Saturday Six: 2013-03-23

Last night was another date night with the wife, so I didn’t have time to Friday Five yesterday. Sorry about that. As part of my apology, I’m throwing in an extra link today! (BTW, we watched 007 Skyfall. It’s pretty good. I recommend it to any Bond fan out there.)

How to Make a Drop Map

I’m mulling over running another city-based campaign. I’ve successfully done this with Lankhmar, Waterdeep, Ptolus, and a few cities of my own creation. I’d love to do this again with a new city of my own making. I realize this post is about creating hex-based, wilderness maps. However, the same method can be applied to creating a city with a little work and imagination. I’ll probably do this for the city I want to create. However, I’ll probably grid it out instead of making a hex-based map. Not sure on that yet. When I get around to doing this, I’ll take some pics for you and share my results.

Party Themes

I love themed play. It feels to me that creating a coherent group from the start of the campaign really helps the group gel into a better force. There are a handful of ideas in this post. Go check them out. Leave Patrick a comment on his blog with some more ideas if you have them. I know you do!


I tend to lean away from CvC (character vs. character) conflicts that turn into dice-rolling sessions or outright combat. I want the group to act as a cohesive unit (see above), not battle one another the entire way through the campaign. On the topic of PvP (player vs. player) combat, that is just an outright sin against the gaming table. If two players drag down the game, then they need to resolve their differences before showing up. If they can’t do that, then one (or both!) of them need to not show up anymore. Runeslinger goes more in-depth in analysis on this one. If you want more, follow the link.

[Tuesday Map] Skull’s Breach

I love the skulls in this map. Can you imagine describing the rooms to the mapper in the dungeon crawl, and having the slow realization that they are in a skull-based map? Fantastic! It’d be even better if you manages to not use the word “skull” during the description of the layout of the area. Sure, pack the area full of actual skulls, but don’t let on the layout until they realize it. Uber creep factor there.

Experience for Ends, not Means

Roger has a pretty good post about earning extra experience points for characters through player actions. In other words, if the player runs the character “right” then the character may level faster. I see his points about the meta-game aspect of this approach, and I agree that giving the fighter XP for swinging a sword or a wizard XP for casting a spell is a bit much. However, the “good roleplaying” award is one I really like. In my own games, I’ll usually allow the players to pick a fellow player (via anonymous ballot) for the reward, and I (as GM) will hand out the same award. I’ll always pick my person and write it down before the player ballots are cast. Then I announce both at the same time. Sometimes a single player will receive a double-award for their character. Interestingly enough, it usually ends up being two different people.

[Friday Map] The Halls of Ehn

I know this is the second link to one of Dyson’s maps this week, but I love the large rooms used in this room. I especially love the fact that the rooms are not laid out in a symmetrical pattern. When it comes to square/rectangular rooms, many people (especially me) fall into the trap of “balancing” the map to make it “look better.” In this case, the jumble of interconnected rooms adds to the flavor of the map rather than detracting from it. Well done, Dyson!