A Magical Medieval City Guide (3.5e Other)/Generating
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Population and Density
Population is the crux of many generation factors in the city. Besides the information in core rulebook II, population also determines the range of population density, and the average number of structures and wards in a magical medieval city. After establishing population see Table IV.1-Urban Statistics and core rulebook II's demographic section to determine the other vital statistics of the city.
Most magical medieval cities are small, generally less than 1 sq. mile, or 640 acres. To determine the physical size of the city in acres, take the adult population and divide it by the population density. For example, a small city with 10,000 adults and a density of 100 adults/acre is 100 acres. All 100 acres may be enclosed in a city wall, or part of the city may spill outside of the walls into shantytowns. The size of the city does not include fields for growing food, although small and large towns may include space for gardens and are less structurally dense than cities.
Table IV.1-Urban Statistics
|Community Size||Population Density (adults/acre)||Average Number of Structures (per acre)|
Average Number of Structures
The average number of structures in a town or city is the size of the city (in acres) multiplied by a chosen average within range on Table IV.1-Urban Statistics. For example, a small city of 100 acres with an average of 50 structures per acre has roughly 5,000 structures in the city. This gives an overal picture of the city. For more specific information about the number and placement of structures, see wards. For more information about individual structures and building structures, see Appendix IV-Building System.
Gold Piece Limit
Listed by community size in core rulebook II under generating towns, the gold piece limit determines the maximum priced items that may be found in a community.
Determined by the population and the gold piece limit of the community, the available wealth of a city is in core rulebook II in the section on generating towns.
Income for Lord/King
A lord's income generated from towns and cities are percentages of the wealth, found on Table IV.2-Payments. The recipient of a city's payments is not necessarily a single aristocrat. For example, a small town resides on the demesne of two lords, who are rich members of the gentry. These two lords grant the small town a joint charter and receive their feudal obligation in the form of year-round payments. The lords over those two members of the gentry discover that the two members of the gentry are now receiving income from a town and raise the taxation. The total payment is 800 gp, 400 gp going to each member of the gentry. One lord taxes his vassal 100 gp, while the other lord taxes 150 gp. So the original 800 gp is divided among 4 aristocrats: 300 gp to one town lord, 250 gp to the other town lord, 100 gp to the first town lord's lord, and 150 gp to the second town lord's lord. Were the town more valuable, the town lords' suzerains may also get in on the act.
|Community Size||Percentage of Wealth|
Small to large towns possess approximately 5% of their town's wealth in magic. Small cities to metropolises possess approximately 10% of their wealth in magic. Wealth for communities is determined in core rulebook II.
Every town and city has wards, or self-contained urban communities. These wards are the basic living blocks, akin to neighborhoods in the dense city. There are twelve different types of wards in a magical medieval city. Wards come in different sizes, structural densities, and styles of buildings. Most ward information is based on the acre, which is 43,560 sq. feet or a roughly 210 ft. by 210 ft. square. Some wards reside within the wall, others outside of the wall. For example, a group of craftsmen are living outside the walls due to a town's rapid population growth. Such a ward should be considered a craftsmen ward rather than a shantytown, even though it lies outside of the city walls. See Table IV.3-Wards for a list of wards from most structurally dense to least structurally dense and their respective building styles.
Administration: Administration wards house the structures of civic endeavors. They include courthouses, buildings for record keeping, taxation, and any other of the various functions of the city government. In smaller urban communities, administration structures are spread throughout the various wards of the city. But in small cities or larger, cities may have their own administration ward, housing these buildings and some the civic employees. In general the administration ward has larger but fewer buildings.
Craftsmen: Craftsmen wards house the workshops, homes, and warehouses of craftsmen. Often a craftsmen's home, workshop and shop are one in the same. Craftsmen live, create, and sell their goods in the same space. Most of the buildings in craftsmen wards are these workshop/homes, while the size of their homes varies with the wealth of the craftsmen. Craftsmen wards are also the most common wards within the city walls. Multiple craftsmen wards may occur in large towns or larger.
