Start up recommendations:
Obviously the key to playing any D&D campaign, and the biggest reason most people play, is your player character. In this campaign, your player character will play a key role in building a major city from the ground up. With this in mind, it is recommended that you devise a character with the following attributes:
1. An established name in the community. This can be through politics, military, or fear/ruthlessness (for the evil characters).
2. A reason for knowing the other Player Characters. This is not as important, as it can be made up on the spot, but the game would likely run more smoothly from the start if the player characters all knew each other, or were even related to each other! (Spouse, brothers, cousins, tribesmates, etc).
3. An alignment that could conceivably fit with the other Player Characters alignments. This will require some collaboration, but will be quite a bit mroe rewarding in the end. An interesting concept that the DM could consider is to allow every player to start out as neutral (that is, lawful neutral, true neutral, or chaotic neutral) regardless of class, and through persuasion, convince the party to do things that would make them all lean towards one alignment. This would require some structure in class choice, as a Paladin could not team up with an Assassin, and a Cleric from the healing domain would have difficulty getting along with a Warlock.
4. Collaboration regarding race, as its less likely, though acceptable through backstory explanations, that a gnome and a half orc would see eye-to-eye.
Cities take time to grow, they do not simply sprout up from the ground. With this in mind, the aging system will be implemented. Should your character die as a result of old age, be prepared to create a beneficiary character. Consider making your initial character young for their race, yet old enough to conceivably be chosen to lead an expedition to build a city. Perhaps only one of the party’s characters (leader) is the one chosen, and the rest are the people that character chose to accompany him – a group of smart, young, enthusiastic individuals with a good work ethic, and eager to make a name for themselves. Regardless, if you want to see your small fishing village become the central trading port for a great empire, then prepare to create new characters down the road. Consider having a family with your first character.The DM will define how much in-game time will pass between sessions based on how many improvements are being made to the city, how long those improvements take, and how soon the next big historical event should take place. In this time, it is up to the Players to fill the party in on what has been happening in their character’s personal life while the party is not adventuring or acting as city council.
Building a city.
Discovered upgrades are special in that the player characters actually must go adventuring to find them. These include things like mines, and shops selling exotic wares. Some discovered upgrades have requirements just like advanced upgrades do, and some even fulfill requirements themselves! (Mines fulfill requirements for a smith)
Friendly hint from the DM: Hiring a city-planner will be very beneficial in the long run. His knowledge and experience will prove vital in raising a successful city.
One other thing to consider is the happiness of your people. If your city is built on merchants, your people will be happier with upgrades that promote trade, and boost economy. If your city is made up of soldiers, then training grounds and the like are what make them happy. If your people ever become so unhappy that they must speak out, they most certainly will do that, and you will hear about it!
All said, this should be a fun game, and as the DM is treading into quite a bit of new territory, assistance will be appreciated, and toleration of the odd slower time will be rewarded.