Friday, March 25, 2011

Manure Spill at the Lord's Gate Backs Up Wagons to the City Square

Pretty much every fantasy city map I've seen shows a city surrounded by walls, water or both, with limited means of egress, generally limited to city gates. What happens to the daily flow of traffic, both personal and commercial, if you close off some of those gates due to an unforeseen accident, such as a cart of dung, piled high, tips over when leaving through the main gate, spreading waste everywhere and requiring men and time to clean up?

Traffic jam for the most part. Which could be a big advantage to those looking to smuggle goods in or out of the city. Overwhelmed city guards may push folks through without the usual search or questioning. Tolls may not be collected. Tempers may flare.

See, I'm watching traffic and tempers build in Lower Manhattan this morning, as the Lincoln Tunnel has been closed due to a tractor trailer accident. Cars, trucks, buses - all are using alternate routes to cross the Hudson River, but there is only so much additional volume the remaining tunnel and bridge can take. Traffic is coming to a stand still.

I suspect it would play out similarly in a fantasy setting. Real life again invades my view of a fantasy urban environment ;)


  1. Since my wagon doesn't have a horn, I beat my hireling with a stick until he howls with pain and rage. That's sort of like a horn. He hates it, but it makes me feel better.

  2. Then all the beggars will start panhandling the lines of traffic... hey, you could beat them too! ;)

  3. I've started developing maps in our campaign setting that does away, partially, with the medieval walls.


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