Sunday, September 20, 2015

Countries need Trade

Fleshing out countries starts with a name and a concept.

As I am visual I started to create a bunch of layers on my map. Once done we have to establish the tone of the past few decades, add some things for the players to investigate and act as the backdrop activity. Then we drive the rest off the players exploration.

So this took forever, but was a lot of fun for me. Key point, when world building use what you like to do. For me that includes vector artwork and thumbnail designs, random generators, and languages etc.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Maps to Countries

Part 3 of world building.

I love random generators in RPG's. However complex nested ones like those found with Wilderness Explore Revisited, are a pain to generate quickly. So one weekend I decided to learn Python (Perl was giving me grief with what I wanted), and I wrote a random generator program. It is a generic program that is specifically designed for nested tables of random generation. It takes a definition file that defines the tables and how they relate and outputs the result. I perhaps should make a video and release it for use.

I build a ton of tables for country and culture, a few of which I have included in a previous post. What is the primary race, clothing, common features etc. Then generated a good round number of countries in an instant. 32 as that corresponds to some rough bubbles I drew on the map.

Almost too much info, but I will be able to use this info to generate a lot more information on the fly. Then put it on the map. An example rough country entry is below:

Half elf Dictatorship Heraldry:  green grey Plant Symbol
Orgs:   Organization With Unlimited Funding
Exports:   magic items education stone wood Imports:   magic items preserved foods transport oil
Language:  Syllabic - Top to Bottom - Serif script - accordions - no trait -
Common Art:  Dance -  cross - yellow pink - gold -
 Women Wear:  leather - fitted - pleated - vibrant large central patterns - Off white - Blacks -
Men Wear:  felt - fitted - gathered - wild clashing patterns - Browns -  indigo cream -
Architecture:  Stone - Polynesian -
 Tradition:  Worships:   Divine being concept
 Tradition(Object):  Item:
Moderate(+3)  :   Box  :  Sustain/Heal  :     :  Creator was a Giant.  :  Nature is Bane.  :  

  Planting Festival(Specific Crop)  Femininity  Lights  Reversals  Abstinences  
 Planting Festival  Virility  Different Dress  Lights  Special Foods  

I won't keep everything that was generated, mostly to jog the imagination. Primarily what I need is some detail in order to answer questions the players have, and a few nations to be well fleshed out where they will start.

Additionally I generated something happening in each 72 mile hex, something that would be well known, and possibly provide good adventure hooks.

2501: Has a Castle/Citadel:   Castle Foundations Only  Invaded by:  Elf  arrow Traps   Lighted Atypical Construction  

NPC:  Drow - male - Name:  Patter  odd  regret  
- I Will Find You: A character wants to find a lost or kidnapped loved one, whatever the cost.
- Clothes:  Chameleon  Clothing - Domain:  Gossip/Reputation - Hobby:  Dicing -
2502: Has Relic or Ruin:   In a large crater of  Thicket   crumbled & decayed  Artifact:  Sword  
Guarded by:  animals  
2509: Has Lair:  Ledge:   2d4 Giant Rams  (Fully Occupied)  

Then overlay a ton of this stuff on the map, whew. Next article I will talk about fleshing out a country etc.

Friday, September 11, 2015

From Ideas to Maps

Part 2 of creating my campaign world.

From ideas and a single location, now I needed context. So I began.

I took a small location on this map, "the cradle" which would be the site of an unusual binary star system with 9 habitable planets. It would be entirely my world and campaign setting, so I created some key events of the last 7000 years and now we need to go from the big to the local.

The big events can fit on a 3x5 card and are simply a framework to describe history when needed. So we need to zoom rapidly to something more manageable.

To do this we need planetary terrain. Enter Donjon's fantastic tools. This one generate planets. It is nice, but you need to do a lot of testing to find a pattern you like. You can create it from scratch instead, but when doing 9 planets and wanting some variety it was actually faster to start with a generator. I fine tune and do a lot of work later.

Here is the interface.

Here is world 8 of the ones I created, and the starting location of the Bellflower and Bamboo campaign.

Now that we have a planet with some details figured out it is time to figure out how big things are. So I took the file and put it in iDraw for Mac (vector editor, as I like the tools and options. Illustrator,  inkscape etc would also work. Or you can pull into a raster editor your choice)

I took a vector map of earth and overlaid it to get relative dimensions. 

I wasn't quite ready to trace the whole of everything in vector form, so I took it analog.

Then I began to trace everything and detail out the map.

Next time I will go over how I created the nations.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bellflower and Bamboo, or The Mountain Campaign

My recent world building has taken place over several years and a bunch of ideas that have slowly germinated into a new campaign world for roleplaying.

Here we go through the initial process of creating it.

First, I had some ideas that I needed to put together. Some I will not explicitly explain as people will play in my world and mystery and uncovering mystery is a key element.

- Sci-Fantasy
- Relative Time Streams
- Why can races inter-breed (How do you get a half-orc, half-elf, half dwarf?)
- If dragons live long lives, what is their long term game?
- Why do dragons typecast into color based races and stereotypes? Why can't you have a yellow orange dragon that breaths lightning? What about a blue dragon that breaths water?
- Rise and Fall of civilizations
- Separate yet not in the multiverse

Once those ideas were there I created a story in my mind of a location, a mountain with caves a town nearby etc. Then came a map I made during coloring time with my kids.

Now how to create an actual campaign world, next time.

Note that for now, the entirety of the campaign is set in one speck on the far right of the map.