With my Rifts campaign under control and looking forward to platooning that with playing in a Castles and Crusades game, I’ve been messing around with Hexographer once again, this time looking to create a new sandbox for the next Castles and Crusades game I run.
While I’m messing around with the geography, I’m taking a lot of enjoyment from rereading Rob Conley’s Wilderlands work, including some of the notes he’s had on his setting. Of course, there’s also the West Marches, which I love to hear about, and Rythlondar, which has been a truly enjoyable read. Influenced not only by those settings, but by some thoughts I’ve had kicking around in my head for a while, I want this new sandbox to have several specific features and themes:
-Few civilized settlements (Check; outside of a single Kingdom mid-sized city, there only exist a few villages, each precariously clinging to life in the wilds).
-Split adventuring between overland/wilderness adventure and dungeon/underground/location-based adventuring (To be determined; I think there are plenty of opportunities for both, but we’ll see how the players feel).
-Distance between adventuring points (Check; I’ve spaced everything enough between prime destinations that getting there should be part of the adventure in and of itself. No walking 5 miles across grassland next to a city to find the Mount of Doom, but at the same time, I don’t want weeks of travel time between objectives. With a gaming group with fluid attendance, that’s not a good thing).
-Manageable overall distance, yet room for expansion (Check, I think. I’m looking at an area about 200 miles long by 150 miles wide. That might seem big or small to some people, depending on if you’re used to Forgotten Realms or Thunder Rift, but it’s considerably smaller than many of the other settings I’ve brewed).
-Easily accessible setting (Check, I think. This sort of goes with the bullet point above. My goal is to present locations, geography, settings, religion, calendar, and history of this area in a short, 16-page primer. It also needs to be enough of a common fantasy ground so that a new players shouldn’t feel a need to read that primer if they don’t want. Basically, I want just enough of a hook to get things going without burdening them with thousands of square miles of geography, ages of intricate history, and everything else. I can always just build outward when/if they want more.
-An Adventurer’s Guild that helps find work and integrate new PCs into the game (Check; I’m still refining this so it isn’t completely hokey, but Michael Curtis’ excellent Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope is a great inspiration. Hopefully, the Adventurer’s Guild will also give me some cover for when players miss sessions).
There are some more marks I wanted to hit, but hopefully I’ll have a something finished for it soon, and I can just show you what I mean.