This city is built on the ocean behind a coral reef. The pavements are floating pontoons whilst boats are rowed or sail through the streets. Many of the citizens are fishermen, providing food for the city, and sailing further and further out as the years go by to gather more fish and seafood as food for the city. Flooding is not a major problem as the houses are themselves tethered houseboats and rise up and down with the tide. Whilst a storm might blow individual houseboats loose of their moorings, it would be unlikely unless colossal to be large enough to destroy the whole city.
Apart from a small number of jewellers who have formal city licenses to harvest coral, the taking of coral from the reef is strictly forbidden and one of the major tasks of the citys police, the Admirals Guards, is to keep the reef safe from irresponsible destruction. Murderers and illegal reef harvasters are chained to the reef and left to drown. Should the reef be destroyed, it would cease to keep the large waves away from the city.
Like all large cities however, the city has developed a criminal underworld over time. There are small gangs but the big powerful organized one that has real power is The Regulators They operate behind the scenes, basing themselves in the city quietly, not wearing their colours in public.
Apart from the criminal staple diet of extracting protection money from business people, they specialize in stealing coral and raiding vessels outside the city. They keep the amount of crime below a certain level, however, to avoid a full-scale crackdown on their activities.
The city is ruled by an elected mayor who takes the title of Admiral and a Council of Captains, each Captain in charge of a Ward, and responsible for policing it, putting out fires (although since water is plentiful fire is rarely a problem), and generally making sure things run smoothly.
This city is carved out of the local red stone, its city walls, and houses, public buildings and streets all made of the same material. The walls are high and patrolled by night and the gates shut at sunset and will not be opened again until sunrise except in the direst emergency. Fires, as in the Crystal City, can destroy the furniture inside a house but have little effect on the rest of the city. Unlike Oceanburg, which is a democracy, this city is run by a Governor who is a cruel tyrant, with gallows set up at every main street, some of which are in use to warn others that the wages of sin are death.
Although he is strict and merciless to those who displease him, he is largely fair and has kept crime to a very low level indeed, so he is a popular ruler. The carrying of weapons in this city, which include wands and wizards staves, are forbidden to everybody except the Black Guards, the feared security police. Armed adventurers will be given a very frosty reception at the very least and will not be allowed inside at all, unless they check their weapons in at the guardhouse to be returned (for a small fee) once they leave the city.
This city is built of wood from the forests round about, and whilst the winters and springs are wet and rainy the summers and autumns are often hot and dry. As a result, despite an efficient Fire Department, fires are a big problem and over the centuries, there have been at least three major fires that have burnt large parts of the city down. Despite repeated Mayors Orders to stop building with wood and thatch, these orders are widely disregarded by the vast majority of the citys residents.
Recently one of the Small Town Festivals, a holiday celebrating victory in a battle centuries ago, has been banned despite widespread opposition by those determined to celebrate come what may. The problem is that it involves widespread use of firecrackers and other fireworks and with the summer as dry as it is, there is a great worry that the entire city risks going up in flames. The underworld of the city, because of the money they can get, have started a black market in fireworks which the City Marshals are trying their hardest to clamp down on. The PCs might either be trying to organize an illegal fireworks display or be trying to clamp down on it.
This city sprang up a few years ago around a gold mine, and is a sprawl of buildings whos twisted streets at this stage lack any sort of street planning. Many of the city inhabitants are rough and ready people who are all too ready to brawl or worse, and in the absence of a police force the only law and order at all is provided by the bouncers of the many clubs, pubs and shebeens. The general lawlessness of the streets has annoyed the richer citizens, who are unsure what to do about the problem.
Some think that the lack of respectable women is one of the problems of the city; others are considering setting up a chapter of The White Knights to deal with the problem through vigilantism.
