I am a shit edition.
'Sup /tg/. I've invested about a month of prep time now in my West Marches style game. I can't get this to fly. Pic related.
I can't fill the map, and though central plain is looking a bit more full, the 6 mile scale means most of the world is still empty, and for what there is, nothing is more than a token on the map. No backrgound, history or lore.
Frustrated venting done.
What are your experiences with Sanbox campaigns /tg/?
What the hell have you spent a month doing?
About to start a West Marches style campaign, with the notable difference that there will be other NPC parties going out doing the same thing. Kinda a rush for different concerned interests to stake their claim in the new world kinda deal.
I'm gonna try and conceal the hexes from the players, if I can swing it that way. I don't want the travel/random weather/encounter mechanics to be too transparent, but for them to concentrate on the narrative.
Also, is Campaign Cartographer better than Hexographer? Java applications all deserve to be put into a microwave made of magnets.
Fuck all is what I've done apparently. Most of the work was done the last two weeks though. I got some random encounter tables that require more entries, a local pantheon, and I'm starting to flesh out the hometown, but the wilderness is nothng but empty space as of yet, save a few ruins.
I've not used campaign cartographer, But I'm gonna give it a try now, especially since java's screaming security risk at everything now.
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Don't let the good be the enemy of the adequate. Don't let the adequate be the enemy of thing that at least got done. Don't let the thing that at least got done be the enemy of the... no, that's okay.
Your problem is that you have too much time and too much to do. Narrow your ambitions. Aim smaller. Don't try to come up with a final, awesome project. Just come up with something that's playable. You can expand on it later, after you've played some, when you'll be more inspired and have the benefit of experience.
You don't need to. Fill it out as necessary. It's West Marches - your players should have a scrawled map with a few things they've heard about, you can wait to fill it out with things they discover, things other groups discover, and things they stumble across. Just create some basic locations you can slot in anywhere.
>is Campaign Cartographer better than Hexographer
Fuck Java, but Hexographer is great for its simplicity. Campaign Cartographer, at least last time I used it, had a much more difficult learning curve and needed more effort for (at the level I wanted) minimally improved results.
>flesh out the hometown
You can let the players do that, you know? Establish a town with an Adventurer's Tavern with a big table for the party to sit around and look at maps and get wasted. Anything else you can come up with later, or they can - they get drunk, go on a wild streaking spree through the richer areas of town, ask them to each describe a noble family they scandalised, and then cut to "30 hours later, the guards have given up the chase. You probably won't be welcome back without some serious loot."
THIS. OP, listen to this Anon.
Let your players fill out the map as they adventure across it. Fill in the broad brushstrokes; i.e. mountains here, river there, forest, steppe, ocean, etc., and then let the players EXPLORE the rest. As they encounter things, mark them down on your map.
Just as importantly, as the players uncover stuff, you can use what they uncover as an inspiration to flesh out more of the sandbox. ForEx: The players bump into traveling orcs in two adjoining hexes. The orcs have to be from somewhere and have to be going somewhere, so you can pencil in a nearby orc stronghold and some other location the orcs are interested in like an abandoned temple, a community of elves/dwarves, etc. It's fairly simple to keep filling in from there.
Congratulations, your players' random encounter rolls in two hexes just filled in several surrounding hexes with planned encounters!
>guy in my group decides he wants to run a sandbox campaign
>He prepares almost nothing, can't improvise for shit and needs to make a map for everything
>which means that whenever e enter an area he didn't expect us to enter, the whole game grinds to a halt while he angrily draws a map
>in fact, almost any time we do anything, the whole game grinds to a halt
>Everything we do just ends in combat anyways and when he doesn't feel like thinking up an area he comes up with a contrived reason to keep us where we are
>Every time we talk to him about this he goes 'yeah, uh huh, okay' and forgets about it by next week
I'm in tabletop purgatory. It's not a horrible game, but it's cripplingly boring, and roleplaying is impossible with how un-immersive it is. Thank you for listening to my venting.
The small hexes are 6 miles across? That's small enough for there to be nothing interesting, but you want to establish the level of civilization and development. If the depicted settlements are the whole picture then you can count on minor wild places between them and off the paths. If the indicated settlements are just the centers of larger populations, then each of the occupied 6 mile hexes will also have a web of villages and isolated farmhouses, mills, etc. which pushes the wild places out a bit.
What does each town do for food? Where are the farms? Who raises sheep, goats, chicken, or even cattle? Or something more exotic?
