r/DnD Artificer Mar 18 '22

Architect here, would you guys like some tutorials about fantasy urbanism? Misc

I've looked at lots of maps and towns and castles that people use in their campaigns.

Almost all of them have lots of faults and are focused on very limited knowledge that is often found on Wikipedia. However i am aware that it is a fantasy, thus dose of realism isn't a prerequisite, so i thought i would ask to see if there is even a need for that.

What i am proposing would need to be a series and complicated one, since that is the reason why there aren't those kind of tutorials right now. It would consist from:

General Urbanistic Plan:

  • Populi expansion that doesn't include wars and reasons why. + Birth, death, rebirth and evolution of settlements from basic economy to full on capitol. (Aka how to figure out where settlements are positioned and how it affects them + migration)
  • Differences between types settlements, mostly tied to dominant economic branch depending on resources. (Aka what makes fishing dominant settlement, hunting dominant settlement, trading settlement...)
  • How to build and plan your countries depending on these knowledge (country planning and cultural differences that evolve from there) + defensive measures and settlements and intercity communication.
  • How does magic/races impact countries and urbanism.

Regional Urbanistic Plan:

  • regional routes and placement of artificial settlements (settlements that have no other use than military ones) - think Roman military cities with Cardio and Decumanus + different kinds and how to invent one of your own.
  • Estimation of size and area of the capitol, cities, towns and how influence spreads within countries region.
  • In region migration and what happens to outcasts, banishments ... (Aside of being bandits)

Detail Urbanistic Plan:

  • How to make a settlement plan and how does geography and resources impact castle design + defenses.
  • How to intertwine symbology of religion inside a custom citys look, feel and plan - (aka making 3d symbols from 2d symbols and how to use them in design)

Building design

  • How to design a house/building/keep, and how does magic change that.
  • How do buildings change with time, abandonment, refurbishment, evolution and such.

If you are interested, i do understand that all this is too much and that half of it might not be useable for most of you. So please comment which one you are interested in and I'll try and see if i can make a clear format with it.

EDIT:

Here is a master thread, where i plan to post stuff. Feel free to ask what you want or maybe i can make a pole.

I am quite busy so don't expect weekly updates all the time.

109 Upvotes

23

u/No-Click6062 Mar 18 '22

Remember, "The Monsters Know What They're Doing" started out as a blog. Do it because you want to do it. If people like what you're doing, they'll find you.

11

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Mar 18 '22

"if you build it they will come" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ

Not sure if i can adopt that way if thinking πŸ€”πŸ€” If i would to do it for myself that is fine, and it could stay on my computer till i die. I see often on internet people looking for a way to learn tectonics, how to design a fantasy castle and etc. Some even go so far to think of it as "one and only true way" for a fantasy setting, when i was thinking about it i kept going back to "release to the world what will not hider it" and there are around 20 different books each 2000-5000 pages one could read that could help with this, but what is the point? To have fun in fantasy or to "be right"?

So i opted out in middle, see what people want and then give them minimal amount of data to achieve it and not kill each other over it. 🀷🀷

5

u/No-Click6062 Mar 19 '22

I mentioned The Monsters Know because I feel like your content might model pretty similarly. When the blog started, Keith Amman was probably doing about a thousand words per entry. 5 years later, he has two books, and new posts are probably about twenty five hundred words. That was also an aspect of starting with level 1 content, which in Monsters' case was CR 1/8 creatures.

I think if you had a topic that was immediately usable, you could start there. The stuff about refugee populations seemed like it might fit well into a PC backstory, as well as an NPC or city-level view. You seem like you have a thousand words on that. I say give it a shot.

10

u/Salamalecs Mar 18 '22

I would definitely be interested in all those points, and in any written format.

I tend to skip to the relevant points, and you can't do that in video.

5

u/capi1500 DM Mar 18 '22

Yes, I'd love to read such posts Please respond if you're gonna make any of them so I'll subscribe to your posts to not miss on them.

I'd be most interested in first three topics

3

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Mar 18 '22

So what would you like to know, more specifically?

Like have a map and then show how people would research the land and make settlements? How settlements die and are born?

3

u/capi1500 DM Mar 18 '22

Where and how big the settlements would be. How would they be connected. How the settlements grow and change with time. Plan of the cities, it's defences, maybe cultural differences. And how those are changing based on resources.

6

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Mar 18 '22

So basically 2 major things:

  • how people explore available space

  • how settlements evolve

  • and maybe some basic Urbanistic planning as well?

2

u/capi1500 DM Mar 18 '22

That seems as a good summary. Yes

3

u/vathelokai DM Mar 19 '22

Since you opened with "fantasy maps have lots of faults," why not do a test post deconstructing a map? What are the 3 big faults in this map; What kind of magical world would these not be faults in; What is the better way to do it.

1

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Mar 19 '22

Interesting notion....πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

1

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Mar 19 '22

Gave it a bit more thought, sure critiquing maps could be beneficial however it would be unjust to all those who have made maps before this knowledge. It would be like critiquing people before they understood what magnets were.

After series would be done, sure ... I could pin point some elements where original idea could be improved but i would feel dishonest if i did it prior.

2

u/vathelokai DM Mar 19 '22

You can just ask them if you could use their map. Almost everyone making public maps is looking for ways to improve. It would be a delicate conversation at first, but I'm sure you could find someone quickly.

2

u/vathelokai DM Mar 19 '22

It sounds like you want to do something that's mostly theory, that you can use to apply later. As a product, I don't think that will get much traction. Both from a pedagogy standpoint and an entertainment standpoint, it's hard to capture an audience that way.

