Let’s Begin a Easy Homebrew Marketing campaign: Mapping a Area

Easy Homebrew Marketing campaign time once more. And once more, there’s a crap-ton of s$&% to cowl. Besides, it seems, there’s not as a lot as I assumed. It’s onerous to foretell this s$&%.

See, earlier than I outlined this s$&%, I used to be anxious that I’d have barely something to say. As a result of this entire Starter Area factor’s just about probably the most open and most artistic and least systematic a part of the entire Easy Homebrew Marketing campaign startup course of.

However then, I outlined the article. And I ended up with two pages of define. Which, for comparability, is twice as many pages of define as I often begin an article with. Yep. My 5000-word behemoths develop from single-page outlines. By no means underestimate the facility of bulls$&%.

So, once I wrote the primary draft, the Lengthy, Rambling Introduction™ was all about how the article was going to be too f$&%ing lengthy for a Lengthy, Rambling Introduction™.

However now that I’m rewriting the draft…

Anyway, this has been the Lengthy, Rambling Introduction™.

Let’s make a map.

You’re both gonna love this otherwise you’re gonna hate it. In at this time’s Easy Homebrew Marketing campaign Startup lesson, I’m going to indicate you learn how to map the geographical area round your Starter City. And that may be a pleasant, enjoyable, low-pressure exercise. Hell, it’s the simplest, lowest-stakes a part of working a marketing campaign. It’s one thing you’ve received to do, however the way you do it doesn’t matter in any respect.

In different phrases, should you chill the f$&% out, you may simply get pleasure from this s$&%.

However you received’t, will you? You’re gonna attempt to get this proper. Nonetheless you outline getting it proper. You’ll fear about correctly distributing the map options. You’ll fear about how far-off issues must be. It’s possible you’ll even fear about totally silly, ineffective, pointless bulls$&% no actual human provides a f$&% about like rain shadows and prevailing winds and plate tectonics.

And if it weren’t for that truth — if it weren’t for you — I might crank out this lesson in 3000 phrases tops. However I do know you received’t be glad and not using a course of and numerous hand-holding. So, compromise time.

I’m gonna do my greatest to offer you strong ideas and helpful recommendation. However you must do your greatest to calm your tits, loosen up, and simply get pleasure from an act of low-stakes creation. As a result of it is low stakes. All you’re doing is drawing a map. What’s on the map barely f$&%ing issues. The map itself — its existence — is what issues.

And that’s as a result of the map you’re drawing — technically the 2 maps you’re drawing — are each completely clean maps.

You heard me.

In case your sport includes any wilderness journey in any respect — if it ain’t restricted to a small space the place all the pieces’s a pair hours at most away from all the pieces else — you want a map of the native geographical space. A Regional Map. That ain’t elective. City maps and encounters? Completely elective. A Regional Map is a must have.

Furthermore, a correct Regional Map is definitely two maps. The GM’s Regional Map and the Gamers’ Regional Map. You need to make each. They usually should be separate. Totally different. They serve totally different functions they usually present totally different info. I do know a few of you skilled GMs suppose you may draw only one Regional Map after which disguise the grid and the key areas and print a duplicate in your gamers.

You may’t. You’re flawed. Sorry, not sorry.

The GM’s Regional Map

Your Regional Map — the GM’s Regional Map — is a sport mechanic. It’s not a fairly image. And it’s not meant to be. It’s not meant to appear like a map or present the world as it’s. It’s a game-mechanical diagram. That’s why most GMs — the sensible ones — use easy, hex-based tilemaps. Maps like this:

That’s the GM’s Regional Map from my AOWG. And it’s a damned good regional map. It’s not a very good map for a Easy Homebrew Marketing campaign. It does some s$&% flawed. I simply need you to see what it seems to be like. Additionally, ignore the truth that it’s received no labels. Faux I labeled issues.

A GM’s Regional Map is exact. A GM can — inside three miles — plot the precise place of any f$&%ing factor wherever on this planet. A GM’s Regional Map is mechanical. The world’s damaged down into chunks. Areas. Six-mile hexes on this case. Thus a GM can simply plot motion and resolve actions with out doing numerous measuring and math. And that’s necessary as a result of the GM’s Regional Map — together with just a few supplemental notes — is used for working video games. For adjudicating journey actions.