Is there a dragon's Desolation anywhere on the map? Old cursed places with blast radii?
Is everyone on the map Human?
I've done a bit of hiking, actually, and it really depends on where you go hiking, and what qualifies as interesting to a bunch of murderhobos vs the garden variety nature lover.
Have a five part blog on designing hex crawls: http://hexcrawl.net/2013/06/hex-basics-part-i/
It's not just the distance, it's the area. a single 6-mile hex covers just under 21 sq miles, or just under 54 km^2. Even if you don't find anything going in a straight line, all sorts of stuff can be hiden in their. Not just dungeon entrances, cursed burial mounds or ancient ruins or something, but weird trees or standing stones; anything that can make a good/memorable landmark.
Here's the blank Judges Guild overland hex detail page. The big hex is 25 smaller hexes across. In the OP's chosen scale of 6 miles for the overlay hex, each of the smaller hexes on this would be roughly a quarter mile across. That doesn't sound like much, but most published dungeons would fit into ONE quarter-mile hex. Several family farms will fit into one quarter-mile hex, depending on what they grow or raise. A decent little village will fill such a hex, and most towns will fit into only four or five.
This is the scale at which you can easily plant a town, several outlying villages, and that witches hut out in the woods, the local fishing pond, the fairy mound, etc.
The Judges Guild setup is traditional, but the six mile hex, broken into 6 or 12 subhexes across, has a lot of advantages.
The second link has templates - using this, you can use just one size of template for every zoom level, and have it work out all the way down from "I fire arrows at the guys in the next hex" to "bust out the minis and the battle map"
Not everyone is a mapper, though, and sometimes you want to go from big picture to "what do I see around me?" to fight sized in as few steps as possible, which 25:1 reductions do pretty well. Sometimes traditions are traditions for good reason.
In the end, it comes down to what works for the person building the campaign.
There's more advantages than that to using 6:1 or 12:1 or 24:1, if you read the links.
>The edges of a six-mile hex are 3.46 miles, almost exactly equal to three nautical miles (3 x 1.151 = 3.452 miles), or one nautical league. This makes it easy to count columns sideways and report the horizontal distance in leagues (each column averages 1.5 leagues), just like it's easy to count rows vertically to get a distance in miles. (Assuming the orientation of hexes you show here.)
5/25:1 was a poor choice by Judges' Guild.
Like >>37018635 said - just don't overdo it.
I've started at a small village for my players.Then they've found some other locations nearby. Then they heard rumors of other places. This map is still pretty much empty.
Picture is cropped, but it's 100x100 map.
Hardly, but feel free to crusade more for your blog.
I wasn't advocating a scale change of the OP's map, by the way, but simply taking the 25:1 zoom available.. You'll notice that the OP's map uses a 5:1 already. You can only get a 6:1 repeatable hex reduction by flipping the orientation of the grid at every iteration, which you may not want to do.
>implying it's my blog
24:1 is simply better than 25:1 if you're doing six mile hexes. And no, you don't need to flip the grid.
Except that 24:1 is not fractal for lower multiples. You have to return to the overland scale and re-scale down. At 25:1 you can also do 5:1 twice and end up at the same scale. Not everyone would want to, but the option is there, especially with the Welshpiper templates.
At the risk of repeating myself, the right scheme is user dependent.
>Except that 24:1 is not fractal for lower multiples
I don't see how that's a problem in practice.
Supposing it is, there's still a load of other reasons to prefer 6 mile-based hexes to 5.
A new question /tg/.
Especially concerning West-Marches style campaigns. Would you think it better to have your players' home town be at the centre, or at the edge of what ever region you mapped out?
A central town let's them explore in all directions, whereas a town on the edge would feel more restrictive.
On the other hand, a town at the edge of the map is more related to the original concept of the region being at the edge of civilized lands. Also, you don't have to think about where the town get's its supplies from, since there's an entire kingdom just off the edge of the map.
Welshpiper looks like 5 hexes side to side, not corner to corner.
At any rate, you need to decide:
-do the symbols actually mean something beyond "interesting thing", and if so, what each symbol means
-determine the threat level zones, assuming you are using the West Marches structure.
-Figure out if you are going to use commercial dungeons, hand-drawn, or something out of a random generator. This is a separate answer for each dungeon on the map.
-If the wandering monster tables really have you baffled, consider using something like Necromancer's "Mother Of All Encounter Tables" or similar.
