Bonus map- Ghostly Grove, with labels:
Get a look at it here.
This was one of my two major projects for the last couple of months, and the first time I have really tried to do a large scale callaboration. It was educational on a technical level (to say the least) as it turned out to be several smaller projects as opposed to one big project. It took forever and ever (I started it at the end of field season in late october).
This means I can return to working on my webcomic, Cosmic Tales, which I hope to launch some time this year.
Although I have made a few in my time, I have gown increasingly less fond of big hex based sandboxes. I think wilderness adventues are a great idea. I do not believe, however, that hexcrawls are to the widerness what dungeons are to site based adventures. Walking and exploring have become big parts of the work I do in meatspace and hexcrawls absolutely fail to capture what I love so much about both.
Imo, most hexy things try to cover too much space and getting lost is a ticket to boredom. Now, my worklife aside, when I was a neglected child and spent my time wandering around defunct railroads and empty country, getting lost was fun, because you poked around until you were not lost, and you found stuff along the way. Also, you can easily spend days exploring what is represented by just one hex on most maps, but they usually have like one detail. This strikes me as too little and too arbitrary.
This map is the beginning of an attempt to convert some of this thinking into gamables.
1. Constrains the players- the ravine is in the west, the east side is mountain cliff face. The bridge is flimsy or magic and you can only cross once, maybe- or just finding your way back to it could be the challenge.
2. Ensures that you will have to leave the road.
3. Gives you stuff to find once you get lost. That is the moon capsule from The First Men In the Moon up there on the top left, btw. I don't think lost should be a matter of rolling a random direction, but rather a random destination with a random duration of travel.
4. Has room for factions.
5. Has an ecology (take my word for it)
So the idea is you have to explore and interact with the environment (e.g., deal with the locals, figure out how to cross the boiling mud, decide which way to go on the road at the fork, discover that someone has fucked with the signposts, and so on...) on the way to your goal (which in this case is the big skull hill thingy) instead of just passing through. Not every landscape is an adventure, of course, in the same way not every building is a dungeon.
Note: I don't have the scale on the map but it is like a 4 hour walk from the bridge to the fork in the road. Also, the apex predator here is an insane allosaur.
I'll key this up in a day or two, probably like the Molt map, but with stats and shit
Come at me, bro.
I am getting ready to run Valley of Bones, so I've had to scramble to get some stuff done. I thought it might interesting to post my prep work. This mostly relates ro the two largest above ground settlements in the Valley.