City adventuring help


Liberty's Edge

I belong to a group of players currently in the capital city of our campaign. The problem is the rest of the party members only do 3 things then they want to leave. they will go to the temple for healing and potions, try to buy magic items at the local shops, or go to a tavern. Oh yes they do get a room at an inn but never try to interact with anyone, even when given the opportunity. So what I am asking is what else is there to do in the city that would interest this group of players to remain in town more than one day. Even when I have spent time at the temple and have talked with the dm about the time frame for either information or scrolls or such, when the dm asks the rest of the group they either say they want to buy certain items if available or go back to the tavern or in. Even when buying items they just want to get the item and deduct the cost and not really wander about the city taking in the sites or talking to people. I guess what I would like to bring to the game is something like a 100 THINGS TO DO IN A CITY sort of thing. For whatever reason they all seem bored in the city, while I find it filled with stuff for my character, but I don't want the whole time in the city to be just about me while everyone just sits around either. Hope you guys can help either with suggestions or links thanks.

Silver Crusade

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Depends on the adventure I think. Sure there is a ton of potential with a city, but if the GM and the Party treat every town and city as a pit stop and nothing more, you're unlikely to get anything out of it.

If a city is presented in a more urban campaign, there is a ton you can do with crime, politics, businesses, ect.

If the GM wants to write city-specific stories, their are loads of things to do. I am currently running a full campaign with city-bound adventurers. As a player, you could suggest that you guys look for work in the city, but that is still going to fall to the GM to have quests ready. Sadly, it sounds like your party does not care for NPC interaction that much. Their method of shopping alone tells me that. You cannot have a city campaign without a great deal of NPC interaction. Without the interaction, you can have maybe one or two adventure cleaning out the monsters in the sewer or investigating tunnels under the church, but that is just city-based dungeon crawling. Compelling NPC's are the only thing that make a city feel real to me.

As a player, work with your GM. See what he wants to run in the city. Ultimately, he is the only one that can turn a city from a place to buy magic items to a place to live. Anyway, that is my two copper.

Liberty's Edge

I feel the same as does the dm but can't seem to pull in the rest of the group into the quagmire of city adventuring. I think some of it has to do with role playing, a large portion of our group just doesn't. Oh they will on occasion when it suits there need but more likely they will just play the numbers or power game or something. really would like to get them involved more and both myself and the dm have tried at times but even when we throw obvious clues at them they just miss them. Right now myself and the dm are trying to put together a list of things to do in the city that may or may not require fighting and treasure but still offer opportunities for roll playing and hope to present this to everyone in the party. Our dm does give exp for quality role playing but again rarely do most party members take advantage of it.

Just to get started, you could try asking for a adventure in the City. There's lots of different things that could be done.

Some suggestions -
monsters in the sewers
undead in the city graveyard
haunted house/manor
escaped wizard experiment
hired as a go-between for black marketers & a noble
tracking down a stolen item(s)
being under suspicion of spies and having to clear their names.

This gives the party some thing to do in the city besides buying stuff and introduces more background info of the city that allows the players more stuff to interact with at a later time.

Liberty's Edge

Right now myself and the dm are working on a masked ball for one of the local holidays. It would be held at one of the major manor houses and somehow one or more members of the group are going to be invited. I am working with the dm on a general outline and he is doing all the details. We both hope this might interest some of them but not sure even the rogues will notice the opportunity presented to them. I think they will just show up and try to pick as many pockets and such rather than first making acquaintances and such to determine who the best targets might be and which rooms might be least guarded and such. Hopefully this will work.

Gotta run doing my fantasy football draft in an hour so I will be back to check out anymore responses. Again thank you all in advance for your help.

Well if there is an adventure hook in the city that would help. Do something that mat he's their interests, have a cult in the sewers that has treasure they can go after that hooks them into something else. I know you aren't the GM, but once adventures happen in the city then they might be more interested in looking around.

If it's a group of dungeon delvers you can't expect them to change gears from that into hardcore role playing. So if they are met half-way then it's an easier transition.

You can dive into a dungeon in a city- it just a tomb, or sewers or an underground fortress, or a haunted mansion, or the poor part of town, or the thieves guild, or the castle that's been taken over by rebellion.

This will sound kind of dumb, but you need to look at a different game than Pathfinder, for experience on this sort of thing. I strongly suggest Shadowrun, as it's usually city-based (and by that I mean you don't often leave your campaign city for adventures out in the wilderness). You'll learn about things to do in the city, aside from hanging out in the bar or acquiring gear.

But basically, you probably live in a city, right? What do YOU like to do? Chances are, so does your character. And your character has the money to do it with. Some things will change, because of the setting -- you probably like to go to movies. Your character probably likes to go to plays.

