GreenTongue
 member, 1040 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Sun 14 Nov 2021
at 20:31
Is A Basic Map Required First?
When trying to just start playing, and generate things on the fly, do you find that it would have been a better idea to start with broad strokes and fill in instead?

For example, running into things that you would have known about because of their impact, before you actually generate them.
donsr
 member, 2425 posts
Sun 14 Nov 2021
at 20:48
Is A Basic Map Required First?
depends.. for a module or  something that you  are 'forcemarch' because you have it laide  out, yiu need a starting point for the characters  to begin  thier    path.

..............

 if you allow a  open world  where  peple  can do stuff that may chance the course of the game, all you need is a  cental starting point, ...new players   get  picked up 'on the way'
GreenTongue
 member, 1041 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Sun 14 Nov 2021
at 21:58
Is A Basic Map Required First?
I was thinking along the lines of "Source of the Nile" as a mapping method.
Starting at a coast and going up river but, even so, I'd think large settlements and mountains would be known in advanced.
donsr
 member, 2426 posts
Sun 14 Nov 2021
at 22:08
Is A Basic Map Required First?
 it  depends? what era  ect ect...

 have a home brew  worlds , with the same  type of   plot line, this way you can choose  what  towns  and such folks know  about

 I have  found, my players   like the  'found knowldge' of  new races,  planets ( or lands)   and all that
evileeyore
 member, 585 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
 Joined 20150819
Sun 14 Nov 2021
at 22:48
Is A Basic Map Required First?
I don't think a "map" is required per se, but I do like to have a skeleton of what I'm doing somewhat filled out...

This is my 'quick napkin' write up for my Shatteredlands world, I started with the Middle Kingdoms then spread out, making sure to include pockets of "contested areas" ripe for adventure:

Northlands - frigid forested lands, raiding parties of 'barbarians' and 'savages', "safely" across the Sea of Mist and Ice
NorthEast - Orc lands, semi-'civilized', other 'monster' races that fit Orcish rulership, often raid into the Middle Kingdoms and eastern barbarians
Middle Kingdoms - Lands of man and dwarves, mostly rolling hills, plains, forests, and river lands
Eastern Mountains - Separate the lands of the eastern 'barbarian' tribes from the Middle Kingdoms but not from the Southern Wastes or the Orc Lands
Southern Wastes - not actually "wastes", but very hazardous river lands, swamps, mountains, magical "fallout", filled with twisted humanoids and monstrous creatures, pretty much directly south of the Middle Kingdoms
Lost Lands of the South - Past the Southern Wastes lay the ports and lands of the Southern Kingdoms, once strongly allied to the Middle Kingdoms, now separated by the Wastes.
River Kingdoms - West-Southwest of the Middle Kingdoms, not part of them culturally, more 'small' folk and Elves than Men and Dwarves, mostly river lands, swamps, and lakes, interspersed with forested hill country (precious little flatland).
Spider Lands - West-Northwest of the Middle Kingdoms, mostly flatlands, some forests, hills and swamp areas.  Ruled by the weird Pyramid Gods and their spider construct/servitors, worshiped by enslaved races.  Directly bordered/at war with River Kingdoms and the Northlands.
The Great Western Divide -  A mountain range so tall and wide they are all but impassable, valleys so steep and deep they are uncrossable, rumors of Ancient tunnels through long fallen to that which dwells in darkness.
Lost West - Kingdoms lost long ago when the world Shattered, the civilization of the Ancients fell, and the Great Divide separated the continent into west and east.

Contested lands:  Area of thick swamps between the Middle Kingdoms and the Spider Lands, generally impassable to Spiders, mostly just 'watched' by MK (called the "Spider Swamps" by the locals despite rarely finding any of the Servitors there); small stretch of land between the Sea of Mist and Ice and the Eastern Mountains, passes back and forth between MK and Orcs (not many 'locals', it's a 'no man's land' at this point with MK and Orcs swapping outposts);  The Delta Lords, these 'warlords' hold the area between the civilized forest cities of the Elves of the River Lands and the Middle Kingdoms, pirates who ply the lakes and riverways making trade and travel risky; The "Lost Lands", a stretch of old trade routes that runs through what is now the Southern Wastes, dotted with fallen fortresses and "Wizard Towers", site of the last battle of the Scarlet Wars.

Points of interest:  Ancient Cities, sites once ruled by the Ancients, full of wonders from before The Fall and fierce warped monsters.


