Saturday, August 22, 2015

Outdoor Geomorphs Set One: Walled City

Today's post has been a little problematic, due to one small thing: I haven't been able to find a copy of Outdoor Geomorphs.  It can't be purchased as a PDF, it costs a fortune to buy, and it's not even out there on torrent sites.  There are other D&D products that I haven't been able to find, but all none of those were commercial releases.  This one was out there in the shops, but I'll be buggered if I can find a copy.

It's not all bad news, though.  Through various sites I've been able to find scans of the front cover, the back cover, and an image from one of the interior pages.  Even better than that, all of the interior text can be read here.  So special thanks go out to Grodog at for being the only guy to make this product even partially available.  You sir, are a prince.

The text begins with Gary giving some basic tips for designing cities: sketch out a brief history, work out what type of government rules the city, divide it into various sectors (like the Thieves' Quarter, Peasant's Market, etc.), think about the city's military forces and guards.  It's elementary stuff, but this sort of advice can be handy for beginners.  I must admit to chuckling at some of Gary's example for street names.  Pimp Passage, you guys.

This is followed by a list of the types of occupations found in most medieval cities, and this is always a good one to skim over when doing city design.  It's rare that I go into that level of detail when doing initial designs on a city, but it never hurts to place some of the most commonly sought after occupations before play begins.  The same goes for the list of building types that follows.

The text ends with three sample locations.  The first is the Old Gate, which is open all day, manned by 24 guards and commanded by three NPC fighters: Runalf, Feldoc and Vorje.

The second location is the Silvery Mart, so named because it's stalls mostly sell fish.  One of the stall owners will regale his customers about his adventures on the Lake of Unknown Depths, and the friendly mermaid who told him about the City in the Lake.  he can be bribed to draw a map to the city, but warns that the crystal steps leading down to it are guarded by a huge monster.  (The Society of Sages is mentioned as a place from which further information can be sought.)

Anchor Tavern is the last place described, a fairly normal establishment frequented mostly by mercenaries and sailors.  Sometimes it will be visited by the Master Thief, Quaggy the Quick-Fingered, and at other times by the buccaneer super-hero Radvar, and his four lieutenants.  Radvar is enamoured of the tavern's serving wench Kyleen, and could cause trouble if she's seen in the company of the PCs.

That's basically all the info I can find about this product.  Since this is all written by Gary Gygax, I'll be incorporating all of this into my version of the City of Greyhawk.  In addition to the three locales above, there's some other stuff in the earlier design guidelines.  There are divisions (Thieves Quarter, Peasants Market, New Quarter, Foreign Section, Temple Block), and some sample streets (Herbal Lane, which includes alchemists, apothecaries, herbalists, with fortune tellers at one end, and some physicians, chirurgeons, leeches and barbers at the other end, where the lane T's at Medicine Row).  The Thieves Quarter contains the Thieves' Guild, Assassins' Guild, Pimp Passage, Drunkard's Walk, the Avenue of Beggars, Whore Street, Gambler's Row, and the lower end of Currency Avenue where many money lenders can be found.  At the end of Gamber's Row is Money Changer's Court, where the Usurer's Union building is.  Just up Pennyless Walk is the Almshouse of the Brothers of the Blinding Light.  The Old Town Barracks are mentioned, as is the Riverman's Hostel.  It's all stuff to remember when I'm putting Greyhawk City together.

Finally, here's a sketch of the city:

It's kind of difficult to make out the details, to be honest.  Once I have some more concrete details about the City of Greyhawk, I'll come back to it.

NEXT: Player's Handbook, baby.

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