Friday, April 9, 2010
One of the difficulties I was thinking about back when my players were braving the great outdoors, was how to shift from the abstract of travel to the specific of an encounter location. Or what about campsites? If I were out in my campaign world a defensible campsite would be the first priority come dusk.
Following the All the Dice Mapping technique from yesterday, here is a way to generate encounter locations and campsites easily and on the fly. Grab all your four siders. Toss. Trace.
Read the d4 results as elevations and you have a very simple topographic map. I needed about 10 d4 for a normal size sheet of paper to look interesting (thus I had to borrow some non-precision dice back from my brother-- yeah, I'm sort of anal about precision dice). Et voilà!
That looks pretty cozy. Wanna camp here? Your elf can sit cross-legged on one of those spires and keep watch all night while we hobbits cook up some potatoes and bacon.
One thing you might do is vary the scale of the map-- say every level is 6'' on a beach but each level is 10' in the rocky badlands.
Another thing you might do is have players generate their own campsites-- I like this idea. Have them spend a set amount of time, say 30 minutes, searching the area for suitable sites and they get to throw the dice and everyone can look at it. If it seems reasonably defensible, you trace it and they set up camp. I think it adds a simple way to give players another tactical choice, while anchoring some specific "real-feeling" locations in the abstract wilderness.