November Campaign Design II – Better Map, Firmer Concepts

So after the previous effort, I sat down with Hexographer and took a stab at a first-draft map. Here’s what I came up with:

Click to embiggen

A few things are different from the sketch map, of course. There are more towns. There are islands, Things have names. This isn’t a final map by any stretch – I want to do it in the same style I did my Beyond the Flanaess maps – but it will do to get some concepts going. I’ll pretty it up at some point. (Although I may, just may, do a hand-done map for this one, in true old school style.)

One thing jumps out at me. The whole desert area in the south is unnecessary at this point. At a scale of 10 miles per hex, we’ve got 400 miles by 200 miles of adventuring terrain, just in the areas claimed by the colonies. I might want to expand into the southern part of the map at some point, but I think I’m going to cut it off and focus on the settled areas.

I have my Big Concept now. I want this to be a campaign without dungeons.

Yup, no dungeons. No credulity-defying gilded holes. There will be ruins from Lost Artanis (the civilization that was here before the founding of the colonies, but which was mysteriously destroyed 500 years ago), but they will be just that. Ruins. Like you’d see in Rome or Greece. No vast megadungeon complexes, but there will be vast ruined cities to explore. Mines are a possibility, and dwarves and gnomes live underground, and there will be sewers, but no dungeons in the conventional sense. Tombs will be small, four chambers, maximum. I do think there will be an Underdark-type area where the druegar live, but even then there will be conventional buildings in large open underground areas, like Erelhei-Cinlu in the Vault of the Drow.

The far eastern half of the map still needs to be fleshed out, and I should start thinking about the nature and location of those Artanian ruins.

I’m also thinking about the nature of Lippegen’s religion. I could go with something completely new (designing a new sub-class of cleric to go with it), or I could have the church in Lippegen and Aedgaria in schism. Both have clerics, but they are at odds with one another over some point of theology, somewhat analogous to the Protestant and Catholic churches in the 16th century. But do I want to put them at each others’ throats?

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.