Monday, September 6, 2010

Day After Ragnarok update! And Maps!

I'm getting really amped up to plan a dungeon crawl. Technically speaking, I've never GM'ed my own dungeon crawl before - I've never even designed one. I figured it's about time I finally acheive this rite of passage for any GM. The games I tend to run don't really use tactical maps. Games like Dread, 3:16: Carnage Amongst the Stars, and Fiasco don't lend themselves to that level of tactical play. That's not to say that you couldn't plan an awesome dungeon for any of them (well, maybe not Fiasco...), but if I'm sketching out a full dungeon on graph paper why not do it for a game that will use every square of design I put into it?

We have enough people running D&D so it would be silly to look in that direction. We play it a lot, and I have my own little system that I love immensely - Savage Worlds (SW). The SW game I'm running uses the Day After Ragnarok (DaR) setting. It's basically an alternative to the Weird War II setting (that also looks awesome) where the end of the world happened. Well, it almost happened, and now the Soviets are the huge ominous super power. The setting incorporates magic and super weird tech and is both pulpy (in a Conan the Barbarian kind of way) and horrific (in a Lovecraft kind of way). Although there are just a ton of really great settings out there for SW, DaR is my setting of choice for the time being. Keep Reading to see what I'm doing with it!

All a GM needs to build a death trap. Yes, a cat is needed.
This being WWII as a setting, it's kind of a neutral time period. I'm free to incorporate retro-modern design since it's the 1940's. However, at the same time, I can incorporate medieval castle design as well given the European nature of DaR. Of course there's one problem with that - the guys are currently in the middle of the Colorado Rockies.

I'm not letting this stop me though. I mean, there's like giants who have struck an alliance with the soviets and weird snake people living in the American SouthWest - who am I to put limits on my own dungeon design? From here on out there's a word of warning to my players (especially Chuck - The Bro) that there may be slight spoilers in the rest of the post. I'll do my best to avoid this, but no guarantees! Anyway, I've decided to transplant a castle and put it right inside the Rockies. It was built centuries ago, it's older than the United States as a country, and it could be there right now, how do you know it isn't (science!)? That's the general idea anyway. I'm going to be using an age-old bait to get the guys to actually enter the dungeon. And no, I'm not spoiling that right now.

Behold! The Entrance!
The real meat of this post, and my single inspiration for writing it today, is that I found a tremendous source for dungeon maps online. I'm not going to lie, I was feeling awfully uninventive when I sat down to draw my dungeon map, but no more! The Dungeon Mastery blog has collected not dozens, but hundreds of free maps online from all different sorts of games. This is an amazing resource and a life-saver for the GM's out there who are not naturally gifted with cartography.

The map to the right here is culled straight from one of those links from Dungeon Mastery. MY PLAYERS SHOULD NOT ENLARGE THIS. I KNOW THIS IS TEMPTING, BUT YOU WILL NOT HAVE FUN IF YOU DO. YOU WILL IN FACT KILL FUN AS YOU KNOW IT. DON'T DO IT.

*Ahem* Anyway. Like I said, I stole it straight out of one of Wizards' free dungeons (this is actually from a Raveloft module). I copies everything from design to all the little knick-knacks on the map. It's been a fun challenge to repurpose each aspect of the map to match my setting and make sense as challenges for the players. I've planned my encounters fairly loosely in the past, and I want to do so again, but I like the idea of more structure, so I'm running with it.

Seriously, ignore the zombies.
I'm also planning on having the guys come across a village at one point. Just because I like that I have this, I've decided to post a little reference sheet I made for myself several months ago. Ignoring the zombie information on there (those were stats for All Flesh Must Be Eaten zombies I was planning for another game), this is an accurate representation of all the 3d terrain we had between Chuck and I at the time. Now of course he's got a ton of Fat Dragon terrain printed up, and this doesn't include our Heroquest pieces we use for terrain, but it's a pretty good representation of what I've got to use. Now I realize I could use some flashy online resource to digitally design my dungeons and maps, but I like doing it by hand. I can also put notes right on the graph paper (like the picture for my entrance above) including monsters and what happens when a player enters a new area. It's old school to use graph paper and I love it.

1 comment:

  1. So tempted to read and enlarge! Alas.. I will be all self-controlled, like a good DaR civilian.

    I said.. I said I'm controlled *suspender snap*


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