Adventures in an Unnamed City 1

So I have started my working on my urban fantasy campaign setting in earnest (wherever earnest may be). It feels a bit daunting, but deciding to use Constantinople (c. 1150) as my point of departure helps considerably. I have a decent collection of books on Byzantium, plus I just picked up the GURPS PDF on Constantinople. Starting with Constantinople has at least moved me out of the starting blocks.

My original thought was to use Constantinople juiced up with a bit of magic and weirdness. While I still might do that, I am now thinking of creating a fictional city with a lot of elements lifted from Constantinople. I am also thinking that I want a setting that I can use with multiple rule sets--GURPS, FATE, and Swords & Wizardry--so for now I am mainly thinking about setting and not system.

What has worked well when you have run a medieval urban fantasy RPG setting?


  1. Is it daunting trying to write something that can be used in multiple rule sets?

  2. Keep is simple for yourself and don't worry about what system your going to use. I wouldn't go into real depth at first. Get the broad strokes of the place, the people, politics and religion. Then you can go down into another layer and do small write ups for those things and some of the people and factions.

    And here is a suggestion from one of your soon to be players. pick a theme for your campaign. Have the players make something within that realm in your world and then you can focus on developing that group/culture/place. And the players will help you get the details developed. That is how Rob got his mage and thieves guild developed. And city guards to.

  3. I never really ran an urban fantasy per se but I have ran and created numerous games in those locations. One thing that always worked for me was to create everything in broad strokes. I am a GM on my feet sort of GM, so having a rough idea...but few details....of a faction, location or person in the city allows me to use them on the fly and tweak as needed according to the current situation in the game.

    Oh, and take notes of everything you add in game, this way it is easy to track/remember later. Perhaps try some of those organization apps or programs on the we to keep everything straight as your amount of data grows.

  4. I've tried running an urban game (see link below), and it was going ok, until life got in the way. Helped to have some prep done before hand, lists, random tables, sample dungeons and the like. Not too much though, just enough to start it off and allow improvisation as needed.


  5. @Happy: The city idea is daunting, but it actually seems easier when I don't think about a particular ruleset. However, it seems simpler when I think about using GURPS because GURPS would truly support an urban fantasy campaign. Like hand to the glove (or bread to the soup).

  6. @Tim: Thanks for the reminder on simplicity. I am trying to do that. Even though I will not be trying to create a historical simulation of Constantinople, having that as my template gives me a lot of resources online and on my bookshelf that I can look to as needed.

    BTW, here is your theme: Oceans 11 (and 12 and 13)

  7. @Matt: Thanks for the advice on note-taking. I am notoriously bad at that as a GM (but surprisingly good at it as a player). I think it is particularly important in an urban campaign that is less about location and place and more about characters and factions.

  8. @Simon: Thanks for the link. I will be keeping your family (and your daughter) in my thoughts and prayers.

    Your blog is excellent, BTW.