Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How Much Can You Search?

I have deliberately not included a scale on the map shown.  Because of this, it might be a village, a town or a city.  It really depends on how big the roads are, or the river is, in the readers' imagination.

Let me explain.  Last post, I ended by explaining that for a party to truly understand the ins and outs of an urban space, they should have to search that space diligently.  The question emerges, then: how much space can a party search properly in the space of a day?

A square mile?  A hectare?  A neighborhood?  I'm asking because I want the reader to answer it for themselves ... remembering what I said in the last post.  That there are no street signs and virtually no advertising.  And being medieval in form, likely as not the streets aren't gridded.  There are back lanes and alleys, which might also have doors in them that lead to a strange shop or some unexpected, but important "find" that might make the players very happy.

Ask yourself: how many hours do you need to sit in a pub to know what sort of pub it is?  Or if you like it?  How well do you need to know the servers; or what does it take to know if the menu is good?  And once you're fed, how many hours can you spend poking around in shops, seeing what's there?  How many hours can you waste chatting up the patron about things you're looking for?

And once you have that in mind, how many hours can you walk around, opening and closing doors, stooping to look at things, moving from walking on stones to sprung wood, bending down to rest your pack, picking it up again ... and how long can you stare at hundreds of things before you get sick of it?  How does that cut your search time short?

Once you've searched, how well can you remember what you've seen?  Have you ever changed your mind about buying something, but then you can't remember what store you saw it in?  Are you really sure you can remember every detail of dozens of stores that you searched yesterday?  Or a week from now?

How long does it take to really get to know a specified area in a urban area?  You tell me.