It’s for working video games. On the desk. Not for .

The Gamers’ Regional Map

Against this, the Gamers’ Regional Map is a fairly image. As fairly as you can also make it given your cartography abilities and the way a lot you’re keen to spend on software program and the way a lot time you’ve received to waste on it.

Fairly proper?

However, look, it doesn’t should be that fairly. Blobby strains and scribbles are completely tremendous too. You don’t wish to make investments an excessive amount of money and time into this s$&%. However this is a type of investments that’ll really enhance the play expertise. So, should you’ve received one or two hours to spend on this s$&%? Spend it. If not? Don’t sweat it.

The place the GM’s map is exact, the participant’s map is obscure. Positive, it’s received a scale. However have a look at that scale. It’s clearly off. And it’s onerous to inform the place the forests and hills really are. The place the GM’s map is a sport mechanic, the gamers’ map is a visible support. It helps the gamers image the world. Which is why it seems to be like a map and never a tileset from an 8-bit Dragon Quest journey. The gamers’ map represents their data of the world. As such, it seems to be like one thing that might exist on this planet. Hell, it is perhaps a bodily map the characters personal. Or at the least one they may purchase or discover. So it provides the gamers a way of residing on this planet.

And the place the GM’s map is used for plotting and adjudicating, the gamers’ map is used for planning and making decisions.

Yeah, I understand that doesn’t jive with that entire imprecise and obscure factor. It looks like a planning and decision-making software must be correct, proper? Exact. However it shouldn’t be. It mustn’t be. For a similar causes that gamers roll cube to resolve actions. The gamers ought to by no means have the ability to type good plans and make good decisions. The precise outcomes ought to all the time fluctuate from expectations. The imprecision within the Gamers’ Regional Map is the geographical equal of rolling a d20.

At greatest, the gamers can guess a visit’s going to take, say, 5 days. And even when they make each navigational roll and no random encounters f$&% them up, it would nonetheless take just a few hours extra or just a few hours much less, pushing them into an additional day. And thereby forcing them to hedge their bets and to take further provides simply in case.

After I Say Map…

So, there’s two totally different sorts of Regional Maps, proper? The GM’s Map and the Gamers’ Map. Besides they’re actually two totally different depictions of the identical, single map. Of the 2, the GM’s Regional Map is the realer one. The one which’s really how the world is. The Gamers’ Regional Map is how the world seems to be. Consider the GM’s Regional Map because the world’s stat block. And the Participant’s Regional Map is the flavour textual content. The outline and the lore.

Level is, from right here on out, once I discuss drawing and planning maps, I’m speaking in regards to the GM’s Regional Map. Principally. After I’m not, I’ll both make it clear or else I’ll belief you to deduce it from context. Which can little question result in all types of confusion and make me remorse ever trusting you to make use of your brains for something.

Simply learn map as GM’s Regional Map from this level ahead. Cool?

Above, I instructed you you’d be drawing a pair of clean maps. And that most likely sounds f$&%ing loopy. Does that imply you may simply seize a sheet of paper and fling it at me? “Executed! Right here’s a clean map!”

No. Don’t be a moron.

See, you suppose you realize what it means for a map to be clean. However you don’t. These two maps I confirmed you above? They’re clean. Principally clean. They’re rather less clean than the maps you’ll be drawing at this time. However not a lot much less.

It’s all all the way down to the 2 sorts of data on the map.

See, it’s useful to consider your map — your GM’s Regional Map — as having two totally different layers. An underlay and an overlay. A background and a foreground. The underlay — the background — is the Terrain Layer. And the overlay — the foreground — is the POI Layer.

The Terrain Layer

The Regional Map — the GM’s Regional Map; final f$&%ing reminder — divides the world into hexes. And each hex is marked with a logo that describes the predominant terrain kind that fills that a part of the world.

And don’t get pedantic. Clean is a logo.

“Nicely, no s$&% Indignant,” you’re most likely saying. “Thanks for explaining that maps present terrain. That’s what maps do.” However you neglect, smarta$&, this ain’t a map. It’s a stat block. A sport mechanic. An motion adjudication software. It empowers you — the GM — to set the scene, decide how actions play out, and describe the outcomes.

That’s why it’s a hex map with terrain icons.

