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Worldbuilding Power: Cities
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Worldbuilding Power: Cities


Use centers of trade and culture in character development, worldbuilding, and adventures!

A city can be a lot of things. It might be a crossroads, the place where trade routes converge and merchants ply their trade. Some see it as a place of opportunity, to gain wealth and power, politically and otherwise. Others find it to be center of culture and the arts. It can be a refuge, where those seeking freedom from oppression gather and form new communities. There are those who see it as the center of evil, with crime and danger lurking in every shadow. A city can be a lot of things. And it can be all of them at once.

An adventurer will find challenges more terrifying than monsters. Life becomes more complicated than simply killing things and taking their treasure. There are rules, and laws, and power structures. It’s easier to get rich through intrigue than combat, most of the time. A city requires tactics, and social skills, and tends not to reward open blood lust.

Antagonists will find the cities to be filled with resources. They can plan and scheme, hiring henchmen and blackmailing authorities. These villains are a different breed. It may be that the city is their home, their point of origin, providing a metaphorical if simple explanation for their desire to control it, if not rule over it.

Among rural folk, the city can represent many things. Sophistication. Sin. It might be the source of oppression, or the hope for a fresh start. It will be a topic of rumors, fears, and misinformation. While there may be truth to what passes for common knowledge, it will likely be greatly distorted. The popular version of cities, for dwellers far outside of them, will be rooted more in theme and motif than fact.

In this book, we’ll show you how to utilize cities in your worldbuilding endeavors. You’ll see how it can influence character, setting, and story elements. By the end, you’ll understand how to better utilize urban realms as essential, useful, and entertaining parts of your campaign.

This book is system-agnostic, usable with the fantasy game of your choice. Most of the information, however, is geared toward the familiar tropes and terminology found in “classic” or “legacy” fantasy roleplaying. In the final section we’ll look at how cities might affect the mechanics of the Lighthouse System, the universal story game system published by Dancing Lights Press.

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0.88 MB
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File Last Updated:
November 12, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on January 25, 2019.