Gate: Gate wards are a bustling part of town, where traders line up to enter the city, sellers hawk their goods, and vendors sell various foods on a stick. Gate wards are second only to market wards in activity. In order to have a gate ward, communities must have gates, or designated areas where people must enter the city. At these areas of entry, some level of inspection, inquiry, or taxation of merchants usually takes place. These sorts of conditions create the bustling and enterprising environment of a gate ward, usually found in small cities or larger. They tend to be some of the structurally densest wards in the city, second to shanty-towns and slums.
Market: Market wards do not house many people. They are home to wealthier shops, guild houses, great churches, pavilions, merchant offices, and trading spaces. Market wards vary in size, from the large market ward of a city's main market to the smaller market wards of commodity markets. Market wards are teeming with warehouses, shops, offices, fountains, and grand displays of architecture appropriate for the city. They are more structurally dense than craftsmen wards, but less so than the gate wards.
Merchant: Merchant wards house the city's merchants, their shops, warehouses, and offices. With shops and storefronts underneath their homes, they are more dense than patriciate wards, but less dense than craftsmen wards. There is usually only one merchant ward in town, though multiples may occur in wealthy large cities or metropolises.
Military: Not typical in most towns and cities, military wards house soldiers and generals, conduct military training, and manage concerns of civic defense. Military wards are built in cities that employ mercenaries or keep a professional standing army paid for by the city treasury. They are less structurally dense, housing soldiers in barracks and requiring open space for training.
Odoriferous Business: Odoriferous business s are often outside of the walls, need a steady supply of water, and maintain occupational segregation in a magical medieval city when other professions and crafts intermingle. They tend to be less structurally dense than craftsmen wards, because of the limited people who occupy the ward and kinds of trade that qualify as odoriferous businesses, namely tanners, dyers, blacksmiths, and butchers. Many poor craftsmen live in odoriferous business wards as their status prevents them from progressing to a craftsmen ward.
Patriciate: Patriciate wards house the crème de la crème of a magical medieval city. They have larger buildings and less structural density than merchant and craftsmen wards. A magical medieval city must be wealthy enough to support a patriciate before the city has a patriciate ward. For this reason, patriciate wards usually only occur in small cities or larger. In general, there is only one patriciate ward in a city, which expands to accommodate growth in the upper crust of city society.
River/Bridge: River/bridge wards vary in form and function. With rivers come trade, water mills, and means to cross the river. River/bridge wards can resemble docks, with lots of warehouses, offices, and shops to accommodate for trade, deliveries, and industry from the water mills. Other river/bridge wards may act like market wards, buying and selling at the source of the goods, rather than moving them to market. The notion that river/bridge wards are scenic places to stroll and shop is a very modern notion and should not root itself into a magical medieval city. Rivers are dirty from people dumping their waste products, both personal and industrial, into the river. Active rivers are lined with mills and boats unloading and loading goods. They are more akin to docks than tourist stops.
Sea/Ocean: Sea/Ocean wards resemble river/bridge wards in their dock-like nature, though the structures involved with supporting a sea/ocean port are more numerous and complex. Sea/ocean wards may have shipwrights and naval outfitters that seem excessive in river/bridge wards. In general sea/ ocean wards accommodate more ship traffic than river/bridge wards. They may have harbors, lighthouses, ports, and other structures that are not necessary in river/bridge wards. Sea/ ocean wards usually see more business and activity than river/ bridge wards, simply because of more exposure to bigger masses of water.
Shanty Town: Shantytowns are homes and shacks thrown up outside the city walls. The infrastructure for roads and water are scarce while the people and shacks are not. Only small cities or larger communities have shantytowns outside their walls.
