Pointcrawl City Generation (for both GMless and GMfull games)

Last time I made a first post about pointcrawls. Today we look at neighbourhoods and we assume a solo/gmless game.

Urban movement actions take a turn (same as shopping for weapons, bribing an officer of the law, etc, etc) and are either:

  • go to a neighbourhood you already know
  • explore

Last time we ended up with a simple exploration table. Roll 1d6 and spend a turn when you explore:

  1. waterfront
  2. market quarter
  3. slum
  4. other slum
  5. more slums? yes
  6. citadel

Butou can use the usual tricks to make the exploration more interesting. Like, for example:

  • Wrong turn last lane: of course to explore or go to a known neighbourhood takes a turn. And when exploring, you might roll a number of an already discovered neighbourhood. It’s OK, you immediately realize you took a wrong turn, and can reroll once, twice if you have a city map, a thief or ranger in the party. This is interesting in all situations where time is a resource: in a chase, or finding a cleric while someone is dying of poison, or finding a contact before they get shived, or finding the local friend before the local gangs knife you, and remember that in urban situations random encounters literally happen all the time, because city streets are always bustling. Random encounter chance at every roll, because PCs are actually basically trawling the streets a lot.
  • Lost: when moving to an already known neighbourhoods in a city you don’t know well, there’s a flat 1-in-6 chance of just getting lost and ending up in a neighbourhood at random 1d6 turns later.
  • Random People on the Streets: overnight random encounters are not as frequent, but it’s either criminals or the night watch. We covered this in Burgs & Bailiffs volume 1.
  • Let’s split: actually splitting the party might be an intelligent thing to do, except that both halves can end up in the same neighbourhood they’ve never previously been. And random encounters are riskier, because while 6 foreigners with weapons are safe, two are gonna be dead any time soon. Remember that nobody cares if a foreigner dies because you’re literally nobody there.

Oh, there’s that pub that’s really hard to find

There are some places hard to find. We’ll call them hidden spots. We need mechanics for these:

  • you actually find a hidden place the second time you get in the location
  • or when you spend a some time there
  • or when you spend a turn actually exploring the location like a dungeon room. I said it would be pointcrawls all the way down, and you did not believe me.
  • or every time you get lost, there’s a 1-in-6 chance of ending in one of the town’s hidden spots.
  • or you roll a die one or two steps smaller than the size of the table, and you only step up the dice size once you discover all the locations you can discover first. So if the city has 8 neighbourhoods, when you explore you roll a d6, but roll a d8 only when you found all the first six neighbourhoods, or when you get a reroll because you rolled an already known neighbourhood (per wrong turn rules), or when you get lost. Remember these random encounters. For example, roll 1d6 on the following table until all 1-6 neighbourhoods are found:
    1. waterfront
    2. market quarter
    3. slum
    4. other slum
    5. more slums? yes
    6. citadel
    7. that nice pub
    8. lotus den
  • or you can use a bigger die size, and every time you roll over the number of neighbourhoods you get lost and mark off the result. Eventually as they are all marked off only the base neighbourhood dice will be rolled. And if you get lost, you roll the base dice. So, for this example starts with a d10 but eventually will use a d6 as the lost locations are marked off:
    1. waterfront
    2. market quarter
    3. slum
    4. other slum
    5. more slums? yes
    6. citadel
    7. lost (1d6)
    8. lost (1d6)
    9. lost, plus attempted mugging (1d6 after encounter)
    10. lost, plus random encounter with very nasty people (1d6 if you survive the encounter)
  • or you can combine the two above, but “lost” entries after being crossed off are replaced with hidden spots, and you always use the same dice. So the first time you roll a 8 on the example table below you get lost, the second time you get to the black market. This is better than using a numeric modifier because you’re annotating the table already and requires less math. For this example, you always use a d10:
    1. waterfront
    2. market quarter
    3. slum
    4. other slum
    5. more slums? yes
    6. citadel
    7. lost (1d6) – hidden spot: incredibly cozy and friendly inn with great food and awesome locals that welcome the adventurers and befriends them.
    8. lost (1d6) – hidden spot: black market
    9. lost, plus attempted mugging (1d6 after encounter) – hidden spot: lotus den
    10. lost, plus random encounter with very nasty people (1d6 if you survive the encounter) – hidden spot: thief “guild”
  • You can also have extra hidden spots reveal in normal locations. Roll always 1d10:
    1. waterfront – hidden spot: smuggler
    2. market quarter – hidden spot: fencer
    3. slum – hidden spot: barn with a tunnel leading outside of the walls
    4. other slum – hidden spot: actually a small nice immigrant neighbourhood
    5. more slums? yes – hidden spot: smuggler
    6. citadel – hidden spot: poncy restaurant
    7. lost (1d6) – hidden spot: incredibly cozy and friendly inn with great food and awesome locals that welcome the adventurers and befriends them.
    8. lost (1d6) – hidden spot: black market
    9. lost, plus attempted mugging (1d6 after encounter) – hidden spot: lotus den
    10. lost, plus random encounter with very nasty people (1d6 if you survive the encounter) – hidden spot: thief “guild”
  • See entry #10 in the last table? you should totally have more than one thief guild in town, in different locations.
  • You can totally replace #10 with a second table full of weird and hard to find places.
  • And of course you can do the same for hex contents. What did I just say? Topic for next time.
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