D&D General City Campaign

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He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Id likely stick with 3E/PF1 because of adventure material available and interesting skill systems. To me, a city campaign is going to mean a bit more exploration and social pillar driven and I want a robust skill system to engage that style of play. From adventure support 3E DMG II has a complete sandbox layout of Saltmarsh you can run while adding your own touches. PF1 has Curse of the crimson Throne AP for material.


That's fair.

When I imagine cutting based D&D campaigns, they rely more on social and factional play but not to the degree that there aren't dungeons (or dragons for that matter). But the primary difference is that rather than exploring a whole world and adding breadth, the PCs are exploring a city and adding depth.
It doesn't sound like you are changing the flavor of your campaign too much, so I would stick with whatever system you and your players are already familiar with.

Just use whatever system everyone is familiar with. You don't need special rules for cities. The wilderness, on the other hand, if you want "nature" to be a serious adversary, you need to be choosy about your rules.

That is an interesting distinction. Why do you say that?
It's pretty hard to kill anyone through starvation or exposure in the 5e ruleset for example, unless you introduce a lot of house rules. And other "heroic" RPGs are similar. Boring but essential stuff like food, shelter, and not being eaten by wolves whilst going to the toilet are glossed over by a great many RPGs. I don't really know of any that do it well, but I tend not to run that sort of game, so I haven't seriously looked.

Depends on the type of the city. A high magic/magitech setting would lead me to Eberron/Ravnica and 5e. Something grittier might lead me to 1e or DCC Lankhmar.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
In a city campaign I feel that you could end up with very short adventuring days often - not always, but more often than other styles of play. Also there seems like there would be a lot of cases for doing "other" types of challenges outside combat. As such I'd recommend D&D 4e. I'll make no bones that in general I prefer 5e over 4e, but inter-class balance is not affected by the length of the adventuring day, and the concept of Skill Challenges I feel is very useful, doubly so in city adventures. (Though the math on it was wonky and could use updating, plus the inclusion of other types of limited resources.)

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
As someone who's run Ptolus and Freeport campaigns under 3E, C&C and 5E, I'd choose 5E, which balances social and combat skills without requiring someone to go all-in on one or the other to make a viable character. (In 3E, even going all-in on a concept wasn't always enough to have the requisite skills -- witness all the 3E rangers who didn't know how to swim.)

Urban environments are typically not going to be ones where highly punishing rulesets, like Shadowdark and OSE rulesets, necessarily makes sense, since often "combat" will be social or political. But given that you want it to be a fantasy RPG, having a system that supports throwing down when necessary, 5E would be my choice.

That also means you can use a lot of great urban fantasy resources, like Cawood Publishing's Monsters of the City (highly recommended) or Kobold Press' Cities & Towns (if you're looking to build a city from scratch -- not a good purchase to supplement an existing detailed city, IMO). And, of course, there are tons of wonderfully detailed cities out there, if you're looking to grab one off the shelf. I first got Ptolus in 2006, and even said (maybe even on ENWorld, come to think of it), that I could easily see using it for the rest of my life. And so far, it's been a great experience and I expect to be using it for many more years to come (now with the 5E edition).

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