Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to build a Swords&Sorcery city -Adventurer style !

CITIES


Many adventures will begin and end at a city; most will involve one at some point.  The primary fact about any city, and likely what distant folks will know of it, is its reputation. Reputation both defines what is expected from such a city (such as maintenance and public works), and shapes the results of its other characteristics (such as law and the personality of its rulers and their servants).  Additionally, a cities reputation provides some direct modifiers when rolling for its other characteristics


Code
A
B
C
D
E
X
Reputation
Lawful
Pragmatic
Corrupt
Decadent
Chaotic
Evil

2,3,4
5,6
7,8
9,10
11
12

wealth +1
Law +1

wealth -1

size +1*
wealth+1
Law -2
Wealth-1
ruler +3
 law +3

Lawful
Rule of law, consistently, if often obsessively, applied; trade is protected,
organized and static ;reliable.
Traditions are clung to, respected and enforced.  Authorities are generally obeyed
respected or feared equally.
Little change can be expected between visits, and is extremely hard to bring about.
Upkeep, repair and hygiene are major and constant priorities for the rulers. 
Often the last to accept widespread changes in culture or technology.
A few ancient guilds generally dominate trade and industry, and seldom change.
Slavery, indenture, and caste related rules strongly enforced and very seldom
altered. Little social mobility. 
Banishment is a common punishment, as is quick and clean execution to encourage public order.
An elaborate system of fines and repayments are also generally enforced.
Pragmatic
As Lawful, but greater priorities, or important immediate issues may take precedent.
Trade is generally protected, somewhat organized and open to innovation.
Law may differ for different populations or classes, or be altered to reflect major
changes with moderate effort. Moderate change between visits;
Traditions respected, and generally followed but not necessarily enforced as law.
Upkeep repair and hygiene.
Established trade and industry controlled by numerous guilds, with newer
enterprises often unregulated as they grow.
Slavery, indenture, and caste related rules are enforced but can be altered. Some
social mobility is possible.
Criminal penalties geared towards public education, including public execution,
mutilation and public humiliation.
Corrupt
As pragmatic, but with money and political gain as the main priorities.
The main goal of the rulers and servants, and much of the population, is personal
gain.
The wealth of the city is slowly being sucked into the rulers’ hands, and those of
their minions. 
Trade is protected to the extent that it pays for it. Bribes for service often
institutionalized.
Laws can be altered by bribes, as can nearly an official decision; often de facto
bidding decides cases in courts.
Public works tend to suffer due to bribery, graft and corruption, or are essentially
private money making schemes.
Slavery, indenture, and caste related rules are enforced insofar as they are
profitable. .C
Criminals are generally treated as cheap resources rather than executed or
imprisoned.
Slavery, forced labor and huge fines are typical penalties.
Social mobility is possible if one has the money
Decadent
Laws exist, but not the motivation to enforce them.  Pleasure and novelty are
major motivators for all.
Laws may well be ignored or enforced as convenient or amusing. 
Traditions less important unless they directly affect an individual.
Public maintenance generally ignored.
Elaborate and multilayered political scheming is the norm,
often to no discernable goal.
Change very likely as regards fads, fashion and hobbies; little attention is paid to
much else.
Criminals are often banished or immediately executed as an annoyance; equally
likely they are used as entertainment
Social mobility is possible, but often fleeting and dependent on fame or fashion.
Chaotic
While it may well have official rulers and servants, actual control is constantly
shifting, and open conflict is common.
Laws might exist but are applied arbitrarily or unevenly, or are invented at whim.
Unlike a corrupt city, power is the key factor in all decisions. 
Feuds and vendetta may predominate, or an elaborate set of old boy networks,
generally at odds.
Public works depend entirely on the local users for the local users benefit to the
city as a whole, is  generally ignored.
Punishments are swift and final, as befits a system where tomorrow may bring a
totally different social arrangement.
Social mobility beyond ones local party is negligible.
Evil
Laws exist only to benefit and protect the rulers, and to promote some evil agenda. 
The rulers of a city are only motivated by their own base agenda; the city is either
ignored or ruthlessly exploited for the final goal.
Often, the city is treated as an ultimately expendable resource in pursuit of a
greater goal, and thus decisions may be extremely short sited as regards effects
upon the city.
Little or no attention is paid to anything that does not further the rulers’ plans,
anything that impedes it is ruthlessly crushed.
Laws are either ignored or crushing, depending on the above.
Sacrifice and gruesome public execution are common penalties for most offences,
as is enslavement at unspeakable labor.
Social mobility is impossible.
Cities are further defined by their primary and secondary characteristics.
Primary characteristics define basic demographics of the city, which are then given a range of expression by a secondary characteristic. Primary characteristics are generated by a 2D6 roll, in many cases modified by previous primary rolls. 

