Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Map Roundup - 26 May

In the Map Roundup from 06 May, I posted a link to this idea from Tower of the Archmage, which was Part 3.  At the time, I didn't spend enough time looking for Parts 1 and 2.  Luckily for me, Dave, the guy who resides in that tower, passed me the info.  So here is Part 1.  Here is Part 2.  Thanks, Dave.

The coffee treatment is a wonderful means of creating the effect of old, yellowed paper, parchment, or what have you.  There's a map here that makes use of it.  Nice.

You'll probably say that I'm stretching it a bit with the following link, but maps are cool, whether in a fantasy setting, a modern setting, or a sci-fi setting.  Games that use maps are cool, too.  This link will direct you to a review of a game that, although I haven't tried it yet, is full of mapping goodness.  And if you happen to disagree with my belief that this is a mapping extraveganza, just leave.

There is definitely a map at this post, but the beauty of the post is its utility to the old school gamer.  Thanks, Al.

FrDave gives us this, and there is rejoicing amongst the mappers.

Over at the newspaper for the underground scene, there is a nice post about maps that I really dig.  He describes a useful way to give some (but not too much) information to players with maps.

I'm sure that I've missed quite a bit as I've been away from the internet for several days.  I'll keep looking and try to catch up in the next Roundup.  Cheers!

Megadungeon Tools

I often try to write about things that I think will be of use or interest to others in the OSR.  Other times I try to write something about my own ongoing projects or gaming trials and tribulations.  Occasionally, I'll post something as a means of recording it for my own future use.

This post falls into the third variety.  Al, who hangs out somewhere on the other side of the Black Gate, made a compilation of all of his articles regarding megadungeons.  As a fan of his and of megadungeons, I had to link to it.

More Thoughts on Blogging

A few months ago, James Raggi posted about blogging.  I commented about his post here.  I just recently came across another bog post that I would guess was written in response to his, although perhaps not.  It was written by scottsz, and I think that it contains some good advice.

I will definitely try to keep in mind the things that he writes about.

May: A "Down" Month for Blogging and a Hearty Thank You

Wow.  May is almost complete, and I have posted to this blog less than ten times.  Moreso than ever before, I have a lot of respect for those people out there (you know who they are) in the blogosphere who post regularly, day after day, week after week, month after month.  I'm not really sure how you people all do it.

Perhaps I am hampered by the fact that I have many more interests than just gaming.  Of course, I'm sure that all of the prolific bloggers out there have other interests than just gaming and their blog.  That can't be it.  Perhaps I am hampered by the fact that I have two little kids and spend a lot of time with them.  But that can't be it either, because most of us have children of varying ages.  Maybe it has something to do with the fifteen or twenty half-written blog posts that are waiting for me to finish and actually publish.  That might have something to do with it.  It could even have something to do with the various ideas that are floating around in my head that I have not yet started scribbling down or typing that would make perfectly fine blog posts.

I suppose that there are any number of other excuses that I could type right now.  But, ultimately, I think that most are excuses.  Thinking about it, I've come to the conclusion that at varying times my priorities change, my interests drift, my mind goes to other places.

I've just come back from a seven day break from the blogosphere entirely--I hadn't really even surfed the internet at all in the past week.  I will say that while I was gone, you guys have continued posting and have given me much to read and enjoy as I get back 'into the loop'.  The quality and quantity of stuff in the OSR continues to impress me.  It still strikes a chord in me.  So for that, thank you.  If you are a part of My Daily Read, thank you.  And even if you aren't, you can bet that I will stop by.

Now all I have to do is stop reading and get back to typing my own stuff...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blogging as a Business

I can tell you that this blog is, at best, a hobby for me.  Unlike many people in the OSR corner of the blogosphere, I do sometimes think, however, that it would be great to turn this little hobby into some kind of steady income--perhaps even separate from the few products that The Fantasy Cartographic sells.

I came across this interesting article, and it really got me to thinking: Just what is possible?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Map Roundup - 06 May

Roger over at the Triple R posted this little tidbit--forms a nice mapping concept.

A lover of Cthulu posts this about old real world maps.  Like him, I am a sucker for old maps.

Follow this link if you want to read a little bit about some old school goodness that is only tangentially related to mapping.  Actually, it's not related to mapping at all, except for the fact that the post includes the cover of an old product, the majority of which is a map.  My older brother owned it, and it just screams D&D at me.

And since I did it in the paragraph above, I may as well do it again.  Here is an interesting read whose only connection to mapping is the illustration he uses for the post.  But actually, I'm also linking to it because I like what he has to say, or more accurately, I'm pondering the same issues that he questions.  And, like him, I have an interest in "wilderness hex crawling, naval battles, high-level delving, dominion type stuff." 

Here is Part 3 of an intriguing dungeon concept that I really dig.  I've often thought of designing just such a dungeon--never got around to it, though.  Now all I need to do is remember where Parts 1 and 2 are...

I really need to start including this (and all the others like it) in these roundups.  I'll get better.  I promise.

