View Full Version : Unnamed Cliff City for a Friend (WIP)

06-02-2013, 01:52 AM

Started a new project for a friend of mine. He wanted a cliff city where a winged race of 'dragon-people' lived. The idea is that the city resides on top of miniature buttes in a river canyon with bridges going in between each district/butte. Not going to lie, I'm a little out of my element, but I figured it would be a productive challenge. I would love some advice on street layouts for this style of map.

06-02-2013, 03:21 AM
http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/14653-diyun-city-map.html might be of interest.

06-02-2013, 10:30 AM
Thank you! I remember seeing this awhile ago, but I couldn't think of the name.

06-02-2013, 11:02 AM
One thing that I think of when it comes towns for winged races is that they are going to need room for take off and landings. I am not too sure that they would have streets as such as opposed to spaces around buildings. I do believe that they would walk from one building to another, but if they needed to go any distance they would most likely fly from their location to the next location, walking the least possible distance, and the buildings would be located to allow for their wingspan. Another consideration would be how accessible this town is to the "vertically immobile". If not then their really would be no need for bridges and the differences in butte heights can be much more drastic, and some of the locations could actually be located in the walls of the buttes. If there is some foot traffic there might be a specific area that is accessible to the foot traffic and others reserved for the winged.....

Just my two cents worth and I hope that it doesn't muddy the waters TOO much ;), and I look forward to seeing this progress.

06-02-2013, 11:58 AM
No no, you make valid points. Like I said, I'm out of my element on this one, so advice is very welcome. For me, I like using streets to make organic flowing shapes and with this it's going to be hard to get that same flow. We had already decided that the city would be all over the buttes and the people would live a certain height based on their class in society. So, you will literally have an upper and lower class.

06-02-2013, 12:20 PM
With the idea that the upper classes have easier access to open air. I like that.

Remember that streets arise from a flow of traffic, and that like businesses often group together in larger towns/cities for convenience of the owners and the customers. Following my earlier post, I think that these districts would still be grouped together and cater to foot traffic, but just think of the "streets" as being wider as well as the accesses to the building (clearing folded wings and all), and the Higher classed services being offered at the higher locations.

BTW, I really like the layout of the buttes and use of contours :)

06-02-2013, 02:46 PM
What if they didn't enter the buildings from the street and the entrances were on the roofs? I'm guessing buildings would take on a more clustered configuration. Or perhaps you had nodes that buildings grouped around. Take for example, you have a large plaza roughly 60 to 70ft in diameter that serves as the take off and landing area and buildings grouped around that. With that, you could still have a street that leads in and out of each node.

06-02-2013, 03:09 PM
Depending on their type of flight, access to a steep dropoff would likely be far more valuable than a flat area. Winds tend to flow up the sides of buttes like that, offering ready-made lift. A dropoff allows for getting airspeed by falling. So higher cliff-edge dwellings would be more valuable. Bridges connecting the two sides would likely have takeoff platforms or simply no railings to allow for quick flight.

Flat rooftop landings would likely be the most efficient means of entry, with ground-level entrances purely for trading purposes with the lesser races. Assuming the usual laziness of life-forms everywhere, there would likely be at least one elevator or lift system per butte to allow for moving heavier cargoes and people up to higher levels. Assuming some sort of racial claustrophobia, I would expect to see lots of external stairways connecting to bridges and jump-off points.

With magic, there might be lift towers (areas with permanent strong up-breezes) to let the people get to higher levels with less effort. Otherwise, a basic crane or powered rope loop (perhaps like a water-powered ski lift) would probably be present.

06-02-2013, 07:25 PM
I think, based on what Waldronate and Korash have already said, you might want to check out the ancient Near East city of Catalhoyuk, in Anatolia. It was a city which didn't have streets (although it may have had shared courtyards. The buildings were built right up against each other, and access was through the roof. People could travel across the city by going (via ladders) from roof to roof. I can imagine this being used for your city (although, granted, it would be a challenge figuring out how to map it).

06-02-2013, 09:43 PM
Catalhoyuk is a nice city, but the commissioner specifically asked for gothic style architecture in a grand city. I appreciate the input, though. I think I might go with a combination of the 'node' layout and roof entrances. The buildings along the cliffs will have special launch pads and the bridges will have no railings. Another feature I think will be useful is flags. Flags everywhere to display wind conditions :)

06-02-2013, 10:43 PM