Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Fantasy Sandbox in Detail Part IV

Part III

This is the fourth in a series detailing the 34 steps I recommended for making a Fantasy Sandbox Campaign. Today's post will cover the following steps.

11. Decide to place Population Locales note their race this includes social monsters
12. Decide to place Lairs (locales tht revolves around a home of monsters)
13. Decide to place Ruins (locales that revolves around a site)

Now for some decisions one what is here. I know the island is part of the Kingdom of Isle which is one of the Eainian Kingdoms. When setting up the geography I left the southern part of the island open. So it there I put in the various settlements.

I put a castle (the solid black dot) a couple of hamlets (triangles), and a village (diamond) around the eastern bay. I think I going to have some dwarves and halflings invited in so I put a village next to the small foothill in the southern bay and another village on the river on the south shore.

Now a couple of Lairs. It is an island so it definitely going to need some sea encounters so a I sprinkle a couple of those. One in the forest looks good then two on the relatively uninhabited western side.

Now for the ruins. The big mountain in the middle is going to get one likely a dungeon of some sort. Something in the ocean off of the south shore likely a ship wreck. Then then two more in the interior. Likely I will make them related to the central mountain ruins some how.

Because of the small map I am cramped so the number of locales is a bit dense. But that will work for this exercise. I try to sprinkle everything so there is a nice even spread throughout the map. The only clump of stuff is around the eastern bay.

Placing Settlements.

Settlements are in a hierarchy. Villages are the most common followed by towns and then cities.

In general a cluster of village will exist round a central market village that usually has a keep. The surrounding villages are about a half days travel away from the market village. Around 10 miles. The market villages holds a market about once every two weeks. Then there are towns usually a castle attached and a market that open two or three times a week. The market villages are about a day travel away from the town (20 miles). The cities in turn have daily markets and are usually the center of a network of market villages that are densely packed around the city.

Using a five mile hex map. A market village will have satellites village in the center hex and scattered around the six surrounding hexes. A town will have satellite market villages out scattered four hexes out. A city in contrast will have nearly every hex within a one hex radius with a market village and a much denser network of village out to four hexes.

The major metropolis of a setting would have the four hex nearly packed with villages and market villages along with daily caravan or convoy bringing in the surplus food for several hundred miles around. Rome had grain shipments coming in as far as Egypt.

Now most fantasy cities are often closer to the wilderness. Using "realistic" figures would result in the cities being surrounded by carefully manicured fields for dozens of miles around. I often justify cutting the historical figures by adopting the 20% rule. A fantasy society is a lot like a medieval but it is 20% better because of magic. Less disease, more food, better clothings. While the use of magic isn't spectacular the combined effect of all the magic-users and cleric result in a society that more prosperous than what existed in our own world. This means that the shear number of manor, latifunda, and farm needed to support your fantasy metropolis can be cut to a more manageable number.

The maps on this post are good examples of I how place settlements.

That it for Part IV, tomorrow is Part V.


Flynn said...

This is pretty much where my current project is, so I'm looking forward to the future of this series. I may have some questions as we go along, so I hope you don't mind if I bring them up here. :)

Thanks for demonstrating this for us,

Robert Conley said...

Fire away that why I have it on a blog so there is feedback and people going back and forth.

Michael Pfaff said...

I honestly think 3 miles per hex is WAY too small of a scale. I prefer "zooming in" when I map and giving my players more to do in a smaller space. Usually, I'll do squares (not hexes) and they'll be 1 mile per inch. This gives me a lot of room to plant LOTS of little things in there and helps space those things apart.

Just a suggestion.

Another thing I do is create a small portion of the map I know the players are going to start in, and then build OUT from there. It saves me a lot of time not having to plan things that the PCs aren't going to encounter for a long while and lets me devote that time to making the areas they ARE going to encounter fruitful with interesting locations to plunder.

Charles Saeger said...

Should towns have villages in the hexes around them as well?

dumbird said...

Hi i was wondering what you would reccomend i would mark borders with between kingdoms please.

Robert Conley said...

@Craig, I would use a thick dashed line about 4 points.

For color maps I use deep purple as the border color.