I love urban RPG settings. I don’t run nearly enough of them, and play in even fewer. It’s probably the origin of my love of Vampire: the Masquerade and CyberPunk – two RPGs that basically have to be set in urban settings (also see my love for Lacuna Part 1 and Over the Edge).
Urban mapping, particularly fantasy urban mapping, takes some work. A lot more work than my dungeon maps because it’s harder to be “realistic” when drawing an urban map that is supposed to feel organic, like a real city that has grown through the ages instead of the classically “planned” cities of modern North America.
Further, my love of urban games means I have a fair collection of awesome cities published by many companies for various fantasy RPGs, and I fear I won’t be able to produce material of the quality I enjoy.
Regardless, I’ve posted a few maps of fantasy cities over the past few years.
Most of my urban maps follow a specific style, just like my dungeon maps stick to their own style (oh, folks, I’m incredibly flattered that maps in that style drawn by other mappers are being coined as “Dyson-style Maps” – that boggles my mind, especially since I in turn am aping the designs of old school Chaosium products and the maps of one of my players primarily).
The first of these that I posted (above) remains my favourite. Esran’s Isle, unfortunately, has never been “stocked” nor described in detail, exactly because I really like this map, and am sure I can’t really do it justice when compared to my favourite city products.
However, I have drawn up a more detailed version of one of my cities – Coruvon the Swamp Arena. I really like this “frontier city” and took it into my recent module written for JB’s Fat Frog Challenge, detailing it in a couple of pages (and a table of rumours) published in Challenge of the Frog Idol. I actually transcribed the version from the adventure for a Reddit/RPG challenge and picked up an award for it (the second Reddit/RPG challenge I’ve taken honours in).
One of the most interesting, although a serious departure from my standard mapping style, is Cruar’s Cove – a city I built using the system in Fantasy Flight Game’s d20 hardcover “City Works”, written by Mike Mearls. Drawing up Cruar’s Cove was in many ways like rolling up a character, and was a detailed enough process that I broke it up over four posts.