Bonus Creativity: This is Supposed to Be a Game

Right. So, last time, on Bonus Creativity, we made a map… and I forgot to actually put in some adventures for the players.

My bad. Let’s rectify that, by first reviewing our design guidelines.

1-This is a sandbox, so I don’t want to force my players along a predetermined path. But I still need to give them a few hooks to get started.

2-The gameworld conceit is that there are a few known civilized areas along the edge of this huge, unexplored continent. The area around Port Roven has probably already been mostly explored (and lightly settled), so there aren’t any major undiscovered structures to be found. By the same token, the area isn’t developped enough for brigands to have appeared.

3-I don’t want the area to be a backwater the players must necessary leave behind at some point. If it turns out that Port Roven strikes a chord with them, I need to make this place relevant for higher-level adventures as well.

Now, where does that leave us?

1-Site-based adventures (a.k.a. ruincrawls) must, by necessity, be relatively small: there isn’t room for a big treasure-laden temple that hasn’t been explored by previous adventurers. But there’s room for a small dungeon or two.

(Just for kicks: Fort Elsinor is built on the ruins of a large fortress, but it’s been explored and permanently secured in the past.)

2-I need a couple urban adventure hooks in Port Roven.

3-I want a “let’s come back to this later” challenge. It doesn’t need to be enormously complicated, but I want it to be on the backburner from the start.

4-I want to start introducing some of the campaign’s major themes, even if it’s only lightly.

5-I might want to introduce a politically charged adventure hook as well.

So let’s see if we can improve our map first.

So… our new locales are the Old Watchtower and the Lair of the Moose Lake Monster.

The Old Watchtower is a ruined tower located on a hill, close to where an unfinished road reaches the river which flows downhill from the mining town of Three Hills. As the game begins, there are confirmed reports that a band of goblin marauders (coming from a goblin polity the next hex over) have taken it over as a base. If the players don’t handle that problem, eventually the Port Roven authorities will send troops to deal with it.

The Moose Lake Monster is a rumor. Maybe it’s a dragon. Maybe it’s something else. But it’s big, it’s not a problem at the moment, it’s out of the way… it’s better left for later.

So that’s Point 3 and half of Point 1 figured out.

Fort Elsinor and its ruins aren’t a dungeon, but I see a way to handle Point 4. I’ve decided to limit teleporting spells significantly since the game is supposed to be a hexcrawl. So non-tactical teleports will be limited to teleport gates: permanent, fixed structures built by the previous civilizations of the continent. To use a teleport gate, someone must have visited it first. And the Port Roven area teleport gate is in Fort Elsinor. Getting it activated for the party is just a matter of visiting Fort Elsinor, but it needs to be the party’s decision (or I’ll have one of my urban adventures take the party there at some point.)

Point 5 will have to wait. Technically, there’s a conflict brewing with the goblins from the Next Hex Over, but that’s hardly what I had in mind for a political adventure.

Point 2 will need to wait as well: I need to detail Port Roven first.

That leaves me with the second half of Point 1. I’m sorely tempted to have it take place in Fort Elsinor’s ruins, but that’s the easy way out. Instead… there’s going to be a few barrows near the Selman Logging Camp (in the same Hex). One of them was opened and now the camp has a undead problem.

Well, that’s enough for now. Next time: Port Roven. Unless I do something else.

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