The City of Talon

Posted by on March 24, 2009

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I’ve been working on a major role-playing project for the past few months. It’s called the City of Talon, a small book that describes a busy portside fantasy city, suitable for any fantasy role-playing game. It can even be raided for ideas for short stories and novels.

It’s a grand experiment. I love the creative side of role-playing, and I wanted to try my hand at creating a city that other people could include in their own games.

A document like this is very different from the articles and stories I’m used to writing. While fictional, it’s very structured. It begins with an introduciton to the city, laying out its basic governing structure, level of technology, and overall feel. It then proceeds to a description of various places within the city—taverns, clubs, dives, docks, etc.–in some detail, including overall size and frequent patrons. I even drew maps for 9 major locations using the free vector graphics program Inkscape.

The book then lists dozens of famous (and infamous) denizens of the city, from nobles to paupers, just and unjust. I wanted these characters to be easy to imagine and role-play, so I ensured each had at least a motto, a physical quirk, and some background.

There’s much more to a city than buildings and people, of course, so I also created short sections on major vices in the city, political organizations, and possible stories and adventures.

And finally, because people may want to fit these characters into their role-playing sessions, I mapped out the top dozen characters in three RPG systems (D&D 4th Edition, D&D 3.5, and GURPS). This took a lot of time, but I hope will be particularly useful to GMs as they narrate their players through the city.

It ended up at 50 pages, and I learned a lot. I’m already starting work on another setting, this time a large floating city buzzing with airships and intrigue, and I know how to make it even better than Talon.

Anyvay. If you’re interested in Talon, for role-playing or as a spark for writing projects (lots of people and places to plagiarize), it’s a $5 PDF at DriveThruRPG, or drop me a line and I’ll send you a copy.

Let me know what you think!

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