20 February 2014

Spicier Cities: Stuff You Can Use

There's a set of tables for more interesting cities out there, from a blogger, called "One-Roll Cities" (actually, they're quite a few rolls, with a fistful of dice), fitting with the Reign RPG.  One of the tables lists ten interesting attributes a city might have.  I found the idea good but the execution scanty, and here's the one I did up in response, fifty deep.  Enjoy!



1.  Constantinople: The city has massive defenses of legendary stature, has never fallen to assault, and is considered impregnable.

2.  Akita:  There is a famous monument with miraculous properties.

3.  Baghdad:  A key element of infrastructure has fallen into disrepair from neglect or lack of funds, causing major impairments to business, lifestyle or public order.

4.  Mainz:  The printing press has exploded into consciousness; broadsheets and handbills cover every lamppost and wall, and books in the vernacular are affordable.

5.  Ur:  At least some of the infrastructure predates the known history of the city, and in its durability points to secrets of construction long since lost.

6.  Eburacon: There is a magical icon which awaits the return of a Sacred Ruler, and will only respond to that one.

7.  Paris:  The city is a marvel of planning, and the streets are on the whole well lit and maintained.

8.  Odessa:  The city has an extensive sewer system/catacombs. Huge.  Big enough to hold a city of its own.

9.  Alexandria:  The city has a colossal artifact which has been a landmark for all of history.

10.  Stonehenge:  A major supernatural site is well known, and the subject of much pilgrimage and study.

11.  Avonlea:  There is one outstanding unspoken quirk, such as red-colored roads, for no good or known reason.  Natives are either amazingly proud of it or blandly incurious.

12.  Providence:  The city is noted as a refuge for an exiled faction, race or religious group.

13.  Plymouth:  A city with historical significance well beyond its size or geopolitical/economic impact.

14.  New England:  Everything is historical, or is fancied to be.  You can scarcely travel a block before tripping over a commemorative plaque, a monument, a Tree of Liberty or some other historic site.

15.  Appalachia:  The city has unusual folkways distinctive from the regional culture.

16.  Everwood:  Many prominent structures are repurposed older buildings, and obviously so; churches turned into marketplaces, for instance.

17.  Salem:  A tourist center based on terrible events.

18.  Seattle:  A trick of local geography has weather significantly worse than the region’s in one particular fashion: very muggy in summer, rains too much year round, high snowfall in winter, the like.

19.  San Francisco:  The city is built on steep hills; there are many terraces, switchbacks, funiculars and stairs.

20.  Las Vegas:  The city is new, with either little in the way of history or little respect for such history as exists; old buildings are razed for new ones, all architecture is modern, and not much is built to last.

21.  Boston: The city is a trendsetter in a field of arts, culture or literature.

22.  Pleasantville:  Everyone is nice, quiet and traditional, and outsiders or strange ways draw a lot of attention.

23.  Manãna:  There is a strong culture of laissez faire, and stirring people to prompt, decisive action is difficult.

24.  Geneva: This city is well respected for its neutrality, and is frequently used as a meeting ground between warring or contending parties.

25.  La Serenissima: Residents do things the way they have always done, and are staunchly resistant to progress.

26.  Centralia: An ongoing man-made environmental disaster seriously impacts the health of the residents.

27.  New Orleans: The city lives for partying and spectacle, and the festivities go all night long ...

28.  Hong Kong:  Business – and The Deal – is the raison d’etre, and the overwhelming focus of the populace.

29.  Chicago:  The people want to be a major player, and think their home is, but suffer from an inferiority complex where the national/regional capital is concerned.

30.  Compostela:  The city is a major pilgrimage site, above and beyond its normal ecclesiastical footprint.

31.  Jericho: The city is one of the – if not the – oldest cities in the world, and the ruins of older iterations of the city are nearby/underneath.

32.  Los Angeles: Celebrities from the arts/sports are lionized, and their every utterance is on every tongue.

33.  Memphis: A major, international celebrity has a compound here.

34.  Star’s Hollow:  Eclectic, unique festivals are held every month, and it seems that whenever you’re there, there’s yet another offbeat parade or fest, for which much of the city shuts down.

35.  Minas Ithil: There is a spiritual sense to the city; either bright and elating, uplifting to the populace, or a dark miasma, corrupting and darkening every spirit.

36.  Venice: The Golden Age is long past, and people cling to shadows of ancient glories, sure that things will never get better again.  Buildings, dress, trappings are all beautiful and once-costly, but now shabby, faded and worn.

37.  Manhattan:  The residents have a positive, cheerful outlook and are sure Things Are Getting Better in this best of all possible worlds.

38.  St. Petersburg: The glitter and grandeur of the palaces of the aristocracy rub up against desperate slums, and the gulf between the haves and have-nots is unusually wide.

39.  Jakálla: The residents are xenophobic (and violent about it) to a high degree, and obvious foreigners leave their own insular districts at some risk.

40.  Peyton Place:  Everyone’s in everyone else’s business, and the notion of privacy is considered quaint and somewhat suspect.

41.  Gotham City:  The city has seen it all in its day, and attempts to improve its reputation or make cultural improvements are difficult and meet with resistance.

42.  Levittown: Everyone’s more or less of the same socioeconomic strata.  All the buildings are pretty much the same.  Most everyone pretty much acts the same.  Conformity in all things is the chief virtue.

43.  Belfast:  The city's just this side of a war zone, with hostile factions committing frequent depredations upon one another, often in defiance of the law.  Outsiders, based on the color of clothing they wear or a turn of phrase they use, are often assumed to be a member of a faction, and in any event are quizzed as to where they stand.

44.  Hershey:  The city has a renowned product or good.  Everything is about that product, every business revolves around it, every bit of architecture or art features or celebrates it, and everyone is either scared to death or provoked to rage at any threat to or disparagement of it.

45.  Dhaka:  A periodic natural hazard -- terrible winters, annual floods -- is a major but predictable problem for the city.  Either locals prepare for some weeks for the event (and risk being wrongfooted if the timing is off) or are dourly fatalistic over its impact.

46.  Juneau:  The city is geographically isolated, and cannot easily be reached by any land route ... if at all.

47.  London:  An integral part of the city's infrastructure -- or the prevailing technology -- is the most advanced in the world by far.  It's a major source of civic pride, and travelers from around the world come to study it.

48.  Jerusalem:  Multiple faiths (or sects of the same faith), hostile to one another, regard the city as a sacred site; at the very least, ill feelings visibly simmer.

49.  Strasbourg:  The city has a strategic location which has caused it to be invaded, and conquered, many times in its history.  Its population is ethnically and/or religiously diverse, with the most recently conquered faction being very unhappy with the reversal of fortune.

50.  Rome:  Once, the known world was ruled from this city.  Though those days are long past, its natives carry themselves with an arrogance born of ancient times, and upstart empires still seek the approval of -- or the rule over -- the imperial capital of old.


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