There’s a couple ways it could be done:
- Use the Sketchbox Dice Tool: The Quarters roll has you roll a d6 with pips for every town quarter (or every city district.) The pips represent neighborhoods, so the spaces between the pips represent streets.
- Use leximorphs (letter-shapes): Pick a word in some random way, or roll on the Random Random Table or equivalent for individual letters in each city district. Strokes in each letter represent streets.
- Use routes or “clock-paths”: This a new name for something I’ve described before: rolling several d12s and interpreting each as a clock direction (12 o’clock = North, 3 o’clock = East, etc.)
However, I want to expand on Option 3. In a couple of my random wilderness posts, I talked about navigation by landmark and creating random routes from one point to another. This seems the best approach for a city with a more organic feel.
- Start by defining the central features of each city quarter (the palace, the main temple or marketplace, etc.) Place those on your rough city map, perhaps using a roll on the Sketchbox Dice Tool as a guide to position.
- Each pair of major features can potentially be connected by a major thoroughfare. Decide which ones, or roll 1d6 for each pair: 5+ = connection. These are the main streets of the city.
- Each quarter contains five city districts, each of which will have a major landmark of some kind as its hub or central point: fountains, statues, unusual buildings, parks. Place these landmarks as you would place a central feature.
- For major streets, first check if a major landmark is connected by a street to the next closest landmark (5+ on 1d6.) Then, roll 3d12 for each landmark for additional major streets, using the result as the clock direction. Only unique results on the d12 count, so triples mean one extra street instead of three.
- City districts may also share major streets with neighboring districts (border streets) Roll 5d6 on the Sketchbox Dice Tool and treat any result of 5+ as a border street along the border indicated (north, south, east, west) on the tool.
If you need to know the orientation of any border street or minor street, roll 2d12. Read each die as a clock direction for one endpoint, relative to the center of a block, neighborhood, or district. If this seems to make a street double back on itself, make it a curve. When a minor street would cross another street, roll 1d12 for another clock direction. If this result would double back, the minor street ends instead. Otherwise, it crosses the other street, possibly changing direction.
Mapping city districts as players explore would resemble techniques I described in various wilderness hexcrawl posts, but I will have to describe this later.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
(CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.