Accidental Worlds Part 2

I don’t remember when it was that I actually decided to sit and draw a map for my world.  We must have been playing for a few months because summer was over and I was in my senior year of high school.  I had some strange graph paper that my dad brought home from work so I just decided I’d better sit down and draw a map.

I’d read Campaign Master for Rolemaster games, specifically the sections on world building and creating environments that function like those in the real world.  With those ideas, I started drawing a landmass and populating it with fields and forests and mountains.  Some of these I named, others I left as blank spots on the map.  I had only the vaguest of ideas about the world before I drew the map, and even after I finished, I only had notions about the things I’d put there.  What were the mythic woods of Tryshalla really like?  Did dwarves live in the Iranthra Mountains?  It created a sense of wonder and curiosity that I’ve not really experienced in a game since.

I understand the wonder of the hex-crawl experience that seeing an unexplored map can cause.  Without a doubt, I wanted to know more, even though I was the creator of the darn thing.  I can only imagine the  effect it’s had on my players.

Over the years the map has changed, here and there.  Some places have been destroyed.  Other’s filled in as the needs of the game changed.  But that map (which I still have and use) has created a richness to my world that has allowed it to stay fresh and real for me all these years.

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6 thoughts on “Accidental Worlds Part 2

  1. Jenn Falls says:

    I’ve been thinking about mapmaking in terms of creating worlds. Did you create it purely for gaming, or did you write a narrative from it?

    • Originally it was purely for the game. But since then, I’ve written several narratives from it.

      • Jenn Falls says:

        Would you say that the maps you made helped your narrative be stronger than if you hadn’t made them? I’m terrible about drawing, but I can see how it helps to think of space and such. I seriously have to get into rpg’s – I think I would thoroughly enjoy playing.

      • It certainly helped the narrative within the game, that’s for sure! And as I’ve always been the Dungeon Master/Referee/Storyteller (whatever term you prefer), I’ve certainly used it to affect the narrative.

        I think from the point of verisimilitude, it’s gone a long way to ‘keeping me on track’ as it were. And sometimes it has acted as a prod for stories (in the sense that when I drew it, I was drawing names and geographical shapes…as it’s been played and those names now have identities, I’ve been forced to explain why this group, that hates that group, also happens to live right next door to them…, etc, etc).

        I can’t recommend rpgs enough. A good group and a good game are unlike anything else (then… so are a bad group and a bad game, but let’s not talk about that!). Writing can be such a lonely endeavor, having a group collaborate on a shared narrative though… that’s pretty amazing.

        Hmmm… I feel another blog post coming on. 😉

      • Jenn Falls says:

        I like that concept of shared narrative. I didn’t think about it in that sense, but that sounds great. It makes me wonder why I haven’t done it yet. Glad you will put some thoughts into a possible blog post!

      • I’m glad if my posts make gaming more understandable/interesting to someone who hasn’t tried it. And I really enjoyed this conversation, it certainly help gel some ideas in my head!

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