Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 10: Game Mastering / Environment


Source Core Rulebook pg. 514 2.0
Urban environments include open city spaces as well as buildings. The building information in this section also applies to ruins and constructed dungeons. Depending on their construction and location, cities might be vulnerable to many sorts of disasters, especially fires and floods.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 514 2.0
Crowded thoroughfares and similar areas are difficult terrain, or greater difficult terrain if an area is truly packed with people. You might allow a character to get a crowd to part using Diplomacy, Intimidation, or Performance.

A crowd exposed to an obvious danger, like a fire or a rampaging monster, attempts to move away from the danger as quickly as possible, but it is slowed by its own mass. A fleeing crowd typically moves at the Speed of an average member each round (usually 25 feet), potentially trampling or leaving behind slower-moving members of the crowd.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 515 2.0
Opening an unlocked door requires an Interact action (or more than one for a particularly complicated or large door). Stuck doors must be Forced Open, and locked ones require a character to Pick the Lock or Force them Open.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 515 2.0
Wooden floors are easy to walk on, as are flagstone floors made of fitted stones. However, floors of worn flagstone often contain areas of uneven ground.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 515 2.0
Walled settlements often have gates that the city can close for defense or open to allow travel. A typical gate consists of one portcullis at each end of a gatehouse, with murder holes in between or other protected spots from which guards can attack foes.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 515 2.0
Most settlements of significant size have guards working in shifts to protect the settlement at all hours, patrolling the streets and guarding various posts. The size of this force varies from one guard for every 1,000 residents to a force 10 times this number.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 515 2.0
A portcullis is a wooden or iron grate that descends to seal off a gate or corridor. Most are raised on ropes or chains operated by a winch, and they have locking mechanisms that keep them from being lifted easily. The rules on lifting a portcullis or bending its bars appear in the sidebar on this page. If a portcullis falls on a creature, use a slamming door trap.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 515 2.0
Rooftops make for memorable ambushes, chase scenes, infiltrations, and running fights. Flat roofs are easy to move across, but they’re rare in any settlement that receives significant snowfall, since heavy buildups of snow can collapse a roof. Angled roofs are uneven ground, or inclines if they’re especially steep. The peak of an angled roof is a narrow surface.

Hurdling from roof to roof often requires a Long Jump, though some buildings are close enough to Leap between. A High Jump might be necessary to reach a higher roof, or a Leap followed by Grabbing an Edge and Climbing up.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 515 2.0
Sewers are generally 10 feet or more below street level and are equipped with ladders or other means to ascend and descend. Raised paths along the walls allow sewer workers access, while channels in the center carry the waste itself. Less sophisticated sewers, or sections those workers don’t usually access, might require wading through disease-ridden waste. Sewers can be accessed through sewer grates, which usually require 2 or more Interact actions to open.

Sewer Gas

Source Core Rulebook pg. 516 2.0
Sewer gas often contains pockets of highly flammable gas. A pocket of sewer gas exposed to a source of flame explodes, dealing moderate environmental fire damage to creatures in the area.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 516 2.0
Stairs are difficult terrain for characters moving up them, and shoddy stairs might also be uneven ground. Some temples and giant-built structures have enormous stairs that are greater difficult terrain both up and down, or might require Climbing every step.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 516 2.0
Most settlements have narrow and twisting streets that were largely established organically as the settlement grew. These roads are rarely more than 20 feet wide, with alleys as narrow as 5 feet. Streets are generally paved with cobblestones. If the cobblestones are in poor repair, they could be difficult terrain or uneven ground.

Particularly lawful or well-planned cities have major thoroughfares that allow wagons and merchants to reach marketplaces and other important areas in town. These need to be at least 25 feet wide to accommodate wagons moving in both directions, and they often have narrow sidewalks that allow pedestrians to avoid wagon traffic.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 516 2.0
Well-built structures have exterior walls of brick or stonemasonry. Smaller, lower-quality, or temporary structures might have wooden walls. Interior walls tend to be less sturdy; they could be made of wooden planks, or even simply of thick, opaque paper held in a wooden frame. An underground structure might have thick walls carved out of solid rock to prevent the weight of the ground above from collapsing the structure. Rules for climbing and breaking walls are in the sidebar on page 515.