Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-06-2022, 04:24 PM   #1
muduri
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Harlem, New York
Default what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

The characters have aided a group of refugees - about 1000 children and 400 lucky adults - in escaping by ship from a doomed TL2 city, and a neighboring king has granted them a charter to found a coastal city on one of his frontier marches. Thanks to Hârn modules I have a good map of the established city 150 years from now - but what does it look like now?

I would think that many of the recognizable features - citadel, city walls, wharfs, basilica, temples - would take a decade-plus to build, though there may be temporary construction or open-air equivalents already in their future locations. The timberwright might start doing a thriving business on day 1, but maybe the jeweller and apothecary hire out as farmhands waiting for markets and fairs to become dependable? And similarly are caravans willing to start out for Thay in the first year or do they insist on waiting for completion of the stockade?

Any thoughts on the urban planning, sociology or other aspects of founding fantasy cities much appreciated as always!
muduri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2022, 04:29 PM   #2
dcarson
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

Some sort of motte and bailey stronghold on the highground. Sawmill, forge, storage for harvest.
dcarson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2022, 04:51 PM   #3
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

Well, the fact that it's fantasy might change the rules, but for the most part cities formed by accretion: you have a nucleus that attracts people to the site (most commonly a port; mines and strategically valuable fortifications are also common) and then the other businesses accumulate around that because it naturally becomes a center of trade.

In the particular case you describe, I would guess at the strategically valuable fortification: the king assigned them a section of border that could conveniently use some extra people to keep it secure (or, depending on your perspective, a chunk of land he just wants to steal) but probably isn't intrinsically all that high value (or he'd give it to his own people), so figure it's a border fort with a trade market.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2022, 05:03 PM   #4
fwcain
Evil Game Master For Hire
 
fwcain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

A few ideas off the top of my head...

1. Since it's a coastal location (per OP), give it a set of simple wharfs and/or piers, with some small-ish storage buildings (more barn-sized than true warehouses, at least for now).

2. Housing -- people need a place to rest. Maybe one or two inns, for itinerants.

3. An open market -- lots and lots of little stalls and tents, selling a variety of (mostly common) goods.

4. A few taverns and/or eateries. One or two bakeries, perhaps.

5. Stables and/or stockades. If more than one stable, then also consider a blacksmith (or even without a stable, still consider the smithy).

Hope this helps.
Franklin
__________________
Franklin W. Cain
Evil Game Master For Hire -- Have Dice, Will Travel
SJG MIB # 9808; Net.Rep.: Chez G* and Frag
fwcain is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2022, 05:18 PM   #5
Witchking
 
Witchking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: The Athens of America
Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fwcain View Post
A few ideas off the top of my head...

1. Since it's a coastal location (per OP), give it a set of simple wharfs and/or piers, with some small-ish storage buildings (more barn-sized than true warehouses, at least for now).

Hope this helps.
Franklin
Historically 90+% of Coastal Cities get founded where a river empties into the ocean. Benefits of Ocean/Coastal trade and trade from the watershed of the river. River also a source of fresh water and has other benefits.

Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Richmond, New Haven, San Fransisco, Seattle, New Orleans, Mobile, for the US just off the top of my head.

Just a Geo/Historical note...only question for the GM would be 'Is the population density such that all such good spots were already gone?' Cities and towns tend to start at those locations first. As the population rises even coastline without useful rivers, estuaries, bays and habors eventually fill in.
__________________
My center is giving way, my right is in retreat; situation excellent. I shall attack.-Foch
America is not perfect, but I will hold her hand until she gets well.-unk Tuskegee Airman
Witchking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2022, 12:30 AM   #6
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Witchking View Post
Historically 90+% of Coastal Cities get founded where a river empties into the ocean. Benefits of Ocean/Coastal trade and trade from the watershed of the river. River also a source of fresh water and has other benefits.
Often, the town is founded as far inland as ocean-going ships can reasonably travel upriver. That allows better access to inland resources and limited harbor facilities in areas where there isn't a naturally protected bay.

If there are hostile sea rovers in the area, siting the city a ways inland also makes it less obvious to hostile ships and makes it easier to defend from sea-borne raiders.

In really hostile territory, it makes sense to build a compact hill fort with a palisade and ditch, with a watchtower to look out for hostiles. Trails would extend from the hill fort's gate down to the river. Other trails extend towards fields, sources of timber, and other resources. Once a well gets dug, trails will lead to it, assuming that it's not within the hill fort's walls.

Gradually, those trails will get turned into streets and people will build structures outside the fort's wall. Buildings will usually be sited along the river or along either side of the main trails, but close enough to the fort that it provides protection.

The first things an early settlement will have are shelters for the colonists and storage buildings for livestock and food production equipment. These could easily be tents or communal dwellings like longhouses.

People start by build simple shelters for themselves, their animals, and important equipment and supplies, then get to work ensuring a steady food and water supply.

If there are threats in the area, defenses go up - palisades, ditches, or both - and possibly watch towers. In high-threat areas, defenses might come first, with colonists living in tents or sleeping aboard anchored supply ships.

After that, there are communal structures, depending on what the community values most. Churches or temples, barracks, government buildings, marketplaces, warehouses and docks, schools, public baths, aqueducts.

