Suggestions for city builds w/in a large city

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AnimeSensei
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Re: Suggestions for city builds w/in a large city

Post by AnimeSensei » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:47 pm

nielsene wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:21 am
I've read through several pages of your campaign, but I haven't seen anything that feels similar. Was there a particular spot within the story that you though would be more analogous?
As GODofwar mentions, it depends on how much you railroad. I set up my campaign basically only one week in advance and my players are pretty good at staying on target most of the time. If I plan too far ahead we never get where I intended. I've only had to break down a setup a couple of times, but I save the info for use at a later time.

So essentially what I'm saying is plan out that evening's session and build what you need for it. Save what you need if it will be recurring. Don't bother building areas that won't be used where it matters. For me it needs to be either a combat zone, a setting piece ("this is what the castle looks like" etc), or an option. (For instance, if there is a street fight, I do build the adjacent buildings just in case they are used in the battle.) After the session is done, ask your players what they think their next plans will be (these don't always remain consistent though) and build the next session from there.

I don't think it's feasible to have a castle, an inn, a mansion, a temple, etc. all out at the same time and interconnected on a table. You'll have to have theater of the mind in between if you want a large city. If it were a small village you could likely get away with building the whole thing at once, but if you want large-scale, you'll likely have to break up the scenery.

My best example I can show you is this one from my Rise of Tiamat campaign. viewtopic.php?f=32&t=7208&p=96526&hilit=tiamat#p96526
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Re: Suggestions for city builds w/in a large city

Post by bernyleung » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:29 am

jackattack wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:54 pm
When the party reaches the edge of the setup, pick up the minis and relocate them to another appropriate spot in the setup, or just turn them around and send them back the way they came. Any decor items in the streets can be shuffled around for variety.
This is a tried and true strategy that I use. I find it especially useful for cavern/underground terrain. I can build one central area with a few side passages and entrances, and then re-use the same layout by having the party approach from different sides/corners/nooks. A quick shuffle of interior elements such as elevation areas should give the variety you need with about 10-15 seconds of work.

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Re: Suggestions for city builds w/in a large city

Post by Rabbit Burner » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:20 am

You will have to excuse me if this is the dumbest idea ever!
As I have no experience of running an overground dungeon using 3D terrain.

The Last dungeon I ran was the Temple of Elemental Evil back in 95!

But reading your dilemma I thought of how in KSV you can use terrain trays to add the next pre built room as the PCs go through.

So I thought what if you had a number of small pre built setups where you just change the order the PCs encounter them according to which route they take. So you have 3 pre builds say A, B & C and depending on the routes the PCs take determines the order. Route 1 A, B then C - Route 2 B, C then A, Route 3 C, B then A etc

Obviously depends on how rigid your map is and how much CBS you have.

Just a thought :)
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Re: Suggestions for city builds w/in a large city

Post by jackattack » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:54 pm

When they filmed Temple of Doom, they didn't build miles of track and tunnel sets for the action-tracking shots -- they built a circular track and tunnel set (and changed the lighting every lap to make it look different).

Instead of trying to set up the entirety of each and every route the party might take, set up the locations you want to use as one or two city blocks with streets and alleys.

When the party reaches the edge of the setup, pick up the minis and relocate them to another appropriate spot in the setup, or just turn them around and send them back the way they came. Any decor items in the streets can be shuffled around for variety.

If you have a map, you can track progress on that. If not, you should decide ahead of time how many blocks the party needs to travel to each potential destination.

This will require some cooperation from your group. If they split up, or spread out too far, you may not have enough room for this to work. Consider setting up target zones the entire party has to be in before they can start the next leg of their journey.

It isn't a perfect solution (it's kind of like the chase scenes in Scooby Doo where they ran across the same background ten times) but it should allow you to move the party through the city's streets with the space and DF available.
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Re: Suggestions for city builds w/in a large city

Post by GODofwar » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:54 pm

Nielsene:

I handle this four common ways. First, I don't believe my campaign should EVER be 'on rails' - at any stage. I deliberately set up my encounters so players have at least two, but almost always three, options that are plausible given the plot. Each of those options - I follow Jamison and call them 'Challenges' - has at least TWO different ways that get the PC "out" of the challenge.