From that above I started 'drilling' down into the Middle Kingdoms, which got a name change, got some slightly more specific info - individual city-states getting as much write up as the whole areas above did, some history blurbs were written (the Scarlet Wars, The Shattering, etc), and then I decided to set the game in the Lost Lands as it just felt more "open to PC sandboxing" (and the Scarlet Wars ended there so ripe for interesting things).  So I 'detailed' several points of interest in the Lost Lands, about as much as the previous levels of details, just dialed in like so:

The Bandit King - This 'king' is one of the reasons trade is hard to re-establish despite the Great Road still existing, these bandits have taken and Ancient Wizard Tower, it is said the "Wizard" is mad and grants them great prowess in battle but demands sacrifices/slaves in return.  Parked on the tallest point of land a great 'man-made' hill topped by the Iridescent Tower, overlooking Lake Spendid (where most of the local waterways through).  The most well-maintained and largest of the Ancient Roads passes within easy raiding of the Bandit King's 'town', built on the hill's terraced slopes.  Lake Splendid floods every winter.

The Warp - Site of the last battle of the Scarlet War, incredible magics rent the already thin fabric of reality here.  Nature has not yet properly healed.

Great Road - One of the last remaining /complete/ roads of the Ancients, wide and protected, there are a few patches of roadway missing, rent by the Scarlet War and/or stolen by Something.

A couple of settlements barely hanging on, a trading post in trouble, a few other things dotted about, what the majority of creatures encoutnered would be, and presto, I'm ready to run.  At this point I did make a quick map of the (newly named) Empire of Men (Dwarves, Humans, and Halflings are generally referred to as 'Men') and two rough maps of the Lost Lands, one Player facing and known to be error prone and one for me which was still largely blankish, I set the premise being the PCs are all pressed ganged by a "group of Nobles and Guild Leaders" eager to pacify the Lost Lands and re-establish contact with the kingdoms of the Lost Lands of the South... and left it to the Players to figure out how they wanted to go about that.

As needed I filled in more points of interest (towns, groups, individuals, etc), detailed my maps, the Players were in charge of their maps and let the game run.

But I run "by the seat of my pants" anyway, so working things out as I go is pretty easy for me.



quote:
For example, running into things that you would have known about because of their impact, before you actually generate them.

I don;t understand this.  If I come up with something that could have had an impact, I'll also figure out why it did not, or that it did, it's impact simply hasn't been noticed or resolved yet.  I mean, I'm the one figuring stuff out, it's not like I'm running a series of ill written and poorly thought out modules/adventure path with no time to read ahead.


GreenTongue:
I was thinking along the lines of "Source of the Nile" as a mapping method.
Starting at a coast and going up river but, even so, I'd think large settlements and mountains would be known in advanced.

Ah.  If they could be seen (thus interact with even if only optically) they should be included immediately.  If you're using a random generator, and aren't imaginative enough to figure out why the "mountain" wasn't seen sooner, then reroll.

Otherwise yes, the 'mountain' needs to be presented as soon as it's 'visible'.

It's one thing to handwave what possible shops and buildings are in a medium sized (or larger) town and fill them in as needed later (I know I do), but a small hammlet of 10 buildings?  Get at least the most superficial answers down as the buildings appear in game.

This message was last edited by the user at 22:54, Sun 14 Nov.

Hunter
 member, 1691 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Sun 14 Nov 2021
at 23:48
Is A Basic Map Required First?
The short answer is: no, you're not required to use a map for anything.
engine
 member, 863 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Mon 15 Nov 2021
at 04:55
Is A Basic Map Required First?
In reply to GreenTongue (msg # 1):

No. To avoid problems along those lines, I prefer to run games in settings where nothing is very widely known for certain, so it can turn out that, a character might have heard stories about a thing before, but really wouldn't know if they were true or even if the thing even existed anymore. That isn't everyone's cup of tea, but even without that approach, as long as the players are onboard with things being improvised they can help explain why their characters either didn't know a thing, or they did know, but it didn't matter.

It's only when players don't know things are improvised and are interested in cooperating with improvisation that they are going to put effort into poking holes in the fiction.
GreenTongue
 member, 1042 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 15 Nov 2021
at 11:58
Re: Is A Basic Map Required First?
Hunter:
The short answer is: no, you're not required to use a map for anything.

