City Settings – The Waiting City

The city doesn’t even have a name yet, only a designation – Colonial Development Project 176. 18 months ago a construction crew of 6 humans and several hundred robots landed on Sainus V at the mouth of a small river estuary. After 2 months of surveying, the humans set the robots to work. The robots would do the construction work, leaving the humans to supervise and problem solve. With the exception of a flash flood of the river that necessitated a two week flood prevention project, the construction of CDP-176 passed without significant incident. The city stands ready and waiting to welcome one hundred thousand colonists.

Six Cities in 2018

The second in a series of posts exploring cities as the focal point for RPG world building. This city explores the concept of waiting and emptiness.

The city rises up a shallow hillside from the estuary side docks and beach front but stops before the hill is crested. The houses are all prefabs of only five different models, arranged in a fixed grid pattern that pays no heed to the curve of the hillside. The only man made structure on the surface of Sainus V, the city sits at the centre of a web of roads that connect to the farms and mines that will supply the populated city. The centre of the colony is the converted cargo ship that brought the crew and robots to Sainus V. Other than the prefabs built for the construction crew, there is nothing personal about the city. There is is no art or music, leaving the buildings quiet and drab.

Not Your City

The construction crew have finished they work and are now disassembling the robots that aren’t needed for city maintenance. It will be another month before their colony ship is expected to arrive but an unknown colony ship that has entered orbit. Through bursts of broken communication, the construction crew learn the ship is the Carrington, a colony ship for CDP-143 that is in distress. Damage from an asteroid storm has left them unable to continue to their waiting city. They are requesting permission to join this colony.

One Dead, 5 Suspects

The Whitbyis late, late by 3 months now. Though the construction crew have plentiful supplies, they are anxious to move on with their lives. Some will join the city population, leave for the next project, or return to the core worlds. Tensions are rising. When Dr Branwen is found dead, their skull cracked by a blunt object, any bonds between the crew fail under the weight of suspicion and grief. It could only have been another member of the crew for the world is supposed to be uninhabited.


The construction crew are woken by the ground shaking and an increasing rumble coming from the the other side of the hill. They barely have time to get themselves to safety before a vast herd of grazing animals stampedes through the empty city. Though none of the major buildings are damaged, the hour long procession of running animals are has destroyed anything smaller than a dustbin and all the public gardens are in ruins. Repairs are interrupted when the next morning the stampede occurs gain. Fearing and expecting a third stampede, the crew scout over the hill before dawn. They find a dozen construction robots shepherding the animals into position. All attempt to communicate with the robots fail when they respond in a language the crew don’t recognise.

Image Credit – View of City Street by Ikram Shaari – CC0