Up to now we’ve mostly been working inside the city walls, where space is short and buildings necessarily packed

Historic map of Oxford in 1643 showing buildings near city gates

Historic map of Oxford in 1643

closely together.  We’re now going to turn to the area outside the walls.  In this installment, we’re going to turn back to some theory.

First we need to talk about why businesses decide to set up outside the walls of the city.  After all, they are forgoing the protection that walls bring, so there must be some good reasons for it.  It turns out the reasons are pretty simple:

  • Avoiding authority:  This is monetary, avoiding taxes, but also includes regulation, attention of the town watch, even to avoiding the prying eyes of neighbors.  The city’s authority ends with the city walls, and some people find their business flourishes where there is less oversight.
  • Accessing markets:  Gates into the city are notorious choke points for people entering the city.  The gates typically only open at certain times, guards ask questions, and just the physical size of the gate all conspire to leave large numbers of people waiting outside to get in.  And where there are large numbers of people waiting or stranded, there is money to be made selling goods and services to them.
  • Space:  In many cities, space is at a premium.  So businesses that require lots of space such as cattle markets, or that need space from neighbors, such as tanners, will often set up outside the city walls.

Continue reading »

First buildings added along road

First buildings with effects on

Ok, we’re going to spend time today filling in a block section with houses.  We’re going to be using the House command from CD3 extensively, so you should be an expert in it once we’re done.

The house command is in the House toolupper left corner of your toolbar and looks like a roof seen from  the top – a screen shot is to the right (you can see the “House” tooltip as well):

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First off, I apologize for the long lag between part 5 and 6 of this series:  it was not my intention, but a series of life events conspired to take me away from mapping.  But I’m back.  Thanks to everyone for the kind words of support along the way.

If you need to refresh your memory about the project, here are links to Mapping Cities part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.

In this session, we’re going to fill in the blocks of our district with buildings, lots and lots of buildings.

We’re starting with the Entertainment district, which I’ve completely filled with block designations:

Rough outline of the block that we will fill in, showing major alleys and form

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We’re going to take a minute today to figure out reasonable sizes for the buildings in your city. I’m sharing some of my ‘rules of thumb’ for getting buildings that will work well. While you can finish a map without doing this, if you take a minute to make reasonable sized houses, your blocks will look better and it will be easier to just automatically convert a building from the city map into a tactical encounter map.

Our first order of business is to estimate the size of a pub. Why? Because it is a good reference size for all other business buildings.

Start by figuring out how many patrons the tavern should be able to handle comfortably. Let’s say for a given merchant-class ward, a typical pub should be able to handle 30 patrons easily. I assume that a nice tavern needs about 5’x5’ for each patron. If you want to ensure there is plenty of room for tactical roleplaying (in other words, a bar fight with lots of running around), you might double this. High end taverns might have 2-4 times as much space, and a cramped seedy bar might have half as much space.

So for our nice unassuming tavern that can serve 30 people, we will use 30 5’x5’ squares, which makes it roughly 30’x25’ in size.

An alternate way to get a rough size of typical buildings in our ward is to reference the symbol set that we’re going to use. Below I have two symbols from the symbol set I’m using.

City Symbols Showing Map Width

Standard CC3 City Symbols are landmark buildings

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In this, the fourth part of our series on mapping cities, we will spend time setting up a district using Campaign Cartographer 3 (CC3).  We will be using the City Designer 3 (CD3) add-on because it makes the job of mapping cities much easier.  But pretty much everything we do in this tutorial can be accomplished with the based program – it’s just more work, and your style and building options are fewer.

When we get to the step of mapping individual buildings, you’ll definitely want to have a copy of CD3 because the end result is so much better.

We are going to rough out the entertainment district of our map (the red district just above center):

My original city map was created in an old version of CC3, so we’re going to copy the district and put it in a new map. Continue reading »

In the previous two installments of this series, we determined where a city is likely to arise, and did some basic planning for a city (read Mapping Cities Part One here and Part Two here).  In this installment we will plan out a district in more detail.

There are four things to keep in mind when thinking about the structure of the district:

  • Roads and Traffic:  Are people mostly passing through (e.g., a gate ward) or heading to this district (e.g., a merchant area)?  This will determine road size and pattern, with wider roads for main thoroughfares and places where livestock must travel.
  • Planned or not?  Cities rarely arise all at once, and different areas get different amounts of planning.  Unplanned sections typically grow up along a road, or near a point of interest such as a well, then fill in between the spaces.  Planned areas are more likely to have uniform plot sizes and more organized roads.
  • Style of the buildings:  Do the buildings face inward, typically toward and inner courtyard?  Or do they face outward toward the street, typically with stores or other commercial endeavors facing the street.  Buildings with courtyards will require more space.
  • Density:  Near the center of a city there is little open space – houses are more tightly packed.  Further away from the center there is often room for livestock or family gardens.

Affecting all four of these mapping factors is the question of age:  As districts age, they change and deviate from plans, space is filled in, walls are torn down, roads and squares infill.  A fundamental right for city dwellers was the right to own land, and new cities are laid out in standard-sized burgage plots.  The size of these plots vary from city to city, but are uniform within the city:  Typically 10-20 meters wide facing the street, and 50-100 meters deep when first laid out.

The plots are large enough for outbuildings, keeping animals and small gardens.  But as space pressure increases, the plots are subdivided and filled in.  Usually the divisions stay within single plots, but the example below shows two plots that were split up together.

Evolution of Burgage Plots

Over time city plots are filled and subdivided

As you lay out plots, you need to make sure that every building has access of some sort to the road, even if it is through an alley.  In the example I give above, the grey areas are alleys.  As you have ideas for points of interest, add them now or make notes for later.

I occasionally cheat and put in plot divisions that are not road-accessible.  I just know that they will need a passageway through another building (maybe an arched gateway) or they need to be abandoned buildings that I can use later in my campaign.

Next time, I will show you how to apply these rules in Campaign Cartographer, using an entertainment district of my city.

The City Mapping Series
Part 1: Location, Location, Location
Part 2: Urban Planning
Part 3: Laying out Districts
Part 4: Districts in CC3
Part 5: Sizing Buildings
Part 6: Filling Blocks in CC3
Part 7: Houses Galore!
Part 8: Outside the Gates