The assumption being that a map is going to be used and created during play.
donsr
 member, 2427 posts
Mon 15 Nov 2021
at 12:50
Re: Is A Basic Map Required First?
In a table  top game, long before most of you were even born,  I ran a Melee/Wizard ( advanced versions) campaign  as we took a break from D&D.

  our 'world  map was graph paper with   the town   they started in, and a little bit of the area  around , 'marked;....as the game progresses  and players made thier  choices , i added  to the map, i think, about a year into the campaign , they uncovered about  1/3 of the map...sometimes revisiting  'known' parts' when they wanted/needed  to.

 It was sorta too good, as we never  went back to D&D and the   gaming folks  we had  broke off  and  went onto RL adventures  such as college. marriage  ect..

 I use that, somewhat here...putting   the maps up after the game  played for a bit...and the players  get to see  what pops up..or know where we need to 'go back to' when the time arises.

 using  known settings  can be done, as long as its , more or less  'away' from mainstream  books and movies. This way, if you perfer  a known world/system, you can still build your own niche. Sadly?  this also leads to the   inevitable players  who say " that's not how  it is"

 to which the GM should reply, " that's how it is ...HERE.."
GreenTongue
 member, 1043 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 15 Nov 2021
at 17:54
Re: Is A Basic Map Required First?
There are systems that use player input for world creation where the players determine the broad strokes of where things are but have to actually travel there to confirm.

I like that idea as it only includes things that are "in play" and has a level of player interest by default.

Randomly generating a hex crawl map is fun but introduces places that are not "logical" at times. Unfortunately, I require a basic level of logic to be comfortable.

You might be able to break out your old map as I hear Advanced Melee/Wizard has been released again.
evileeyore
 member, 586 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
 Joined 20150819
Mon 15 Nov 2021
at 20:27
Re: Is A Basic Map Required First?
donsr:
In a table  top game, long before most of you were even born,  I ran a Melee/Wizard ( advanced versions) campaign  as we took a break from D&D.

Ah, a fellow "grognard" (not quite, but eh, good enough for gubmint work).

I think I was in a D&D BECM game when Wizard came out*.  Of course I didn't know Melee and Wizard even existed back then, I didn't encounter GURPS until, well, until it was GURPS!  Man to Man: Fantasy Combat from GURPS was on the shelves at the local Walden Books, but I didn't buy it (kicked myself much, much later†) and didn't play GURPS until high school when a friend turned me onto 3rd ed revised.


* Just double checked the printing date and nope, I was not.  I wasn't playing games for another 5 years, so unless your Melee/Wizards game was in 1983, I wasn't gaming yet.  Alive, but not yet a gamer.

† Honestly it wouldn't have been enticing to me at the time I saw it even if I'd have had the extra dosh to buy it as well (I was picking up I think the D&D Master Boxset) as it didn't have any spellcasting, or nonhuman races, or really, anything!  Even Orcslayer! wasn't that much of an expansion, and buy the time GURPS 2e came out I had no LGS or book stores nearby that carried gaming, and then I stopped buying books for awhile as my group had all the books (I was poor)... and then High School.  I've since picked up Man to Man and Orcslayer! out of historic perspective reasons, not because of "nostalgia for the game" or anything.



GreenTongue:
There are systems that use player input for world creation where the players determine the broad strokes of where things are but have to actually travel there to confirm.

In this case the Player buy-in should ensure that "explaining why" said thing they should have known about before but didn't requires no actual explanation.  Though it's still fun to create those reasons.

quote:
Randomly generating a hex crawl map is fun but introduces places that are not "logical" at times. Unfortunately, I require a basic level of logic to be comfortable.

Then just reroll until a result fits your logical requirements.  One of the reasons I prefer fantasy gaming, I can toss logic our the window and just say "A wizzzrd did it" and move along.

quote:
You might be able to break out your old map as I hear Advanced Melee/Wizard has been released again.

Couple years ago in fact, and there's been a line of adventures produced.  The Fantasy Trip line appears to be pretty healthy and stable.
donsr
 member, 2428 posts
Mon 15 Nov 2021
at 20:50
Re: Is A Basic Map Required First?
::chuckles::   Gurps  was  the    idea  Steve Jackson used ....to use Melee and Wizard.. I did  back his  'new"  ITL that has all thwe advance stuff and maps ect..i have it..its  sitting there?... don't really have anyone to play with now...but i have it!!