street-wise versus city-wise

Hi all,

Does anyone have a good grasp on the difference between street-wise and city-wise?


Streetwise: how to find sketchy criminal people, services and goods or lore about what sketchy things are going down

“Where can I find a fence to get rid of this jewel?”
“Don’t go further than the East dock, the Berbers control the district beyond that, and they don’t take kind to you being there.”
“Although it’s a crowd of rich merchants, you can already see the 3 con-men working their way through the crowd. Looks like they’re all working independently.”

City-wise: General, useful information about the city and it’s people

“The three head families control the paper trade, and through it, the Imperial Bureaucracy.”
“The trick is finding an inn that isn’t too pricey, nor full of bugs and plague. Avoid the wharf and look for the scribe’s district…”
“The purple scarf did the trick - the guards think you work for Lord Hammish, which is enough for them to wave you through. Everyone else uses the new seals of authority, but the cranky Hammish sticks to the old traditions… lucky for you!”


It’s actually Streetwise, not Street-wise. Despite the confusing name, Streetwise isn’t really a “wise”. Streetwise definitely has a knowledge component, but it’s largely an etiquette skill. No matter where you go in the city, you know how to act so as to not stick out and draw unwanted attention to yourself. You know how to deal with the locals without spooking them or making them react aggressively.

Street-wise would be more like:

“The cobblestones on the Grand Promenade are actually the filed-down skulls of Rock Demons from Phnargh”
“Breakneck Boulevard isn’t the steepest street in the city, but the Guild of Oilers sure makes it the most dangerous. We’d best pick another route”
“Isn’t it ironic that we were run over and trampled here on Temple Way, the widest street in all of the Three Kingdoms?”


Think of Streetwise as Orienteering for urban environments. As per the description: “This skill helps characters navigate urban centers safely, allowing them to find places only a native would know.” (emphasis mine)

I like Storapan’s examples of Streets-wise. Cobbleskull streets are the best.