View on GitHub

city-of-whispers

Home

Lists

These tables give players and the Magistrate the tools for building the connective tissue of the city – the factions that exert control, the neighborhoods that form the topography, and the rumors that fuel the entire contraption.

Backdrops

To set up your campaign, it may be useful to identify a backdrop, a recent event or happening that frames the action and position of the city.

Either before you create the city or afterward, roll a d8 three times, combining one word from each list. Discuss the resulting phrase and tease out what it means for your campaign.

If you’ve already created the city, go around the table and have each person suggest one change or addition based on the backdrop.

If you haven’t yet created the city, as you add elements, have the Magistrate ask what effect the backdrop has on the element you add.

d8 A B C
1 Emerging Political Conflict
2 Simmering Social Upheaval
3 Widespread Magical Transition
4 Secret Criminal Invasion
5 Waning Military Disaster
6 Recovering from Commercial Stagnation
7 Reversing Natural Collapse
8 Devastating Religious Boom

Beliefs

d12 I believe…
1 My faction
2 Another faction
3 The nobility or aristocracy
4 Local law enforcement
5 The legal system
6 Trade and commerce
7 The municipal government
8 The entire population of the city
9 A force outside the city
10 A particular divinity
11 Magic or technology
12 A particular famous or wealthy person
d12 is…
1 Corrupted (by what?)
2 Infiltrated (by whom?)
3 Sympathetic (to whom?)
4 Deceiving (whom?)
5 Antagonistic (to what or to whom?)
6 Seditious
7 Supportive (of what or of whom?)
8 Influencing (whom?)
9 Conspiring (with/to what?)
10 Harmful (to whom or to what?)
11 Revealing (what to whom?)
12 Stealing (what from whom?)

Secrets

Every “secret” consists of a Tie (a person the character knows) and an area of insight – what they know about that person. When using a secret about a person, it must relate to the area of insight.

Area of Insight (d10)

d10 Area of Insight
1 Romantic liaisons
2 Family circumstances
3 Criminal connections
4 Professional dealings
5 Political alliances
6 Immoral activities
7 Illicit past
8 Vices
9 Beliefs outside mainstream
10 Corrupt influences

Factions

Every character belongs to a faction. The nature of that connection can be strong or tenuous. Regardless, the player decides the actions of that faction using Faction Moves.

Factions are described with a Type, a Status, and a Complication. These descriptors influence the fiction, but have no mechanical bearing. Factions also have one or more Aspects that describe advantages or assets. These aspects may be used when rolling Faction Moves.

Type (d10)

d10 Type of Faction
1 Sect - United by religion or creed
2 Family - United by familial commitments
3 Enclave - United by ethnic or cultural commonalities
4 Cabal - United by political views
5 Company - Partnership in a commercial enterprise
6 Guild - United by a craft
7 Mission - United by a cause or calling
8 Rank - United by common station or position
9 Syndicate - Allied through corrupt business interest
10 Union - United by common occupation

Status (d8)

d8 Faction Status
1 Fragmenting or Splintering
2 Dissolving or Shrinking
3 Shifting or Redefining
4 Consolidating or Fortifying
5 Expanding or Acquiring
6 Fronting or Imploding
7 Stagnating or Becoming Irrelevant
8 Unfocusing or Dispersing

Complications (d10)

d10 Complications
1 Influence is dwindling
2 Membership is dwindling
3 Losing confidence in leadership
4 Infighting among leadership
5 Threatened by rival
6 Membership unaware of true intent
7 Regimented bureaucracy
8 Overwhelming demand for services
9 Held knowledge is out of date or incorrect
10 Loss of control over resource

Aspects (d6 + d10)

  1-2 3-4 5-6
1 Command of esoteric magic Access to a deity Command of unique or powerful technology
2 Government placements or influence Popular among the people Backed by nobility
3 Backed by aristocracy Charismatic leader Command of information
4 Loyal membership Channels of communication Trained guards, soldiers, or mercenaries
5 Wealth Well-fortified headquarters Offices distributed throughout the city
6 Beasts of burden Abundant commodity Armaments
7 Anonymous leadership Hierarchical command structure Loosely-organized cells
8 Anonymous membership Long history Secretive
9 Unique information Traditional Meritocracy
10 Dogmatic Sectarian Authoritarian

Neighborhoods

Type

A neighborhood may have multiple functions but generally only one Standing. Roll up to three times on the table to determine the various functions of the neighborhood. The Standing indicates the majority social class in the neighborhood, though the Status might indicate transitioning.

d10 Function Standing
1-2 Residential Nobility / Aristocracy
3-4 Commercial Owners and Professionals
5-6 Industrial Crafters and Traders
7-8 Religious Working Class
9-10 Government Working Class

Status (d10)

d10 Neighborhood Status
1-3 Thriving and bustling
4-5 Gentrifying and shifting
6 Recovering
7-8 Declining
9 Depressed or Decaying
10 Derelict or Ruined