Part of this is going to hang on your GM. Advice has been given above for city-based plots, sure, I can see that. But actual gameplay has to be altered a bit to include city options. For example, don't make magic items easily purchasable -- if your characters have to track down makers within a city, then that gives them something to do. Reasons to acquire contacts.

WARNING! Potentially Offensive Material, Read at your own risk!:
One thing I'll note is that a large part of human existence (and, extrapolating from this, we can assume demiracial and nonhuman existence) revolves around the pursuit of pleasure. In my last 3.5e game, I made this pleasurable pursuit have an actual in-game benefit. You feel better about yourself after you've had a good meal, drank good drink, or gotten laid. That, to me, is an ego-boost -- and representable by in-game bonuses. A good drink was an hour of +1 to one of your saving throws. A good meal, +1 to all saving throws for six hours. Getting laid, +1 attack roll bonus for two to twenty-four hours -- there are serious differences between getting some two-silver common prostitute off the street to pleasure you orally, paying a temple prostitute for an hour of 'worship', and hiring an expensive courtesan for the night at the best House on the Street of Red Lights. So players had a reason to spend their money on things like that, and not just stick with iron rations, water in their waterskins and nights in the common room at the tavern.

Except shadow run is not exactly a traditional fantasy setting.

Beyond that there is no limitation in pathfinder that prevents you from having a city based adventure. The campaign I am running hast spent the last 6 sessions inside a city.

The rules do not dictate the setting.

Silver Crusade

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Matt2VK wrote:

Just to get started, you could try asking for a adventure in the City. There's lots of different things that could be done.

Some suggestions -
monsters in the sewers
undead in the city graveyard
haunted house/manor
escaped wizard experiment
hired as a go-between for black marketers & a noble
tracking down a stolen item(s)
being under suspicion of spies and having to clear their names.

This gives the party some thing to do in the city besides buying stuff and introduces more background info of the city that allows the players more stuff to interact with at a later time.

The problem with your suggestions is that they are pretty much GM to player interaction. None are really a thing that a player can initiate.

Here are some thoughts:

Look for work in the city. There are plenty of places that need day-laborers and it's an excellent opportunity for a GM to give you an adventure hook.

Do they have an arena? You could go watch the battles or even participate for coin and glory!

What about a Gambling Hall? Go and roll some dice (hehehe) and make some cash.

Heck, you could even try to start a business (or take over one) if your GM is creative enough.

I remember one time I was playing a campaign where my cleric found a dilapidated church to my diety in the town, fixed it up, and started a congregation.

All my suggestions are beginner stuff to introduce the players to some of the background of what's going on in the city.

couple plot hooks (players get into trouble) while dealing with these missions -

monsters in the sewers: It's illegal to be in the sewers with out a permit.

haunted house/manor: Rich Kids Prank. Party better not kill any of them. ^_^

escaped wizard experiment: Keep stuff a secret from the city guards who are also investigating a rash of breaking & entering caused by the experiment.

hired as a go-between for black marketers & a noble; tracking down a stolen item(s): Lots of tie in with city politics available here.

being under suspicion of spies and having to clear their names: Depends a lot on the politics of the land they're in and who they're accused of being spies for. ie. The shop they bought all their magical merchandise from is a actual spy who had to run. Problem is, he left some coded notes which seem to indicate he's used the party to carry secret messages in and out of the city. Might actually be true.

Back on topic -
I am not a big fan of Party members getting a invite to a Party of any type. Unless there's a reason for it. Some thing along the lines of a 'Thank You' party for helping out a Noble with a problem. Where the party members are the 'guests of honor'.

Liberty's Edge

just finished reading over all your posts and there are many excellent suggestions I will forward these to the dm and see what he can come up with. Hopefully the group will see that there are things to do in the city that might lead to other adventures, I personally am hoping for more role playing opportunities with them rather than just another encounter or adventure ie. sewer run etc. Really would like to see them actually carry on a conversation with an NPC based on there characters personality and beliefs and y design based upon that personality actually get themselves involved by statements or actions instead of just looking over the job board.

thank you all for your excellent suggestions, hope to be able to use all of them.

I find the best way to flesh out urban encounters is a multi-pronged approach:
-Describe the shape of the city and a couple major (interesting) places. For example, maybe the individual hiring the PCs wants to meet them in a park or marketplace instead of a dimly-lit tavern. Or you can describe how the alley upon which The Archtypical Tavern communicates winds through the shadow of the giant, abandoned cathedral.

