Saturday, January 31, 2009

Campaign Map

This is the current version of the map for my Dwimmermount campaign. Each hex is 5 miles across. As you can see, not a lot of it has been fleshed out just yet, since, aside from the fortress of Muntburg, nearby Dwimmermount, and the City-State of Adamas to the south, the PCs haven't ventured very far into the wider world. As you can see, even geographical features don't have any names yet. I'd been very tempted to name them, but I've thus far resisted, since I decided that it was unnecessary information until such time as the PCs had reason to know the names.

I keep a list of words -- some real, some imaginary -- with me, so that I can create names on the fly as needed, either randomly determining them or choosing one that seems appropriate given the way the campaign is evolving. So far no one has complained about the "lack of detail" and I'm glad of that, since it makes it much easier for me to focus on what's important for actual play rather than world building flights of fancy.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with world building. I simply know, based on the past, that I can get very obsessive about such things if I let myself do so. For a long time, world building for its own sake was a major pastime for myself and I now realize that, in some cases, it probably prevented me from actually playing. I don't want to repeat such mistakes, so I've kept the world simple for the time being and don't really think much about what it's like outside of our weekly sessions. I'm sure that will inevitably change as time goes on and the campaign expands beyond Dwimmermount itself, but that time hasn't come just yet.

And, yes, the map is based on a section of the Outdoor Survival map. Shock and surprise, I know.

18 comments:

  1. Out of curiousity, James, and apologies if I missed mention of it in an earlier post, but what tile-mapper are you using for your map?

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  2. I am now using HexMapper. It's appropriately nice and simple for my meager cartographic skills.

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  3. Good move leaving things nameless (or at least not pushing them on the players). The fewer names you give the more powerful each will be.

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  4. I started out my present campaign in this sort of way - based on the Keep on the Borderlands (mainly the Keep itself) and it has grown from there into a little campaign world. I think this sort of organic process can add a lot to the depth of the gameworld and as a DM you don't feel the need to hit the players over the head with all the history you have spent all your time creating.

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  5. The version of HexMapper I downloaded doesn't seem to have those Known World-looking icons. Are there alternate fonts or something?

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  6. Nice work with the Arr-Kelaan hexmapper. :)

    BTW I found over time that the maps look best if you use the light green 'clear' hex, rather than the white blank hex on the map - though I use the white one for glaciers.

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  7. "I keep a list of words -- some real, some imaginary -- with me, so that I can create names on the fly as needed"

    Great idea! I used to do something similar in my Champions or Traveller campaigns. I kept a list of last years NFL draft class on hand, and whenever I needed an NPC name I'd just cross one off the list.

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  9. The version of HexMapper I downloaded doesn't seem to have those Known World-looking icons. Are there alternate fonts or something?

    I think those are from the Welsh Piper LLC add-on:
    http://www.tridrpg.org/admin/dmtools.php

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  10. Simple, climatic and very good map. I tried something similar in Campaign Cartographer and died at the beginning. I'll try HexMap then.

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  11. James, what scale are you using on that map?

    Each hex is 5 miles, as per OD&D.

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  12. I'm still using the world I created as a kid, but every now and again there is a still a moutain or a marsh to be named.

    I always try to avoid just tossing "Misty" in front of the geological location, but even so I'm sure I have a "Misty Swamp" and "Misty River" here and there...

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  13. I downloaded the Welsh Piper add-on, but I can't figure out how you load it into HexMapper. Anyone care to help out a not-so-clever fellow?

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  14. Matthew, I didn't need any add-on. I got mine from the following link and it looks just like James' output:

    http://www.geocities.com/danjnm_2000/AKS_HMAP.ZIP

    (This was discussed in James' Jan-23 blog post.)

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  15. James had so much trouble with the file you linked, that I tried another version (the mentalwasteland one). For the record, I had the same trouble as James in that I can't get that geocities.com/danjnm_2000/AKS_HMAP.ZIP file to run on my machine.

    Ach, such tribulations! :D

    James, what did you end up doing?

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  16. James, what did you end up doing?

    I installed the program on an older computer and it worked just fine :)

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