Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More Plotting

This Post Is Completed Now

Continuing on from this post:

In the interest of making this a little clearer, let me present more graphics in relations to the individual group orientations:

Figure 14 - group IV possibilities

That should be better than the former explanation on the last post. Note that roadsteads and other symbols have been added, the exact nature of which would depend on how the actual group fit into the total plan (as I will show in a moment).
(a) manor without village. This would be the abode of a reclusive family, perhaps one that had holdings and has now lost them, or possibly the abode of a mage, illusionist or druid, high class levels without men-at-arms (though a different symbol would be appropriate for a druid).
(b) quarry/sawpits/meadow. This is substantially the same hex we encountered before, except that now there’s an isolated hex in the group. Here the rural industry may be a bit more widespread, but this is still the least civilized of this type of hex.
(c) easement/pass/watersplash. An easement is a private road or way which would be accessible only to approved groups, such as the local military, nobility or religious group. Travel along an easement by other persons would be treated very severely as trespassing. Alternately, this group could be a mountain pass (free travel, but difficult), with the civilized hexes on either side representing steep but maintained slopes. In the lowland I’ve chosen to make, it might be a ‘watersplash,’ which is a term for a road or throughway that is in part, or seasonally, submerged, often just by a few inches. This is a real thing – the reader may find a description in wikipedia.
(d) large village with keep. A small church/temple would also be found here (the Christian cross was a convenient symbol, but you may make your own). Depending upon where the village may occur, its reason for existence may change … but there should be two or three separate routes leading away, however many may seem practical.
(e) manor house and village. Like the former village, except that now there would be a noble representative rather than a council of elders in charge of local affairs. A single roadstead would certainly lead away from the village, though there may be others, depending as always on where this particular village is located.
(f) aquifer or fishing pond. In desert climates, this would be an unoccupied oasis. In most temperate climes, some sort of fishing lake resulting from a spring or possibly a large meadowland full of rich grazing land, treated as a local public resource.
The three manor hexes would probably all be patrolled; if an easement were selected, then that too would be patrolled heavily. The remaining groups would be well travelled or populated, but by communal persons rather than militants.
Let’s add these to the main map, remember that these apply to those map places marked 8 & 9 (see last post, World Plotting:
Figure 15 - group IV added

I’ve made a few notes on the map showing changes I’ve made to the roadsteads – as I don’t want to be accused of trying to pull a fast one. There were six rolls to make – I rolled two villages with keeps, one village with a manor, an easement (which, because it was on the edge of the map, I chose not to make a splashway), a rural industry (which I made sawpits) and a manor without village. The southwest is beginning to look pretty isolated … that one road at the bottom left probably ought to wind its way up past the mine to whatever is in the hex ‘11’ above it … but I prefer to roll that hex to see what it is first.
One thing, though. We could probably run another river through that line of green which includes the easement, rolling it across hex ‘12’ and down to the roadless village, then into the main river group. We know 12 is going to be the single hex on this map which will have no green whatsoever, being completely civilized – a large town, perhaps a city. It would make some sense if there were a bridge across the river at this point, which would justify the city’s existence. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Let’s move onto the next set of groups, Type III:

Figure 16 - group III possibilities

The natural assumption would be that as things get more 'civilized,' they also get denser ... but much of the choice land is seized by the more powerful, the local nobility, the religious establishment, the military or the merchants' guilds.  Three of these possibilities above are 'power grabs' for the upper classes.

(a) castle with estate or small town.  I recommend a fifty/fifty roll for either.  An estate would still include a fairly large number of residents ... but scattered into several tiny villages or hamlets, where they could be better managed by the reeve or hayward.  Towns would have a population of 1,000 to 3,000.  Later on I'll get to what is or isn't in those towns, along with villages and so on, but for now we can satisfy ourselves with the placement of such.  Both towns or estates would have four roads leading out to other hexes (unless this is impractical).

(b) secular or religious lands with freeholder settlements.  That is, tenants with wealth but without title, owning large pieces of land either as benefices they've earned from the church or as grants from the king or local nobility.  There would be one road that leads out from the group (not necessarily in the direction indicated.

(c) carter post, caravansary, barracks, guard tower.  One has to go with their best judgement.  Carter posts are way stations along significant trade routes, where horses or supplies may be provided (a trader's version of a military depot) by a given merchant or merchant's guild.  Caravansaries are temporary, often seasonal tent cities that choose optimal places with a water supply and access.  Barracks would indicate an military post.  Guard towers would be military depots.  Where evident, the hex group would represent a crossroads.

(d) monastery.  Here the tongue of wilderness is advantageous to the seclusion of monks, who manage the surrounding land or oversea hamlets  that do so.  The encircling road exists insofar as it is needed.

Overall, the roads themselves have to be adjusted so that they cross the least number of hexes and yet show at least some presence commensurate with the die rolls.  Feel free to fudge a little here and there, so that a road may pass - possibly - through only two hexes of a monastery group.

