Ok, maybe you can do something with this, right now I like it...
Let's pretend Immryr, capital of Melnibone, home of Elric, had stats. What would they be?
Strength: Melnibone isn't all that in terms of military might--it is on the decline. Still: they would put up some fight…. 6?
Intelligence: The libraries and scholarship of Immryr are world-class. No doubt. Perhaps none finer in the whole setting: 18.
Wisdom: How old and how spiritual is Immryr? Well very both, but maybe not the most ancient most hallowed place--that's probably some spooky ziggurat somewhere, so: 17.
Dexterity: I suggest a city's dexterity is its trade--and Immryr is in decline, but you can probably get most things there…13?
Constitution: How safe is Immryr? How much danger is it in? I'm gonna say a lot--Con 6.
Charisma: How beautiful is it? How much culture does it have? It is meant to be the most baroque and melancholically beautiful of cities, so….18.
Now let's look at the stats of its most famous inhabitant…
Why bother to do this? Well truly decent tools for generating cities and places are thin on the ground and often require memorizing all new terms and ideas whereas NPC-generating tools are everywhere--why not parasitize them to make places as easy to handle as people? Describing cities as having the basic D&D stats lets you do all kinds of things, including:
-Make a random place on the fly using any NPC stats you might have lying around or a random NPC generator. (Roll 3d6 for each stat for Whatever Place Happens To Be Around The Corner, roll d20 for each stat for places that're supposed to be interesting by themselves.)
-Generate places of origin for your group's PCs using their own stats as a base. So if Gozar the dwarf has a high wisdom, you can, unless you've got a better idea, assume his hometown is a venerable temple city. You can grab some character sheets and start your campaign map with the places hidden inside these people. Thieves will tend to hail from trading (dextrous) cities, clerics from places with temples or long history, fighters from powerful nations, dwarves from stable (high Con) enclaves, etc.
-You can abstract questions people face in cities and settlements using the stats. Can anyone in Ghorsmakkia translate this? Roll the city's Int. Can you get Red Lotus powder? Roll Dex. Anybody got a problem they need solved? Roll Con and hope they fail (bad Con cities are fun cities). Is there any decent gambling? Roll Cha. Any magic healing? Roll Wis…etc.
-It also might work for organizations in general--guilds, cults, etc. A trade organization within a city could easily have a higher dex than the city itself.
Let's take a look at some places….
Wis 16-17 (it's not Babylon or Jerusalem, but it's spooky)
Con 14 (in Guy Ritchie movies) 6
Int 8 (they got, like folklore about badgers and stuff)
Con 18 (safe as houses)
Dex 8-12? (they don't seem to lack for goods despite being isolated)
Cha 13 (they have like festivals and whatnot)
Maybe "rural halfling village" stats get rolled on 4d6-pick the lowest 3?
This shows the limits of the system: Ptolus is purposefully designed as the main city in the setting--so everything interesting is there. However…if you broke up Ptolus by neighborhood you might get a more interesting array of stats.
That's a little better--especially since refugees from Lankhmar can run off to Illthmar if they find themselves in need of that 10% of imaginable goods not available at home.
Place I just rolled up on 6d20:
So clearly we have some kind of scholarly library or wizard tower built on an ancient site of power. It's usually safe despite having no political influence (Str 4) but once in a while there are raiders or the monks kill each other and it's not far off a main trade route. Nice.
Not sure if and how far this goes--(if you needed two armies to fight could you resolve it by giving each a class and making them first level and having them go at it? Tech level=armor class?)--but it's an idea.
On 5e Backgrounds: Ratcatcher
3 hours ago