Slum: Slums are structurally dense and teem with the city's poor. Slums are full of low-grade buildings, houses, and tenements quickly and cheaply built to raise coin for landlords. Slums are usually within the city walls, giving its residences a little more protection than shantytowns. Slums are found only small cities or larger.
|Wards (from least to most dense)||Structural Style|
For quick structure generation, multiply the city's acreage by the average number of structures in the city. For example, a small city with 10,000 adults over 100 acres has on average 5,000 structures. For a more precise method of generating a city's structures, use Table IV.3-Wards. This table lists the wards from least to most structurally dense. The average number of structures in small cities is 40-60 structures per acre. By distributing the 20-point spread over the twelve different wards according to density, shantytowns have 60 structures, slums 58, gates 56, docks 52, craftsmen 50, and so forth. Then multiply the number of number of structures found in each ward by the acreage of the ward. For example, a small city with 10,000 adults over 100 acres may have a merchant ward, three craftsmen wards, two gate wards, a river/bridge ward, an odoriferous business ward, a market, and a slum. By using the more precise method, this small city has 5,160 structures broken down by number of buildings per ward.
Example City Wards
|Ward||Size||Number of Structures|
Mapping Wards and Cities
For GMs interested in mapping wards, Tables IV.5 through Table IV.9 identify structures by ward, use, and profession. Table IV.5-Structural Incidence lists the percentages of different structures found in each ward. For individual workshops, shops, and offices, Table IV.6-Workshops, Table IV.7-Shops, and Table IV.8-Offices to determine the specific businesses housed in each on a d1,000. Table IV.9-Random Structure Generation randomly determines individual structures by ward on a d100. For more description of the structures, see Appendix IV-Building System.
Every ward has a range of style associated with its structures. These styles correlate with the styles listed in Appendix IV-Building System. Besides determining the level of luxury and cost in building, styles provide GMs and PCs a general idea of wealth in the town or city and the individual wards compared to each other. From least to most style: D is derelict, rough, or functional; C is utilitarian, basic, or normal; B is tasteful, ornate, or artistic; and A is luxurious, royal, or imperial.
As communities grow larger, power centers become more frequent and complicated. Core rulebook II has a generation system for the type and alignment of a community's power structure. Table IV.4-Power Centers gives guidelines for generating the number of power centers in communities depending on the community size. The Power Center Worksheet helps GMs design hierarchies of group-based power centers, such as guilds or religions. These are merely guidelines, and power centers and influence points are at the GM's discretion.
Table IV.4-Power Centers
|Community Size||Number of Power Centers||Average Number of Influence Points||% of Unabsorbed Influence Points|
Every level of adept, aristocrat, barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard is one influence point. Levels of commoner, expert, and warrior are ½ influence points. The average number of influence points is based on the information in Appendix I-Demographics.
Begin by assuming a community has 100% influence, which a GM can generate by hand in Appendix I-Demographics or take the average listed by community size in Appendix Table I.3-Number of Influence Points. The power center worksheet assigns people and influence points into power centers. After removing the unabsorbed influence points, a GM distributes the remaining influence points and corresponding leveled people into power centers. If the community has multiple power centers, determine the percentage of influence points that flow to each power center. For example, in a large city 30% of the influence points is unabsorbed, 15% goes to the king, 20% to the patron church, 20% to the thieves' guild, and 15% to the wizards' guild.
Unabsorbed Influence Points
Every community has people that slip through the grasp of power centers, especially in large communities. Before generating the pool of influence points at a power center's disposal, subtract the unabsorbed influence points from the community's total influence points.
