Thursday, November 12, 2015

Parts of the city... (Locations part II)

I'm sure this has been done elsewhere...perhaps in a fine supers RPG product...but I haven't found something similar for years (not that I've been looking).

Most hints on RPG adventure plotting tell you to come up with an idea or a timeline for the villains first, which is great. Even the two superhero adventure random generators that I've seen are really about coming up with a plan for the heroes to disrupt.

But the place often gets ignored. It might be because the place falls out of the combination of plot and your campaign, or it might be because place is too random. Maybe it's better suited to a random encounter generator of some kind. So here is a random list of areas and some typical settings within them for stories. I did a location list before--many of those were specific. This is more where those locations might be put. These areas might flavour those areas: a mall in the middle of a depressed slum might have a very different tone than a mall in the middle of a ritzy enclave.

  1. Business district: corporate headquarters, travel agencies, office buildings with a variety of companies, mail order firms, restaurants.
  2. Civic area: city hall, municipal offices, arena, park, skate park, pool, main library, community centre, adult recreation building, jail, police or fire station.
  3. Disaster site: restricted access, fenced in, former supervillain fight or lair, smoking ruins, leftover cleanup equipment.
  4. Educational or military: area including a college or university or a military base, so there are cheap places to eat, the actual schools or base, low-rent housing for students or military families, stores for booze and groceries.
  5. Ethnic concentration: A specialized form of town, with a higher concentration of commercial establishments that deal with items unique to that ethnicity. We're talking Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Italy, Little Moscow, Little Portugal, Tokyo Lite, and so on. In some campaigns, that will extend to aliens of a particular stripe or all aliens.
  6. Financial district: banks, stock trading houses, investment corporations, insurance companies, very high end stores, restaurants.
  7. Industrial district: factories, warehouses, illegal or low-rent housing, breakfast places.
  8. Hidden city: the disenfranchised, the homeless, a place to hide, large quantities of the underworld or criminal element.
  9. Residential: light industry, illegal industry (such as grow-ops), middle-class houses, lower-class houses, gated communities, golf course, coffee shop, beauty salons, suburb.
  10. Rural: Farming, test fields for agricultural work, clusters of houses that can't be called towns, service station-restaurants, various equipment stores, prisons, sewage or water treatment plant, power plant.
  11. Slum: houses, tenements, abandoned institutions, shining lab built as an inspiration, low-tech factories, bodegas, fast food places.
  12. The Strip: Some kind of entertainment area: theatres, restaurants, dance clubs, strip clubs, porn shops, head shops, cinemas.

Again, these are ideas only, not a strait-jacket. You might find one element inside another, or oddball things certainly happen. Maybe this city has a farm in the middle, because the Bauer family refuses to sell, and they own enough that  they can enforce the fact that this university campus includes an alfalfa field. Or any section might have a police station or a fire station, a water tower, construction or destruction of some kind, a power transfer station, or a public transit hub.

And I formatted this nicely as a one-pager and it's on the web:

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