Post by cleverkobold on May 10, 2012 10:00:36 GMT -6
What are some interesting locatoins or sites that players could come across while traveling overland? Possibly, things like monastaries, waystations, grave-yards, small farms, abandoned watchtowers and the like. Things that offer some minor encounters, or interesting diversions for the players while journeying from point A to point B. I want to get avay from simple random encounters and make traveling as fun and enjoyable as a dungeon or a pre planned adventure. I look foreward to your input.
Sorry, going to cast a raise thread on this, because it is exactly the sort of question I'm interested in too.
In attempting to design my own wilderness sandbox (a first time thing for me), one idea I had was to go through my list of monsters and consider what sort of scenario or habitat - the most interesting possible - would include each type of monster. This should help guarantee some variety. I want lots of interesting lairs and scenarios.
As an example, I'll use the pixie; I see these things as mostly harmless pranksters that are most at home in nature settings. So I'll say that maybe they hang out at this peaceful waterfall, and they have been known to impersonate ghosts (while invisible) while robbing people who venture into their area. So the area is rumored to be haunted, but really it's these goofy pixies playing pranks and discouraging people from venturing to their spot.
You can go down the list of monsters and do likewise, developing some kind of little scenario or story around them, and fleshing out the location. Some monsters may be failed experiments of crazy wizards, or mutations - weird science fantasy or magical or divine, doesn't matter - that came about after the apocalypse (D&D should - usually - be post apocalyptic in my opinion!). Some may predate humanity, and have their own plans for the world. Whatever - think about the monsters and build around them!
You can also think of multiple types of monsters, and how they might interact in some what conventional or unconventional ways at a given location (maybe normally unrelated types have a strange cooperative relationship, sorta like this one town in Fallout 2 where you have ghouls, super-mutants, and humans living mostly peacefully and cooperatively together).
Think of some situations where the monster itself is unconventional or relates to it's surroundings in an unconventional way. There is one hex entry in one of the JG Wilderlands settings about a peaceful giant who inhabits a ruined town, and enjoys friendly company. That's awesome!
Another similar approach is to think of interesting places, and build the monsters or people around these! So you have a crumbled wizard tower (very cliche, but still awesome) - what might be in there? Or some ancient temple - what would be there? Maybe a holy temple was corrupted and taken over by insane and vile cultists. You've got old caves, gnarled forests, barren wastelands, all manner of old structures, ruined cities, strange and evil looking castles, and all those the OP mentioned.
Along these lines, when I'm going through a sandbox, I want to come across secret places - meeting places for insane cultists, homes or shrines for forgotten tribal people, lairs of various criminal gangs, etc. I want the option to come up with a variety of ways to interact with secret societies and weird outsiders and the like.
The last thing to mention is to definitely look at the Ravaged Ruins from Wilderlands of High Fantasy, also in the Ready Ref Sheets. With this you can randomly generate all kinds of cool stuff. I like that part of the WoHF actually seemed to use a lot of these tables in generating much of their own hex content for part of the setting.
I hope some of the above wasn't too far outside the scope of the original question. I'm also curious how others come up with interesting things to populate a wilderness sandbox.
The Judges Guild Ready Ref sheets have some pretty good ideas in the Ravaged Ruins section (pp 43-44.) The Quickie Dice Tool I did is a little more terse, but there's a couple ways you could use it, either as a drop dice chart or as a really weird way to present standard tables. You could, for example, drop a couple dice on the sheet and read the horizontal position (bottom edge) as either a color or a material, with the vertical position (left edge) as a terrain type. The dice rolls themselves could be used with the tables in the middle, for more detail.