Aspects (d6 + d10)

  1-2 3-4 5-6
1 Narrow alleyways Converted buildings Circles
2 Tunnels Surrounded by walls Tall buildings
3 Large main thoroughfare Pubic works Stadium or theater
4 Vehicles and mounts prohibited Ruins Critters and pests
5 Integrated with natural surroundings Twisty streets Greenery
6 Layered and terraced Organized around landmark or monument Plaza or courtyard
7 Outdoor public spaces Surrounded by water Stairs or ramps
8 Large park or garden Recently flooded Bridges or overpasses
9 Two parallel arteries with park in between Museum or library Aqueduct
10 Local public transportation system Dead-end streets Fortifications

Rumors

If you need a rumor, roll 2d20 and 2d6. The d20s describe the actor and their action. The d6s indicate the position of the actor – whether the action is done or will be done or might be done. The second d6 adds detail to the action.

Who or what is the rumor about? (d20)

d20 Who
1 Your faction
2 A rival faction
3 A friendly faction
4 A neutral faction
5 An unknown group
6 A religious group
7 A mercenary group
8 A friend
9 An enemy
10 A rival
11 Another faction member
12 An anonymous person
13 A stranger
14 A masked vigilante
15 An anonymous official
16 A force outside the city
17 The city guard/government
18 An intelligent monster
19 A magical force
20 A natural force

What did/will/might they do? (d6 + d20 + d6)

d6 Mood
1-2 Did
3-4 Will
5-6 Might
d20 Action (d6)
1 Steal (Item)
2 Study (1-3 Item) (4-5 Location) (6 Event)
3 Infiltrate (1-3 Location) (4 Group) (5-6 Event)
4 Attack (1-2 Location) (3-5 Group) (6 Person)
5 Destroy (1-2 Location) (3-6 Item)
6 Capture (Person)
7 Assassinate (Person)
8 Challenge (1-4 Person) (5-6 Group)
9 Blackmail (1-3 Person) (4-6 Group)
10 Seek (1 Location) (2-3 Item) (4-5 Person) (6 Group)
11 Arrive at (1-4 Location) (5-6 Event)
12 Depart from (1-4 Location) (5-6 Event)
13 Disappear to (Location)
14 Acquire (Item)
15 Join (1-3 Group) (4 Person) (5-6 Event)
16 Sabotage (Event)
17 Discover (1-3 Item) (4-5 Location) (6 Person)
18 Ally with (1-3 Person) (4-6 Group)
19 Hide in/a (1-3 Item) (4-5 Location) (6 Person)
20 Guard (1-2 Item) (3 Location) (4-6 Person)

Details (d6)

d6 Item Person Group
1 Magic artifact Yourself Your faction
2 Royal object A family member A splinter group from your faction
3 Mystic weapon A disgraced noble The Assassins’ Guild
4 Sacred scroll A mysterious merchant The Thieves’ Guild
5 Ancient idol An innocent foundling The Merchant’s Collective
6 Mundane goblet A rebellious aristocrat The Bureaucracy
d6 Location Event
1 A secret entrance A disgraced aristocrat’s wedding
2 A well-traveled public garden A noble’s coming-of-age ceremony
3 A hero’s monument A sit-down between competing crime lords
4 A bustling marketplace A corrupt politician’s rally
5 A government building A festival parade
6 A noble’s house The arrival of an important personage

100 Things on City Streets

  1. One lit doorway on a street of otherwise darkened doorways
  2. Fog-filled alleyways
  3. Faint whistling sound from just up ahead
  4. The smell of rat poison and sewage
  5. Religious graffiti on the side of a church
  6. Cart blocking the street
  7. Overflowing trashcan
  8. Street hustlers scamming tourists
  9. Someone peering at a map, looking lost
  10. Steam rising from a grill in the ground
  11. Boarded up window with placards pasted on
  12. Stray domestic pet scavenging for food
  13. Abandoned wagon, one wheel missing
  14. Narrow patch of greenery, lovingly maintained by neighbors
  15. Storefront with signs indicating going out of business
  16. Bird wrestling scraps from a group of rodents
  17. Rain-slicked street reflecting lamplight
  18. Traffic jam caused by unruly domestic beasts
  19. Baker offering samples of a new treat
  20. Kids rushing through a crowded street, a grocer chasing after them
  21. Tiered walkways spanning a corrupted site
  22. Workers clearing up a burnt-out building
  23. A walled-off construction site reeking with magic
  24. A canal spanned by a footbridge with a reputation for ruining relationships
  25. Statue of a long-forgotten war hero, crammed with slips of paper
  26. A woman selling exotic coffee out of a pushcart
  27. Four people cornering an escaped beast of burden
  28. A lone street performer asking for a volunteer from the audience
  29. A crowd emptying out from a theater after a performance
  30. The sounds of cheers from a nearby sporting venue