Dividing Influence Points
Generating power centers and their human resources through influence points can be a time consuming and laborious task for the larger cities. However, it is one of the more through and precise methods for fleshing out city settings. Dividing influence points establishes the pool of people under the influence of power centers, whether they are groups or individuals. In the case of group oriented power centers, assigning influence points allows GMs to create hierarchies and NPCs. All people who receive the majority of their income from a power center are under the influence of that power center. Their numbers and influence points count against the power center's resources. Conversely, any person who has 25% or more of their income taken by a power center is under the influence of the power center. For example, a beer merchant who sells most of his beer to a member of the merchant guild is under the influence of the merchant guild. That beer maker and his staff all count in the merchant guild's influence points. In the countryside, any peasant is considered under the influence of his lord if the lord takes 25% or more of his income. Most lords take approximately 50% or more. There are many considerations in distributing influence points to power centers. First, the highest-leveled person in a power center or hierarchy is not necessarily the person in charge. Second, a higher-leveled person is not necessarily more important than a lower-leveled person within the hierarchy. A combination of social, financial, and strategic considerations determine who is in charge and who is important in a power center, guild, or hierarchy. Someone with more money, more social connections, more important familial relations, or better skills and strategy will rise to the top of a hierarchy, even if they are not high level. For example, a young scion who becomes head of the family after his father dies is in a position of great importance, though he may only be a 3rd level aristocrat/2nd level fighter.
Power centers receive a portion of a city's wealth equal to the same percentage it receives of a city's influence points. If a power center has 20% of a city's influence, it controls 20% of a city's wealth.
Table IV.10-Professions lists possible professionals, craftsmen, and merchants found in a magical medieval society and their incidence rate in society. For example, 1 out of every 120 people is a cobbler, so in a small town of 1,000 adults, there are 8 cobblers. This table also randomly generates professions on a d10,000. For example, if the PCs intervene in a robbery and they want to know whom it is they helped, roll d10,000 to generate that person's profession.
Guilds form around commonality, usually in profession. In a large metropolis where there are 50 bookbinders, there are enough bookbinders to constitute their own guild. There may even be 3 bookbinders guilds, one for arcane books, one for scholastic books, and one for penny books, or cheap readers for the masses in the more literate magical medieval society. But in smaller communities, like-minded professions group together to form guilds in place of single craft guilds. For example, in a small town, the single bookbinder and bookseller in town may join the paper-makers guild. Refer to Table IV.11Guilds to see a sample grouping of guilds for smaller urban communities.
Table IV.5-Structural Incidence
|Patricate||Admin||Market||Merchant||Craftsmen||Military||Gates||Docks||Odo Business||Slum||Shanty Town|
Table IV.9-Random Structure Generation
|1-10||Religious BC||Inn ABC||Admin. C||Granary C||Warehouse BC||Tavern D||House AB||Workshop D||House C||Tavern BC|
|11-12||Admin. C||Warehouse C||Well CD||Plaza ABC||Warehouse BC||Workshop D||House AB||Workshop D||House CD||Tavern BCD|