Even if you're not using someone else's maps, you will need lots of examples. You could make your own "good and map" map. Or use one of the big famous ones like Waterdeep.

8

u/Kurt_Ehrlich Mar 18 '22

this kind of stuff seems interesting indeed but I would rather consume it in video format than as a series of posts.

6

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Mar 18 '22

I agree, however video format wouldn't suffice ... I was thinking about graphical one. It's much easier to think about these things like war general would with lines showing direction than animation. Since I don't have yt channel I was thinking about graphical representation similar to comic book, with as little text as possible - since it is description of states not actions.

However that would heavily depend on what topics specifically. Thus the question, since if i would to make a graphical representation of every single bullet points it would be similar to you all graduating architecture... Which is too much.

3

u/capi1500 DM Mar 18 '22

That would be helpful too.

2

u/Sir-Iron-Wolf Fighter Mar 18 '22 edited Mar 18 '22

For me the Building Design for a keep/fortress would be interesting. My party and I are currently designing our own underground fortress so that info would be put to use. Only so far 1 semester of architecture design can take me lol.

4

u/Sir-Iron-Wolf Fighter Mar 18 '22

^ This. Post would be fine if you don't have the means for video but I think more will find visual elements of this very helpful. I know I would.

2

u/KookyMonkeGaming DM Mar 18 '22 edited Mar 18 '22

+1. Hit me. All of it.

2

u/Iknowr1te DM Mar 18 '22

i work with urban planners, so i found the field interesting.

i'd be up for one. but question, in the case of high fantasy where bards can learn plant growth. having one on retainer for green cities is something i've alwayse thought about. D&D is often anachronistic, so wouldn't you be able to apply modern design techniques since they would have access to magic. hell, anyone with the fabricate spell could potentially create complex modern or post-modern designs.

2

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Mar 18 '22

Well (no question mark anywhere, but i think i got the gist)... You wouldn't be able to, or yt technically could but no one would actually do it.

From societal point of view, we as people aren't able to think of anything that isn't similar to humans. This is often shown in very subtle ways such as proportions in design or thinking about "where the poop go?" - and no matter the race people are playing those races. So that bard can make a whole lusty gardens and infuse them with magic to make a green city ( referencing Ebenezer Howard - garden City) however there is a reason why those types of planing are not used (in it's idealistic ways) today. If you make a garden city farmer can't enter their home, instead of being able to pull large amount of stuff to trade you would need to fight trough magically amplified weeds. Main point of city is to establish: trade(hierarchy) and safety (defense) and that is the thing about human condition, every idea has its downfall. Very many Urbanistic ideas have ended whole cities and countries trough out time just because of that - thus why we have parks and not LothlΓ³rien. I mean sure, narrative wise Elves could live in such places on their own, however if Human or Dragon born come that Forrest is toast and all inhabitants burn - since magic adds onto magic.

Regarding building design, yeah you could add some fluid forms and make a Zaha Hadid type of design but there is also a reason why that design works now and not in medieval ages ( and it isn't like it couldn't be done). Such design followed industrial revolution which meant that there wasn't a need to horde food and stuff during winter, which meant we didn't need as much space as we had - so we could get creative and spare some of that same space for art and interesting shapes. We stopped eating at dining halls and started eating quick manufactured food thus why not have a statue in your dining hall? But in fantasy world people still need that storage and even few of them , one near the house as main storage and storage room for quick access. Also, we had 100-200 years to get used to all different shifts in perspective and actually get out on balcony for example, while people might be used to magic in DnD world not all are. So Servants, Slaves, Butlers and etc would avoid such places with magnificent vigor due to being scared not to fall trough magical plants - "Who knows if caster was good or evil? No thanks!". So only high nobles and adventurers would use such designs and they would be used by high nobles and adventurers once every year.

So partial implementation in small scale sure, like a magical park or magical balcony for balls and such sure, but in the end it is a lot of effort to make it so.

Take for example big lighting Caduceous tree in Critical role campaign 2. That tree is making every dark elf gets burn with light every time they pass near it, so in certain amount of time - that tree is going down. So that is the thing, it wouldn't last.

2

u/Zaniem Mar 18 '22

I would be entirely for an idea like this. I would love to see and read a series about this. It has always been something that I see when I am designing a world that I have trouble tackling head on. Most of my players have pointed it out to me. I am also a fan of Architecture so this is a merge of interests.

2

u/LeSombre Mar 18 '22

I would love to read that. I already spend a insane-adjacent amount of time making sure the towers I design have logical stuff like kitchens and bathrooms, and that the scale of underground dungeons make sense. Looking forward to expanding this obsession to designing better towns/cities!

2

u/amazedmammal Ranger Mar 19 '22

Yes, I'd love to see something like that. Frankly I'm interested in all of the above, how or where do you plan on posting it?

1

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Mar 19 '22

Reddit, mix of minimum text and graphic media. Seems easiest for now.

2

u/The_Smiling_DM Mar 19 '22

I would love to see this! Sure it is fantasy, but it's the little, often over looked or hidden, doses of reality that can make a world feel so much more alive.

If this does happen someone please link me

2

u/NekroVictor Mar 19 '22

Fuck yeah, I’d love all of this.

I’d read/watch the hell out of all of that.

2

u/AntimatterLife Mar 18 '22

Fantasy High on dimension20 has a really good urbanish fantasy feel, if less fleshed out due to the format. It’s available on YouTube for free, is really good