Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Getting started with city building

  1. #1
      the-golem is offline
    Guild Journeyer Facebook Connected
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    129

    Help Getting started with city building

    Ahoy!

    I'm wanting to work on some cities, to go along with the regional area I'm mapping in that forum. While the tutorials are easy enough, they don't really tackle things like .. how BIG the city should be.

    For example, the first city I want to map is a port town, and the capital of the region. Checking the sources, I'm getting population reports of 17,200; 21,000; and 27,300. Knowing the size of the city is half the battle. Unfortunately, I'm really at a loss as how big I should make the city, in terms of square mileage, concentration, or even the layout.

    I've been google-mapping small-ish towns at roughly that size, between 15k and 30k people, and I haven't found anything particularly inspiring. Most of those are part of a larger metropolis, and the rest seem to be a small center, with a large quantity of farming.

    Anyone have any pointers, tips, ideas? I would love to hear/read them.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ottawa, IL, USA
    Posts
    3,790

    Default

    I'm no expert at population density, but theres a discussion on the Paizo boards regarding this issue. Remember more people lived in tighter quarters in previous times. So an apartment today that holds a family of three, might hold a dozen or more people in a different age. Thus a city like the one I live which has a population of 17,500+, in square mileage might hold 75,000 or more. Depends on your setting of course. There were more people in less space in previous eras.

    GP
    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!
    http://www.gamer-printshop.com

    Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) Google+ community

  3. #3
      the-golem is offline
    Guild Journeyer Facebook Connected
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    129

    Default

    I did some reading on Paizo myself, after I read your post. For the most part, I'll agree. More people, with less space, in town. Generally speaking, back then, a large number of people still lived rurally.

    Obviously I'm not going to go block by block, counting each house as 5 people, or whatnot. Some parts would definately be more crowded, like the poor quarter >.<

    I noticed alot of city maps that don't include any sort of warehouse district. Being an area of high trade, I would expect some largish buildings near the docks, where trade could be stored while its awaiting transfer or pickup or whatever. Is that unreasonable?

    Apologies if I'm rambling. When I'm stuck on something I tend to ramble. ;-)

  4. #4
      Ascension is offline
    Community Leader Ascension's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    St. Charles, MO
    Posts
    8,216

    Default

    Warehouses are always important parts for trading towns, people who overlook those are losing all sorts of fun places for encounters to take place in. That said, I actually do count 5 people per house (single floor) 10 per house (2 floors) etc. Once I know how many are in one block then I just count blocks for that section. Then I move up and count sections and then quarters. The nobles section doubles the population density because of servants and because they have more land and are not so crowded. In terms of the physical size of the city, that's a gray area for you to play with.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  5. #5
      Ronson2k10 is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Try picking a geographic area that you would want to settle your town in. Hopefully one that already has some towns in it. Then dig into their history. You could use the Library of Congress database of maps. It's a great resource. You will always have rural areas around your center as people will come from great distance to settle but also there will be those that were already there. Those are less likely to move in closer if they can get to the city/town readily. When you are going through the histories of the towns make note of important events. They can lead you to your city. For instance if there was a fire or flood that forced the relocation of people to a new area that could also effect your city.

    Most people will want to move to a newish town for opportunity (jobs/commerce) so think of what major industries/trade are happening in your city and supply the proper amount of workers for that. You will also need transportation in and about as well is to and from your city. That often decides a location as well.

    You can write a history for your city it's major events and growth. It's much like a character. Give it a beginning and move forward...
    Last edited by Ronson2k10; 01-21-2010 at 10:29 AM.

  6. #6
      the-golem is offline
    Guild Journeyer Facebook Connected
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    Warehouses are always important parts for trading towns, people who overlook those are losing all sorts of fun places for encounters to take place in. That said, I actually do count 5 people per house (single floor) 10 per house (2 floors) etc. Once I know how many are in one block then I just count blocks for that section. Then I move up and count sections and then quarters. The nobles section doubles the population density because of servants and because they have more land and are not so crowded. In terms of the physical size of the city, that's a gray area for you to play with.
    Thanks for the feedback. When I was looking at maps here on the forums, I did notice a few that were ports, and actually did have a warehouse district. Oddly enough, the warehouses were on the opposite side of town from the docks, which seemed a bit off to me. I'll try mocking up a rough city blob, and throw it up here for comments. By blob, I mean ... well, you'll see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronson2k10 View Post
    Try picking a geographic area that you would want to settle your town in. Hopefully one that already has some towns in it. Then dig into their history. You could use the Library of Congress database of maps. It's a great resource. You will always have rural areas around your center as people will come from great distance to settle but also there will be those that were already there. Those are less likely to move in closer if they can get to the city/town readily. When you are going through the histories of the towns make note of important events. They can lead you to your city. For instance if there was a fire or flood that forced the relocation of people to a new area that could also effect your city.