Population is the maximum number of hearths (families).  Actual value can range down
to just above the maximum of the previous category. Generated by 2d6-2
Wealth measures what the middle class or higher citizen would be described and effects
the value of treasures and caches in the city.  Generated by 2d6-7+Pop
Size affects the number of hexes or squares on a city scale map. 0 suggests that it is
hidden, lost or buried, or destroyed except for some artifacts. Generated by  2d6-7+Pop
Ruler is described separately.
Generated by 2d6-2
Law is the strictness that an outsider has face; the basic throw to avoid trouble with the
law, enter the city secretly, to escape or receive justice. Generated by  2d6-7+Ruler
Influence effects the number hexes around and including the polis that are under the
cities’ influence. Actual rule by the city is 1d6 less Generated by 2d6-7+Ruler



Population*
Wealth**
Size***
Ruler
Law
Influence

0
0/ruins
None
Hidden
None
None
Powerless beyond walls

1
10
Impoverished
Tiny
Family



2
50


Tribal



3
100
Poor

Council



4
500


Oligarchy



5
1000
Unremarkable

Autocracy



6
5000


Factional



7
10,000
Well off

Conquered



8
50,000


Dictator



9
100,000
wealthy

Tyrant



A
500,000


Dynastic



B
-
rich

-



C
-


-
Total


D
-
Opulent

-
-


E
-


-
-


F
-
Staggering
Huge
-
-
Domineering


Ruler
None
Might makes right; the strong do as they will, and the weak do as they must.
Family
Rule  and law applied on a family by family basis
Tribal
Clan based, families have common rule and decision
making
Council
A small group of rulers make laws and policy. Membership is generally quite open, and terms limited.
Oligarchy
As Council but membership is limited to a small subgroup
 of the demos.  Entry into the subgroup is possible, but
limited or difficult. May be obvious or covert, defined by
law or custom.
Autocracy
As Oligarchy, but the subgroup is generally small, socially
 defined, and closed to new members; Terms are often
defined by the members. Invariably obvious, generally
legally defined
Factional
No one authority controls the polis.
Conquered
The Polis is a conquered possession of another; rule is
imposed by the conqueror with little input locally.
Dictator
Rule by a single person, generally chosen to deal with a
crisis, with limited term but unquestioned power and
support. Ruler type should be rerolled at +2 once term
ends.
Dynastic
As dictator, but it has become inherited, either thru
families (as with a king)  or institutionally (as with a
theocracy), and potentially of unlimited term.
Tyrant
As dictator, but with unlimited term, and support is
irrelevant; often replacing a Dynasty, and/or the start of a
new one.
Polis is the city (or town) Demos is the population of the Polis. Term is the time any one member can expect to remain in power.
Secondary characteristics are always rolled with an unmodified D6, and represent ways the primary characteristic can be expressed.

Primary
Secondary
Population
Openness vs. Insularity

Religion: Few vs. Many

Morale
Wealth
Trade vs. Treasury (wealth is mobile/situational vs. hoarded)

Military quality Poor vs. good
Size
Declining vs. Expanding

Ancient vs. new
Ruler
Complacency vs. Aggression

Allegiance: local vs. distant
Law
Ruler stability vs. instability

Consistency
Influence
Diplomacy vs. Military means of control

6 comments:

rorschachhamster said...

Yeah!

But the table of rulers is quite off for me.

Doc Grognard said...

Do you mean that you don't like it (which is fine), or that you can't read it (which is a problem)?

ADD Grognard said...

Yeah, it's the formatting...a lot of the post is bleeding over into your right column.

I'm going to try a copypaste to a doc and see if it cleans it up. This is right up my alley right now :)

Doc Grognard said...

Hmmm. It works fine in Safari, but the bleed over is there in firefox.

Bugger.

Greg said...

Hmmm. I'm not understanding how Secondary characteristics are determined. It says rolla d6, but I see no numbers correlating to the results. Also, I dont see anything in the charts for Polis, Demos or Terms and how that is derived. They appear to be missing from the charts. At least in my browser.

Doc Grognard said...

Working on the formatting folks, sorry about that.

@greg, see later post for corrections.