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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Condensed Random Wilderness Rules

While I mull over specific changes to the random hexless wilderness process, I thouught I’d post some quick notes.

First, I’m renaming the Climate and Terrain Table to the Territory Table, to shorten the name. This also ties into spiltting terrain units into two kinds of geography: territory and locale. Your sandbox is a territory, and the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style entries are locales. Thinking in these terms means we can simplify the process: your sandbox territory is rolled up one way, and all locales are rolled up another way.

This is important because I was thinking about a condensed set of rules that could be combined with the three tables into a one-page reference sheet. When playing solo or running no-prep mapless wilderness exploration, you wouldn’t want to flip back and forth between pages of rules: you’d want everything you need to be instantly available. You might still need to read through a longer version of the rules to pick up all the nuances and possible interpretations, but the reference sheet would be all you need to jog your memory during play.

Here’s a stab at condensed rules that you could use with random hexless wilderness tables as a reference sheet.
A territory is a broad geographical area. A locale is a specific geographical feature with a landmark of some kind. Territories have four “edges”, North, South, East, and West. Locales have four “routes” in the same direction. Your homebase is your first locale and always includes a settlement of some kind.
  1. Roll for Elevation (1d10) and Climate/Biome (1d10) of a territory, then roll for Elevation and Biome of each edge, using the Territory Table.
  2. Roll for Terrain (1d10) and Landmark (1d10) in a locale using the Locale Table. If a settlement is involved, roll on the Settlement Table.
  3. For your first locale (Homebase,) add another settlement (1d6) on the Settlement Table, then roll 1d6/2 for population.
  4. For each route, create another locale as in Step 2, then roll 2d6 for the distance (in days) to that locale. Mountains and canyons/cliffs can block some routes.
  5. Optional features (river, dungeon): 5+ (1d6) means it exists. Roll 1d6 for how many boulders, towers, etc. in a landmark, or 1d6-2 ifor extras or inhabitants.
When rolling 2d6 for distance to a locale, a 2 means the population density on the Settlement Table shifts down (towards Wilderness,) while a 12 means it shifts up (towards Urban.) Elevation and Biome mostly stays the same, but some Terrain results on the Locale Table will shift Elevation or Biome or both up or down on the Territory Table.
Note that I changed a couple things. Climate, Biome and Elevation are rolled with a d10, even though I think a d6 is better, because that makes the territory roll parallel the locale roll, making things easier to remember. The quantity roll for things like population, statues in the rubble, and other “extras” relating to a landmark, is changed to 1d6-2 for pure aesthetic reasons: there’s now a 1 in 3 chance that a village is abandoned or there are no statues in ruins, exactly as there is a 1 in 3 chance (5+ on 1d6) that there is a river at the bottom of a canyon or a dungeon at the end of a tunnel. When I get around to publishing a random wilderness document, it will spell out a lot of possibilities, and the rolls to make, but you will basically be able to wing it with just the reference sheet. Any question that can be phrased as:
“How many of these things are here?”
Will be answered one of four ways:
  • Exactly one.
  • Zero or one (5+ on 1d6)
  • 1 to 6
  • (1 to 6) - 2
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