Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Resource for Refereeing Terrain in your Sandbox
The best supplements I seen for adjudicating terrain in any type of campaign are the three environment books written by J Andrew Keith published by Game Lords in the 1980s. While written for Traveller they are generic enough to be used for any game system. Of the three like the Mountain Environment. It has a simple but effective system for representing the terrain complexity of a mountain peak.
It is easy to get lost in the details and make the experience a grind for the players because of too much detail. The way I learned to handle it is distill the challenge into a couple of key decisions that a player can reasonably make.
Most of the time it is time versus difficulty. Do we swing to the north and skirt the Dune Sea or do we try to cut across and risk sunstroke and dehydration? Do we climb the sheer cliff wall or take the exposed ridge line up to the peak? These books help in coming up with some creative choices.
The Desert Environment
The Undersea Environment
The Mountain Environment