I'm working on the new book now, the one for DMs ... and towards that subject, I'd like to highlight this back-and-forth that's been going on the past week. Incidentally, the sales on Pete's Garage took a little jump this past week. Thank you all, whoever you are. It is really terrific to be selling copies to strangers - you don't know me, you can't possibly have anything invested in my person that guarantees you like my writing. I would encourage you, please, anyone that's listening really ... if you can help out at all, wave the book in front of others on your facebook page, poke a few friends or family. You don't have to say you like it, but if you like this blog and you're able to cut and paste either the image or the link from the sidebar, just to say, 'check this out,' you would have my eternal gratitude. I haven't got a chance of selling this thing without help ... so if you're willing to help, please do.
I've had a little less time to work on the wilderness generation, but mostly I've continued thinking and making lists about what the features would be for each stage of infrastructure ... and towards that, I want to make a few notes about those features I highlighted in my last post on the subject. Specifically, these would be barns, fishing ponds, game trails, granaries, guard posts, hot springs, meadows and wells.
I've been thinking about how it would affect a settled hex - the lowest and least level of settlement, mind, just as I described in the last post - if none of those things were present.
Well, first and foremost we can presume the local people are living upon the edge of starvation, literally putting food on their tables day-to-day. With no barns to store hay, no meadows to provide fodder for livestock or granaries to store staple foodstuffs, we are speaking of a culture that depends upon hunting and edible, natural plants ... along with possibly pigs or other raised animals that did not depend upon grass for survival. This would fit with a culture like the tribes of New Guinea or the Amazon ... but it could also fit with wild European groups who escaped the principle cultures for the relative safety of hills or swamps.
We would be talking swamps without rich fishing, or hill country without good hunting, since we're saying there are no fishing ponds or game trails either. This doesn't mean there are no animals or fish at all to be found ... simply that these are not in abundance. What was available could not support a large population. Vagabonds or bandits living in obscurity like this would fit with there being no guard posts, and no proper measure of law. We are not speaking of a strong bandit guild or anything like that - which would set up its own enforcement. No, this would instead be a scattering of probably violent, perhaps crippled, unskilled and surly peoples who did not 'do well' in polite society. Without good resources, or even a reliable source of water - no wells, remember - pestilence and parasites would exist in abundance ... which would mean venturing into such habitated, squalid towns as these would be a real risk for a party, who would probably do better to camp a few miles away than to take advantage of anyone's generous offering of a bed. Without much means of accumulating wealth, I imagine the 'locals' would love to catch a sleeping player character, or one in the woods with his or her pants down.
Overall, without any of the above features to mitigate the populace, we would be talking about the worst possible environment for seeking aid. So perhaps it isn't so much what the various features would do FOR the party ... its what those same features do for the environment which the party moves through, determining whether or not it is somewhere the party would ever want to be or not.