Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lazy Maps for the Dordogne Campaign

I’ve been going through some mementos again and turned up a brochure from the more recent trip to Chateau Commarque. Eventually I’ll work up a dungeon beneath the keep, but due to laziness and for kicks I’ll use the brochure’s map (original above) for the castle ruins. I've brushed out all the text and reduced the obvious folding creases with the GIMP, but I didn’t feel comfortable posting the result online here without the artist’s permission. I actually phoned him in France this morning but only got his voicemail - see how much I respect author/artist rights? :) ...I found the current brochure for comparison - equally useable (page 2 that is) for my purposes.

I found another brochure (5mb pdf) with a great picture of Castelnaud. I’ve been wanting to make a map of the village for a while, and used Google Earth to get the building layout. The photo on page 5 really helps to visualize the place better in conjunction with it. Check out those trebuchets.

Of course, a part of me realizes that village and castle maps aren’t really all that necessary with most of the sessions I ever play. Miniatures are seldom used, and outdoor battles requiring fine measurements (for missile and movement calculations) very seldom happen. For small villages, I’m always tempted to just turn the map over to the players. With Hommlett for example, is it really necessary to ask the players which way they go to find their way back to the Inn or to the moneychanger’s or church? Especially if they've spent more than a few days there, they’ll likely know their way around, or quickly be directed by residents. Still, the unique character of a village can be conveyed somewhat with a map - and it can sharpen the memory of one we’ve actually been to before for my wife.

The bi-weekly S&W and OSRIC sessions have been put on hold for the next five weeks while school finishes up, so this is pushing me to get the solo Dordogne campaign rolling.


Telecanter said...

That type of illustration is what I blogged about wanting for villages a while back. And while you're right, players don't really need a map, it would be nice if villages had different personalities, flavors to them. I think being able to see them is one of the few ways to do that.

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