- Set up adventures so that, even if the main focus is not itself inside the city (such as your typical dungeon crawl) the PCs have to gather some information in the city first. Maybe to find The MacGuffin of Power they actually need to research where the Dungeon of Doom lies. Or they need to find the proper opening incantation to get in. You can encourage player initiative by creating some tangibly helpful clues to be found if they try to speak with the right people. For example, maybe a blueprint of the dungeon's first level still be found in the archives of the Stonemasons' guild. Trick is, in this instance, to make the PCs feel good about initiating this research.

- Draw up a list of encounters that happen in the city like anywhere else. These might not be monsters, like you would find in the wilderness, but you could include things like: Fortunetellers or Soothsayers loudly proclaiming something odd. Pickpockets targeting the PCs. Seedy peddlers selling questionable or slightly cursed magic items at low prices. Accidents. Fights. Etc.

More city hooks, arranged by sub-category though there is always bleed-over depending on how the party tries to solve things.

Hunt and kill the evil:

-Drunk party members get rolled, have to track down their stolen stuff through the underworld.
-Sex cult of Malcanthet (queen of succubi) is operating in the wharf district, passion and murder and keeping the barbarian from being distracted by boobs.
-Were-rats have established a warren and are killing/converting folk, gotta put a stop to 'em.
-Slaver squad is nabbing vagabonds, street-people, and the like for sale outside the city.
-A mad prophet is preaching a strange new religion (that secretly worships monsters, like the Illithid) is gaining converts, annoying the local churches, and just barely legal. Party has to investigate and kill the monsters (or illegally kill the prophet)
-Mysterious Job posted, upon entering the spacious mansion to discuss getting hired they are trapped in a labyrinth of the evil Noble's design, possibly live on pay-per-scry.
-Murder most foul and no one knows whodunnit! Find the killer maybe?
-Doppelgangers, doppelgangers everywhere.

Politics and moral ambiguity:

-Were-rats again, but they are wiping out the thieves' guild with the implicit blessing of the city guard. Does the party choose a side, possibly making enemies they cannot afford?
-A mad prophet is preaching a strange new religion and the local churches want him gone, do you protect him and his ambiguous faith or assassinate him for a reward?
-Drow (or Duergar) are entwining themselves politically and economically with a noble house, but not actually breaking the law or committing acts of evil.
-Local lord/rich merchant is engaged in debt-slavery to enslave people for work in the mines and/or the brothels, or even legally empowered to take a girl to his bed/be wed despite her opinion on the matter. Just killing him isn't an easy answer since what he's doing is legal.
-The Capulet and Montague Expies are hiring mercs, like the party, to fight their sometimes legal, sometimes not feud.
-Murder Most Foul, but to cover up the crime or their incompetent investigation the city guard is already railroading a scapegoat.
-Refugees from war-torn land are filling the slums of the city, locals hate them and crime is on the rise, aside from being a perfect backdrop for predators like those listed above there are politics afoot to legally "solve" the refugee problem, maybe it's a "final solution" or maybe they'll just be packed even more tightly into walled-off ghettos.
-Local lord is doppelganger/demon-posessed/just plain evil. How to prove it without getting in trouble?
-Assassination attempt on the ambassador drags the city to the brink of war! Whodunnit and how do you avert a war that may already be inevitable?!

Good Clean Fun:

-Fighting tourneys, festivals, religious ceremonies, charity drives, or just a trench that needs digging and the wizard has Move Earth in his spellbook.
-Magic stuff the party wants will take a few days to craft, make them LOOK for their fun.
-Ale and whores.
-All of the above having a sinister dark-side that connects directly to the OTHER plot hooks of evil cults and doppelgangers and such.
-Mysterious plague of childish pranks descend upon the city.
-Enormously inconvenient: A mistake with the magic shop auto-brewer leaves the entire party (plus shopkeeper) 6 inches tall.
-A strange metal cube plunges from the night sky, within which the heroes find a horde of autognomes in need of parts to repair their "ship."
-Old Man Katan and the Incredible Edible Dancing Mushroom Band have come to town, Katan is plagued by campestris and a giant crocodile nemesis.
-A really big (too big for the party or the city to fight without losses) intelligent monster has come to town and desires to sample the finest and most famous delicacies of local cuisine.
-A monster summoning spell gone terribly awry has left the party with an accidentally kidnapped princess, who is 4 years old.
-While drunk, the party injured/frightened off several actors from a traveling troupe that has been ordered to give a command performance by the King. The director desperately needs new actors and the party is just the right size for the costumes.

Also, fundamentally the party can't IGNORE NPC conversations if they grab them by the nose. When the wild-eyed man talking to himself and licking his pennies suddenly grabs the wizard and says, "YOU! You're the only one that can stop the Underdweller horde!" they are going to have to do something, and if that something ends in an arrest and a jailbreak, hey, that's still an adventure.

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