TTRPG Pick of the Month is a regular feature where we highlight a game or supplement we're really excited about. We're not associated with the TTRPG and we don't earn any money if you buy it. We'll always disclose if we're writing a product we have some connection to.
I am a collector of fascinating fictional cities. I love wandering around Disco Elysium’s Revachol and encountering NPCs who are fantastically strange and incredibly mundane at the same time. Or getting to know Karnaca and Dunwall, two of the cities in the Dishonored video games. Just by overhearing conversations between NPCs, reading fliers, and picking up random items, you can piece together cities’ histories, the complex relationships between different factions, and even how their economies function.
One of my favorite cities of all time is Night City, from Cyberpunk 2020. It’s the bustling metropolis of our dark future—violent and neon, thriving and decaying all at once. Finally, there are Beszel and Ul Qoma, two cities from the novel The City & the City by China Miéville, which exist in the same physical space but have completely separate populations, architecture, and cultures.
The latest city I am adding to my collection is Mercy, which is being revealed issue by issue in the zine Aberdeen, written by John Battle and Emma Levin and illustrated by Thomas Novosel. Everything in Aberdeen comes with D&D 5e stats but it would be really fun (and simple) to adapt all this material for any other game. (This, of course, is really in the spirit of Cloud Curio!)
This is the kind of TTRPG setting that comes alive as you read it before you even get it to the table. These beautifully designed zines are full of NPCs, locations, player backgrounds, unlikely dungeon crawls, fun/strange random tables, possible encounters, and plot hooks, and they are crammed full of lore about this remarkable modern fantasy city.
In Mercy, you’ll find plenty of intrigue, activism, politics, and rumors as well as locations that make any a city: cafes, bars, parks, a bathhouse, a university, and much more. Want to take your players on a dungeon crawl through a frat house that specializes in druidcraft and partying? OK, then Aberdeen issue 2 is for you!