Averald: A Fantasy Sandbox, part 3
The following was originally posted on my old blog on October 3, 2011. I have since commandeered that blog for private use, and have decided to move my campaign development ramblings over here. They are presented here in their entirety, though they may be reformatted to be easier to see on this blog’s color scheme. Thanks for reading!
A quick word about maps! I forgot to talk about this before, maybe because I’ve just gotten used to making maps, but I thought I should talk a bit about how to place certain map features.
The shape of coastlines and the placement of mountain chains are up to you, but other things, like rivers and deserts, depend on them.
Rivers will always flow from high ground to low ground, and will always make their way to (never from) the sea. They also never split — they only come together. Remember that rivers are essentially water falling from the highest elevations (especially mountains) to the lowest elevations (the sea.)
If your map is big enough to include a mountain range or two, it might be worth it to think about wind. While you might not want to go as far as mapping the weather patterns for your entire planet, thinking about the direction of the winds can help you figure out some things about your map. Remember when I mentioned geographical features affecting weather?
Assuming that the prevailing winds are driving moisture east from the sea to the land, adding mountains here blocks the wind and stops rain from getting to the eastern half of Averald, turning it into a desert. The basic principle here is that the wind carries water from one place to another, and mountains stop that from happening. Since the mountains are stopping the rain from getting to the other side of them, that also means that most of the rivers coming from those mountains are going to be on the side that gets the rain.
So now I’ve got a history and a nice big map. But surely I’m not going to be detailing that entire map for this setting, no no no. Too much work, at least all at once. So instead, I’ll pick one of those squares to detail. The world can be expanded as needed.
There are really only a couple of things I have planned for this map (mostly the placement of towns and roads); the rest will be generated randomly. Then I get to figure out what it all means and see if I can tie some of these together into larger plots.
Place any objects that you planned on in advance on the map.
This is probably pretty self-explanatory. If you know you want the lost ruins of an ancient city deep in a forest, put one there.
Two things you should probably place manually are towns and roads. A few good spots to place towns are:
- By rivers — water makes trade easier, since travel over water is faster than over land, as well as being a source of fish and clean, running water.
- On high ground — higher ground is easier to defend, so it makes a good spot for forts or other places that are being fought over.
- Near crossroads — anywhere roads intersect is going to get more people and goods traveling through.
- Near natural resources — obviously, a resource has to be harvested before it can be used and sold; that requires work, which requires workers.
Roads, of course, go between towns. They will generally take the most direct and convenient route, avoiding mountains, thick forests, and other types of terrain that are difficult to traverse.
For my map, I used the random tables from The Welsh Piper’s Hex-Based Campaign Design, Part 2, supplemented with some random monster tables from the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, where necessary. Here’s the filled-in map, in all its hexiness.
I had some interesting ideas for some of this already, but I’ll leave that for the next post.
Just in case you were interested, (really?) here is the full list of all the things on this map. Some of the more generic things (“Lawful Religious Order”, “Magical Pagan Shrine”, “Intense Weather”) are just pretty much literally what I rolled, and I’m still pondering what they represent exactly. Next time, I’ll try to start stringing them together into interesting plots.
|06001 Silver Mine
05005 Storm Giant
05006 Unstable Ground
10003 Bridge (toll)
17004 Hermit’s Home
14005 Neutral Religious Order
18004 Consecrated Grounds
10006 Cult of the Water God
21008 Village of the Swamp Folk
01014 Village (Unnamed)
04016 Village (Unnamed)
08014 Lost Temple of the Water God
|17014 Hollow Castle Ruins
20012 Wyvern’s Nest
20013 Magical Pagan Shrine
25011 Stone Giant’s Lair
06018 Village (Unnamed)
05020 Village (Unnamed)
08019 Spider Pit
09019 Poisonous Glade
10019 Spider Queen’s Tower
19017 Intense Weather
21017 Wandering Chimera
25020 Cave Bears
02024 Village (Unnamed)
10024 Natural Resource
16024 Mad Hermit
20022 Lawful Religious Order
22022 Wandering Werebear
 Well okay, technically they’re up to plate tectonics and the like, but I’m not even going to try to go into that right now. Maybe if I make a world map one of these days.
 Well, okay, not never, but the long story short is that eventually, one of them will dry up. And I don’t mean “in a thousand years” eventually, I mean “after the rainy season” eventually.
 Unless you do. Here, have a tutorial.
 I’m not really a huge D&D fan, but I know it’s the standard, so I’ll do my best to make things compatible with it. Plus, I like some of the old stuff. And I love me some random tables.
This entry was posted on May 7, 2012 by StarRaven. It was filed under Averald, Gaming, Writing and was tagged with campaign settings, fantasy, gaming, hex map, maps, role-playing games, worldbuilding.