What do you get when you combine a grognard, plate tectonics, and maps of a once and future Earth?  You get this post from James, bringing together some nice topics that I often don't see in the blogosphere.  You see, I wrote a sixth grade research paper (using notecards to take notes, going to the library to do research, reading whole books to learn about a topic--makes me feel old looking at the kiddies today!) on plate tectonics and the idea has fascinated me ever since.  And I, like James, enjoy taking real world maps and tweaking them slightly to come up with fantasy maps.  But then again, who doesn't?

FrDave, over at Blood of Prokopius, recently posted twice about maps.  His first is here and then he followed that up with this little cross section.  I love cross sections, even if they aren't maps per se, they are some of my favorite types of illustration in gaming.

I've not visited the kyak before (kiyak?) and have certainly never been under it, but I stumbled across this and really liked it.  I also like the fact that he just found it on an old hard drive.  It's amazing what can be found lying around in the most unlikely of places.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Naval Campaign

Although I am currently an officer in the Navy, I have always liked the idea of a naval D&D campaign, where the players own a ship and journey the high seas looking for adventure, or better yet, having adventure looking for them.  In one campaign that I ran as a young man, there was a fair bit of planning to take it in a more naval direction, but the playing ran out before the oceans came calling.

Delta hiding out over in his hotspot posted about a naval campaign, or more accurately naval campaigning and a con game he ran.  I really enjoyed reading his post.  One of the points that he raised was his discovery of naval combat rules in OD&D (which I don't think I knew even existed) and the fact that he feels those rules are better than just about everything that has followed--for D&D.  Seems like a wide-open invitation for someone to put out material based on the little brown books.  Of course, Raggi, is including naval rules in his Wierd Fantasy Roleplaying--I wonder if he is making use of this material?

I think that maritime adventuring presents a nice branch in the possible "endgame" of an early edition D&D campaign.  If one assumes that the endgame was the establishment of a keep of some kind (for the fighter), temple (for the cleric), and some type of magical school or tower (for the magic user), a maritime campaign could easily "end" with the characters becoming a powerful force on the high seas.  Instead of the fixed assets just listed, perhaps they build, or somehow acquire, a large vessel--akin to the capital ships of today, such as aircraft carriers, battleships, or strategic missile submarines.  Maybe they could establish an entire armada of vessels.  Perhaps the end is merely their ownership of an island where each can build the keep, temple, or tower.

In the pursuit of any one of those, the campaign would follow the same general path as campaigns that we are more familiar with.  They start off as hired hands on a merchant vessel or on a small ship loaned to them by a patron to accomplish a specific task.  As time goes on, they eventually obtain their own (small, relatively weak) vessel where they can take some ownership in following their own desires.  Over time, as their fame (or infamy) grows, they start to take on more powerful foes, perhaps venturing beneath the waves in search of adventure.  Acquiring larger and more powerful vessels (with greater numbers of sailors in addition to the normal henchmen), they become movers and shakers in their small part of the seas.

Another method of showing progression in such a campaign is slowly expanding the geographic scope of the characters' exploits.  Drawing from the real world, perhaps the campaign is limited to the Aegean Sea in its early stages, eventually expands into the wider Mediterranean, and then, at the highest levels, the adventurers travel 'beyond the end of the world' and venture out into the Atlantic Ocean, where the environment is more dangerous (deeper water, greater extremes of weather, more danerous foes) and the area to roam becomes much greater.  Adventuring in the Atlantic Ocean could even be further segregated, with the characters first staying close to land (exploring the coasts of Spain, Portugal, or Africa) and only later sailing straight into the open ocean to explore the Azores or Madeira.

Finally, I think it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway:  Homer's Odyssey is a fantastic template for a maritime campaign.

Map Roundup - 03 May

Here is an interesting thought on mapping in games.  I find myself torn by his ideas.  On the one hand, his point is well made--there was no such thing as graph paper or precise mapping, even when people had reason to map things.  On the other hand, my earlies memories of playing D&D definitely involved listening to my brother as DM describe the dimensions of rooms in the dungeon and attempting to match them on my graph paper.  I suppose that in a megudungeon, where precise mapping may lead to discoveries about the greater dungeon layout, graph paper is a must.  If, however, you're not into that style of dungeoneering or playing in general, there isn't really a need.  Personally, I enjoyed the physical act of mapping as a player.  As with most things in this hobby of ours, to each his own...

Of course, he then goes on to further clarify his thoughts in a post entitled "To Map or Not to Map".  And with these comments, I could not agree more.

Then he wraps it all up here.

Here is a good map for those people who like to present puzzles to their players in the form of a dungeon that changes or, even better, that does not seem to follow the normal rules of space and time.

If ever a blog post belonged in a map roundup, based on title alone, it has to be this one.  And, BTW, he's right--that is a mighty nice map.

This is something that I will definitely use--a nice hex mapping app for use with GIMP.

Here is a hand drawn campaign map.  I like it.  Colored pencil on graph paper--what is not to like?!

Here is a link to a nice resource for maps.

And while the following is not a map, I was blown away by it and had to include it.

Tony Dowler over at Year of the Dungeon posted this interesting link to hand drawn maps.  Not really rpg related, but map related, and that's all that really counts.