2019-09-18 Episode 26

Podcast The mini settings I like to generate where the environment or the map generates inspiration for conflict: the river valleys generate political entities, the swamps and mountain peaks religious entities, add secret societies, a long war somewhere else...


I feel a bit weird plugging my house rules but here we are and so it goes:

Map generated by Text Mapper



Getting a friendly email about the podcast always brings a smile to my face! 🙂

– Alex Schroeder 2019-09-18 12:41 UTC

So glad you are back with more episodes! This one is pure gold, as are many others in your feed. Now I know what the setting will look like when my open table graduates from dungeons to wilderness. Unless I go with something pre-canned but I find myself struggling with the “when will I have time to read all this and how will I be able to remember everything?” issue for anything much beyond a one-page dungeon. 😝

– Björn Buckwalter 2019-10-01 12:04 UTC

Yes, exactly! The only one that comes close is the Wilderlands of High Fantasy or something like Rob Conley’s Southland and his other mini-settings in the series Points of Light and similar products.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-10-01 12:17 UTC

It seems the time is coming near to start a new campaign! Do you have any recommendations for maps suited to the kind of alpine sandbox you outline in this episode?

I’ve reloaded the random alpine maps a number of times but don’t feel they give me suitable results. In particular I’m missing the (networks of) long valleys I would like to see (you noted their absence in Growing mountains).

I don’t specifically need/want a hex map, but would settle for one and could probably put one together by hand myself by hand if I have too.

A ”real” map of an actual place could do too. If I go this route I might use a map of (or create a map modeled on) Ariège in the Pyrenees since that is the mountain environment I am a somewhat familiar with and that is rich with history, castles, ruins and caves. Here is a relief map showing the network of valleys and here is a 1907 tourist map showing rivers, roads and settlements.

You may have ideas of specific valleys/regions in Switzerland/the Alps that would work well? All of them?? 😀

Being the lazy human being that I am, though, I would obviously prefer an RP-friendly map with just the right amount of evocative details and blank spaces to hand to the players.

Björn Buckwalter 2020-01-07 18:27 UTC

I guess I would pick the Vallais. And I’d use Vallesia superior, ac inferior, Wallis, le Valais, by Gabriel Walser from 1768. There, you can download a 6208×5151 pixel image.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-01-07 20:47 UTC

That is a great map! (With great resolution) 😀 There is a lot going on though… maybe it is too busy with too many settlements and names on it but very inspiring. I like how only the major thoroughfares are marked with smaller roads/trails between connecting villages, bridges, etc, left implied.

It reminds me of the K M Alexander's map ”brushes” (think ”rubber stamps” for use in Photoshop/GIMP) I discovered only yesterday. In fact, now I see that there is the ”Walser” brush set inspired by Gabriel Walser’s map of Canton Lucern!

Looking at more of Walser's maps I really like the one of Kanton Glarus. It is less dense and shows the swampiness along the rivers, and would be easier to use at the table I think. A downside is that it is more limited in terms of deep side-valleys to fill with interesting stuff/peoples.

Thanks for putting me on to this map treasure trove; go Switzerland!

– Björn Buckwalter 2020-01-08 12:09 UTC

Thank you for the link to the Photoshop brushes!

Glarus is cool because of the Urnerboden (”the floor of the Urner people”, which they took from Glarus via the Klausenpass).

– Alex Schroeder 2020-01-08 14:08 UTC

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