|cleaned-up scan of Ringhill Keep|
When I saw Dyson's city maps, I thought "I like that style, but how would you label the map so that you knew where everything was?" And, since I was also thinking about various things I've said about improvising settlements with just a few sketchy notes, I had some ideas on how I might mark up a Dyson-style city map... but I doubted he would grant permission to re-publish a derivative of one of his maps, so I just went ahead and drew one of my own, for experimental purposes.
|Ringhill Keep, GM's marked copy|
So, on this labeled version of Ringhill Keep, I've marked the main watchtowers and the keep. I've also drawn lines separating the three main quarters of the town (the fourth quarter is technically the watchtowers themselves.) I've labeled the quarters N for Noble (in this case, just the wealthy merchants and landowners,) T for Trades (shops and craftsmen available,) and C for Common (farmers and laborers.)
If we did this in a simple format similar to the one-page dungeons, with the map in the upper left, we could add a town encounter table along the side and record notes about the town below, as we improvise them. Our first couple entries would be the names and rates of the tavern and inn that service the town, since this will almost always be useful and happen to be one of the main reason's for the town's continued existence. But how do we note the location without cluttering up the map?
We can use clock directions from some landmark. In this case, the tavern is at about 7 o'clock relative to the West Tower; it's the L-shaped building on the southwest side of the hill, north side of the road. So, our notes would say "Green Goblet Tavern (West Tower, 7:00)" plus whatever else we need quick reminders for: barkeep's name, price modifications, etc. The inn is near the NE Tower, 8 o'clock.
Houses and shops can be noted in the same way relative to the letter labeling the quarter. "T 3:00" is on the east side of the big T, just along the border of the Trades quarter and the neighborhood around the Keep. "T 6:00, 2nd building" is not the small building due south of the T, but the larger building south of that, at the major intersection.