Deep Hole has been dug into the Silverrock Mountains by The Nekron: A New Take On Drow and is lit not by flame which might ignite seams of gas and lead to explosions, but by the soft glow of purple mori rock. The buildings are all of dark grey slate. Everyone above the age of seventeen has a job: unemployment is not tolerated and refusing to work (except on the few High Holy Days) is a crime in itself and punished harshly.
Some work building new buildings and chipping out new tunnels to expand the city, others work tending the fungus gardens to ensure the citizens are fed, still others are in the small but efficient army and the larger police force, or trade gemstones with the Topsiders. Whilst it is possible to get a permit to go Topside, provided there is an acceptable reason to do so, the vast majority of the Nekron have no desire to go there.
The centre of the city is the cathedral and the four magic towers around it.
Whilst the Nekron are a dour people and most of their marriages are arranged, they do know romance and many of the weddings that take place in the cathedral result in happy unions. There are two penalties for those who break the laws-for the small ones, a period of unpaid hard labour, for anything serious, a public death by beheading with the scimitar, and they do not hesitate to punish Topsiders who venture into their domain without behaving themselves. The bodies of the executed are placed in the fungus fields without ceremony and chopped to pieces. The destination of all dead Nekron is to the fungus fields to help feed their kin, however those who died blameless are allowed a decent funeral first and are not chopped up.
The Tower is a city built within a single huge skyscraper that towers up into the sky, with small parks on the outer edges to provide some greenery. Everything-the living quarters, shops, and everything else that a city needs is built within the skyscraper. The further inside the building and the higher you go, the more expensive it is to live there. To live on the outside with windows that let natural light in is worth paying good money for. The further up and inwards one goes, the more likely it is that should there be a major disaster, one will not be able to escape alive.
Fire restrictions are strict and the possession let alone use of fireworks is a flogging offence. The lower floors and the outer floors of the city are well policed, since that is where the rich citizens of the city live, work and buy things. The inner core of the city, where the teeming masses live, is largely under the control of criminal gangs. On the lower levels this can be a dubious benefit, as certain crimes such as rape are not tolerated, and the gangs are generally at peace with each other.
The higher inner levels are decrepit slums full of violent crime where the gangs are feuding constantly and only the tough and violent have any sense of safety. One law is generally kept to even there, arson is avoided and fire fighters can put out those fires that do occur without interference. It is not in anybodys interest to start fires since they might lose all their own property as a result. Murderers and arsonists in the *civilised* areas are punished after a far trial by being thrown out of the windows from a hundred floors up, to die when they hit the ground below, in the uncivilised areas the same applies without a trial.
This city is a university town, built around a major university of magic and lit by balls of werelight at night. Whilst the vast majority of its citizens have no more magic then anybody else, they are used to minor feats and tricks of magic, particularly illusions, and pay no attention to them as such things are the result of student high jinks. There is very little town-gown rivalry as the townsfolk know they are no match for the student body if things get nasty, whilst for their part the students and staff of the magical university are not so powerful that they could survive long without the town.
Many of the shops near the university sell crystal balls, staves and other magical items to the students and staff. Crime is low here as most criminals fear magical retribution.
The PCs might be looking for a magical McGuffin that has been stolen from the University.
9- Sunnyvale (meant for a modern game)
This town is a pleasant little community whose people tend to keep to themselves and be somewhat wary around strangers. The crime rate is almost non-existent and so are the taxes but newcomers wanting to move in are rebuffed, as there never seem to be any houses for sale.
Unknown to those outside the town, and to the vast majority of those inside it, everybody in the town is in hiding under new names, in the countrys witness protection program. Each family think that they are the only ones in the program and that their neighbours are just normal families. Before moving here, some of them were criminals who testified against their friends, others were innocent people who saw things that they should not have done, and a very few committed terrible crimes as children. Of course they have all been separately warned not to tell anyone who they really are for their own safety.
The PCs could be trying to stop someone from revealing the towns secret to organized crime. Alternately they could be trying to cope with their new lives after being forced into witness protection. (not all games have to be hack and slash.)
