As I’ve stated before I always find it much easier to make a map if I have a story to tell. The story usually give you ideas for details that will lift your map to a higher level and that makes it more interesting and appealing to look at.
Lately I’ve found myself sitting with no ideas what to map, I just felt empty when I tried to come up with an idea. To solve the problem I decided to try to make an adventure. I don’t know if I ever write it down on paper but I felt I had to make a story from which I could get ideas what to map.
When I used to play RPG’s I always enjoyed adventures where the story was kind of free. With this I mean where the player feels he is in charge of what to do and where to go. The opposite would be a more restricted adventure where you go from event one to event two and so on. Of course all adventures are event driven in one way or another, and the story isn’t as free as you want the players to feel. But the important thing here is to make them feel like they can do whatever they want to.
So to make this work out I decided to make a mind map of my adventure, in this way I can easily plan what will happen, what events are linked to each other etc. I also get a clear view of what kind of maps I need to make, which is kind of the reason for the whole mind-map-an-adventure thing.
So what is the story then? The adventure will take place in Armadien in the Etrakien world, in one of its more remote placed towns called Vadsbro. Vadsbro is the central town in one of Armadiens twelve provinces, a province centered on trade with timber, skins and copper. But strange things are happening, there are reports of people gone missing in town and strange sounds can be heard during the nights. North of the town the miners have reported that they’ve seen strange lights in the forest close to the mountain and to the east the Traals are restless and a rumor is around that someone are selling them weapons of steel, which of course is a hefty crime.
The mind map is in Swedish (sorry if you can’t read that) and is made in Visio 2010, a great program for this kind of activity. Now I just need to map all those locations :)
As I have stated earlier one of the great things with Dungeon designer 3 (DD3) from Profantasy is that you can make a nice map in a very short time.
Whenever I decide to play an adventure with my children I try to make up the basics of the story together with them. It is a great way of getting them involved in the creative process, and they also think it is more fun when they feel that they can influence the story.
This time me and my daughter started to talk about trolls and I asked her if she thought there be Trolls nearby the castle where her character lives (of course she plays a princess). And she said that there might be. I told her that I’d heard some of the farmers complaining about trolls attacking people and livestock and that maybe someone should look into it. She really hooked into the story and started to make up things herself and now she insists on that we have to play on Saturday, because someone has to stop those trolls.
Well suddenly I had to come up with a map we can use on Saturday, and as I said in the beginning of this post, making dungeons in DD3 is a real treat. The map below took me around two hours to complete from scratch to finished product.
The map is completely done in DD3 but labeling and some effects to make it more paint looking where all applied in Photoshop. Now I just need to wait for Saturday and see if the princess can defeat all the trolls that harass the neighborhood.
One of the best strengths when it comes to Profantasy’s product line is that the products are easy to use and good at producing great maps in a fairly short time.
I’ve decided to introduce my two oldest kids in the world of roleplaying, and if you’re going to play with someone for their first time you need to make an impression on them. So you need maps!
We talked a lot about how you play and that you don’t have any gaming board that you use. I said that it was a bit like playing a fairytale. They both thought it sounded great.
The system we used is called Äventyr, a roleplaying game for children made by a Swedish guy and his eight year old daughter. It is very simple but works really good as an introduction.
In one of the first adventures I played with them they had to enter a mine and get rid of the dangerous Trolls that had moved in. To make it more exciting I made a quick map in Dungeon designer 3 of the mine. This map took me about an hour from start to finish. Nothing fancy or complicated, but it is great that you in such a short time can make something that actually looks good and pleasing to the eyes.
And do I need to say that they loved it :)