Looking back at the early days of the RPG hobby, it’s a bit surprising how few Dungeons & Dragons adventures took place in large cities. Sure, there were little towns and villages like Hommlet or the Keep on the Borderlands. But they were primarily intended for rumors (adventure seeds), loot selling, and gearing-up the party.

Large urban sprawls as campaign-spanning adventuring locales – with as many locations as a megadungeon – occupied only a small corner of the hobby. TSR itself would not publish such a large city setting until The City of Greyhawk in 1989

Judges Guild filled in the gap early on with the City State of the World Emperor (CSWE) and its predecessor, City State of the Invincible Overlord (CSIO). Today, we’ll take a look at the city of Viridistan, featured in the enormous (for its time) CSWE set.

City State of the World Emperor

1980 … Bob Bledsaw & Craighton Hippenhammer … Judges Guild 0150

Two 80-page books and one 48-page booklet, One 34″x22″ full color city map, Two 17″x22″ campaign maps: Judge & Player (Campaign Map 6: City State of the World Emperor)

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Cover Sheet

The Cover Sheet, alas, is often missing from these CSWE sets out in the wild.

The sheet, as well as the books, boast that CSWE is “Approved for use with Dungeons & Dragons”. TSR would later block this claim, forcing JG to term future publications as “Universal Fantasy Supplements.” City State of the World Emperor, last printing, did drop the AD&D reference on the cover sheet and booklets.

On the back is the Treasure Vault: Judges Guild product list. This is used by The Acaeum in identfying the printing. There were 4 printings of City State of the World Emperor.

Book I: Guidebook Map 6

In the Guidebook (48 pages) there is a moderate amount of excellent art credited to Paul (Jennell) Jaquays and Kevin Siembieda (of Palladium fame). Many entries have blank lines for the DM to add notes.

Book II: Shops

The Shops book has little art, the space instead dedicated to a whole lotta named NPCs and their businesses to be placed by the DM.

Book III: City

The City booklet focuses on the more important people and locations in Viridistan. There are several pages of barracks and rumors.


Of the three Maps, the color city map is the largest. It is blank on the back. The two black-n-beige regional maps are identical, except the Player’s map has large unmapped areas of course. The reverse sides both have a blank hex field for DIY mapping.

Campaign Map 6: City State of the World Emperor is but one of several interlinked maps of the City State campaign.

See also:

Judges Guild City State Campaign, detailed at my RPG reference site