|Is all of this strictly necessary?|
In my own Muleteers campaign, built from Joe Bloch's works, the Grey City counterpoises the tentpole dungeon of the Mad Archmage. Visits to the city sometimes end in impatience to get on with the adventuring, but still can take up to half of a four-hour session. But even though I'm using a detailed street map of the place, the geography never seems to stick, I don't keep a good idea of what shops are where, what they are like, and so on.
This suggests that I need a way to write down and systematize what matters in the city experience.
The Muleteers use the city for the following activities:
- Buying equipment
- Selling and identifying treasure finds
- Leveling up (taking one day per new level, in my rules)
- Carousing and other means of spending money for experience
- Brokering deals with religious, trade, scholarly and government bodies
- In the campaign's early days (less so now, as action has concentrated onto the megadungeon and frontier village), mini-misadventures from random encounters in the streets
The result is this template and guide (click to enlarge):
You'll see that with access to private and secret establishments, there is a process of discovery in the city too, but it works differently. The examples give an idea how: random encounters and establishments, if treated right, give clues and leads to others. This can be expanded to whole districts of social elites being off-limits unless you know the right people. I'm going to try this method at the next city phase of our adventures and see how it turns out.