I thought I might just generate a whole list of possible cities before scattering them around on a map. I'm not sure where I read it (I think Zak), but the idea is to give players some sense of what a city is about, a characteristic or predominate feature.
I'll just start with the categories from here and work from the bottom up:
- Substance: City of Brass, baby. My favorite. Basically what a city is built from, brick, alabaster, iron, sandstone
- Quantity: Um, city of a million fires, can't think of what quantity would be but lots of people. A city of ten families, mostly deserted?
- Quality: The greatest city, cleanest, filthiest, I figure most cities in my world would be filthy so maybe clean streets would be something special, hah. But maybe this is about refinement, or class, a city only of nobles? Who is going to do the work? A city of nobles and slaves.
- Relation: Twin cities, cities right across a river from each other, or a gorge, on two levels of a cliff, in a huge tower, a Babel sized tower with multiple cities (that sounds like one big city though).
- Place: In the snow, in the desert, marsh or swampland, coastal, plains, stony badlands, giant forest, island or port.
- Time: ?? Ruins, used-to-be-a-city, shanty town becoming a city.
- Position: How would this be different than relation? Upside down city, highest city, lowest city, flattest city, hilliest city.
- State (shod, armed, etc.): city in revolt, drought, famine, plague-stricken city (ooh, I bet the players will want to go there haha)
- Action: ?? A city expanding, a city conquering new lands because it's a city-state, city rebuilding, the Winchester city that can't stop building, Nidus fits here with the merchants constantly shifting.
- Affection (actually affected by, affected in some way): This seems similar to state, but maybe conquered, a city with imperial forces stationed there, burnt city, just after a big fire, trade fairs, the influx of people changing the state of the city in different seasons.
- Opinion/Judgement: The friendliest city (haha), accursed, slavers and torturers, a beautiful city, the ugliest city, a city of harsh laws (hand-choppers),slow-paced, lazy, corrupt, decadent
- Dimension (size, length, width): biggest, smallest doesn't really work unless you put this on the map somewhere, tallest buildings, I think a lot of what I put for position up above fits here, maybe narrow streets, a city on water like Venice, a narrow city stretched along a canyon or ceremonial route.
- Age: ancient or new, a city of where the old go to die, a city where the blemished young are exiled to.
- Shape: ?? A city in a a religious pattern, checker board, concentric rings, in a pyramid interlocking rings around wells or shafts
- Color: color of the building materials? of the inhabitants? Color words can be clues because of connotations, the White City, the Black City, the Grey City. Not sure what would make them literal, maybe the Blue city paints its walls, a sign of religion? of magical protections, they live near dragons or demons
- Origin: City founded by slaves, pirates, rebels, religious exiles, built around a shrine, an oasis, a trade center, a natural feature, shipwreck, where an armies commander was killed
- Material: I think substance covered this.
- Purpose: trade, military, political center, royal leisure spot, research/libraries/archives, religious magnet, frontier, resources: mining, lumber, fishing, manufacture of: textiles, metalwork,
- Appearance/Condition: Silent, jubilant, reverent, rotting, sinking, splitting (on faults), painted/murals, draped, gilded, whitewashed, stinking, vaporous
Okay, enough for now, got to get to work. I'll make another post to try and pick ~5 to get ready for Friday.