Sunday, August 2, 2015

Example Random Territory 01 (method and first results)

I was very curious to find out how that Basic Random Terrain Generator (Part 0, Part 1, Part 2) I've been talking about turned out, so here is a complete test run with all the funny ideas I had about it in one place. Well, at least it's a start and something to expand on. Please try this at home ...

A number of rolls ...

All right, let's do this properly and start from the very beginning. You'll need a paper with hex-fields on it (for now just google "blank hex maps", if need be ... I'll provide something like this soon, though). Start somewhere in the center with your first roll of 2d10. This is your center piece. It gives the basic directions to all your future rolls.

The next roll is with 3d10 (A, B and C) with the new die (A, from now on) giving the direction of the development.

1 to 6 are directions, 4 to 10 are layers (see below)
You won't need to write down the numbers for directions, but keep the numbers for layers. Every result has a specific meaning in regard of the terrain and what might already live there:

But for now just note the relevant numbers as described above ...
Layers are always added to the last developed terrain piece and make this field a natural border. There will be no new field generated in that direction. Instead go clockwise to the next free hex field from there. Same goes for Natural Borders coming up on (B). The third option to end development is a normal field framed by natural borders (see next example below).

This way you'll generate a somewhat organic map with all sorts of borders and some free space:

Started at yellow, red are layers, blue is a natural border ...

Up until now it was just collecting numbers. What happens next is giving those numbers meaning. Just collect the results first:

  • 1d (59): Labyrinthine hills (lots of trees)
  • 1f (66/029): Hills, Cliffsides and Streams (lots of trees)/Border Territory: a community living under the old faith, is hostile towards tribe and attacks on sight
  • 1h (51): Cliffsides and Plains (no trees)
  • 2c (37/061): Hills and Rivers (lots of trees)/Border Territory: a community under patriarchal rule, campaigning for an alliance
  • 2e (89): Labyrinthine Mountainscape
  • 2g (60): Dormant Vulcano (special)
  • 2i (61/998/850): Plateau (no trees)/Land Beyond The Mist: Place of Training for the court of Giants/The Darkness: Tainted by Weird Dark Rites
  • 3b (56/037): Hills and Streams (lots of trees)/hostile community under new faith, trade possible
  • 3d (43): Big River through rolling Plain (trees by river and some trees)
  • 3f (51): Cliffsides and Plains (no trees)
  • 3h (22/768/863): Giant Lakes/Roman Relics: actively Roman city/The Darkness: Sinister magic corrupting combat (some legionnaires tainted by evil, maybe)/the tribe settles here, because this is where the map started ...
  • 3j (29/001): Swamp (lots of trees)/Border Territory: Strange Community campaigning for alliance
  • 4a (01): Impassable Mountainface
  • 4c (23): A few Big Lakes (lots of trees)
  • 4e (89): Labyrinthine Mountainscape
  • 4g (74/968/944): Hills and Streams (some crippled trees)/Land Beyond the Mist: Place of Training for the court of Pixies/Land Beyond the Mist: Place of Magic for the court of Nymphs and Trolls
  • 4i (22): Giant Lakes
  • 4k (49): Labyrinthine hilly Riverscape (lots of trees)
  • 5b (25/035/853): Lakescape (lots of trees)/Border Territory: an unfriendly and cautious community living under the new faith/The Darkness: Dark Rites corrupting Combat (unholy warriors of God?)
  • 5d (39/898): Labyrinthine Riverscape (lots of trees)/The Darkness: Powers from Beyond out for Revenge
  • 5h (40/004): Underground River (special)/Border Territory: neutral but very strange community
  • 5i (96/843): Snow and stone/The Darkness: a curse thriving by combat

Giving it all some meaning

This is shaping up good, I think. We have some strange swamp people, a Roman city with some sinister war magic, hostile neighbors following an old faith, others campaigning for an alliance, training grounds of Giants (including weird evil rituals) and Pixies, plus a magic place of the nymphs and trolls.

There is also a broad spectrum of landscapes. We have a silent Volcano, hills, rivers and mountains, some underground rivers and a swamp, all of it sprinkled with with big lakes ... There's already a lot going on, what we need now is a map and the flavor text to make it all fit ...

But since I spend most of my day bashing my head against google to find a descend mapping software and produce a map for you all to look at and came up with nothing, I'll leave it at that for today. It should be enough to give you all an impression how this is shaping up and even only with what's written here and a raw sketch of the map a DM should be able to go a long way. Add some Random encounter tables to that and you got a game going.

More on this as soon as I'm able to produce a descent map ...


  1. I'm finding this very interesting. Does Hexographer not meet your standards?

    1. Thanks, Christopher! Well, I don't think it's about standards per se. If I want a map, Hexographer is a good tool to make one. But the B.R.T.G. is more about producing a setting. I could use Hexographer to make a map of that region, but there is also a topographical map in those numbers and a history. It even has political borders. With Hexographer I could maybe visualize half of the information I got with this system.

      But there is more (and yet more to come ...). Add B and C to get indications about the weather. You'll get a number between 2 and 20 and it illustrates the mix between Elevation and complexity of a given hex-field. The higher the number, the more likely it is that the weather stays. Roll above the difficulty and the weather moves over the field (roll a D20 to find out). What I'm saying is, there's a lot a DM can do with this other than keeping track of everybody moving around and get a hint what the scenery looks like. In an ideal case this ends up being a world engine, where everything that happens is chance and not DM fiat. A true sandbox, if you will.