See, terrain’s a sport mechanic. Which, by the best way, ain’t the identical as a rule. I feel that wants an article’s value of clarification sometime. However not at this time.

Terrain’s a sport mechanic. The terrain you’re in determines how far you may see. It modifies the actions you’re taking. The terrain you’re shifting by determines how briskly you progress. The terrain you’re navigating determines how tough it’s to navigate. And the terrain surrounding you determines what sort of hazards and issues and monsters are prone to f$&% you up. And, in a really obscure and non-mathy approach, the terrain you’re trekking by says one thing about how difficult you anticipate your life to be.

Avid gamers intuitively know that it’s simpler and safer to journey throughout open land than it’s to journey by a forest. Or over hills. Or by a swamp. Mountains are actually onerous to cope with. Probably impassable. And oceans are impassable with out particular instruments and skills. Gamers grasp this so intuitively that they’ll often plan routes round swamps once they can. As a result of adventuring in a swamp sucks.

Level is, although, that the terrain in any given hex is generally only a background factor. It determines a bunch of mechanical issues about touring and trekking and it impacts what sorts of adventuring issues occur when and the place and it gives cues while you’re setting and describing scenes and actions. However it’s nonetheless simply background.

The Proper Variety of Symbols

So, what number of totally different sorts of terrain are there? What number of totally different symbols? The place’s the gorgeous map key? Right here’s the factor: you may go crazy-a$& bonkers with this s$%&. Pop into your search engine of selection and you will discover a whole bunch of image units, some with approach, approach, approach too many symbols. Hell, if I slapped collectively a listing, I might most likely outline 30 totally different terrain varieties and assign every a logo.

Don’t try this.

The D&D 5E PHB defines seven pure, out of doors terrain varieties. And it’s most likely greatest to comply with the PHB’s lead. Particularly should you’re working D&D 5E. That approach, your GM’s Regional Map matches up with the sport’s mechanics proper? You received’t ever should puzzle out whether or not a hex of boreal forest counts as forest or arctic terrain for game-mechanical functions.

That stated, the 5E listing is somewhat, teensy, tiny bit restricted. So right here’s my listing of terrain varieties which might be symbol-worthy.

  • Arctic. Open and chilly terrain. Consists of tundra, glacier, icefields, and chilly deserts.
  • Desert. Arid, open terrain. Consists of sandy deserts, rocky deserts, and salt flats.
  • Forest. Any terrain lined with plenty of bushes. Consists of temperate forests, rainforests — which themselves embrace jungles, temperate rainforests, and cloud forests — boreal forests, and montane or alpine forests.
  • Grassland. Open land that’s not too rugged. Vegetation consists of grasses, underbrush and occasional scattered bushes. Consists of plains, steppe, savannah, veldt, moorland, meadow, shrubland, wasteland, and farmland.
  • Hill. Navigable land with extremely variable elevations. Consists of rocky hills, grassy hills, mesas, and canyons.
  • Mountain. Like hills, however extra so. Troublesome or unattainable to navigate.
  • Swamp. Flat wetlands. Consists of grassy marshes, sparse bogs, coastal salt marshes, and forested swampland.
  • River and Lake. Freshwater our bodies of water. Duh.
  • Ocean. Actually large lakes you may’t drink from.
  • Street. A particular form of terrain that runs by different terrain varieties and makes them simpler to navigate. Consists of roads, trails, paths, highways, bridges, fords, and mountain passes.

That’s it. From a game-mechanical stance, that’s all you want in your map’s Terrain Layer. After all, you’ll even have some supplemental notes. For instance, a desert image in a hex tells you to resolve actions as if the occasion’s in a desert. Your notes let you know the Raxilaxi Expanse is a mixture of rocky desert and salt flats with just a few remoted mesas scattered all through.

Identify That Landform!

Your map wants some supplemental notes, proper? These’ll make it easier to narrate your sport, plan adventures, and fling random disasters at your hapless victims. Thus, it’s necessary to call the totally different terrain areas in your map. Every contiguous mass of a given terrain kind wants a reputation. An in-game, in-world title. That desert? That’s the Raxilaxi Expanse. That line of hills? That’s Breakhero Ridge. That large, open house? That’s Pieren’s Sweep. Hell, if a function’s large enough, it would comprise two or three totally different terrain areas. Possibly the western a part of these grasslands — near the Raxilaxi Expanse — is sparse and dry and it’s known as the Tanga Waste whereas the jap half’s extra verdant and it’s known as the Tanga Meadowlands.

By naming the clumps of terrain, you’ve received a heading you may put notes below. You may describe the Tanga Waste and even make a novel random encounter desk for it. Or assign it a problem. And even give it particular guidelines as a result of it really works somewhat totally different from a standard grassland but it surely’s not as unhealthy as a desert.

Having hassle with this s$&%? Try the Breath of the Wild interactive map. Flip off all of the map markers and simply scroll round. Each lake, river, hill, forest, and open f$%&ing plain has a reputation. Do the identical factor. Hell, simply steal BotW’s names. Severely. Who’s going to acknowledge the Barula Plain or the Temto Hills or Cape Cresia? And if somebody does acknowledge it and name you out, simply kill their f$&%ing character.

The POI Layer

Sitting atop the Terrain Layer’s the POI Layer. The Factors of Curiosity Layer. And that’s the layer that makes the sport. That’s the place all of the locations are. The locations the gamers wish to go. Or wish to escape. Castles, cities, cities, camps, outposts, henges, mounds, sanctuaries, dungeons, crypts, tombs, barrows, shrines, ruins, battlefields, spirit groves, coves, caves, and on and on and on and on.

It’s the POI Layer that’s really received the great things. And, while you begin your Easy Homebrew Marketing campaign, it’s largely clean. Since you solely add s$&% to the POI Layer when you must. Both while you plan an journey or while you outline a location by gameplay.

Notice, additionally, there’s a form of scope and scale factor occurring right here. I don’t have time to enter it. Principally, not all the pieces’s value marking on the POI Layer. For example, the tiniest of villages and market squares and s$&%? I don’t put that stuff on the map. And my world’s stuffed with monster lairs — like owlbear caves and harpy nests — that really feel like journey websites, however they’re small and random they usually’re the form of factor the occasion journeys over, clears, loots, after which by no means thinks about once more.

Anyway, my map above? It’s largely clean. All it exhibits are main, civilized Factors of Curiosity whose areas are recognized all through the dominion. It doesn’t even present any villages. Simply cities, castles, cities, and the capital. And one destroy. Your Easy Homebrew Marketing campaign Regional Map could have even much less on it. It’ll have your Starter City, the primary journey’s web site, and perhaps one or two different dots.

Past that? The map’s only a terrain underlay ready so that you can plot s$&% over it.

Hexes and Scales

Earlier than I flip you free to start out drawing, I wish to focus on the entire hex-and-scale factor.

The GM’s Regional Map is a hex map. That’s the proper method to do it. Some other approach is flawed. Why? For many causes. It’s scientifically, mathematically, and geometrically provable that the hexagon’s the most effective polygon for overland map grids. And since you’re going to be plotting and adjudicating on the desk with this factor — and since you don’t wish to be dicking round with a ruler, a protractor, and a scale-arm compass each time your gamers change their journey plans or get misplaced mid sport — you want a grid.

So hex map. Use it.

The right scale is six miles. That’s, each hexagon is six miles throughout. Principally, a hex covers an space with a three-mile radius. Why? As a result of in open terrain, that’s about how far individuals can see. Positive, that’s an idealized take, but it surely’s shut sufficient for faux elves. Meaning, in an open hex — not a forest — the PCs can see the entire hex from its middle.

Furthermore, characters usually journey two or three miles an hour. So it’s straightforward to make use of six-mile hexes. It takes two or three hours to maneuver from one hex to the subsequent. How lengthy’s the occasion been touring? Rely hexes. What number of hexes does the occasion transfer? Divide the hours by two or three. That is straightforward f$&%ing math.

The six-mile scale additionally facilitates some simple-a$& guidelines of thumb. For example, a standard occasion travels 4 hexes a day. A gradual one travels three. If the occasion’s slowed by terrain, subtract a hex. In the event that they’re actually slowed, subtract two. Easy.

How about this one? If the journey’s web site is inside two hexes of City, you’ve received a one-day journey. It’ll take the occasion three or 4 hours to get there, three or 4 hours to get again, thus leaving them two hours to dick round onsite and nonetheless be again earlier than darkish. Positive, in the event that they get delayed, they’ll should camp out in a single day. However even when they completely neglect to plan, they will get again to city lengthy earlier than catastrophe.

