So how does one begin to make a world?
I’ve found Kevin Crawford‘s random tables to be full of inspiration. Every one of his books gives me hundreds of ideas. To be perfectly honest I could just grab one of his books and make a world from that – but none of his creations quite scratches the itch I have. I’m aiming for a science-fantasy world, something where the magic became, essentially, technology but then it all went wrong in some “man-made” apocalypse (ala. the God-Wars from the Craft Series).
So I’m starting with the “region creation” from An Echo Resounding – …terrain of varying types in a square region 200 miles to a side… That sounds like a nice area. Something about the size of Ireland. Of course, I have no idea what the terrain should be like, and Mr Crawford isn’t much help here either, so I turned to the Welsh Piper’s map creation…
|d12 Result||Adjacent Hex Terrain |
This gave me my map!
Basically the steps I took were:
- Pick a starting hex terrain (plains)
- Go to a blank nearby hex, roll a d12, which gives you a Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, or Wildcard result.
- Check a table which lists the terrain variations based on the neighbouring hex
- Repeat for the next hex.
That gave me a bunch of “atlas hexes” filled with rough terrain types. Going from the old standard of 6miles/hex – that gives me an atlas hex of 30 miles – and my whole region is now a tad over 200 miles a side.
The great thing about the table of hex variations is that the changes between hexes feel more gradual/believable. I’m using the hexkit which is an amazing tool. Originally I made the map using the “fantasyland” set of hexes – but I found it looked a little too heavy. Beautiful but it felt disconnected… So I tried another set – Zeshio’s pixel hex – which also includes some lovely transition hexes, and is much lighter on the eye. The resulting map looked much more interesting.
Now I looked back at Mr Crawford’s instructions in An Echo Resounding for populating the region.
- Put a city down somewhere likely.
- Put 4 towns scattered about.
- Put 5 ruins down.
- Place lairs along the obvious routes between settlements.
So far I’ve been using tools that are based in “fantasy”. But I wanted to add a little sci-fi/post-apoc to the mix, so I broke out Other Dust also by Mr Crawford, and rolled up some details about the locations. Also using An Echo Resounding to get the Lair details.
- (B3) Thorn Forest Ruins
Tags: Underground Site, Sealed Horror
- (C2) Spire City
Tech: TL4 – amazing technical expertise
Tags: Functioning Industry, Nobility
- (C4) Lair – Cruel Vowed (evil Paladins?)
- (C6) Lair – Cursed Earth
- (D4) Forest Ruin
Origin: Ruined Village
Tags: Failed Community, Radioactive
- (D6) Valley Ruin
Origin: Sinister Caves
Inhabitants: Cultists, Robots
Tags: Berserk Robots, Rich Tomb
- (D8) Edge Enclave
Core: Academic Facility
Tech: T3 – oasis of advanced tech
Tags: Psychic Masters, Educated.
- (E1) Swampland Ruins
Origin: Secret Laboratory
Tags: Flooded Ruins, Psychic Stronghold
- (E2) Lair – Vicious Humanoids
- (E5) Mountain Enclave
Core: Remote Resort
Tech: T1 Medieval
Tags: Educated, Robots
- (F2) Cliffside Enclave
Core: Beached Tanker or Crashed Starship
Tech: T1 medieval
Tags: Food Supply, Cruel Tribute
- (F5) Lair – Demon Infestation
- (F7) Lair -Cursed Earth
- (F9) Desert Ruin
Origin: Mandate Base
Tags: Cyclical threat, Radioactive
- (G4) Lair – Magic Gate
- (G5) Mesa Enclave
Government: Oligarchy (Families)
Core: Post-Cataclysm refuge built by survivors
Tech: T2 – firearms and steam power
Tags: Sanctuary, Supremacists
- (H6) City Ruins
Origin: Industrial Complex
Inhabitants: Cultists, Degenerates, Robots, Raiders (At war!)
Tags: Ancient Lore, Unstable Power Core
Already from these random entries, I can see a host of possibilities, as well as a bunch of modules that would slot right in with only a little modifications.
Next up – going into more detail and creating a 6-mile hexcrawl (or at least getting started!)