    Most people will want to move to a newish town for opportunity (jobs/commerce) so think of what major industries/trade are happening in your city and supply the proper amount of workers for that. You will also need transportation in and about as well is to and from your city. That often decides a location as well.

    You can write a history for your city it's major events and growth. It's much like a character. Give it a beginning and move forward...
    I appreciate your comments as well, although I don't hafta worry about the location much. As I mentioned, I'm pulling this from published materials (WoG 1983 Boxed Set, the LGG, and associated maps.) What I know is that this city is the a major trade port, and was declared a regional capital after the current prince took his thrown -- He moved the center of rule to his hometown. The reason for the doubling in size makes sense, once I think about it. Orcish armies invade, take half of the territory. Citizens flee, go to the big towns.

    So, to sum it up, I know its a big important port city. I know that the town was fortified later, not first. (Althought that happened 250-300 years prior to now, so maybe not much of an impact). Oh, and the population, and the rough location ( which gives me like 30 miles quare to work with)

    Anyway, I'll respond again shortly with my thoughts bubbled down of how the layout should look
    Last edited by the-golem; 01-21-2010 at 12:44 PM.

  7. #7
      the-golem is offline
    Guild Journeyer Facebook Connected
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Okay, I worked up a quick idea in Paint.NET.

    I tried to keep things that are closely related close to each other. For example, The warehouses are next to the docks, and the industrial things (like boat-building and smelting) are right next to both of those. Connected to industrial and the warehouse district is the metalworkers district, and in the center of the city is the market/trade area. On the right side, I have the fort and military garissons, with the royalty/rich folk just above them.

    Then I have a gigantic hole where I guess religous centers and middle class people could stay... not sure.

    Ideas?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Getting started with city building-gryrax.png  

  8. #8
      Talmariel is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Pyrandon's tutorial for Eneini got me started.

    Basically, do your geography first (water, hills, other features), then sketch in the town's expansion. Start with the original settlement and major roads, and mark all the growth as it happened, bearing in mind the city's history. It gives a much more organic feel.

    As far as town size, D&D's Dungeon Master's Guide suggests a building (of any kind) for every 10 people for an average medieval-fantasy city. Double it for a sparse population, and half for dense. That worked out well for me, using the growth-sketching method.

  9. #9
      Ascension is offline
    Community Leader Ascension's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    St. Charles, MO
    Posts
    8,216

    Default

    Indeed religion and parks and entertainment go into the hole. The layout looks logical if one were building a whole city from start but I'm with Tal in that it doesn't just start (except by imperial decree and imperial millions of dollars) but rather grows. So some things should overlap quite a bit and there would probably be many smaller sections instead of big sections.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  10. #10
      the-golem is offline
    Guild Journeyer Facebook Connected
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    129

    Default

    I posted this in my Overland Ulek thread, in response to someone's comment; I thought it appropriate enough to also post here:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Gryrax had a population of 17k before the war, and 10-15 years after, swelled up to almost 30k. I started a thread about city planning over in the Town/City Mapping forum. My campaign takes place right during the war .. sorta half-way through really, so I'm planning for a population between those two.

    Gryrax itself is centuries old, and has been the seat of power for roughly 300 years, ever since the current Prince took the throne. The Principality is dwarven ruled, but this city itself has more humans than demi-humans, considering it's concentration on trade. Humans are more adept at sea-faring than dwarves, hence this saturation. Also, many of the villages closer to the right border (the river) have been transplanted as a result of war, and have migrated to the outskirts of the town, seeking refuge.

    My vision consists of a semi-popular port town that grew organically around a protected cove. When the Prince moved the seat of power to his hometown, Gryrax, He built the castle, and worked with his best engineers and architects to develop the city. So, the innermost portion of the city is concentrated on the ports, with the middle-portion being more planned and structured, and less organic. There would be designated centers of commonality, such as an area of industry next to the warehouses next to the smiths. The market and merchant quarter would be centered in the city, and would serve as a crossroads for the major axes (as in plural of axis, not axe). There would probably be a pre-planned religios district rather close to the market area, but I would expect to find religious centers intersperses all throughout the town. The outskirts of the town will most likely be temporary structures, somewhat shanty like and quite organic; this would most likely be where the refugees live. There would also be an obvious area where the affluent/nobility live. If you look at the thread I linked earlier, you can see an *idea* of how the city might look. It's rather rough, and I'm not really sold on the layout.

    As far as the technology level, *shrug*. Since it's basically a Dwarven city, I would expect the stonework and structures to be master-level quality, but it would still be high-medieval society. I sorta treat my dwarves as slightly more advanced than the human counterparts. Well-paved roads. Working aqueducts. Almost Roman Empire in terms of quality of work, I would guess.
    Last edited by the-golem; 01-22-2010 at 07:03 AM.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •