Monday, June 17, 2013

A Tiny Sandbox: Expanded Area Map

As a last (geographical!) step in my quest to put together a tiny sandbox I wanted to expand the 1 mile/hex area-scale map to allow my players to trek a little further even in their initial low-level ventures. This also allows me to put the low-level adventuring sites a little further apart instead of crowding them all into a roughly 10-by-10-hex area. Here's the result so far:

Expanded 1 mile/hex area map, original dimensions in red.

I don't know about you, but I find the terrain generated by just using the "primary, secondary, tertiary" categories from The Welsh Piper's campaign design tutorial a little too homogeneous. Also, in the southern portion of the map, I don't like how heavily forested hexes still include plains, that doesn't seem appropriate.

So my plan is to first "spice things up" a bit by also using the "wildcard" categories. In a "forest" hex, for example, we currently only get "forest, plains, hills" sub-hexes because those are the "primary, secondary, tertiary" categories. With "wildcards" included there will also be the occasional "water, swamp, mountain" sub-hex. That should help.

Second I'll change the current "forest" category to "light forest" and introduce a "heavy forest" category in which we have "heavy forest, light forest, forested hills" instead of "light forest, plains, hills" as before. The "wildcards" for "heavy forest" will be "water, swamp, forested mountain" of course. That should make those "heavy forest" hexes just a tad bit more spooky. Or so I hope. Stay tuned!


  1. Shouldn't Light Forest also have a wildcard of Heavy Forest? I'm looking for the way to invoke heavy forest when randomly determining adjacent hexes from a forest hex, but it would also seem appropriate for a thick copse of trees to randomly appear in an area of light forest (may signify something interesting is there).

  2. Additional thought: the tertiary forest entry for mountains should be 33% Forested Mountain, 33% Heavy Forest, and 33% Forest or roll a d6 and (1-2) Forested Mountain, (3-4) Heavy Forest, and (5-6) Forest.

  3. Good ideas both PatrickW! If I recall correctly I just "made up" the 5-mile-hexes in which I put "Heavy Forest" in such a way that it is "nestled" between the regular forest hexes. So that's something that didn't come out of the random determination at all in my case. Doing it randomly I'd be afraid that there would be too many cases in which light/heavy forest alternate instead of "lumping together" in the right way on the map.