Sunday, December 31, 2017


So, we have a big, empty map.

From the various references, I'd describe the region as fairly dry, with semi-arid deserts encroaching on the region from the east and south.

The references the readers picked, presuming I haven't missed something, include limestone, salt, iron, gold, tools, hosiery, shipbuilding, rice, two sheep and two markets.  That's four mineral resources, three crafts and three agriculture.  With two markets, one might think this a transshipment region from the interior; however, the two towns and the city are all nesting in highlands (Hoth and Sarai are only villages), with no easy access to the hinterland.  Therefore, most likely, there is no hinterland.  It is all desert.

I'm not going to place the references yet, but I have an eye to putting the rice near Port Tethys or Fenris, since rice needs a lot of water and the water-laden winds are likely from the western sea.  The other resources could go anywhere.

[as an aside, let me say that I enjoyed messing around with the bevel option on the new publisher; unfortunately, it isn't practical for a lot of map-making, as two beveled images can't be made to bevel as one object ~ so my complex, multiple-image maps that I usually draw can't be so upgraded.  Still, I've used it here because it is a one-off]

The next step, now, is to create a layer of infrastructure over the whole map.  This requires a few calculations ... but as I know my readers hate math, and don't like to use it more than necessary, I shall try to propose methods than any 4th grader could employ.

If we say the borders exactly cover the map (they probably shouldn't, but let's not quibble), I count 64 hexes that have land.  I count 34 coast hexes and 30 pure land hexes.  For the sake of establishing an area measurement, let's count every coast hex as 0.7 hexes (I tried to draw them more land than water), so that we can say the total area of Wowotu is 53.8 hexes.  With a 20-mile diameter per hex, This makes the region a little larger than Belgium, a little smaller than Switzerland, about the size of Taiwan.  It is not quite the size of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts combined.

Next, I said I wanted the region to have a Development Level of 7.  This is a matter of population density, so we want to slather an appropriate number of residents over the region's surface.  This is an average of 728 people per hex.  That gives us a total population of 39,166.  This is a somewhat sparse region.  But of course, the population is not distributed evenly.

The readers chose Port Tethys as the main city, and Nagoya and Cork as towns.  This makes Avalon, Fenris, Hoth and Sarai villages.  Without getting detailed in the exact count of population for each (which I usually do), truth is we can get around that.

Think of the city as four times larger than the town, and the towns as four times larger than the villages.  If it helps, a village has 500 people, a town has 2,000 and a city has 8,000.  But like I say, we can skip the exact numbers.  What matters to us is the infrastructure numbers we need, to determine the hex details.

Based on the population, our base infrastructure numbers, awarded to the settlements, is 147.  This is reckoned from 1 infrastructure based on 267 people.  As will be noticed, however, the infrastructure number is very soft; the total expands as it reaches out from a settlement.  Never mind that right now.  Just concentrate on that base number of 147.

If we count each village as 1 point, each town as 4 points, and the city as 16 points, we can distribute that 147 points among a total of 28 settlement units.  We could, if we wanted, just assign points to settlement units, however we wish, but let's do it by the numbers.  By this reasoning, each settlement unit is entitled to 5.25 points.  Port Tethys gets 84 infrastructure, Nagoya and Cork each get 21, and the four villages each get 5.25.

Let's just go ahead and pick up all those fractions and give them to Fenris, giving that town 6 infrastructure and the others 5.  We can mess around if we want, giving three of Port Tethy's total to Avalon, or four more to Cork, or we can shift some of Cork's to Nagoya and so on.  The only thing is, if Cork is a town, we would expect it to have a much higher infrastructure than, say, Hoth.  If we do any shifting around, then, we ought to keep those shifts small.

I'm going to limit the shifts to the one extra point I give to Fenris from the other three villages.  I will make all the other calculations with the static numbers.  The reader should see that these base numbers will not mean that Cork and Nagoya wind up looking the same, with each having 21, or that the villages will appear likewise similar.  The topography will take care of that.

I've presented my method for calculating infrastructure already, both here and here, so I don't want to get bogged down in this again.  Some things that are different in this case, however, deserve mentioning:

  • Infrastructure calculation does not cross pure sea hexes.  It follows the coast, but there simply isn't enough ease of travel across sea hexes to enable the spread of roads, communication and development.  Therefore, the channel between Nagoya and Port Tethys doesn't allow a spread o infrastructure between them.  I know, some will disagree, but remember that a 30 mile separation is quite a good way, that isolation creates scarcity (which is good!) and that infrastructure is not trade - it is infrastructure.
  • Ordinarily, an infrastructure number is halved from hex to hex, when the hexes are of nearly the same elevation.  We don't have any elevation numbers for these hexes, so we're simply going to calculate infrastructure as dividing by four either in or out of a highland hex.  

I will demonstrate with the map on the right, calculating the infrastructure emanating outwards from Port Tethys.  Because the city is on a plain buttressed by a wall of hills, the infrastructure drops pretty quickly (ignoring fractions).  81 turns to 20, which turns to 5 within in just two hexes.  Take note that Port Tethys does not infiltrate Avalon with a quarter of two hexes having 20 points each; it is the distance from Port Tethys that matters, not the number of hexes that the distance can be passed through.  Note also that before the influence of Port Tethys can be passed to the flatland hex beyond the hills NE of Avalon, the infrastructure has dried up.

I'll skip making a similar map for Avalon's infrastructure spread.  It is pretty simple.  Avalon starts with 5 points; it spreads 1 point outwards to each of the five highland hexes surrounding the village.  After that, Avalon's influence has also expired.

The final infrastructure for this part of Wowotu, then, looks like this:

That was easy.  Now just think what a difference it would have made if hex 0301 or 0302 had been left without highlands.  The corridor between Port Tethys and Avalon would have increased amount of Infrastructure from the city four-fold.  Without the highland in 0510, Avalon's influence would extend twice as far along the coast.

The reason for this process is also simple: it is intended to demonstrate what the distribution of development ought to be, based on population and topography.  If you're creating a lot of map, you're not just throwing darts at the wall.  The method gives a logical and familiar distribution for way that communities form and drift over the landscape, in a way that players will find predictable.

And IF the players decide to settle, they can look at a map like this and see their options.  The semi-sparse infrastructure region north or south of Avalon? Should they build in the hex just outside the infrastructure?  Or closer to Port Tethys?

We haven't done any more than squiggly lines on a page, and already we have clear avenues on where to build our adventures, not just in terms of where the dungeon is, but what the dungeon is next to.

With the next post on this subject, I'll show the rest of the infrastructure numbers, and we'll start to lay out the Port Tethys-Avalon country, seeing what turns up with my development system.

[And I will be removing the sea bevel, because it is slowing my computer down]


  1. I like this already.

    Now let's fill these hexes!

  2. Do you list features associated with infrastructure numbers, as suggested on the previous posts? I've been over the Wiki but can't seem to find it, if it's out there.

    Specifically, you indicated that we might organize structures, features or systems according to the infrastructure rating. In one comment thread, you provided a few examples, like farmland being present with infrastructure 400, whereas one post hinted that an inn might require infrastructure 500 (or greater). I may be off with the numbers, but I think I understand the concept and I'm curious if you have a compiled list somewhere.

  3. I apparently missed your previous posts about infrastructure. Devoured those and will be implementing as soon as I get the time.

    Definitely looking forward to more of this.

  4. Ozymandias,

    You're speaking of a system I proposed several years ago. I've upgraded those old ideas, so that the content of a hex is not determined by this first calculation of infrastructure, shown above.

    The points shown here are then distributed into a divided version of the hex; I'll be writing a post about that today, I think.


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