Roleplaying Resources

City Design

This is a dry collection of things to think about when designing a city, compiled by The DM from various posts to

City elements

  • Merchants' quarter
  • Smiths
  • Animals
  • Residential
  • Nobles/townsmen
  • Inn/tavern
  • Barracks
  • Septic and sewer systems
  • Roads - good/poor
  • City park
  • Landmarks
  • Unusual locations for combat


  • How much drinkable water?
  • Food supply
  • Farming area
  • Grazing area
  • All this area must be secured.

Building materials

  • Concrete
  • Stone quarries
  • Wood


  • Garbage removal
  • Military: 1 guard for every 50-200 citizens.


  • Inhabitants should have personalities and knowledge of the city.
  • Some unusual people.


  • City should have a history, with each quarter having grown around events known to at least some people.

Things that happen

  • trade
  • Social concerns in each district

Real world examples

In the early 1500s, there were

  • 500 people in an English town.
  • 3000-4000 people in large towns.
  • 50,000 people in London.

Hereford, with about 5000 people, was about 2000' E-W, and 1700' N-S. Glocester with a population of 7000, was about 3000' N-S and 3000' E-W.

In Southampton, High Street, a primary road, was about 50' wide. Secondary roads were about 20' wide. The smallest streets or alleys were about 10' wide.

Tenement houses, the poorest were about 10' wide and 15' long, usually two stories tall. When necessary another story was added when the family outgrew the original house. Ladders provided access to upper levels, not stairs.