Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vault of the Goblin: The Final Map - Post 500

My 500th post!

I have now officially finished mapping for the Vault of the Goblin... I've decided to go back and re-number all of the encounter areas to have each area receive an individual number. I was starting each section over again with the number 1, and creating more confusion for myself than necessary... this project keeps moving along. I want to have pdfs done in the next few weeks, and all Kickstarter rewards out the door by the end of April.

This map is the closest I'm ever going to come to my own version of the Tomb of Horrors...You can only get through by losing a hand, lighting yourself on fire, withstanding a disintegration field, and navigating a trap-filled, anti-magic hall. Sacrifices will needs be made...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

This way to mapping MADNESS

Early on in the process (like WAY early... check out this map from 2011) and even more recently (this map from about a year ago), I had been thinking about how the human settlement and the Vault of the Goblin go together.

As all the pieces finally come together and I make it all align nice and purty for the Saga of the Splintered Realm, I hit a bit of a problem. Or rather, a bit of several problems...

1. The keep map is a little on the sloppy side. It was one of the earlier maps I did in the evolution of mapping techniques.

2. The two maps don't layer over each other nicely. I kind of see where the central entry goes in relation to the upper keep, but the other entrances don't line up where I want them to.

3. There are some elements of the maps that I've sort of hand waved in play because I didn't love the utility of the layout. Some things were a little off from where I truly wanted them as I played.

4. Worst of all, the two maps are on graph paper that is 5 squares to an inch and non-photo blue, while all of my more recent maps are 4 squares to an inch on graph paper that always picks up the lines whenever I scan or photocopy it... and I have a ton of the newer style maps that all look clean and sharp.

So, I re-designed the two, breaking one of my cardinal rules, which is never re-draw. You can get bogged down in fixing old work that you don't move forward. However, since these two maps are CENTRAL to the experience of the Vault - these are the two maps referees are most likely to use and re-use - it was important that they had the most utility possible.

Now, if you printed them out and lined them up, the northwest pile of rubble on the vault map lines up under the octagonal temple in the northwest corner of the keep, the main stairs align under the south central building (the hall of warriors), and the stairs in the northeast align under the inner keep to the far east of Fort Morovar.

I present to you the revised Fort Morovar and Vault of the Goblin Entry Well:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Mushroom King's Domain

Okay, before you read any further, you should check out the incredible map by +Dyson Logos that inspired this one...

Back? Good.

I have been thinking that in the Vault of the Goblin, the goblins didn't have much in the way of food... and packing a few thousand goblins into a deep hole for a while, things are going to get testy if everyone is starving to death. While I think they would subsist on a steady diet of rats and big spiders (those would be plentiful), they'd need a staple for their diet as well...

Enter the Mushroom King's Domain.

I've never had a use for shriekers (I didn't even put them in the first iteration of the core rules - but I will now), myconids, and various mushroomy stuff. All that changes now!

The thought is that the mushroom king (a myconid of maybe 4 HD who lives in the southern chamber, sitting atop the largest of the toadstools) had an agreement with the goblins to let them skim some mushrooms for gifts they'd bring him...

In the northern part of the chamber are patches of shriekers that not only alert the myconids to the presence of outsiders, but also attract a huge centipede that roams the place. It will eat only shriekers (finding them quite the tasty treat), but hates the taste of all other fungi. However, he's been around them so long that he has, like a clownfish does with sea anemones, made himself virtually invisible to them, since he's coated with so much fungus slime. So, the shriekers never go off as he slithers by... but their shrieking will attract him quickly. He'll go to town chowing down on shrieker for several rounds before he notices the fellowship, giving them time to either beat a hasty retreat or plan their attack.

I'm having fun designing these smaller, self-contained encounter areas as sub-sets to the Vault of the Goblin...

Friday, March 6, 2015

Vault of the Goblin: Connective Tissue

Inspired by the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, I've been thinking of the Vault of the Goblin as a series of nodes that are connected by larger expanses of 'not much'... long tunnels, great empty caves, and the like...

Of course, there are the areas that are off (or along) the beaten path, but which are smaller expanses of 'something' that are not tied directly to a node - the connective tissue of the nodes. These are almost like random encounters along the path between nodes. I'm going to formalize these in their appearance, but I'm still thinking of ways to randomize these as well...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Vault of the Goblin: Deeper Prisons

The goblins love their prisons... this is the penultimate level before the pits, which is a prison for some of their more powerful foes, and a deep pit in the middle that they drop especially nasty enemies into.