Fort Hard is a military town for the officers, enlisted men and their families, patrolled by the Redcaps, the military police. When posted there people are off duty, so providing they behave themselves discipline is generally lax and the more irksome aspects of it have ceased entirely. The Redcaps will come down hard on those who do misbehave, however. Some of the children and teenagers find their life there dull and hold secret parties where they drink alcohol illegally. The PCs might be looking for a missing child.
The first thing one notices about this city is that the city walls around it are huge, the second thing is that noone is allowed in or out. The city is a prison town, entirely cut off from the outside world, and those inside are serving terms ranging from thirty years to life. The guards only patrol the walls and gates, inside the prisoners grow their own food and are left to their own devices.
Many thought the prisoners would slaughter each other or just starve to death, but an uneasy peace reigns in the city as the inmates know that they can only survive if they get along with each other. Though basic, their houses are far more comfortable then prison cells would be. The PCs could be trying to escape, or secretly find someone in the city.
Orlovgrad is a miserable place to live, with very little to buy in the shops. The only well fed ones seem to be the police force and the secret police, who spend much of their time watching for signs of dissent. In every major square is a bronze statue of President-For-Life Orlov. Since he took over the country in a military coup decades ago, the quality of life of most of its people has spiralled relentlessly downward, but the borders of the country are sealed to prevent its citizens escaping.
Once Stonebridge was a mighty town, fed by its river trade, where the vessels of grain would sail under its magnificent bridge of ornately carved stone. Then the river began to silt up and the larger ships could no longer get down it to disgorge their cargos. Trade fell, unemployment rise and to make matters worse there was an influx of illegal drugs, causing an epidemic of drug abuse and vandalism. Many of the houses were repossessed and boarded up and the criminal element has taken to squatting in them. Most of the good people of the town have either moved out or keep very much to the better areas of the city, abandoning the poor to their fate.
14- New Hope
21- Sun City
Whoever named this city surely named it ironically, because it is a city of the teaming poor. Most cities have a mixture of the rich and the poor, here anybody who gets rich by means fair or foul goes to live elsewhere. The houses are shacks with walls of plywood and roofs of tin and corrugated iron. In the dry season it is hot and humid, in the rainy season the rattling of the rain on the tin roofs can be heard from outside the city, and what sewers there are overflow, voiding their foul contents into the streets and into peoples homes.
Burglary is rare, mostly because noone has anything much worth stealing, but violent crimes and murder are commonplace.
22- Three Circles
Back when it began this city was a hill fort, with three concentric walls. Although it has long outgrown that stage and now stretches across several miles, it keeps to the same mentality. The nobles, middle class and the poor each has their own area of the city, and each part of the city is walled off to protect the nobles from too much contact with the other classes and the middle classes from too much contact with the poor. The different sections of the city are not totally self-contained as all the groups ultimately depend on each other.
This city started as a human city like the others, but under the progressive rule of Lord Gordon all races were admitted providing that they obeyed the law and kept out of trouble. Humans rub shoulders with elves, dwarves, even orcs. Anybody caught preaching racial hatred is summarily and often brutally dealt with. That does not mean that it is exactly a melting pot: the races tend to stick within their own districts and intermarriage is almost unheard of. However, all the races meet in the main market to trade. The PCs might be trying to fight a secret hate group.
Deep within the plains that they control, the Orcs have set up a city of their own. Although the sewage system is somewhat basic, it works well enough to avoid major diseases from wreaking havoc. The houses are tents and teepees and one of the most important laws is that bodily or other wastes do not foul the part of the river that flows through the city itself. Also, the city moves its location every third month to a new part of the river, with pontoon bridges used to cross it.
The Orc-haters who believe that Orcs are incapable of living in anything but small groups would be surprised at this new development.