-At 6 miles to the small hex, this map's zones may be too large. A good trackless forest need only be four or five small hexes in size, especially if it is being managed by a sadistic dryad or ent who can keep it trackless. Nothing says "I'm fucking lost" like trees that rearrange themselves. Swamps also don't need to be all that large.
The campaign I'm planning has the players start in a small frontier town, upriver from the big city with the walls and everything.
The town was started by an old adventurer who was in the vanguard that explored and cleared the area where the big city was, but eventually he just couldn't stand civilization, so recently he got some like minded folks, sailed upriver a good ways, and founded this place so he could be out on the edge again.
Thanks for the tips.
Zone sizes have been a big stumbling block, yes. Mostly due to a horrible sense of scale on my part.
Regarding random encounter tables, it's not so much that they are baffeling, but more that I wanted to keep encounters close to the town relatively mundane, with increasing weirdness (and danger) in further zones. I had a nice nested table for the first zone for human, animal, monstrous and noncombat encounters (and what said creatures were doing on the moment they are found), but it was kind of bare for my liking
If you want the civilized lands available, or at least known enough for you to reference for PC origins, etc, then build a second map adjacent to this one that is the civilized area. Make it known to the players that to walk down that road is to enter a completely different campaign in nearly every way; their adventure is before them, not behind them.
If you feel the need for a little civilization on the available map, put a decent but small city right on the map edge and move the PC homebase to the edge of that city's beaten zone,
Putting homebase in the middle requires explanations about why it is isolated but still manages a steady supply of new PCs.
"Zone sizes have been a big stumbling block, yes. Mostly due to a horrible sense of scale on my part."
For comparison sake, if the small hexes are 6 miles, your whole map is the size of England.
True, and mountain travel is a lot slower than over flat terrain. But assuming I'd use the 1 mile hex scale, they'd be able to walk from town and around it in about a day's march, not counting any random encounters
So I've been doing a pretty relaxed sandbox campaign with my party. The meta-excuse for the map is that it resembles what the players know of the world, so the places they explore actually have details whereas the rest is just "you know the shape of the country, for the most part."
The issue I've come across is that I have no sense of scale. Like, I have no idea how many people are supposed to be in a large city, or how large a large city would be. Does anybody have examples or resources that could help me with that sort of thing?
Setting is renaissance technology, with the average person having almost no access to magic.
I've got tons of links saved up from research today, here's one that relates:
trollsmyth blog spot com /2011 /07/ hex-mapping-part-2-scale html
(Damn, the spam filter is touchy about these links)
Also, the whole of Skyrim fits in a single six-mile hex, although it is a little bit compressed.
A few square miles can hold a lot of stuff.
Yeah, looking at this, my sense of scale is even more out of whack than I had thought.
The hexes in the map I posted a couple posts up are 120 miles wide, because of the math I did that had the average horse traveling roughly 113 miles per 10 hour day. That might just be a mechanical issue though, since I went by the numbers in the book, which are never known for being strictly true to reality.
Yeah, that's off. 113 miles is a long way for a horse, especially in 10 hours. A good endurance horse could maybe do that in a day, but it wouldn't be a regular everyday thing. You'd want a few days of rest afterwards.
From what I've read, it's less than half that. Medieval palfreys were the primary travelling type of horse, and they could comfortably top out at about 50 miles in a day on a nice country road, provided good health, and maybe a downslope with a slight tailwind.
I live in the Midwest let me tell you what you can find in 6 miles
Man, would I love to live on a chunk of land like that one - but somewhere I can still get reliable high-speed internets.
>Build non-earthship looking earthship.
>House provides own power, heat, water, most of food.
>Use all that extra money to make my QoL better (through less debts, and saving for emergencies, not through stupid consumer whore purchases).
To expand on this:
We don't have any palfreys to try this with, however -- though medieval writers praised them as the best travelling horses around, all the palfrey breeds fell out of favor as everyone moved to carriages, and needed big trotting horses instead of light ambling horses like the palfreys. The palfreys died out, just as the draft horses nearly did.
We have some modern ambling breeds in the americas, but they're not quite the same. They don't seem to exhibit the endurance that medieval palfreys reportedly had.
A lot harder than it seems, considering the easiest way to be self sustained is by buying land (which is a nightmare itself). And the weather here is simply awful.
But I've seen some decent two story houses up in some remote mountains/hills of other countries and the thought of living in them seems dreamy.