Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Mapping Update: Alnwich

I have finished filling in terrain and towns for the entire northeast corner of my hex map. I started out going this direction because it provides natural barriers to PC exploration. To the north are the Skaldafjoll, which as subarctic to arctic mountains, present something few prepared high level PCs will easily cross, let alone starting PCs. Of course, the foothills and forests to their south are definitely good adventuring sites.

Mapping this corner first also gives me some ideas about how Alnwich relates back to Northmarch and Usk. It has already become apparent that there is a main road that leads back southeast toward civilization, and there is a full-blown town town around a week or two away.

I'm also starting to see what the edge of civilization looks like in Usk. There are a string of fortified villages that run along the wilderlands' edge in the north and the west. These are largely supported by market villages one to two day's ride away, depending on the sparsity of the local forest. Trails connect these village-forts to each other, and roads connect them to their supporting market villages. this suggests that they can shift resources to support each other as needed, but not very quickly.

We also see that where the forest has been cleared or grows thin, dirt roads tend to replace footpaths and trails and villages tend to be about five miles apart, instead of ten or more. Furthermore, the land tends to be cultivated with small patches of woodland still presenting physical barriers to travel.

I suspect that as one travels deeper into Usk, villages tend to reach their maximum packing density and the map becomes far less interesting from an adventuring standpoint. This also provides a barrier to PCs. If you move into Usk, there are fewer opportunities to get rich, achieve glory, etc. because there just aren't many monsters sitting on hordes of treasure left. So if players want a game of intrigue and cunning, head to Usk. If they want game of exploration, violence, and adventure, head to the wilderlands. And that's exactly the point!

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