Random tables for Sigil/Perdido-style city?

edited December 2011 in Story Games

I need some good random tables or oracles so I can come up with slightly surreal/bizzare stuff on the fly.

The city of Misplaced is ruled by Queen Amethyst and her seven demonic husbands. City districts swim amongst each other like an overstocked koi pond. Fit young people earn money by standing on roofs as "callers", shouting out where the various neighbourhoods are relative to each other, using major landmarks as guides.

Anyway, random tables would rule. Can anyone help me?


  • Just how weird do you want them?

    You could take tweets from Echo Bazaar.
  • Vornheim could work for some NPCs.

    Cleopatra of Nexis: Has precognitive dreams. She saved the city during the Battle of Ten Thousand Nights. She is fat, generous, bold, charismatic.
    She is the daughter of...
    Vollrath The Ogler, who is possessed by the demon Belphegor. He is an expert in gems and jewels. He wears snow leopard fur and a monocle.
  • I lurve Vornheim, it's my new favorite RPG supplement. But I find that the pressures built in there are really focused on the aristocracy. I need more little daily pressures for the riff-raff, like cranium rat infestations and the way the homeless guy seems to be turning to stone.

  • There's the New Crobuzon Fiasco playset. It isn't exactly made for random encounters, but might be repurposed for the job.
  • Posted By: Mr. TeapotThere's theNew Crobuzon Fiasco playset. It isn't exactly made for random encounters, but might be repurposed for the job.
    OMG, how did I miss this?

  • edited December 2011
    I just made this up, it's based on certain charts I've been using for my own city-based fantasy game.

    Random people in the streets...
    1-Beggar (1-Prince of paupers, 2-Common pickpocket, 3-Government spy, 4-Leper cultist, 5-Vermin advocate, 6-Insane prophet)
    2-Bohemian (1-Exotic sculptor, 2-Hyperealist painter, 3-Hack, 4-Performance artist, 5-Ritual playwright, 6-Art critc)
    3-Xeno (1-Mantis, 2-Turtle, 3-Zebra, 4-Slug, 5-Tapeworm, 6-Hivemind)
    4-Scholar (1-Eschatology, 2-Experimental theology, 3-Liquefactionist, 4-Chaos math, 5-Xenobiology, 6-History)
    5-Shady (1-Drugdealer, 2-Sex worker, 3-Fence, 4-Revolutionary, 5-Crime boss, 6-Saboteur)
    6-Bureaucrat (1-Corrupt militia officer, 2-Informer, 3-Customs official, 4-Immigration officer, 5-Ambassador, 6-Lawyer)
    7-Proletariat (1-Dockworker anarchist, 2-Machinist, 3-Union organizer, 4-Shift boss, 5-Jobless, 6-Strike breaker)
    8-Artisan/Trader (1-Tattooist, 2-Food, 3-Tinker, 4-Tailor, 5-Thaumaturgist, 6-Diviner/medium)

    Person A's relationship to person B is...
    1-Intimate: sex
    2-Intimate: romantic
    3-Professional: debt
    4-Professional: competition
    5-Power: rivalry
    6-Power: conspiracy
    7-Blood: family
    8-Fanatic: religious
    9-Fanatic: ideological
    10-Fanatic: obsessive/revenge

    The person's position in the web is...
    1 - threatened, she wants to keep it
    2 - unfavorable, she wants to escape it
    3 - precarious, balanced by a secret
    4 - secure, at great cost to another

    Judd's Make your own New Crobuzon should be mandatory reading.

    Depending on how Planescape-y you want to make it, it's probably good to make (A) more complicated/random/extensive character generators (Planescape is infinite, it isn't just one culturally-defined city, there are always people from Elsewhere around Sigil) and/or (B) keep creating cool, unique, different NPCs outside play and bringing them in as needed.

    For the oldschool weird vibe I found it useful to have a totally nonstandard magic (item) generator as well as a bunch weird organisations/cults dedicated to strange goals.

    Oh, yeah, and these generators. Spits out gems such as Undeniable Mouth, Tsamakki's Spine Signal, Urn Stag, Glass Hive Beetle, Writer Harem and Laboratory of Harmony (got these on the various forges in a few clicks).

    Another vote for Vornheim, but that goes without saying.
  • Good question, Ry -- and proof that I need to get cracking on Cerebos: The Crystal City.

    I've had good luck taking elements from the Korad setting bible. Originally, it was a thread on Livejournal where contributors each suggested one fact for a city based only on its position on a map. Then everyone voted on the three most interesting facts, which became what the city was known for.
Sign In or Register to comment.