Sunday, March 30, 2014

[map] Cyclops Wood Full

This is the initial campiagn area; after moving through Zimon's Gate, the characters will find themselves at the top of a mountain road that brings them down onto the sotheast portion of the map. Referees could also begin in Dogwall or Molt without too much trouble. Dogwall is a day's walk (more or less) on the other side of the stone bridge, and Molt is upriver on an island in the glacial lake.

Larger version

This was a bitch to draw, btw.


Friday, February 21, 2014

[Map] The Hidden Land at the Sorcerer's Skull

Get a look at it here.

This was one of my two major projects for the last couple of months, and the first time I have really tried to do a large scale callaboration. It was educational on a technical level (to say the least) as it turned out to be several smaller projects as opposed to one big project. It took forever and ever (I started it at the end of field season in late october).

This means I can return to working on my webcomic, Cosmic Tales, which I hope to launch some time this year.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

[Map] A section of the Cyclops Wood, and thoughts on wilderness adventure.

Although I have made a few in my time, I have gown increasingly less fond of big hex based sandboxes. I think wilderness adventues are a great idea. I do not believe, however, that hexcrawls are to the widerness what dungeons are to site based adventures. Walking and exploring have become big parts of the work I do in meatspace and hexcrawls absolutely fail to capture what I love so much about both.

Imo, most hexy things try to cover too much space and getting lost is a ticket to boredom. Now, my worklife aside, when I was a neglected child and spent my time wandering around defunct railroads and empty country, getting lost was fun, because you poked around until you were not lost, and you found stuff along the way. Also, you can easily spend days exploring what is represented by just one hex on most maps, but they usually have like one detail. This strikes me as too little and too arbitrary.

This map is the beginning of an attempt to convert some of this thinking into gamables.


1. Constrains the players- the ravine is in the west, the east side is mountain cliff face. The bridge is flimsy or magic and you can only cross once, maybe- or just finding your way back to it could be the challenge.

2. Ensures that you will have to leave the road.

3. Gives you stuff to find once you get lost. That is the moon capsule from The First Men In the Moon up there on the top left, btw. I don't think lost should be a matter of rolling a random direction, but rather a random destination with a random duration of travel.

4. Has room for factions.

5. Has an ecology (take my word for it)

So the idea is you have to explore and interact with the environment (e.g., deal with the locals, figure out how to cross the boiling mud, decide which way to go on the road at the fork, discover that someone has fucked with the signposts, and so on...) on the way to your goal (which in this case is the big skull hill thingy) instead of just passing through. Not every landscape is an adventure, of course, in the same way not every building is a dungeon.

Note: I don't have the scale on the map but it is like a 4 hour walk from the bridge to the fork in the road. Also, the apex predator here is an insane allosaur.

I'll key this up in a day or two, probably like the Molt map, but with stats and shit

Come at me, bro.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Molt, not so rough

I am at a friend's house and he has been doing something involving insurance and the phone and the internet...

So, while waiting, I went ahead and did this:



Friday, February 7, 2014

New Stuff, Old stuff

These are my most recent gaming purchases. I picked up the Withcery book after spending a few days pouring over the .pdf. It is currently my favorite DnD. It has all the classic fantasy stuff but also races, classes and rules for horror, weird adventures, and sword and planet. I also love the interior art, most of which is by Dominique Crouzet, the author. The pdf is available for free, HERE. Go. Look. The HC Is currently out of print as Dom is doing a new round of edits.
The important thing, of course, is that I have one.
I bought the WD book because I read a shitty .pdf of the Lichway and it was the first time I have ever looked at published adventure and thought, "Fuck, I'd like to use this, and it fits my setting." The Halls of Tizun Thane, by the same author, had a similar effect. I have already placed both into the Valley of Bones*. I'll alter each, of course, and I am going to redraw some of the maps. WD maps are too clinical for my tastes and look like apartment complex floorplans to me. Aside from that, both are kickass dungeons and I think Albie Fiore was a master of exactly how much detail to provide. The scenario book versions of these are great, too, because they include all the monsters from the WD Fiend Factory, and as I don't own a copy of the Fiend Folio (what?) that's good for me.
* I am going to use some one page dungeons as well, but more on that in a future post.
Anyway, I hardly ever buy anything, so to get two cool things within the same month is pretty badass.