Unless you've got a very wealthy person with access to a lot of excess labor, you won't have large private buildings for at least a generation. Any big or fancy building implies lots of labor and capital to build, so they'll be at least a generation away unless there is a huge influx of immigrants.

The main impression that visitors get will be "sparse and scruffy." There will be lots of rather shabby temporary shelters thrown together quickly, and just a few simple small buildings made using local resources.

You could do worse than look at archeological maps of historical cities like London, Paris, or New York City, or illustrations based on those maps. A map of Jamestown, VA might also be helpful, since it was abandoned less than a century after it was founded.
Pursuivant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2022, 06:21 PM   #7
Dalillama
 
Dalillama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

If there's no pre-existing infrastructure at all, and assuming that the coastline provides a deep-water harbor (if it doesn't the place won't ever be more than a village) with a river feeding into it, a rough sketch:

First month: The ships will be beached and provide shelter, along with tents made from sails and spars. The smallest vessel or the gigs/jolly boats if present will be used for fishing. Cooking is over open driftwood fires.

First year: the ships have been dismantled and used to build 5-6 fishing boats and several small huts. More housing has been bult from fieldstone and/or deadfall timber and/or mud brick depending on local resources and customs. Most houses have a garden out back hrowing tubers and herbs. There may be grain fields. Someone has started brewing an alcoholic beverage from whatever ferments and will provide it in exchange for food, currency, or services.

Three years in: Everyone has some kind of permanent housing. A few hundred acres are under cultivation, the older children are reaching adulthood, and some dozens of new ones have been born. There's an established alehouse, a small but reasonably well-built temple/church, netmakers and/or a chandlery supplying the fishing fleet, a pier or wharf that larger vessels can dock at, possibly a full-time (more or less) herbwife or cunning man. Local government will consist of whoever the king put in charge or a semiformal village council that settles disputes and allocates timber and other resources.
Dalillama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2022, 05:08 PM   #8
Inky
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: UK
Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

Since you said fantasy, do they by any chance have an earth mage? A mage with Shape Earth and Earth to Stone, or even just Shape Earth, could make a sizeable difference to the amount they can build in a given time.
__________________
Looking for online text-based game at a UK-feasible time, anything considered, Roll20 preferred. http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=168443
Inky is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2022, 05:07 PM   #9
StevenH
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

One of the first things they will need is a place to get together...a public house, basically. Following that, they might want an inn, to have a place for any visitors that might show up. It doesn't have to generate an income, but if it can at least pay for itself, that's a good thing that will allow the new city to spend its own money on its growth.

The inn serves the purpose of showing to outsiders that the town means to stick around, and it planning on being there for a long time. Having a place for visitors to stay accomplishes this, and, if the visitors tell their friends what a nice place it is, can gain inhabitants or tourists later.

But let me back up a bit....

A tent city is likely to come first: they are easy to set up, and provide at least minimal shelter. At this point, communal fires/kitchens would be set up. A first aid/hospital tent will be set up, as well as a camp administration tent. So, basically, a refugee camp. Inevitably, one tent will end up being the bar/tavern tent. I suppose it's also possible that the kitchen tent may double as this, but historically they tended to be separate.

A palisade would be built around the tent city, or at least a part of it, for some basic protection. Possibly even some elevated platforms that could be built up into guard towers later could be built.

Once basic security, shelter, and food are taken care of, actual building can commence. Fields can start to be tilled/worked. Depending upon the time of year, they might need to get seed into the ground immediately, or might have to wait for the correct season. If the latter, they will need to acquire food from elsewhere.

Work crews will be sent out to fell trees, and a sawmill can be set up. If by a river, the sawmill could be situated there. Otherwise, it will be the type that uses a two man saw, one up top, the other underneath in a trench to make planks and beams for construction.

Permanent structures are next. The order could vary, but common houses would likely be first (meeting house, kitchen, tavern, warehouse, store, barns etc). Then would come the individual houses.

It's highly likely that at first everyone helps with the building construction. Unless they are busy in the fields trying to grow enough food for everyone.

There is a lot more to this, of course. Building an entire community isn't easy or fast. This will be the work of years, and some families may be in tents for a long time (if the climate is cold, families may be sharing structures until there are enough to go around).
__________________
Warmest regards,

StevenH

My current worldbuilding project. You can find the Adventure Logs of the campaign here. I try to write them up as narrative prose, with illustrations. As such, they are "embellished" accounts of the play sessions.


It is also the new home of the Alaconius Lectures, a series of essays about the various Colleges of Spells.
StevenH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2022, 06:01 PM   #10
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenH View Post

A tent city is likely to come first: they are easy to set up, and provide at least minimal shelter. At this point, communal fires/kitchens would be set up. A first aid/hospital tent will be set up, as well as a camp administration tent. So, basically, a refugee camp. Inevitably, one tent will end up being the bar/tavern tent. I suppose it's also possible that the kitchen tent may double as this, but historically they tended to be separate.
Yeah, this place is essentially a refuge camp. They will start building, but initially it's a pile of tents.

The first wooden structures are determined by what the governing and organizing authority is. A military group starts with a fort or tower. A religious group starts with a meeting house.
__________________
Be helpful, not pedantic

Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog

Check out the PbP forum! If you don't see a game you'd like, ask me about making one!
ericthered is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:55 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.