Saturday, August 29, 2020

Ballpoint Map

It has been a very challenging couple of weeks here (and that is a bit of an understatement), so gaming stuff has been way off the priority list, but I've been tinkering with things in the background. Over the last few days, I wrote the first few pages of what could become a fantasy novel (never going to happen, but I can start one anyway) and today I made a map. I just took out my graph paper and a ball point pen and started drawing. 

I had an image of Tomb Raider style caverns in my head, and started doodling. I usually don't like symmetrical maps, and try to avoid them, but this one just kept demanding it. I decided it is in the depth of a swamp or jungle, an open, airy sort of dungeon at the edge of a small lake, with many openings for creatures to come and go. I also decided to explain the symmetry - it is the temple / followers' tomb for a two-headed snake deity where each of the heads has a unique identity. While the main statue in the south center is of the two together (as they are), the left side is dedicated to one aspect of the deity, and the right side is dedicated to the other. I just dropped two random tables on the side, and decided I could always just use the solitaire matrix to populate this thing and figure out more as I go.

Parenthetically, I used to spend hours and hours working up a dungeon for an evening of play. I spent about thirty minutes on this, and with the solitaire framework, this map, and a copy of Tales, I could run an adventure in here for hours. Parenthetically (part two), I like how organic the ballpoint pen makes the whole thing. I can feel the vines coming through the ceilings and smell the mist the lingers in these halls (often about mid-knee level, so you never really know what is slithering around at your feet)...



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