We can now roll and put the group III results into those hexes marked '10' on our main map:

Figure 17 - group III added 

This seemed so straightforward I haven’t put any additional notes on the map. I rolled four rolls and go no castles, either estates nor towns. I did get a carter post, a monastery and two hexes side-by-side owned with freeholders. Given that the monastery is on the other side of the river, I’d probably call these secularists, ex-military soldiers perhaps or simply families in long standing whose ancestors founded the nearby town.

This leaves us with six undetermined senior hexes. Let’s put the next two groups together and define them:

Figure 18 - groups I & II possibilities

Here we see the options get much fewer. Either we have a large town or city (hex “12”) or a choice of castle & medium sized town and royal lands (hex “11”). A medium sized town would have 2-5 thousand people; a large town, 6-10 thousand. A city, 11 thousand or more.

Royal lands are territories set aside that are groomed, and thus civilized, in that the majority of dangerous animals have been cleared away, but what remains is a convenient game reserve for the pleasure of the royalty. Naturally, a palace would be located at or near the game reserve – but only 1 in 128 senior hexes, by this system, would be royal land of this kind.

Still, we’ll roll and see what results we get. There are five possible chances:

Figure 19 - last groups added

Here I’ve gone through and finalized all the roadsteads. Please take note of the some important details here. You will feel a tendency to want to connect and complete roads from every town and village to every other one. Take note where the deliberately lacking infrastructure creates an obstacles to the city, even though the city was indicated formerly to have roads coming out in every direction. Remember, an indicated lack of infrastructure takes precedence over infrastructure that is indicated later.

Thus, the towns don’t all have roads that reach out in every direction. They have as many roads as they should have, given the lack of infrastructure rule … and they can all reach out off the map, though at a later point you may need to remove some of those roads once you’ve expanded your generation.

At once point I complete a roadstead through the mine hex … this is because the roadstead was designated … and so at the end, all roadsteads must go somewhere. Rather than blip them out of existence, extend them the shortest distance to something (to the mine, if nowhere else). Now and then these two rules may not fit each other. Use your best judgement.

So yes, some towns have only single access roads. That is because I chose a difficult terrain, that of swamp. Mountains and hills could be justified to have roads reaching one another. In any case, remember that where there are no roads, there are always cart-tracks, unpaved but still servicing traffic. That is, where no river gets in the way.

No, we’re really not done.

There are still the crossover hexes to fill in. If there is a road, don’t fill in the hex with wilderness; if there are four or more hexes surrounding the crossover that are not wilderness, the crossover isn’t either. If there are four or more hexes that are wilderness, fill that in. And if it is equal three and three, roll:

Figure 20 - crossover hex resolution

Most important, do not change over hexes that are NOT crossover hexes. It can get confusing, and you can find yourself changing over hexes that have already been determined to be settled – even some which will wind up being in the middle of a dense forest. These are important locations, so don’t simply wipe them out.

Here’s my map, with crossover hexes resolved, and with the senior hex markers removed:

Figure 21 - hexes finalized

I have deliberately left the hexes at the edge of the map that would have been crossover hexes undetermined (and removed the hex edges to emphasize this). I have also added a four pointed star where the royal lands are.

If seven population centres seem a little high, I’d like to point out that at 37 senior hexes (what we started with) at 18 miles across, this is an area comparable with Connecticut and Rhode Island put together; or a fifth of England; or slightly smaller than Belgium. Since there is no coastline, and it being swampland, this is unlike most areas of Europe – it corresponds to certain parts of southern China or central India, where there are few – if any – river ports.

Well, there is more, but this is a good place to stop for now.


  1. Very nice. I will give you the best compliment an artist can give another artist..."Consider this stolen"

  2. I'm thinking about adapting this method to generate a map for underworld dungeoncrawling, at a smaller scale of course. This seems to be already pretty good !

  3. When you are doing your own mapping, how much of this do you generate automatically? I.e. have you come up with a way to automate all these rolls in excel?

  4. This entire generation system was invented in the last four days, Maximillian ... spurred by the recognition that I was going to need something before the party got to Greece and then later to the Ukraine. So I haven't ever applied any of this to my campaign.

  5. Would it be feasible to, and if so how would you, combine this with your random elevation hex map generating?

  6. Elevation changes determine the amount of degrading for the infrastructure. Go back and look at the infrastructure post employing Hothior. The next hex over is half the value of the hex with the city, and a quarter the value if the next hex over is 400 feet higher or lower (an eighth the value if 800 feet higher or lower, a sixteenth the value if 1200 feet higher or lower, etc.)

    So when you generate your hex elevation, you also generate the effects on the distribution of infrastructure, and that in turn affects the plotting. Have a look at the link on my wiki and the latest post on Kosovo for my more recent adventures.


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