Saturday, 28 January 2012

Why do Geography Homework when you can create Fantasy Cities.

Well, according to my Father because it does your prospects of getting a job more good but I digress. Rooting around in some old roleplaying stuff this morning I came across this:

This being Palathar, the fantasy city I lovingly created as an adventuring base for a Runequest campaign I ran 25 years ago. Now I'm jumping ahead of myself here as I wanted to do a couple of retrospectives on the D&D stuff we played before getting sidetracked into other systems, but finding this bought back a lot of fond memories of playing Runequest so here goes with a bit of history on that instead.
My friends and I were latecomers to Runequest relatively speaking, we were familiar with the Gloranthan version of the system but never had any opportunity of playing it. There were many reasons principly the difficulty of getting hold of the material at prices we could afford.
Instead our introduction to it was the hardback book released under license by Games Workshop in 1987. Despite some initial reservations it was a hit, because I had bought the rules I was nominated GM ( a pattern that was to repeat itself more than once) and guided the other three novice players through character creation ending up with an Elf warrior, a civilized human priest and a human soldier. The initial adventure we ran through was "The Hill of Peace" published in White Dwarf where the fledgeling heroes were tasked with rescuing a merchants daughter from a religious cult led by a deranged Satyr.
This went off with a good measure of success and so began the above project that undoubtedly ruined any  chance of me ever getting a good job.
As things progressed the characters fell into bad company and ended up raiding a caravan carrying goods belonging to a powerful sorcerer, who happened to abide in the city depicted above. He magically imprisoned their souls and used this as leverage to force them to undertake various ill advised ventures to dark and dangerous places including the ghoul haunted ruins of Tha'al nan Jaax and the Plane of Anarchy where they were memorably pitted against motorcycle riding undead racing to retrieve an Ancient tome from a dead gods tomb ( shades of Moorcock here).
The climax of the campaign came after their sorcerous master was killed in a duel with a Nomad Shamen and the player characters penetrated the catacombs under the dead sorcerers tower to retrieve their souls from bezoars inside the bellies of two manticores. Epic stuff.

The city as depicted in the map is shown in a state of flux, the original docks in caverns under the sea cliffs having recently suffered from roof falls has led the authorities  to have new wharfages dug on the river bank, these in turn are served by newly erected wooden warehouses and protected with earth and timber ramparts. These are in the process of being superceeded by stone walls but only a short section has been completed at present. The city proper is based on an earlier settlement laid out on a grid system around the older fortress in the bottom half of the map, subsequent development has been less formalised and has led to a somewhat chaotic street plan particularly in the 'Shambles' at the back of the temple shown on the right hand side of the square. This naturally has become the more lawless end of town sheltering various rogues and ne'er do wells. The further east one travels the better the class of population with most of the artizan classes living in the oldest area of the city and merchants and petty lordlings living nearer to the port. The governer of the city lives in the newer castle overlooking the sea and his garrison either share this accommodation with him or are spread through various billets within the city.
Feel free to use it as you see fit, within reason of course. Hopefully at some point I'll turn up all literature I produced to go with it and upload that but in the meantime perhaps someone will find it useful as is.

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