Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Map for Players

Woo! This G+ post got long enough that it makes sense as a blog post. My revised-revised-revised-revised-revised version of the Field Guide to Hot Springs Island is laid out to a point that I'm happy with, and I've budged from my one time "smyth-sewn only" position for its eventual printing. I want to include a map for the players in the book itself, and this is the first iteration I've come up with that seems legible and didn't make me immediately start again.

What do you think about it?

What is this? A map of Hot Springs Island (my hexcrawl)

What do I want to do with this? Use it as the end papers in my player's book A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island.

What exactly is the Field Guide? It's an in-character _prop_ players can use at the table during play (if they'd like). The goal is to provide them with hook filled information, pictures, rumors and stories that can help players make informed decisions about where to go and what to do (see end).

Why are there so many blanks? Because there are 3 points of interest in each numbered hex. I don't know that players will ever really explore them all in a single game or even a campaign, but because I want this to be a sandbox, I want to communicate to the players somehow where the "blank" patches on the map are.

Why are some of the blanks filled in?
Because these points of interest are "documented" in the Field Guide or other materials.

How big will this be printed? The current plan is 8.5"x11" (letter sized)

What do you think? Too crowded? Too busy? Overwhelming? Dumb? Opine away!

(Regarding the Field Guide in play. In order for a sandbox to work, your players have to buy into it and self-lead. The book is absolutely NOT necessary for players to have in order to play on Hot Springs, _but_ if a player chooses to read it and use it they can act as a sort of co-DM by using their extra knowledge to direct play. For example: The leader, instead of immediately attacking when a monster jumps out of the undergrowth, could take a few rounds to try and use the guide to identify the creature and maybe determine strengths/weaknesses/strategies. Once combat is over, they could use the book to determine which pieces of the creature are considered to be valuable by the various factions on the island. And when the party camps for the night they could try and learn more about those factions and help drive the group, and thus the game in a different direction. It's also an ingame object that could be "taken away" due to poor decisions in game. For example, if my pack catches on fire, now I'm worried about a real, tangible thing I've been holding in my hands and using. Maybe now I won't swim across that river. If you've gotten this far and are saying "why the hell would you even make something like this? my answers are: 1. Because this type of game play is tremendously personally appealing to me. 2. Because I fucking love world building. 3. Because I watched too much Duck Tales as a kid and loved the way the "Jr. Woodchucks' Guide Book" could get a party into and out of so much trouble. 4. Because at the end of the day, I want to pay my artists and contributors, but I refuse to sell "new rules" and "new feats" or anything junky like that. If you only have products game masters can buy, and nothing players can buy, then you're effectively ignoring 75% or more of your potential customers, and I think this Field Guide is an excellent, value packed, way to not do that.)


  1. Shrink skull compass rose. Move all graphics so first set of locations doesn't run into the art. Place both titles at either top or bottom, with one in different font/point size.