Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Current Gaming Project: the City of Haven

I'm currently in a more Vanilla AD&D mood, though this whole enterprise remains mental masturbation while my work and personal life balance is still out of whack. But my random musings might be of interest to some of you, so here's what I have been noodling about in my notebooks.

I have been going back to my old gaming roots and thinking about an urban RPG campaign, partially inspired by recently buying myself a copy of Zak Smith's Vornheim (and getting my PDF download). I have been writing up random entries by hand in a composition book, and now am just starting to edit and think about those notes.

As always, when thinking about a city, I work on a map. However, I hate drawing city maps. It's tedious, ties you down to specifics when you don't want it, and doesn't help much in a game. So, riffing of Zak's urbancrawl rules, I decided to avoid actually drawing a city. I took some colored pens and wrote down the names of sections of the city to show their abstract relations.

Recently, I re-did the work with photoshop for some clean-up and ease of sharing whenever I potentially get my game off the ground again:

My conceptual map of Haven
While that doesn't give a strong sense of the layout of streets, the position of buildings, and the like, it does make a simple, playable idea of where neighborhoods are, how you get from one to the other, and about how big each area is -- all the stuff that I care about in my play style. Frankly, I don't see this as the Next Big Wave in Urban Campaign Setting Design, but it's enough for me to get my game on, and I think it's enough for players to work out the details they need to know.

Also building off another Zak S. idea, I have decided that I want to help myself keep this an easily ad-libbed setting rather than detailing more things to memorize and am defining as much as I can through tables and lists that can be used in game. You'll get to see those over the next couple of weeks as I type them up.

So sorry, I'm all out of Athanor inspirations right now and my attention is wandering elsewhere. But at least I will be posting again.