Assuming a small web site, each two hexes from City extends the journey by in the future. If the location’s large, add on an additional day. So, if the occasion’s exploring a big web site that’s 4 hexes from city, they will get again to city by darkish on the third day assuming they deal with issues effectively.

Which they received’t. However guidelines of thumb are simply planning and estimating instruments.


Sufficient conceptual explanatory bulls$&%. It’s time to attract a map.


First, a regional map’s drawn in three steps.

Sketch then Hex then Artwork

To attract a regional map, begin by flippantly sketching the area’s Terrain Layer. Determine what terrains go the place. Both sketch strains for coasts, mountain ranges, rivers, and hills or define blobs of forests, hills, swamps, lakes, and so forth. Then draw a hex map from the sketch. That’s the GM’s Regional Map. Now, use that as a information to attract an arty, fuzzy, mostly-to-scale-ish Gamers’ Regional Map.

How do you really draw this s$&%? That will depend on what sort of instruments you wish to use.

The Analog Means

In case you’re into paper and pencils — even should you’re going to scan them and tweak them digitally — begin with a sheet of hex paper. I extremely advocate these printable area map templates printed by Autarch for his or her Adventurer Conquerer King RPG system.

In pencil, flippantly sketch the area’s terrain onto the hex map till you just like the sketch. Then, seize some coloured pens and fill within the hex symbols. Then, erase the sketch strains and voila: you’ve received your GM’s Regional Map.

Now, seize a sheet of tracing paper. Until you’re tremendous cool and have a light-weight desk like I do. Put the hex map below the tracing paper, flippantly define the options with a pencil, then use that sketch as a information to attract a fairly map. Bingo bango, Gamers’ Regional Map completed.

In case you resolve to get ultra-fancy and scan your Gamers’ Regional Map for a digital touch-up — as I did with the Aelyn’s Vale maps above — do not forget that you’ve received so as to add dots to the map because the gamers uncover them. Be sure that you are able to do that simply.

In case you persist with a hand-drawn Gamers’ Regional Map, I like to recommend you employ refined colours and lightweight strains for the terrain particulars and high-contrast colours and heavy strains for the factors of curiosity so that they’re straightforward to see. And so it’s straightforward so as to add new ones over the terrain later.

The Digital Means

Even if you wish to do all the pieces in your magical pc field, you continue to want to start out with a sketch. You are able to do it on paper or you are able to do it in some s$&% drawing software like MS Paint. It’s simply strains and blobs.

The easiest way to deal with your GM’s Regional Map is with a hex-based tile-mapping utility. Like Hexographer II: Worldographer. Most such utilities allow you to import a graphic file as an underlay to position tiles over. In order that makes going from sketch to hex straightforward.

Subsequent, get your self an art-based mapping utility. Like Inkarnate or Wonderdraft. Some utilities allow you to import a graphical underlay, so you may hint over your GM’s Regional Map. Others don’t. So simply activate a hex grid and eyeball issues. That’ll make issues properly fuzzy. Bear in mind, you need fuzzy. Don’t match the Gamers’ Map too intently to the GM’s Map should you’re tracing the one over the opposite.

Which, by the best way, is why you may’t draw one map in your software program of selection and activate and off the hex grid. I do know it looks like you may. It appears straightforward. And it shouldn’t matter. However it does. So don’t. Belief me. That is one other a type of sport design psychological methods that’ll change the best way you map, plan, and handle your sport. I s$&% you not.

Tile-based hex maps with one terrain kind per cell are for GMs. Fairly artwork maps are for gamers. That’s the way it be.

How Large a Map to Make

How large ought to your map be? Nicely, that will depend on numerous issues. Besides it doesn’t. As a result of this can be a Easy Homebrew Marketing campaign and also you’re simply drawing a Beginning Area.

Begin with an space that’s 144 miles large and 96 miles excessive. That’s a 24-hex by 16-hex house that matches properly on a single sheet of regular, human 8½ x 11, letter-sized paper.

Design a Map

After all, there’s a giant f$&%ing distinction between drawing a map and making a map, isn’t there. Understanding how to attract the strains on the paper or no matter’s helpful. However how do you really resolve what goes the place?