Given that means there are 4-6 possible outcomes every time the PC face a significant choice, and given that players often stubbornly follow their own path anyway*, that seems like a lot of possibilites.

METHOD #1 (most common, keeping in mind your problem is specifically cities): I bound all the possibilities in a single neighborhood in the city. The PC still CAN go outside the nabe, they just won't find anything useful to the problem they are facing.

METHOD #2: Bound the possibilities in two areas of the city, with transit between them by highly restricted routes (you CAN get from A to B via the Warrens, but that nest of twisting streets is unknown to PC...likely to delay them 2x or 3x as long as the main route...and full of dangers of its own). Then have buildings only for the two nabes, each smaller than the nabe in Method #1.

METHOD #3: All the Challenges lead to secret tunnels, or portals, or other things, which have termini in distant locations within the city...but each location is somehow bounded.

METHOD #4: I often use a large city map, withy every building indicated, and simply build the building/s that the PC choose to go to. If encounters happen en route, I just build those buildings. This takes a little longer, but not a lot. I find having time to think while I build often makes play better.

If no combat is likely to be involved, I may roleplay without a structure for things like encounter in a store.


*Off topic, so skip if you like. For example, when my oldest campaign (7 years) hit a tough challenge....the PC mostly had special powers drawn from a previous encounter with sheglien (if you really care, yes, drawn from the Birthright series, see http://www.birthright.net/forums/showth ... wnsheglien). They were in a very risky raid on a major awnsheglien's castle/stronghold. Unfortunately Major Awnsheglien showed up unexpectedly - not a bad roll, I had preplanned his itinterary long before the PC decided to raid the castle! I expected them to die, or kill him - like that. But no. Instead, they inveigled a talk with him, and one PC (high Rank assasin, essentially) killed him with a Blood Blade - thus inheriting Major Awhsheglien's Domain, which happened to be stragetically important. But PC #2 got the blade and killed PC #1...but had a complete lifesaving strategy on hand, so PC#1 did not die, he just lost the Domain to PC#2. So after 6 years of play, all the other PC dumped PC#2!!!
That was not in my plot book.

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Re: Suggestions for city builds w/in a large city

Post by nielsene » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:21 am

I've read through several pages of your campaign, but I haven't seen anything that feels similar. Was there a particular spot within the story that you though would be more analogous?

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Re: Suggestions for city builds w/in a large city

Post by AnimeSensei » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:30 pm

LMK if any of this helps. I'd love to know if my experience helped out.

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Suggestions for city builds w/in a large city

Post by nielsene » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:40 pm

In most dungeon settings I'm comfortable pre-building and revealing as the party progresses. However in dungeon both the players and I tend to have a pretty good idea what they're going to do -- maybe they've established a 'follow the left wall' pattern, etc plus dungeons (at least at lower level) tend to be more contained.

I've avoided using my DF for cities, but am trying to force myself to do some now, however the scale is killing me. Maybe its not the best setting to start with, but I'm trying to plan something out for an encounter in one of my capitol cities. Obviously the whole city won't fit on my table (even if I had enough DF).

The encounter should start in a tavern/inn -- something I can easily handle. It should turn into a sneaking/fight escape/retreat to a range of possible destinations -- seek shelter at the castle, one of the nobles mansions, perhaps one of the temples if a PC has a connection there, out into the woods, etc. I want this to be open ended, its early in a campaign and I feel the characters choices matter more here. I don't really want to have top stop the flow of things to fly in/slide around street sections as the chase unfolds, but there is likely to be some tactical elements so I also don't want to just jump from tavern to destination with theatre of the mind in between.

What have people done, effectively in these type of situations?

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