A comment online made me look to see what I’d ever written about the City Encounters supplement by Matt Finch. And it turns out I’ve written nothing about it, which is weird because I think it’s one of my favorite and most-used game supplements ever.
I bought the PDF in 2008 or 2009 for use with both Swords & Wizardry and Labyrinth Lord, and all of my games have featured it since. Many adventures have started out as random results in the list of 600+ encounters, many interesting roleplay moments resulted from others, and some of them became seeds for things that are developing to this day.
The results have a great sword & sorcery vibe and just enough info to launch an interesting interaction, a fun chance meeting that becomes a recurring thing, or sometimes a full-blown subplot or adventure.
#406 Food vendor Smark and his steamed eels (“Ten for a gold! You’ll wish you’d bought twenty!“) is a perennial favorite in the city of Vanderbridge, and those eels have satisfied many an adventurer’s hungry appetite and been surprisingly useful in some surprising situations. I probably rolled Smark in 2014 and he has been keeping things slimy ever since.
There are also some useful tables in the back for random spellbooks, NPC traits, and such, though I didn’t use them a lot except back when I was playing S&W White Box for a while.
Sadly, City Encounters doesn’t appear to be available any longer. I’m not even sure if it was ever available in print. But, if you have an opportunity to get hold of a copy–or if you’ve had an unused copy of the PDF sitting in a subfolder somewhere for the past decade or more–check it out. Though originally designed for S&W, its lite approach makes it useful for not only all oldschool games but the newschool as well. Highly recommended and definitely the most-used OSR-type supplement I’ve ever owned.