Saturday, 21 April 2012

S is for Starting from Scratch: Hitting the Trail with the Wilderness Survival Guide

Towards the end of the WSG is a chapter called, Starting from Scratch, where Kim Mohan outlines how to create a world map.

I quite enjoyed the chapter actually.

He starts by discussing Realism vs Fantasy, with some appropriate advice for DMs and fantasy writers, to keep their 'fantasy' under control. Earth like human centric worlds allow role players and readers to step into the world quickly and easily.

Kim says, "When a fantastic feature of this sort is localized, it remains intriguing; when it’s used everywhere throughout the world, it loses its distinctiveness and becomes an obstacle instead of an oddity."

He outlines a step by step world / map creation

1. Settle on scale - 20-40 miles per hex recommended

2. Start at the bottom - where the coasts are

3. Now take it to the top - put in the mountains, locating the tallest peaks individually

4. Place it on the planet - where is the land you have drawn located in relation to the poles and equator?

5. Just add water - time fore rivers - flowing from mountains to the coast

6. What's for desert? - He gives explanation on why deserts on Earth are where they are.
"On Earth, most deserts are located in subtropical climate and the part of the temperate zone closer to the subtropical area (the southern half of the zone in the northern hemisphere, the northern half in the southern hemisphere). This is because of global wind patterns; the prevailing winds blow generally east to west around the equator, and usually in the opposite direction in the temperate regions. When they meet each other in the upper atmosphere over the area in between, the cool upper air descends. As the air gets lower, it gets warmer, and its ability to retain moisture increases; thus, the water vapor in the air remains suspended and is not released as precipitation."
 - this is D&D at its best educating as well as entertaining - the things I have learnt about the world and history through gaming.

7. May the forest be with you - showing that Star Wars was close to many gamers hearts(as it still is). Put in the forests.

8. None of the above - everything else is hills and plains

9. Large scale details - oasis in deserts, pass through mountains

10. Points of interest - volcanoes, wonders

Then one moves into politics, cities etc. Smaller scale, more detail.

Finally he ends with Winging it and this piece of advice, which is the end of the book just before the Appendix on weather, so really the last word, "As has been said many times within the AD&D game books, all the rules we can create still provide nothing more than a framework upon which your world and your adventures are built. In effect, we’ve given you the pieces to a puzzle that has an infinite number of different solutions. Now it’s up to you to put those pieces together."

Hard to disagree.

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