By Skullfungus? Self Published World of Dungeons Level: Any
Welcome to Dredgeburg! You have died and woken up in the city of Dredgeburg, a dark oasis of sorts, wedged in between the many hells of the Underworld. Dredgeburg is a massive city, located deep within the Underworld where it sits in the middle of a fetid swamp. It’s a strange and often dangerous place where anything can happen and where much adventure is to be had.
This twenty page supplement sets the scene for a wicked city and has a brief adventure generator. It’s flavorful, even if a little low on specifics and deserving of more “city” rather than “city generator.”
I don’t know. I like city adventures. Some of the most funnest-est-est games I’ve run have been city campaigns. They are near and dear to my heart. The party has a connections to things, or builds one anyway. Recurring content. And all the wackiness that a big city can generate, fantasy world or no. “New Greyhawks hottest club is Bzoing-a-gong!” So, I’m reviewing this.
It’s got three sections. There’s a short section on how to make a character and level them. You can ignore this. It’s got another section that is a kind of adventure generator. Roll on a bunch of tables to get inspiration and use your brain to glue it all together. Then, the longest section at about half the book, describes the city proper. Let’s say, six districts. Each one with three or so NPC’s and two or so places. And then a long list of one sentences “scenes” that kind of describe the tone of the place. Drunk people outside of a trendy nightclub in the Throne district and and old blind woman smoking a pipe in a rocking chair in The Gutter. A mad scream in the distance, and then a laugh. And so on.
The NPC’s and businesses are both in the same format. A name, filled by a couple of adjectives/adverbs “Small Imp, Big Ambitions”. There is then a brief description, one sentence long Wears oversized jumpsuit, breathe stinks of smoke, stubby tail wags when excited.” Then a Wnts section “Help with extending his drug running operation, “Just have to get rid of the competition” Then a small sentence on mannerisms. It works well for both the NPC’s and the businesses. It’s short enough to scan quickly and they are iconic and specific enough to cement them in your head. The last thing in each section is: Ask. This is supposed to be something the DM asks the players for each thing. For the imp it’s “What is something truly terrifying about him?”
Clearly, this is story game related, where the players get some control over the situation. The “Ask” thing appears repeatedly in the adventure, in just about every section/specific part of it. It’s the only story game aspect and is easy enough to ignore if you want. It’s pretty innocuous though, and a decent way to get the players engaged more without handing over full control to them. Your mileage on this may vary.
So, that’s the town. About six quarters and two or three NPC’s and two or three places in each, along with a short list of 10-15 “vignette” things, like the old women in the chair smoking a pipe. The end of the booklet has a section on creating adventures. Let’s see, my adventure inspiration is “In the Judgement district, a retired pit fighter. My mission is to disguise, An expensive pet ot beast, there’s a hunger motivation, the complication is the target/client is missing, There’s a tower rooftop in the market district thats important, with the risk being high and the reward being a power relic or spellbook. Mist Tentacle is my two words for further inspiration. I’ll combine this with something from the Judgement district table, “Line of miserable people waiting to be processed.” Now … create an adventure from that! Seems do-able.
As a city supplement and idea generator I don’t think that there’s anything necessarily wrong with it. The location impressions are specific and interesting, as are the sample NPC’s and buildings/businesses/events. The idea generator is good enough. Combined you could come up with some good ideas. And the setting, a city in hell, could certainly be replaced with any evil city, from the Draw Meznobalahblahblah to Iuz to whatever.
Ultimately, your value here is going to be derived from how much you want to do yourself and be inspired vs how much you want spelled out for you ahead of time. Are you looking for a book of NPC’s, events, and places, or are you looking for something to help you inspire your own? This is inspiration.
And now you know why I don’t review fluff products, in general. I don’t know how to review “inspiration” products. Yeah, it’s ok, if you’re in to that. Ok, MORE than ok, if you’re in to that. I think, though, this will take a place in my city toolkit. That’s the rough collection of just about every city/own supplement every published, with parts jerked out and combined, From The Butcher Baker Candlestick maker stuff to Lankhmar (multiple versions) to every other city supplement every published. What’s that orc bar again? The one with the troughs of slop? That one also.
This is $6.66 at Itch.
Most usable OSR compatible City suplements of all time Byrce! Go! Go Monday Squad
Are you asking or telling? Calimport and City-System are both AD&D and have good generators.
The Great City maps, adventures and supplements from Oone games. ASE series. Pembrookshire. The book by he who shall not be named. Sigil. Ptolus for its organization and breadth (its very flat in being evocative and with NPCs).
I checked out the Planescape city. The concept is cool but its too text heavy for use at the table. I know Matt Finches City Encounters and Nocturnal Table but what else is ready for table use?
I use that book whenever players ask about NPCs in modules that are not named. The list in the book is wild lol
Was looking at Gabor Luxs Gont too. Not super tabley or generator based. But as a keyed city it looks solid. I like the under city. CSoTI Overlord looks cool but hard to run at the table without a lot of study