Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Not long ago, there were a couple blog posts about adventures in ruined cities. For example, this one on Hill Cantons. Many of the posts commented that there weren't many decent resources for running adventures in a ruined city. Many resources seem to just treat a ruined city as just another form of megadungeon. Someone even complained specifically about the random table approach to exploring a ruined city, but that may have been someone with a unique ax to grind.
A while back, I did some posts on an improv (sketchbox) approach to an underworld. Unlike a typical megadungeon, I was here assuming that the underworld was a subterranean city, or the remnants of a ruined city, possibly buried beneath a more modern city. There were thus a couple posts that could easily be adapted to an above-ground ruined city, such as using reaction rolls to determine the state of repair of city districts and ruined tunnels, or applying the kinds of blockage typical of sealed tunnels to streets. The main changes to these would be that above-ground ruins have three main types of connections instead of one (canals, roads, and bridges between buildings,) and these can be blocked by plantlife, such as vines and creepers, as well as the other materials listed in the ruined tunnels post.
Someone, I forget who, mentioned that ruined cities should be handled a bit like a jungle, specifically in regards to visibility. I'd expand that to say that moving from block to block in a ruined city should have the same chances of getting lost as in a jungle. Perhaps a good approach for prepping a ruined city adventure would be to divide the ruins into five sections, four quarters around a hub, and subdivide each section into five subsections, each of which will contain city blocks. Sketch at least one major thoroughfare between each of the main sections, then lesser streets between subsections. Once the adventurers reach one of these streets, they can travel without getting lost until they reach an impassable section of the route. If they travel into subsection, for example to take alleyways as a shortcut around a blocked route, they have to make rolls to avoid getting lost. Each time the party moves while lost, they enter a random block.
I'll have to consider some other possibilities for this, for example a modified evocative mood table that expands on the ruined tunnels possibilities.