The super secret group of GURPS bloggers has decided on a "community" theme for this week and while I've had
a hard time coming up with a good idea, I think I've finally found one.
Population: 175'000 (Search +3)
Well, that was an interesting exercise. Most of the various parameters were easy to figure out and apply, though the terrain was a bit tricky, as was Wealth. I figure that Switzerland probably mostly qualifies for Comfortable wealth in GURPS terms, though. On top of that, Basel has been doing pretty well in terms of income and has a comfortable budget, so even within Switzerland, the city is doing well.
Summarizing highlights for the notes was thankfully easy, as there are several points that make Basel an interesting adventure location. For example, Paracelsus1 worked at the University. He was an astrologer and alchemist with rather radical (at the time) views on gathering evidence by observing nature. He is credited as the founder of the Toxicology as a field of study, which gives player characters plenty of reasons to interact with him.
Similarly, the various international meetings that took place in Basel are fertile ground for intrigue and assassination attempts. Or perhaps it's the Zoo2 that's more important, as its breeding programme is one of the best in the world. Another thing that might be relevant for gaming is the physical size of Basel. At 24km2 or just over 9 square miles, Basel is really small for its population. Getting anywhere is quick, whether on foot or by public transportation - which is excellent as in the rest of Switzerland. The worst option might be a car as there is a perpetual lack of parking space in the dense3 city. The inner city is even closed completely for car traffic now!
In a more magical campaign, the city is likely to contain several places of power, due to how old its university and some of its churches are. Perhaps it even began in Roman times, when there was a fortified camp on the hill where the cathedral now stands, making the place truly ancient. The university has several spell books, which might well turn out actually possess power, and the Egyptology department is very strong, which is certain to interest magicians.
For completeness' sake, I should probably mention that Basel has an airport. Although, well. The Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse is actually entirely in France. There isn't much space around Basel to put an airport elsewhere.