Nicely, there’s really a fairly easy, five-step course of.

Step 1: Listing Your Truths

Once you constructed your First Journey and your Starter City, you established just a few true issues in regards to the world. And a few of these would possibly have an effect on your map. For example, if that first journey takes place within the Temple of Sludgepuddle within the Muckymoor Swamp two days from city, you positive as hell higher ensure that s$&%’s on the map. And if that listing of world details you wrote down while you made your City consists of point out of the dragon that lives on Scorchbelly Ridge, that ridge has received to go someplace.

So, evaluate your notes and listing the issues that should seem on the map.

Step 2: Find Your City

Now, begin your sketch by placing a dot someplace within the middle-ish portion of your map. It doesn’t should be exactly within the center. However it must be inside two inches of the center assuming you’re utilizing a standard piece of paper. That dot’s your City. Good job. You plotted it.

Step 3: Find the First Journey Web site

Subsequent, sketch a dot close to the City dot. That’s your Starter Journey web site. In case you don’t have any hexes to rely and wish to be sure that it’s the proper distance away, remember the fact that an inch is roughly 10 to 12 miles. Two hexes. Assuming you’re following my recommendation. Don’t fear about getting it precise. You may transfer it while you flip your sketch right into a hex map.

Step 4: Draw a Cool Map Across the Dots

Together with your Starter City and First Journey web site plotted, sketch a cool map on the remainder of the paper. Draw blobby outlines of terrain options like forests and swamps and draw jaggy strains the place the mountain ranges and hilly ridges are. Draw windy strains for rivers and roads and coasts. And don’t neglect to incorporate all of the issues you realize are true.

Step 5: Identify Every part

Now, give each river, sea, mountain vary, forest, and contiguous terrain space a reputation. No matter names you need. Pull them out of your a$&% or steal them out of your favourite online game map. Doesn’t matter the place they arrive from.

And that’s the way you design a map!


Okay, I can see you’re somewhat pissed off. I do know I pulled a “…then draw the remainder of the horse” on you. However that’s the way it be. That’s the way you do that s$&%. Simply draw a map that appears good to you. Loosen up. Have enjoyable. It’s not such as you’re planning something proper now anyway. You’re simply placing a terrain backdrop behind two dots. It doesn’t f$&%ing matter.

However you’re not listening are you? No. You may’t deal with this clean web page s$&%. Actually, it is best to be taught to deal with it. It’ll make you a greater GM. And I actually, actually recommend you strive to attract a map with none additional assist. Despite the fact that it’s onerous and although it looks like there’s lots at stake.

However right here’s some quickie little ideas that will help you get by your first map. As a favor to me, strive drawing at the least one Regional Map earlier than you learn them. Even should you by no means use it.

Tip 1: Begin with One or Two Borders

Clean web page scaring the s$&% out of you? Superb. Begin by including one or two borders. Choose one or two edges of your map and draw a wiggly line simply inside every. These strains are both mountain ranges or ocean shores. Or one among every. Sketch the road just a few instances, making mountains jagglier and coasts wigglier.

There. You began your map.

Tip 2: Add a Main River

Nonetheless struggling? How a few good river? Draw a curvy line throughout the center space of your sketch and take all of it the best way to at the least one edge. Now you’ve received a river.

Did you add an ocean shore? Neat. That’s the place the river ends. Draw the river to the ocean shore.

Did you add a mountain vary? Cool. Rivers begin close to mountains. So draw it to inside an inch of the mountain edge.

Need to make it much more river-like? Discover the mid-point. Now, resketch the downriver half of the river to make it snakier and windier. Rivers meander increasingly more as they get nearer to the ocean.

Do not forget that while you draw the Gamers’ Regional Map.

If you wish to get actually loopy, add a tributary or two. Smaller rivers that feed into the massive river. They need to begin close to mountains too. If attainable.

Tip 3: Choose a Predominant Terrain

Is your Starter Area largely open grassland? Principally forest? Principally desert? Cool. Make an observation. The best maps are largely grassland. Contemplate that the default selection. Principally forest and largely desert work okay. Principally swamp, largely hills, and largely mountains don’t work very nicely. Steer clear of them. And largely ocean is for superior college students. You’re by yourself with that one.

