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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Town and City Blocks: Variety

The town and city block tool I posted yesterday is meant to work with the sketchbox dice tool to help map towns and cities, especially when you postpone mapping beforehand and instead do it as the players explore the streets. There is some helpful information I left out, perhaps deliberately, although I don’t recall for sure. And that is: how do you make sure the streets have variety?

When making a “quarters roll” with the sketchbox dice tool, villages will have 3-18 blocks and towns will have 15-180 blocks. You do not want to have to roll for the arrangement of each block. So, roll 2d6 once for each group of blocks: once per quarter, for villages, or once per neighborhood, for towns. This sets the default block arrangement in that quarter or neighborhood. Almost all the blocks in that section will look the same.

If there are more than three blocks in a quarter or neighborhood, though, roll 2d6 a second time for the exception. One block out of the group will have a different arrangement. Pick which one is the exception block randomly in any way desired, for example by rolling 1d12 to get a clock direction from the center of the quarter or neighborhood.

Rolling cities with the sketchbox dice tool is not described, but is easy to do. Each quarter of a city is basically a whole town, subdivided into city districts instead of quarters.
  • Small cities will have four quarters containing a total of 20 districts and up to 120 neighborhoods.
  • Medium cities will have five quarters containing a total of 25 districts and up to 150 neighborhoods
  • Large cities will have six quarters containing a total of 30 districts and up to 180 neighborhoods.
Thus, it’s better to map out just the broadest details of a city in advance: where the quarters are and what they focus on, and perhaps the one or two most important districts in each quarter. Map the actual districts and neighborhoods as they are explored.

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