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    • CommentAuthorDrVesuvius
    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2018
    Hi all

    After having and using CC2/CC3 for many years, mainly for the odd overland map here or there for various games, I'm now running a regular D&D game and want to start using City Designer to produce maps for the various villages, towns and cities in the campaign.

    But the first mental block I hit when starting a new village/town/city map is what to select for the starting dimensions. I'm experimenting - I've started and restarted one city map three times and I'm still not happy with the scale, and scouring the web looking for advice on this. The hardcore answer would be to fully work out the town demographics, take the population and divide that by population density data drawn from the Domesday book etc etc etc, but honestly that's a little more work than I'm looking to do at this point. :-) I'm looking for a rough rule of thumb to get started with.

    I'm sure there's no one-true-absolute answer, but I'd be interested to hear what other, more experienced CD3 mappers do.

    Thanks in advance.

    Dr V
    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2018
    This thread might hep. I have developed some rules of thumb, and so have others.
    • CommentAuthorTexas Jake
    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2018
    There is a lot of good information in the thread that Quenten pointed you to. Another thing to consider is setting your canvas larger than you need and cropping it down on printout or include some of the surrounding land with your map. You want to make sure your canvas is large enough that it is not defining the boundaries of your city. Cities generally are not hard-rectangular in shape. I certainly understand the difficulty in determining the size of a city when you start and have had to restart and increase canvas size several times in my own mapping. The more maps we make, the better we should get at accurately estimating the size canvas we will need (at least we both can hope ;) ).
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2018
    Don't forget that cities are usually mostly affected by natural barriers. For example if you have a navigable river the city is going to love it and stick to it like glue, becoming slightly elongated to stay relatively close to its banks for the most part.

    If that river is also in a U shaped valley, or a valley bounded by mountains the city may be even more affected by that geography and grow spurs up the side valleys rather than expand in a regular circular fashion. The west coast of Norway shows many good examples of this if you turn to satellite view in Google maps.

    If there are regular floods across broad river floodplains, the city might build dykes or barriers against such damage, or if the flooding is beneficial for crops in an arid land the city may even avoid the rich alluvial soils and sit to one or both sides of the floodplain, particularly in the lower reaches. This is especially the case in desert regions - after all, no one with half a brain would build a city all over the best or only agricultural land for many miles. Old Cairo is a good real world example of this.

    So a city will be whatever shape best fits first the geography and then the economic strength of the city. That second factor can lead to a city occupying what might seem otherwise to be a ridiculous place geographically. Take Venice as an example of this. Who on Earth would build a city in the middle of a lagoon if it wasn't economically advantageous to do so - especially in the days when piles driven into soft ground like that were usually made of wood and unlikely to last very long.

    In a fantasy setting, there are other factors that affect shape and position. I have a city that is built on a coastal mound with very steep sides. This is because there are flying raptors hunting the skies, and it is easier to defend a city if the city is mostly vertical and difficult for large flying predators to land on. Its also easier to fire arrows and bolts at something flying past you either at or below eye-level.
    • CommentAuthorTexas Jake
    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2018
    Excellent points, Sue
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2018
    DrVesuvius: Previous editions of D&D and their supporting materials (starting with the Judges Guild products back in the late 1970s) often included random generation mechanics for creating settlements of various sizes, amongst many other things. While these do need using with a degree of common sense, and what works in the context of the story you're running, they may provide some help in your own endeavours, as described here. So you might try just searching for "D&D settlement sizes" or "D&D random settlement generators" online. This system by Ian Williamson, based originally on an amended version of the D&D 3.5 DMG's settlement tables, I think, is an interestingly sensible take, specifically aimed at D&D. It came high on the list of my own initial checking online today.

    This, and indeed the PF Forum topic linked to above, assume you're aiming for a typical pseudo-medieval fantasy RPG style pattern of surface settlement, of course.

    Sue's points regarding geography are excellent for honing such a random initial group of dice-generated ideas. Creatures will always require water too (albeit possibly depending on your world setting), so easy access to a watercourse or water source may be the key factor in determining just where the settlement should be.
    Thanks to everyone for your feedback. To be honest, my sticking point isn't so much with the city demographics itself, as simply the starting document size. Which is less critically important now Profantasy have added the Resize Drawing Area functionality.

    Of course, a couple of days after posting this question, I realised I was being a complete muppet. I'd gotten so used to using CC3 for overland maps and automatically picking the "Decide settings myself" I'd completely forgotten the "Pick a pre-defined template" option, which gives you templates of maps at various sizes. The standard template sizes seem to be... (I'm posting this here in case anyone else is having the main mental block and looking for answers)

    Large City - 5000'x4000'
    City - 2000'x1600'
    Town - 1000'x800'
    Village - 500'x400'

    I figure these make a good starting point at least. Does anyone have any experience otherwise?
    Those seem a bit small to me. The dimensions may be ok for the actual settlement, but your canvas needs to be larger lest the settlement be forced to unnaturally conform to the canvas boundaries, shape wise.