A week or so ago, I tossed down a concept about how one could encourage flexible and modular “setting” design supporting the upcoming Dungeon Fantasy RPG (Powered by GURPS). The goal would be to have ready-to-inspire areas to tromp around in, kill monsters, and take their stuff.
The idea was reasonably well received. Some active discussion on how fleshed out a setting needed to be, and how if you hewed to multiples of 6-mile hexes, you could potentially mine a vast pool of OSR-flavored stuff that is also 6-miles to the hex.
All true, and all good.
The forum poster Nymdok went ahead and sketched out two hex-sizes for me, one a 20-mile subhex, and the other a 40-mile hex. You can see a sample on the right, with link to his Deviant Art page for download. But if you want to call the sub-hexes 18 or 36 miles, I won’t tell.
The (Ken Hite) Challenge
I’m teasing a bit. Ken has nothing to do with this, other than providing a nice, juicy quote that I’m going to re-use.
His point was well taken. Why labor over a complex topographical problem, which really ought to involve hydrology, geology, vulcanism, erosion, wind and weather patterns, when you can just steal a real world, and populate to taste. So when my faux-Vikings went raiding, they’d go from Iceland and Norway to England. Boom. Done.
I didn’t take his advice, because I’d already spent a chunk of change on a map. But . . . here’s what I’m encouraging folks to do.
- Download or recreate the 500-ish or 1,000-ish mile hex map from Nymdok
- Decide on a setting-chunk that consumes 1, 2, or 4 hexes
- Take real-world geography from Earth and plunk it down on the map. Rotate it, morph it or change it a bit if you want.
- Tweak it out so it’s not too silly that you took a landlocked country or region and slapped it in the middle of an ocean
- Give a few guidelines on the kinds of things you want to have in there. Main political body is Tokugawa-era Japan? Alexandrian Macedonia? Aurthurian England? Aztecs? Just give a general sketch. Or go hog-wild.
We can all work together to generate some fun modular hexes, based on enough real-world geography and to the right scale that we can look at ’em and say “yep. Good. Now let’s populate it.”
Whatever you do, do not obsess over the quality of the graphics unless that’s your thing. Screenshots of real-world maps edited in Paint or Snaggit or whatever, dropped onto a hex grid is more than fine.
I’ll keep links for those that have blogs, and will happily post any maps for those that don’t, and we can engage in some collaborative world-building. Keep the setting stuff generic and systemless for maximum utility for now.
But with some nifty ideas, we might just build enough pre-gen material to help those that might pick up the Dungeon Fantasy RPG get off to a running start that can easily extend beyond whatever’s in the box, and tune it to taste.