Best Fleshed Out Cities for use with fantasy TTRPG
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Twin Cities, MN, USA

    Best Fleshed Out Cities for use with fantasy TTRPG

    What are the best source books or other materials that give highly fleshed out cities for use with fantasy RPGs. In particular, I would like something that I could easily use with D&D 5e but the system doesn't matter. Maps and descriptions are more important.

    I find I can create a village or small town on the fly easily. But doing that with larger settlements can lead to a bland experience or lots of inconsistency if I'm not meticulous with my in-game note keeping.

    I'll list some I've found helpful, which should also give an idea of what I'm looking for in a City book, but first, I have to give a shout-out to Vornheim: The Complete City Kit, by Zak S., published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

    No other book has given me more effective tools, in so few pages, to generate large cities on the fly. It will always have a place at my table. But it is also nice to have to fully fleshed out city books, so here are some I've found helpful to use as is or, more often, with some customization to fit into my home campaigns:

    Bard's Gate, by Frog God Games. This is a campaign setting in and of itself. The book is 419 pages and they sell separate high-quality images of the city map. FGG also does a good job giving important details for less fleshed out cities in all of their materials with a consistent format across source books for their Lost Land's setting. The Lost Lands is a kitchen-sink fantasy setting with different areas having different levels of magic and tech, so it very simple to transplant material from it to Forgotten Realms and vice versa, or to any generic fantasy setting. You can get Bard's Gate for 5e. Much of their other material is still Pathfinder, but I find it trivial to convert.

    Lankhmar, from the Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser books has seen the love since 1e. Gary Gygax was a Leiber fan and worked with Leiber to bring his world to the game. I'm not going to link every book for every edition, you can find books for 1e, 2e, Savage Worlds, and more. Most recently, Goodman Games had a kickstarter last year to bring Lankhmar back again, for the Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) system.
    For those who missed the Kickstarter you'll have to wait until it is available from the Goodman Games site. Their Kickstarter page states that you can pre-order from their website, but I was unable to find where to do so.

    0one's The Great City ( Often DMs want to populate our cities with NPCs and place names that better fit into our world. We just want some good maps to work with. 0one is a publisher of awesome PDF map products for TTRPGs. The Great City has 71 related map products that will give you high-level city map, to more detailed maps of the different wards, down to battlemaps of individual buildings. Also check out their Iron Hill Citadel and City virtual boxed set

    The City of Frieburg, for 7th Sea. You can get the PDF version of the boxed set on DTRPG. Since this is for an age of sails type setting it may not fit into all fantasy settings, but you get a lot of content to mine for only $15.
    The old book Dwarves by Mayfair Games (Role Aids line) has two fairly fleshed out Dwarven city of Ostohar. Long out of print, you can still get it used from Amazon for $5.

    What other city-source books do you recommend?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Earth That Was
    Ptolus and City State of the Invincible Overlord spring to mind.
    XP Blue, Josiah Stoll, hawkeyefan gave XP for this post

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Twin Cities, MN, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Dioltach View Post
    Ptolus and City State of the Invincible Overlord spring to mind.
    Ptolus is on my to-buy list. I've heard a lot about the City State of the Invincible Overlord. I'll need to check it out.

    I'm backing City of Brass by FGG, but that, being a planar adventure, is not going to be a good fit for many campaigns.

  4. #4
    Hollowfaust: City of Necromancers remains one of my favorite cities, which I will drop into a campaign at the drop of a hat. Love the ideas and design of that place.

    Yggsburgh, while designed for Castles & Crusades, is still relatively system-agnostic. Also sadly, like all of Gary Gygax’s work for TLG, hella out of print.

    For more toolkit stuff, the old Citybook series from Flying Buffalo springs to mind.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Portland, Oregon, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by MNblockhead View Post
    Ptolus is on my to-buy list.
    Ptolus is a whole level higher than anything else. 600+ pages all focused on one city.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Mexico City
    Blacksand! by Arion Games. It is ready for adventure!
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  7. #7
    The Thieves' World boxed set from Chaosium, was one of the better fleshed out cities, I loved that.
    XP MNblockhead gave XP for this post

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Long Beach, CA
    I will second the Flying Buffalo City Books.
    Looks like there are seven. I think I have all but 2.
    I enjoy them as maps and people and hooks to drop into different locations.
    XP Ralif Redhammer gave XP for this post

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