|13-14||Religious BC||Shop BCD||Fountain CD||University AB||Warehouse BC||Workshop D||Warehouse AB||Hospital D||House CD||Warehouse C|
|15||Corral C||Shop BC||Cemetery CD||Cistern CD||Warehouse BC||Workshop D||Warehouse AB||Hospital D||House D||Shop CD|
|16||Fountain ABC||Mill CD||Stable ABC||Cemetery ABC||Warehouse BC||Workshop D||Warehouse AB||Religious CD||Workshop BC||Tavern ABC|
|17-21||Religious BC||Mill CD||Shop BC||Garden BC||Warehouse BC||Workshop D||House AB||Religious CD||Workshop C||Tavern BC|
|22-26||Prison D||Workshop CD||Stable BC||Guildhouse CD||Tavern ABC||Well D||House AB||Bath D||Barracks D||Tavern BCD|
|27-36||Guildhouse ABC||Workshop CD||Stable BC||Fountain BC||Tavern ABC||Fountain D||Tavern AB||Bath D||Inn BC||Warehouse C|
|37-46||Hospital BC||Office CD||Inn CD||Fountain BC||Shop ABC||House ABC||Shop AB||Bath D||Workshop CD||Tenement CD|
|47-51||Workshop C||Religious BC||Tavern CD||Well BC||Stable AB||Workshop C||Stable AB||Bath D||Workshop CD||Office ABC|
|52-56||Hospital C||House CD||Warehouse BC||Cistern CD||Office AB||Barracks D||Office AB||Bath D||Workshop D||Shop BC|
|57-61||Religious C||Corral C||House BC||Theater C||Admin. ABC||Inn BC||Inn AB||Admin. C||Workshop D||Stable BC|
|62-66||Religious C||Bath CD||Workshop C||Library AB||Shop ABC||Workshop CD||Religious AB||Well D||House D||Stable BC|
|67-70||Office BC||Bath CD||Inn BC||Guildhouse CD||House AB||Workshop CD||Warehouse AB||Fountain D||House D||Inn CD|
|71-74||Corral C||Bath CD||Warehouse CD||Well ABC||Religious AB||Workshop D||Warehouse AB||Cemetery CD||House D||Tavern CD|
|75-76||Admin. C||Bath CD||Workshop CD||Bath BC||Inn ABC||Workshop D||Garden AB||Shop ABC||House D||Warehouse CD|
|77-79||Admin. C||Bath CD||Shop ABC||Bath ABC||Inn ABC||Workshop BC||Bath AB||Workshop C||House D||Shop CD|
|80-81||Admin. C||Admin. C||Workshop C||Bath BC||Shop ABC||Workshop C||Bath AB||Workshop CD||House D||Tenement CD|
|82-83||House C||Granary C||House BCD||Bath ABC||Shop ABC||Barracks D||Restaurant AB||Workshop BC||House D||Tenement CD|
|84-85||House C||Well CD||House C||Admin. C||Shop ABC||Inn BC||Restaurant AB||Tavern CD||House D||Inn CD|
|86-87||House C||Fountain CD||Tavern CD||Admin. C||House AB||Workshop CD||Library AB||Workshop CD||House D||Inn CD|
|88-89||Bath C||Religious ABC||House CD||Admin. C||Religious AB||Workshop CD||Hospital AB||House D||House D||Workshop CD|
|90-91||Well C||House BC||House D||Admin. C||Bath AB||Workshop D||Admin. BC||Workshop BC||House D||Hospital CD|
|92||Fountain C||Workshop B||Tenement D||Admin. C||Bath AB||Workshop D||Fountain AB||Workshop C||House D||Hospital CD|
|93||Restaurant ABC||Workshop BC||Tavern D||Bath BC||Bath AB||House ABC||Fountain AB||Barracks D||House D||Religious BC|
|94||Hospital BC||Workshop CD||Tavern D||Well BCD||Fountain ABC||Workshop C||Well AB||Tavern BC||House D||Religious BC|
|95||Workshop C||Hospital ABC||Warehouse D||Fountain BCD||Fountain ABC||Warehouse CD||House AB||House CD||House D||Corral C|
|96||Hospital C||Workshop C||Shop D||Granary C||Well ABC||Tavern BC||Cemetery AB||House CD||Tavern D||Bath CD|
|97||Inn ABC||Barracks D||Workshop D||Infirmary C||Cistern C||House CD||Cistern B||House D||Tavern D||Bath CD|
|98||Warehouse C||Workshop BC||Workshop D||Coliseum BC||Granary C||House CD||Granary C||Workshop BC||Tavern D||Bath CD|
|99||Shop BCD||Workshop CD||Inn D||House ABC||Guildhouse ABC||House D||Plaza AB||Workshop C||Tavern D||Bath CD|
|100||Shop BC||Tavern ABC||Inn D||Tenement C||Plaza ABC||House D||University AB||Barracks D||Tavern D||Bath CD|
|d10,000||Profession||Incidence Rate (1 in X)|
|4950-5280||Servers (inns, taverns, restaurants)||35|
|9351-9364||Saddlers and Spurriers||800|
|9840-9845||Religious souvenir sellers||3500|
|10000||Inventors and Magic Merchants||2000|