Thursday, February 9, 2017

Map Maker, Map Maker, Make Me a Map

Having decided that the Farlong and Away campaign will take place in the Forgotten Realms it is important that the maps used are appropriate to the time and locale - 3rd edition Cormyr and the Sword Coast prior to the Time of Troubles.  There are a number of maps of Faerun available online and the one I have decided to use as the basis for my world map is this one:

Faerun 3rd edition around 1372 DR (Dale Reckoning)

When developing the King's Festival campaign I learned how to implement a world map and I think that knowledge will serve me well for Farlong and Away as well. While I could use an Overland Map as was done in SoZ, I generally prefer world maps.  Some features I intend to provide in the travel system:

- travel should take time depending on the distance
- area entry points should be determined in part by the direction the party is coming from
- once the party has been to a travel location they should be able to return in case they left something or someone behind or want to explore an area more completely
- there should be some risk of encountering wandering monsters while traveling
- a party member being dead should not prevent travel, that way the party member can be taken to a temple to be resurrected

I intended to implement all of these features in my incomplete Gems of Power campaign and since I had completed most of the travel scripting I think I will be able to adapt it fairly easily to this campaign.

What I really enjoy about using a map though is that it guides your research into areas that the party is likely to be near and in that way helps to anchor the adventure in the Forgotten Realms.  The Grand History of the Realms and Forgotten Realms sourcebooks provide many hooks that can be explored and exploited.  For the Farlong party there should be many opportunities for exploration and questing as they make their way from their home in the heart of the Chondalwood westward through Cormyr and the Western Heartlands to the Sword Coast.


  1. Hi Brendan, nice blog you have here!

    I prefer overworld maps that have you moving from area to area in order to reach your destination; f.e, Want to reach the gnoll stronghold from Nashkel? Well, you have to pass through several wilderness areas first.

    This gives some destinations a feeling of remoteness. I don't like how travel was trivialized in BG2, with its EZ-to-reach destinations and EZ-to-beat scripted waylays (which I prefer to be drawn from random tables).

    Cheers, and good luck with your work!

  2. I think we are in agreement. Generally areas would not be unlocked on the world map until you had traveled through multiple areas to get to them. This is how I recall original BG1 working. So to use your example, Nashkel to the Gnoll Stronghold requires going through multiple areas the first time, but after reaching the Strongjold you can use the World Map to jump back and forth between them with only the passage of game time.

    There is one area in which I would like to make use of an overland map, but it is for sailing, as was done in Tchos' Black Scourge of Candlekeep.

  3. Black Scourge of Candle Cove, I mean.

  4. Let me know if you need a playtester for FaA.