Kerik, The Honest City
Yalish, City of Aqueducts
Esmelar, The City of Blood Hawk
Sundibor, The Wall of Willows
Cedarspire, Yellow Cobra City
Sandral, Tyr's Delight
Skarek, City of the Cove
Rammtek, The City of Slowspout
Maldorn, The City of Lace
Sundibor, Green City of Envy
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How to name your city
Every city, town, or kingdom throughout Faerûn has a unique name typically crafted by the local populous or its governing body. Whether in common or the local dialect, city names can describe the geography, represent the townspeople, honor an individual of great respect, or pay tribute to a religious figure. Cities also earn various pseudonyms that hint at what life may be like among its populace. Locals may derive these names from regional commerce, the reputation of the people or their leader, or a particularly unusual landmark or historical event.
Why cities are important
Cities are a part of nearly every campaign. They are crucial to a proper narrative as they exist as centers of population, activity, and commerce throughout the various lands of the world. Citys and towns allow players to seek information, buy or sell goods, and potentially converse with powerful and wise individuals.
This wide variety of possibilities can be challenging to prepare for as a dungeon master. Wilderness encounters and dungeon crawls are often more contained adventures and tend to have a more directed player path. However, cities may contain numerous NPCs and all manner of things with which the players can interact. Depending on the campaign and their specific situation, the adventuring group may desire to speak with the Thieves Guilds, inform faction representatives, or seek an audience with kings and queens.
How to plan your city
Before putting pen to paper and proposing what your players may want, it is essential to keep in mind the narrative of your campaign and how the city may fit within your story. Thinking about the town’s purpose and the internal and external circumstances that may affect the population can help you create something more significant and immersive for the players.
It is important to know how your city will affect and interact with your players and their surrounding environment. It could be the most prominent place of commerce, an abandoned fort, or a simple rest stop along a well-traveled road. Regardless of its location, it could also serve as a famous battleground, the intended target of a lich, or even a notable place to relax or let loose.
Once you have the why, the next step is to establish “where.” It is generally best to start with basic needs like water, the space necessary for farming and livestock, and the relative distance to trade routes or other notable cities. Beyond this, dungeon masters may want to consider how the city might be affected by its distance from an active war, the lair of a monster, or recent natural and supernatural disasters. Each situation could provide unique ramifications for both your platers and the city’s residents.
With the external factors accounted for, it is time to build an understanding within the city walls. These matters can be considerably more complicated, and the careful nuances put in place can go a long way to make the city feel more authentic and meaningful. It can also create new and unexpected opportunities for your adventuring group to shine.
As an example, wars and natural disasters could cause an influx of refugees. This increase in population could cause food and lodging shortages, introduce new diseases, increase crime, strain the authority of the local guard, and create distrust in the governing body. The severity of these consequences can vary, but each presents a unique way for the party to interact with and assist the population—challenges that go beyond the overly-used hack-and-slash adventure construct.