Built around a Temple of Mammon, this city, situated in a good place where trade was plentiful and there was plenty of arable land, grew rich and now is expanding at a huge rate, swallowing up all the villages, towns and open spaces around it, until it seems that within another century it will envelop the entire country and possibly spill over into other countries, triggering a major war. The Elves of the neighbouring forests are very worried about the expanding metropolis and its needs. Rich as it is, the city now has its own army.
This city is a ghost town, half finished, slowly rotting away. Some say when it was half built an earthquake devastated the city, others that the city founders somehow angered Mathom, the God of Delays and that little things went wrong until the money ran out. Some people live here who cannot afford to live anywhere else.
Luna is a unique city, where the harbour, the walls, the houses and all the buildings are made of softly glowing mori rock. Ships have no trouble finding it in the worst of weathers, and with no darkness to be found anywhere in the streets crime by night is reduced. It still exists of course but is no higher then the amount of crime by day. Shutters keep out the light when one wishes to sleep. There is a downside to this however-in the summer great swarms of mosquitoes and other biting insects fly into town and people who go out by night have to wear thick clothing to avoid being bitten. Petty criminals are punished by being tied up outside for ten minutes for the insects to bite.
28 - Cedar City
This city of the wood elves is built within the trees, with bridges between them, and the only entrances and exits being with lifts run by a pulley system. Rather then foul the city the waste is carefully gathered and used to fertilize the crops. The city when all the pulleys are raised is hidden entirely within the forest canopy, and is very hard to take by storm. As it is well within elven territory it has been a long time since it had to undergo a siege.
29 - Narvon
This jungle city is made of elegantly carved rock, with carefully cultivated fields. One of the major jobs of its people is to keep the jungle in its place outside the city limits. At the centre of the city is the mighty Great Pyramid where those convicted of capital offences are sacrificed to the gods. Contrary to widespread belief, however, the numbers sacrificed are normally few except in times of war or political upheaval.
This city was built as a border post at the only pass though a range of high snow-capped mountains. The rulers of the country that this city is in are very xenophobic, but both their country and the foreign merchants have a lot to offer each other. Rather then miss out on all that tempting trade they have let in they let the merchants in, provided they obey the laws, have things worth buying, and stay within the city, whose tall walls are as much about keeping people in as out.
Inside the merchants have been allowed to have buildings and festivals in their own style and the city is an immensely cosmopolitan place.
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? Responses (10)
Yet another useful 30 list, and most of the locations could be used in a futuristic campaign with a little alteration.
Wow, this list is huge! You've obviously put a lot of work into this. Some of the towns I'm not big on, but I think that works well because you offer a large variety of themes. My favorite is Oceanburg so far and it's already given me some inspiration on something I need.
Well done with expection of the pure links. At least summarize them to make me want to click the link.
Otherwise a really solid post Cheka! And others might not be bothered by the bare links.
Great stuff, Cheka! Some are cooler than others, but thats fine. Oevrall, a great 30. Plus .5 for all the work put in.
A nice 30.
I liked that there were many interesting ideas and that there were links to other submissions. The creative aspects of the submission were top knotch. Some of your better pieces.
I disliked that there were links just to complete submissions (14-20). Many of these could of been expanded into full submissions without too much additional effort. I wish you had done that then linked them all together as a codex.
Very cool idea. I am digging the Tower town personally. I might use that in the DND Game I am running. Very cool and very awesome.
This submission has been featured on Roleplayingtips.com, Issue 489. Congratulations to the author - may your cities never crumble, however imaginary!
See it here.
I guess this is a decent submission, actually, it's quite good!
More like 22/30 cities, really. There is a decent amount of content here, but I also feel that many of these weren't fleshed out enough to be usable or unique (like Fort Hard or Madison). At the very least, a location should provide the GM with enough detail that he can fill in the rest himself.
It's not a bad sub, it just has the potential to be so much more! I would follow MoonHunter's suggestion to expand each of these into a full sub then link them together in a codex, or val's idea to summarize the links so that they add to this sub.