Tip 4: Determine Three to 5 Different Neat Terrains

Obtained a predominant terrain? Cool. Now listing three to 5 terrain areas that aren’t that terrain to incorporate in your map. You may repeat terrains. So, you may resolve your largely grassland area has two forests, one hilly space, and a swamp. In case your listing of True Information Concerning the World mentions any particular options, nicely, a few of your decisions simply received made for you.

Sketch free outlines for every of these three to 5 terrain areas. Simply draw a blobby form and say, “right here’s that forest” and “right here’s these hills.”

How large ought to your blobs be?

Tip 5: Preserve Your Map Two-Thirds or Three-Quarters Open… Or No matter

GMs muddle the f$&% out of their maps. My Aelyn’s Vale map is a large number. Don’t make that mistake. Two-thirds to three-quarters of your map ought to encompass open terrain. Grasslands. Clean hexes. After all, should you’ve chosen a distinct predominant terrain — should you’re area’s largely forest, say — then two-thirds to three-quarters of your map ought to function that terrain.

Sketch your blobby options accordingly.

Tip 6: Add One other Settlement… Or Two

When you’ve received your large terrain decisions made and also you’ve plotted your Starter City and First Journey Web site, add one other dot someplace outdoors the center area of your map. That’s one other Settlement. It’s both one measurement greater or one measurement smaller than the Starter City.

And should you’re feeling actually loopy and need the world to really feel extra civilized, add two dots. One’s greater than the Starter City and one’s smaller.

Tip 7: Don’t Sweat the Science

You may need observed I forgot to elucidate how geology and ecoscience work. I’m simply telling you draw s$&% wherever. Nicely, don’t panic. I didn’t neglect something.

Science can go f$&% itself.

Severely. Don’t fear your fairly little head about s$&% like wind patterns, local weather, erosion, or any of the opposite crap YouTube mapmakers make clickbait movies about. Nobody cares about that s$&% besides pedantic, nitpicky earth scientists and web cartographers who’ve run out of concepts and are attempting to sport an algorithm.

Simply draw a cool map.

Tip 8: …However Don’t Abandon Widespread Sense

F$&% science, proper? However don’t flip off your mind fully. As a result of you are able to do issues that’ll make your map look flawed. That’ll disrupt the fragile suspension of disbelief that lets gamers play your sport. Folks have a bizarre, intuitive eye for wrongness. Thankfully, so do you. Now and again, have a look at what you’re sketching and ensure it seems to be okay to your eye. Search for apparent wrongness. Issues like rivers splitting — they hardly ever do — or flowing into hills and mountains — water goes down and never up — or simply stopping useless in the midst of nowhere. Deserts and swamps want a buffer between them. And mountains hardly ever simply rise out of the bottom. They’ve often received foothills.

In case you discover one thing bizarre, belief your intestine and repair it. Don’t ignore it or attempt to clarify it with magic. That’ll backfire 9 instances out of ten. Belief me. Depart the fantasy for the POI Layer.

Tip 9: Above All, Loosen up

This map-making s$&% could be a good, enjoyable, low-pressure exercise. It’s nearly the one time you may’t destroy completely all the pieces with one typo or poor design selection. So seize a cup of your favourite grownup beverage, put some music on, collect some particular markers and fancy paper, put your telephone on depart me the f$&% alone mode, and cloister your self away for some cathartic cartographic chill-time.

That’s what I do.

Talking of…

Right here’s what I got here up with for the working instance. And it doesn’t want numerous clarification. Notice that I included the next details:

  • First Journey Information
    • Roadside inn a few days from City
    • Orcs camped in ruins close to roadside inn
  • Information from City
    • Someplace known as Lake Wroat
    • Someplace known as Windover Wooden
    • Someplace known as Grey Fields
    • Someplace known as Jagged Hills

Additionally notice that I used Worldographer for the GM’s Regional Map and Wonderdraft for the Gamers’ Regional Map. Additionally notice that I’ve by no means f$&%ing used Wonderdraft earlier than and used a bunch of default belongings to get this s$&% completed as rapidly as attainable.

And notice that’s as a result of I simply found, actually two hours earlier than posting this text, that I forgot to really make any instance maps.

Which simply goes to indicate that I don’t ask you to do something I ain’t keen to do myself.


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