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Cities – Environs

Environs

The qualities that all Dungeon Master’s want to find in a city are found here.  Make your playing environment take shape.

There are many pieces of your game world to define.  This long page tries to address the standard segments that all cities will get by default.  The only time this page won’t apply is for locations that are not on a planet (like on a cloud or in space).

Sometimes the simplest things add to the complexity of what we describe to the players.  Filling these blanks in, creates a canvas that defines the Dungeon Master’s story and makes it believable.  Thus, spending a few minutes to do this will help us create a world to give to our players that has meaning.

This page is broken into many segments. Each segment can help define elements about your city that have an impact on everyone in the city.  Those are

  1. Weather & Seasons
  2. Biomes
  3. Terrain
    1. Cloud Cover
    2. Wind and Wind Flow
    3. Solar Exposure
  4. Temperature, Humidity and Sunlight

Weather and Seasons

Weather consists of multiple facets.  Landscape, proximity to water sources, cloud cover, and direct sunlight to name a few.  Usually, weather patterns are associated with seasonal changes.

If you are creating a city its placement is paramount to achieving a good story flow.  Nothing can achieve this more than describing the landscape.  To do this, you should define everything to your players to immerse them in what you envision.

These tables focus on the generic qualities found in your landscape and start to define pieces which players will easily recognize.

Season Plants Animals
Spring Rebirth of foliage Birth
Summer Growth of foliage Life
Fall  Death of foliage Death
Winter Hibernation of foliage Renewal

Biomes

There are multiple landscapes on the face of Earth.  We can find places like the North Pole with its extreme cold to lush Amazonian rain forests.

We can apply the known differences to a fictional world easily.

Each biome should be well defined.  The DM needs to know the what the vast majority of weather patterns, temperatures and sunlight will be daily.  Defining the biome is merely the first step for placing your city, but does go a long way to give you a setting for your new metropolis.

The Dungeon Master should pick the biome type rather than choose at random.

As a Dungeon Master, you might not really care about this chunk of info.  However, if you have something defined quickly, it will help you create content that is consistent and easy to manage.

There are features found that help to give us some insight about what we want to create.

Terrain Rainfall (due to cloud cover) Wind Temperatures Humidity Ground Temps Sunlight (during daylight hours)
Desert Extremely low – no cloud cover 0 to 40 mph daily 20 to 130 Fahrenheit 5% yearly at most No running water and sand Constant exposure
Savannah Daily – very brief rain 0 to 30 mph daily 30 to 100 Fahrenheit 25% yearly at most Pooled water and dried ground 90% exposure
Tropical Rain Forest Daily -constant drizzle to downpour 0 to 10 mph daily 35 to 90 Fahrenheit 90% yearly at most Excessive water and muddy ground 40% exposure
Temperate Various rain, snowfall or sunlight 0 to 20 mph daily 20 to 90 Fahrenheit 50% yearly at most No frozen ground and running water 45% exposure
Tundra Various rain, snowfall or sunlight 0 to 25 mph daily 0 to 75 Fahrenheit 30% yearly at most Frozen ground and running water 40% exposure
Frozen Wasteland Periodic snow and blizzard conditions 0 to 50 mph daily -30 to 40 Fahrenheit 15% yearly at most Frozen ground and water According to seasonal shifts 10% – 90%

Terrain

Terrain has an impact on multiple things which can directly impact characters and scenery.

Travel, food sources, and shelter are all considerations that will play a role for an adventurer.  All of these considerations are usually governed by the terrain and the biome.

Let’s concentrate on the terrain here by defining the majority of them.

  1. Desert
  2. Savannah
  3. Tropical Rain Forest
  4. Temperate
  5. Tundra
  6. Frozen Wasteland

Desert

The arid landscape houses life.  However, the extreme temperatures make it difficult to subsist during daylight hours.

Exposure to sunlight makes living difficult during the day.  People fare fine by reducing their daily dose of direct sunlight.  As a Dungeon Master, you should have weather and sunlight become problematic for adventurers staying in this extreme climate.

Obtaining drinkable water should be problematic at best and non-existent at worse.

Weather patterns are usually very windy all year long.  Cloud cover in non-existent.

Precipitation is non-existent.  Less than 5% of the days in the year have any type of precipitation.  Therefore, rain and snow are not very typical.

Spring time has flowering cacti and other fauna that can weather the difficult conditions.  Temperatures will escalate making the daily sun exposure almost tolerable.

Summer time has a fully adapted animal and plant life.  However, all animals stay out of the extreme sunlight by hiding under rocks, burying themselves in sand or using plant life to protect themselves.

Fall time has a reduction of direct sun exposure and the solar generated heat is reduced.

Winter time has a further reduction of direct sun exposure and temperatures hover near the freezing point.  Snow does happen in the desert but is usually close to mountains.

Savannah

The humid landscape has an abundance of organisms that grow and live within the fauna.

Weather patterns are not necessarily doused with water but do have very consistent weather allowing for occasional rainfall.

Snow is next to unheard of.

 

Dungeons taken from Issue 1 to 81