Wednesday, April 28, 2021

World in Motion: Breathing Life into your City State

 In my Majestic Fantasy Basic Rules, I touched briefly on the idea of that the setting has a life of it own. Most of I wrote was about prep, before and during the campaign. I didn't touch on things one can do at the table to breath life into the setting. This following is one thing that hopefully you find useful that makes players feel like they are part of a living breathing world with a life outside of what they do.

The specific issue I will be dealing with is life within a fantasy urban setting. The example I will be using will be based on Judges Guild City State of the Invincible Overlord.

One effective technique I use  is to develop a patter to describe what going on particularly in urban areas. I don't attempt to describe everything unless asked. I limit it to things that "caught" the attention of the PCs. The time you go downtown or to a crowded area look at what you notice as you go about your business. Then take a long look around at everything else. You will find that you have a natural filter that so that only certain things come to your attention. Because of this I feel comfortable in highlighting only a few details as the player traverse the city. If the players specifically want to observe in detail then I will paint the full picture around them.

To explain how I do this I made a graphics to illustrate what it is I do using the City State of the Invincible Overlord. The map I use is on the right and is fully keyed. The map the players see is on the right. Either laid out on the table, or up on the screen if using a VTT. There will be a marker on the player map to mark their current position.

The initial situation is that the party is current eating breakfast at the Seahawk Tavern. They decide to pay a visit to the Sorcerer's Supply House. I look at my map and figure out it would take four minutes to get there. Each square is a 120'. The party can move two squares a minute.

The urban encounter table I use has you rolling every minute. I will making six rolls: one to see if anything happens in the tavern while leaving, one to see if there anything going on outside of the tavern. Then four more to see what happens along the way. The reason for the first roll is that for the purpose of encounter the Tavern is it own thing. The reason for the second roll is that players don't know what they will find once they leave the tavern. So I roll to see if anything is going on when they exit. The rest are normal periodic encounter rolls.

I rolled the following.

  1. No Encounter
  2. Foreigner Urchins/Children To/from market/church/work Seeking/In a duel/fight/etc.
  3. No Encounter
  4. No Encounter
  5. No Encounter
  6. Thieves Guild: Pursecutting/Stalking a mark/etc.

This how it would play out.

click to view at full size

The players can deal with or ignore each of these situation as they see fit. It not uncommon for one or two players to decide they want to check out or deal with something while the rest of the party moves on. In which case I handle the split using a round robin technique. I will spend 5 to 15 minutes with a group and then turn my attention to the next group. Going back and forth as needed.

The Dots on the right hand map roughly marks where I would pause the party (or character token) and describe something.

It take some practice but highly effective in giving the players the sense they are part of a larger world. 

One problem I had until recently is the number of encounter rolls I needed to make. After running two campaigns using Adventures in Middle Earth, I really liked their journey rules. The most applicable part is where you roll for the number of events based on the length of the journey using a logarithmic scale. This means you will have journey 10 times a long before you get the twice the encounters. 

I am working on how this will work for a city adventure. The general gist so far is.

  • One the same street: 1d3-1 encounters
  • Within the same quarter: 1d4 encounters.
  • Across the city: 1d6 encounters. 

Afterwards I sprinkle the encounters along the player's route where they would make sense. Sometime it more or less evenly spaced. Other times they can be bunched up around a single block of buildings.

Hope folks find this useful.

12 comments:

Kaique said...

Thank you Robert. It gave me a little light on how to run CSIO. I always avoided a City-State campaign because I really don't know how to handle it. There's a lot of streets, buildings, people, rumours, but I'm having a hard time structuring all those into a cohesive campaign.

Am I supposed to guide them through the streets like a dungeon? Or they just point where they want to go in a map, and the path they want to take, and I roll the encounters?

Robert Conley said...

Just have the players point where they want to go on a map and roll encounters. I recommend having a player's map devoid of building names for that purpose.

unknown said...

Atlanta home inspection is a booming industry because of the many cases found inside the homes which were proven to affect the health of the residents and the structure of the house. House inspection companies help out the residents in finding out what is wrong with the place they are residing or even if they are buying that property. Champia Real Estate inspections have the best home inspectors Atlanta has to offer because of their vast experience and their expertise in this field. Champia Real Estate Inspections has been working in Atlanta since 1987 and have a great number of positive reviews in their pocket to back their services. Their home inspectors are friendly and adaptable hence they make it easy for the customer to address their issues to them in order to understand the situation completely and take the necessary steps needed. To make it more comforting, they back their services with a number of warranties so that customers can rely on them completely.

unknown said...

There are two very important things that come to our mind when we think about a home inspection:
 Is it safe to let a stranger inside our house?
 Is spending money on this worth it?
We have the answers for you. While residing in Atlanta, and along with many options to choose from, Champia Real Estate is the best choice for you. While spending on getting a home inspection from them, it is affirmative that in whole Atlanta home inspection prices are very affordable as compared to the quality of services they are providing. They make sure that the money you are spending is worth the hustle. They involve you in the process to give you proper insights and maintenance tips. home inspectors in atlanta sent by Champia are certified professionals and they come with insurance plus different sorts of residential warranties so you can totally rely on them when it comes to these two terms which can make you worry about the process.

unknown said...

