Friday, December 23, 2011

Maps: Crappy Edition

Pursuant to a conversation on G+, here's an example of how I draw wilderness maps.


  1. I've always thought it might be fun to do a graph theory style wilderness map like this. The downside is that you lose the ability to easily work in "getting lost" rules like you can with a hex map. Also, I think there is a danger that one might fall into the video game trap of only allowing people to find things that are "encounter areas" (though of course one could insert new areas on the fly if PCs decide to investigate a direction that you have not prepared connections to).

  2. the video game trap

    The trick is to de-literalize the map to the point where moving between any two points gives the players at least one thing to see, encounter or otherwise make choices about on the way. The nodes represent in-play time-sinks, not necessarily the specific places the PCs are in in-game. 'Getting lost rules' would be easy enough to add, since they could be literally anywhere on the map, but in the node-map the point is they're 'between here and there.' Only a few of the connections—the mountain pass, the river—indicate consistent connections.

    That said, if players want to 'harden' the forest route into a road or marked path, that would be an excellent way of letting them modulate the future kinds of encounters that happen, if by nothing else than preventing them from getting lost.


Two Nightwick-Inspired Campaign Ideas

One of the challenges I often face when designing D&D campaigns is what I refer to as "the whole deal." Even if I'm starti...