D&D General City Campaign

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Oh, that does look cool. Thanks!
I like the mix of practical stuff -- more stats for guards and thugs and such, which you will inevitably need -- cool city fantasy stuff like murderous barbers, and creative ideas that I didn't know I needed but which now I've fit into Ptolus smoothly, like an ooze that looks like seaweed washing up by the Docks.

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I'd run 5E. It has the best skill system, and most well balanced rules overall. However, I am not a fan of an "urban" campaign as it presumes the PCs will stay put in a city. I have no problem starting a campaign in a city, but if the PCs develop interests outside the city, I prefer the DM to accomodate the PC interests. That obviously makes prepublished adventures like Dragon Heist a tricky situation.


Dusty Dragon
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.)
This can be a problem, but a "fast pace" can be not too hard to set up in a city game. When things are happening, they are happening! This is an example of a single adventuring day from my Yoon Suin campaign.

Morning: Urgent message from alchemist ally. Party learns important vial of blood - one of the PCs! - has been stolen. Alchemist provides good lead to the PC

Late morning: Party tracks down the thief. this results in a short stakeout of the inn he's staying at, and a rooftop chase. Thief tells the party he has already sold the vial, and to whom - the blood merchant.

Early afternoon: Party researches the blood merchant, learns troubling things.

Mid afternoon: Unrelated encounter - things happen sometimes in a busy city!

Early evening: Party cases out the blood merchant's place

Evening: party "sneaks" in the place (read: tries to, turn into an assault).

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
This is probably not all that helpful, but I'd choose OSE only because that's the system my friends and I are using at the moment. Otherwise, I really don't think I'd have a preference between the various dnd editions, they can each easily run a city campaign.
I'm running my second city campaign in 5e. I chose 5e for the same reasons cbwjm chose OSE - player familiarity


Not a game product, but I decided to listen to "City of Last Chances" by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The "Asmodeus Chains" thread reminded me that he wrote fantasy as well as really great space opera, and I have been meaning to find a good fantasy city novel.


So, what would your curated list of 5E classes and subclasses be for a sandbox city campaign? Assume the characters at least start out on the lower rung of society.

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