When it comes to Home Inspections Atlanta Georgia has the best inspection company named as Champia Real Estate Inspections because they were founded in 1987 and since then they have been serving with excellence. They have over 50000 completed inspections in their portfolio and have diverse expertise. This real estate inspection company deals with residential as well as commercial home inspections and have a delivery time of reports in 24 hours for residential inspections and around four days for commercial inspections. Their quick and efficient service plus their customer satisfaction rate is what makes their best real estate inspection and other states of Atlanta has to offer. Among many others, the three key qualities that make them prominent are their experience, certifications and their affordability. They come with additional warranties for residential inspections only so that the homeowner is comfortable with the services and the person that they are letting inside their house.

unknown said...

When it comes to Mold Testing Champia real estate inspections have the best services to offer. As they have the best home inspectors in Atlanta who have the necessary expertise to perform a successful home inspection and adequate experience. They have completed over 50000 inspections and a great number of positive reviews as a proof that you can rely on them completely when it comes to the healthy environment of your home. They provide a number of warranties as well for residential inspection so you can be relaxed about the outcome of the inspection. For residential inspection, they give 24 hours ultimatum and schedule and complete the appointments and reports at the exact time. The home inspectors at Champia are very adaptive and care about your comfort. They love it when you are an active part of the home inspection because in this way you can get to know more about the details and they can give you more tips about the maintenance about how to take care of your house after the inspection process.

unknown said...

When it comes to home inspection Atlanta ga has the best home inspection company who will deal with all your problems relating to the health of your house. One of the very common problems that are present in almost every house either known or unknown is the presence of mold inside the house. Mold is present around us everywhere so it is nearly impossible to eradicate them completely unless it is some heavy mechanical equipment. They are present in the air in the form of spores and spread on moist environments. It is a good new and bad one too because if you have moist surfaces at your home, there is a good chance that mold is present around you too and it can cause many harms to your health. It is also a reason to worsen present medical conditions like allergies and respiratory diseases. Champia offers the best Mold testing atlanta has. They have necessary expertise and equipment to deal with this problem and help you get rid of it.

unknown said...

In Atlanta, Real Estate Inspections are an important part to be included in your property maintenance routine because as much as getting your painted or getting apparent repairs done is important, a home inspection is important in order to know if your house is safe for you and your family to live or not. There are many factors that are hazardous for your family such as high levels of radon inside your home, mold problems, water leaks, termites, air pollution and other factors that pose a threat to your health. A known name for Home Inspection Atlanta has is Champia Real Estate Inspection which deals in home inspection as well as commercial inspections. They were founded in 1987 and have a record of over 50,000 completed inspections and a completion time of 24 hours which is pretty quick. Not to forget their multiple warranties on home inspection which makes it even more reliable.

unknown said...

In Atlanta real estate inspection is considered an important factor before proceeding with that property, whether its a workplace or your home. The fact that wherever you are going to spend the maximum of your time should be healthy for you. While we take care of the cleanliness of the space we are working in, taking care of the air quality around us is important as well. One of the most dangerous toxin that is present in the air around us is radon. Radon gas is present in the air around us but when it gets trapped around us inside our property where we breath, it can get stuck inside our system and its prolonged inhalation is the leading cause of lung cancer in non smokers. Champia real estate inspections offer bestRadon testing in Atlanta as they have the necessary equipment and experienced professional with relevant expertise and a huge number of positive reviews so one can completely rely on them regarding your safety and satisfying results.

unknown said...

Commercial property inspection is a term which is used when the help of a real estate inspector is needed on a bigger level. It is not just about a house anymore. In order to get done with this process, experience and skill is needed because we are never sure what will be in the box for us because in a place like Atlanta, commercial properties can be of any size and it is not possible for a regular home inspector to bluff on this level that he can satisfy the clients completely. Commercial property inspectors are experts who know exactly what they are dealing with. They are aware that anything can be present on the commercial property and it can be of any size so they need to be prepared prior to the inspection day and they should know how they are going to satisfy the client who is looking for their help regarding their commercial property.

unknown said...

While there are a ton of residential inspectors present around us always luring us to get a home inspection done from them and many home inspection companies are offering numerous perks if we get a home inspection done from them, when it comes to a commercial inspection, the list narrows down to a limited number and the reason behind this is that commercial property inspection is something on a bigger level and it requires a lot of expertise in order to get it right. When we search with words like commercial property inspection near me while residing in Atlanta, we may get a handsome amount of commercial inspectors on the search results but we should know what to look for before taking any decision. Champia Real Estate Inspections is a company offering expert services for people who are looking for a skilled and experienced commercial real estate inspector to help them in their time of need. They have been working since 1987 and have a number of positive reviews which is a guarantee itself that you will not be disappointed when to get their services.

unknown said...


As we are aware of the fact already that commercial inspection is very different from residential inspection hence the expertise needed for this to be done are different as well. Commercial inspector is someone who has the necessary experience needed for a commercial inspection which needs certifications and education required by the state along with a portfolio that states that they have done it before and the customers were happy and satisfied with the outcome of the inspection. As neglected as this perspective can be because there is more work when you are just a home inspector, being a commercial building inspector can be pretty rewarding as well because commercial buildings obviously cover more area hence the money will be good and as commercial building inspections are covered by companies, everything will be done more professionally along with the less hassle of having to involve in negotiations. All in all, commercial inspection can be pretty rewarding if a real estate inspector gets a good grip over it.