being lit everywhere as dusk falls, and drunks stagger to their favourite haunts. PC: Do we see that strange guy we saw last time in that doorway? GM: Nope, you take the same route, but he isn't there now. ... <rolls> You pass a dirty dive with open doors and sounds of a fiddle coming from inside. A bunch of orcs are celebrating and drinking, and two of them are outside, one supporting the other as he disgorges his former meal. PC: Nope, not getting involved. We continue. GM: You leave behind the pub and its last pool of light. You pass by the Masters' Guild with its shuttered stores and crumbling parapets. These streets are empty and dark, with side alleys leading off in unknown directions. PC: The dog pound should be north from here. We go that way. GM: The dagger from above comes without a warning or announcement. <rolls to hit> It misses Armand the Scumbag and clatters harmlessly on the pavement. What do you do?
And so on. I have my own (fairly detailed) city encounter system that breaks down encounters by day/night and quarter (Noble, Bazaar, Harbour and Thieves'). For really large cities, I also use Mythmere's City Encounters, and The Nocturnal Table, its companion volume I wrote for Knockspell, but which remains unpublished.
This is the closest I have been to running a citycrawl; it is basically a pointcrawl without exactly defined points, and high transparency on the players' side. I would love to see a good system for running something in the vein of Khare: Cityport of Traps or City of Thieves, but don't know an appropriate system of procedures which could handle it (it would also be a lot of work to go from abstraction to full detail). I guess it could be done with something on the level of City State of the Invincible Overlord.
Irony is dangerous, both because it can be mistaken, and because it allows you to disavow responsibility. -- Elliot Wilen, TheRPGSite Beyond Fomalhaut
I give my players a blank map of the town, which they can gradually fill in during their adventures. The map is accurate in a big picture sense, but may not include every small alley, house and courtyard.
Makes sense, and it's pretty much how the real world works - compare a tourist map with an actual street map of any town. You'll also reserve the opportunity of adding in small stuff "which the tourist board didn't think you needed to know".
Post by howandwhy99 on Aug 25, 2017 21:33:16 GMT -6
I like that everyone does towns differently. I think towns and cities are the Lawful dungeons. "Fie on the humans!", go join the orcs and goblins in the Chaos Caves. Rally them to go and attack the Keep on the Borderlands. Kill the guards or sneak in. Raid the town and loot the shops. It's all a big dungeon anyways!
My default methods are kind of like Melan's, but I drill down where necessary with more maps at lower scales. For "outdoor dungeons" I use 10 yard scale when players are mapping. Bigger scales when they are dealing with just the basics of a city. But then they aren't going to find so many cool places or secrets. And for me 1000 buildings still count as a megadungeon. So system necessities and designs as well as matters of scale apply. (The lawfuls just organize so much better)