Saturday, May 12, 2018

Haugaland & Hex Types

The various sorts of building blocks I described in the post, One Block at a Time, need to fit into appropriate places; there's no logic to a careenage that's no where near the water or a beastland that is adjacent to a hex where a quiet family clan resides.  I recognize that some world designers will think the latter is "kewl," but in fact it is pretty stupid and obviously geared to teach players that the world they're running through makes no gawddamn sense at all.

To that end, I've started defining hex "types," based on vegetation and circumstance.  I include a list of what I have so far at the bottom of the post, but I want to stress that all this work is in progress and therefore should not be considered complete.  "Complete" is something that would come from a lot of work.  At present, I'm concerned with demonstrating how a hex type or a building block ought to function, rather than creating a list of building blocks that would be useless if we did not know how to put them together.

Let's look at the northern part of Rogaland Dev-5, that I introduced with this post.  I've come across the name Haugaland, but now that I'm being watched by a resident of the actual Rogaland, I hesitate to say this is what this region is called in the actual world.  I'll just say this is what I'm going to call it for my world (and let's just assume this is always the case):

There are not many hex types that I've defined that fit the area ... and that's a good thing.  We want a lot of distinction, but we want the distinction to be in the nuance.  For example, the Erfjord, Vormed, Sand and Sauda clans all occupy coastland hexes, they are all arable, and they are all borderlands.  Remember, none of these are "villages;" they are likely a single long-house with a yard and everyone sleeping together, as this is Norse culture.

All the hexes are watered, but they are not all "well-watered," which includes only that area along the river (which is called Sundalslagen and is flowing through a valley that doesn't exist, because it should actually be flowing south of where the Vormed clan is, but it doesn't matter because it's my world and I'll stop bringing this up now).  Here's a table listing these hex types and others that I've developed so far:

The four clans exist on the map above because my infrastructure system put them there, the same system that I've pushed on my blog for years.  I'm simply using that infrastructure to say, "These are hexes where a deliberate effort has been made to transform verdant land into arable land.  The rest of the map is, by my reckoning at least, "verdant."  I want to stress the distinction that verdant does not mean a land of tremendous abundance, but rather a land with sufficient vegetation that it will support a herbivorous, and therefore a carnivorous, population.  The mountains of Haugaland aren't anywhere near as green as the watered lands of the Sundals river, but they are covered in lichen and short grass and they do support a population of wild goats and reindeer, and presumably a wide range of sizeable common monsters that an area such as a wasteland would not would not support.

[Just a note about "deadlands" that were described in the One Block at a Time post ~ I've separated this into the two kinds of hex above; an eradicator land would occur in either kind of hex, barren or waste, but a beastlands hex would only occur in a barren hex; just the way I see it].

The hex type is meant to be a useful short hand.  The blocks we should expect to see on the map could include, according to hex type:
  • Arable.  Boat yards (if there was any boatbuilding, which there isn't), careenages (there would be one for the Erfjord clan, since there's access to fish), fishing huts (all of the clans fish, though the Erfjord clan does better), hut villages (none of the clans, as there's no settlement in Haugaland) or a sacred place (which we could say occurs with a 1 in 6 frequency).  Rolling dice, I find none of these clans are organized around such a place; but as a DM, if I had a reason, I could hand one over to any of them. Sauda, for example, which will eventually become a village.
  • Borderland.  Earlier, I mentioned only one block that might apply to the borderland, that being the hunting camp; however, hunting camps are organizations of professional hunters, something that arises from a more sophisticated culture.  Represented here are four small clans, of about 30-90 people each, which we could think of as the Haugaland Tribe.  There are no professional hunters, and won't be until this region develops above its present state.  All we can say about these being borderlands is that they're fairly vulnerable to outside attack by who knows what.
  • Coastland. Again, everyone is on the coast; but the fishing ground by Erfjord makes that hex unique.  I want to stress that the boats used by the inhabitants here are not viking ships!  They are not even sailing vessels, but rather primitive boats that are safe only to travel in coastline hexes.  There are viking ships in Norway at this time, but not here in my Haugaland; there isn't even a nearby market where one could be purchased and no training for any of this population in how to mange such a vessel.
  • Verdant. There are lots of grazing lands, literally every other hex on the map apart from the four clan hexes.  The best hunting is bound to be along the well-watered hexes beside the river, but as my version of Rogaland has only grazing lands, the hunting is only fair.  Good enough to sustain the small population inhabiting Haugaland (using the food as a guide, about 140).

As the reader can see, from this I already know a huge amount about Haugaland, from just a few easy to fix details.  It wouldn't be hard to build an adventure that would fit the circumstances.  But since I did say that 1 in 20 grazing hexes would be a barbaric village, why not roll to see where those villages might be?  I'll even go one step further and make a suggestion for what they could be, based on the version of Norway I've imagined for my world, one in which gnomes, halflings, stone giants, trolls and kobalds inhabit.  We won't include any killer frogs; that lair, the one investigated by the online party, is near Stavanger.  I'll roll for half-hexes on the border but not for the line of hexes right on the bottom of the map (though they are eligible).  I also won't roll for the mostly empty hex on the far left, directly west of the Vormed clan.  I count 30 possible rolls.

I got three.  Of course, this is pretty simplistic.  Any one can write "gnomes" on a map and it hardly counts as an adventure!  Though, to be honest, that's what I've seen on a lot of maps these past ten years blogging.

What it does is give us a few blocks to build with.  We can decide that the gnomes are friendly, that the party has to make contact with the Vormed clan, make friends, get a Vormed fellow to lead them to the gnome village.  The gnomes are perhaps a bit aggressive, as they're not too fond of the human incursion that has incurred in the last two centuries, but with a little live and let live the party can convince them that they're need to find the kobald village in the mountains is crucial.  We can say at this time the players know nothing about the trolls.

Eventually, the gnomes lead the players over the pass and down to the kobalds; depending on the adventure we have in mind, this might lead to a parley, in which the kobalds reveal the trolls and the true presence of the Mcguffin or whatever we choose to base the adventure on.  Or it might be a slogging fight, where the kobalds are led by a troll, who escapes, and must be followed, leading the party to the troll village ...

I've added a roll to barbaric villages for my own purposes, which declares that 1 in 20 of these is a dungeon.  Now, if my whole world were just Rogaland, than I would probably make the kobald village a dungeon, and the troll village a dungeon as well.  But I have a gargantuan world, with 40,000 verdant hexes ... I can afford to spread my dungeons thinly.  Besides, I like outdoor fights in monster villages.  They can be hard scrabble for the players and it still ends in a potential heap of treasure.

I have more to say about Haugaland, but this is enough for now.  We'll pick up with more discussion of the sort of blocks that make up the clan-lands of the region.