Getting It Together to Play the Game Pt 2

Welcome to Getting It Together to Play the Game Pt 2! The desire to have everything ready and in place paralyzes many solo players and GM’s. Worry over having to stop play in order to deal with an unexpected twist or player action plagues even the most seasoned of world masters. However, creating details for every eventuality, while perhaps fun, can keep a game from ever getting off the ground. This time we’re heading into the big city. I’ve found the following titles interesting and fun while creating a city to adventure in. If you prefer, most of these can be used on the fly to create the city while you’re adventuring instead of preparing beforehand.

Into the Cess and Citadel

Combining an interesting setting, bestiary, and useful generation tools, Into the Cess and Citadel quickly transforms the city from a safe/boring place to go buy stuff into a dangerous and interesting location that your group could spend a whole campaign in. The art rocks and creatures that you will find are the right mix of disturbing and thematic. Also, this is from the same gentleman that brought us Into the Wyrd and Wild, a fantastic wilderness supplement with similar inspirational tools. Both books are D20/neutral, so they will fit in with most anything that requires rolling a D20.

Vornheim: The Complete City Kit

Vornheim bursts with creativity, both in its setting and with the tools that it provides. Just a warning, there are a few adult themes inside, but nothing graphic. There are systems for creating street and building layouts, encounters, and tips for the actual at the table running of the city. The art is exceptional and there are tons of useful tables.

Infinigrad: The Weird City Toolkit

Infinigrad crams a huge amount of useful tables into a 118 page PDF. You can generate residents, merchants, guilds, gangs, monsters, gods, jobs, and a ton more. Infinigrad also includes a couple different ways to map the city as well as the suburbs. Everything is system neutral so creating stats for your game will be necessary.

Castle Oldskull

While neither of these books give tools for city creation, they do give a lot of tools for creating the events and inhabitants of your city. City State Encounters provides encounter tables for day or night, a D1000 table of events, and tables for monsters and denizens based on rarity. Grimrook hauls in tons of lore for the titular city. However, this book also features numerous tables for even more random encounters and generating abandoned buildings to be explored and cleared out like mini-dungeons. Both are very generously priced and hold tons of information.

Playing Your City

What if you don’t want to just roll on a bunch of tables to generate your city? What if you want to actually explore it? The best and most expansive option that I have seen for this hails from the Four Against Darkness system. Enter Treacheries of the Troublesome Towns.

I have to be up front about this one. It uses the Four Against Darkness system so it won’t be overly easy to translate to a D20 system or anything else really. You will need the 4AD core book to play. The PDF is a bit pricey as well as being rather large. There’s some commitment involved here. However, if you want to explore a city in the same detail that you would explore a dungeon, this your game. You will be mapping, populating, and adventuring through whatever size town you please. TTT provides factions, shops, shop-keepers, quests, plots, and really a whole lot of stuff to do. It’s a worthwhile endeavor all on its own. But the play also gives you a town that you could then use in another game. One that you know intimately.


Cyberpunk games tend to spend their time and effort almost exclusively in the city. While I don’t have a game that you can play to generate your cyberpunk city, there are plenty of supplements that will help you put it together in prep or on the fly.

Implanted Realities provides some advice on theming your cities but it also brings a large quantity of tables to fill in street names, district themes, gangs, markets, megacorps, events, and landmarks. IR comes in at 75 pages but costs less than $3. It was a surprise and a good deal.

Cities without Number, the newest work from Kevin Crawford, features a well-made OSR style cyberpunk rule set as well as numerous tools for building the cyberpunk city of your dreams. You’ll find resources to build your districts, gangs, NPC’s, missions, and megacorps. CWN also holds tons of advice on how to run your game. The paid version gives rules for adding spellcasting, cyber quirks, and more; but the free version linked will give plenty of useful material.

Augmented Reality fills in the spaces that the rest of your supplements might leave. Sights, smells, and sounds encountered while walking the street give your city life. The job generator will keep your character(s) busy while the Instacitizen Drop Down Grid will populate your contacts. This fantastic resource costs $2 and honestly, it would be a steal at 5x that price.

Honorable Mentions

I don’t consider the following titles must-haves, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like them a lot. Likewise, they are often just a smaller portion of the materials that you might use for your game. I definitely think they’re worth checking into though.

City Encounters for Swords and Wizardry – A list of 100 daytime and 100 nighttime encounters from the makers of the Tome of Adventure Design. Encounters have random elements that can be rolled. This title also provides NPC’s monsters, and sword and sorcery themed name tables.

D100 City Hooks, Fantasy RPG Encounter Ideas – From the supplement machine, Philip Reed, comes a wonderful assortment of fantasy city encounters and hooks. These are perfect for inspiring a night’s adventure. They also give the right amount of information to get a solo game in motion without railroading or giving secrets and solutions.

Dark Cities – 100+ scenarios for urban adventures! – Dark Cities brings a similar list of encounters and hooks. Additionally, DC classifies its entries based on level, type of adventure, and combat instance. This one provides the secrets behind the situation as well, so solo players or those wanting more freedom, may need to just work with the first half of each entry.

100 City Quests for a Curious Adventurer – Following a similar vein as the above, this title is another collection of urban quests. Also included are a name generator, table of rumors, and spark words at the top and bottom of each page.

City Pointcrawl Generator – Before Atelier Clandestine released the fantastic Sandbox Generator, they had a wealth of other titles including the City Pointcrawl Generator. This short supplement packs tons of useful content into its 15 pages. You will be able to quickly put together a city with districts, landmarks, and characteristics with a minimum of fuss.

Encounter Generator – Urban, Rough (Fantasy) – This short supplement is all tables. Its counterpart, Encounter Generator – Urban, Safe (Fantasy), works the same way. Each of these will give a unique, character-centric encounter. Sometimes they can be really weird, but they will get things moving. Besides being great tools, they’re both free!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *