Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Even More Fantasy Maps - Lots of Links to More

Gotta squeeze in one last bonus post before the (inevitable) mayhem of my personal May to Z challenge.

It's not often I check my Facebook, generally only if someone from the Worldbuilders and Sci Fi Writers group posts something of interest. Or this Worldbuilding School Facebook page aka Worldbuilding School blog. But man am I glad I caught these pings on my radar!



And especially if you're a gamer geek, you will drool for hours over this stuff

The Cartography of Alyssa Faden

And this is a teaser for a momentous occasion scheduled for next week Physical Geography Facebook page.

May to Z Challenge Begins Tomorrow

Because starting a new job and finishing the semester ate my April, I couldn't participate in the April A to Z Challenge.

Sporkchop from ROFL Initiative is the one who clued me into it...and did a helluva job with his own, I might add! It was his perseverance that inspired me to start my own, albeit a month late. Thus I am proposing for myself and any adventurous others to join me in a May to Z challenge . My wife told me it seems like quite an undertaking, but that's the whole idea. I feel like I've neglected my blog with only once-a-week posts and this is a good way to get back into the swing of things. I don't know if I'll be able to post each day, so I might do a series of letters together.

My idea is this: create a character a day for each letter of the alphabet (but you are granted 5 days off. Use them wisely) It can be just their name and a brief description of who they are, what they do, or why you chose that name in particular. I'm thinking mine will focus mainly on a D&D type structure: gender, race, class, home, profession, weapons and armor, etc. For something like that you can easily "cheat" and use the D&D character name generator because it lets you put in a variety of criteria. Yours doesn't have to be any specific level of detail, that's just how my mind works.

Maybe you've had a character in mind for a while, but couldn't decide what to call them. Does your story have a hero without a villain to contend with, or vice versa? Perhaps, like me, you create whole family trees for your characters and you have a blank spot begging for a portrait and a name.

As I have posted before, I like Behind the Name a lot! If you're not sure what you're after, use the random generator and just keep hitting refresh/F5 until you find one you like. Or you can select a nationality, such as English, German, Japanese, etc. It will give you lots of options and it can be pretty overwhelming, but if you just take it a letter at a time you'll soon find something that sounds good to your ears. 

As always, I'd love to hear from you. Send me an email with what you're coming up with, or just comment - it's easier.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What's Inn Store

To follow up on my earlier post about towns and what they offer (besides adventure and trouble).

Your characters just hit town. It's been a long journey of mixed weather, trails and trials, and they're fresh out of supplies. Thankfully their last adventure/delve put some coin in their pockets and they're looking to spend. You could even say they have some magical items, but they don't know what they do or what they're worth. They could have some gems too, but these must be traded and appraised first since most merchants only deal in coin. If you have raw goods, you can try to barter and haggle.

http://www.rdinn.com - Gem Generator


Maybe you have things in need of repair: clothing to be mended, dented armor to be beaten out, broken wagon wheel/axle, wounds to be seen to, weapons to be sharpened.

You're probably craving a hot meal and you definitely need a wash. Maybe some feminine company if you're so inclined.

Let's not neglect the fact that you're adventurers. Your pay is made by taking on tasks - typically of the daring and dangerous variety. You'll need to make contacts to scout for future work...unless you plan on retiring tomorrow and putting down roots.

So where to?

Let's start with the inn and tavern. It will take care of the meal, bath, "leisure activities", and it's likely the bartender/innkeeper will know of work - and of course share some gossip.

http://www.inkwellideas.com - Random Inn Generator

http://donjon.bin - Inn Generator

Wondering what to call the local watering hole?

http://www.seventhsanctum.com - Tavern Name Generator

http://www.rdinn.com - Tavern Name Generator

Once fed, cleaned, and satiated (you might want to wash again), let's head over to the general mercantile. You can say it's a single store, or the market square has opened and is in full swing.

http://www.rdinn.com - Sal's Outfitters

http://www.inkwellideas.com - Magic Item Shop

Now you're healed, rested, resupplied, and off on your next adventure. But who's to say that the "barmaid" doesn't have a little surprise for one of your characters when (and if) they circle back to this town again in 9 months ;)

Maybe more than one of your group was her midnight visitor. Which of you now has to claim this bundle of joy? Do they step up, or run for the hills? What does this reveal about that character's character?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Legionnaires aka Nodding Off

Because I follow, I was made aware of this great post last week.

Land of Nod: Centurion class

I'd already done my usual Tuesday post, so the inspiration had to wait a week. I just don't have time to do Tues/Fri posts like I used to, but that should be over soon since finals will be done in 2 weeks.

Anyway, the Land of Nod post spun off all sorts of ideas. They are:

Begin with adventures joining as auxiliaries that have to supply their own armor and weapons beyond standard light stuff provided by the legion.

Players don't even have to have stuff to begin with. An excellent adventure beginning would be to have the players as everyday wanderers with a backpack of food and maybe a sling/short spear for hunting.

They could even be refugees fleeing a village overrun by the legion's enemies. They head to the fort seeking protection or revenge and are either recruited or pressed into service.

"True" heavily armored troops are natives of the empire. An outsider can be elevated in rank, but never to as high a status as a "true" legionnaire.

Years ago when I was finishing my first degree I wrote a term paper on Hadrian's Wall. Some things I remember from my research were bits and snippets from the Vindolanda Tablets. Thanks to that amazing discovery we got a first hand glimpse at life on the wall from soldiers' own writings. Because they were stationed in a fixed location/along an established front, they could still receive letters and goods from home.
For instance, we know one auxiliary wrote home to thank his mother for a care package he'd received. This letter proved that they wore underwear and socks in cold climates. 

But the Romans on/at the wall weren't just sitting around collecting taxes from passing merchants. They marched from fort to fort often, making their presence felt to hopefully dissuade attacks from the Picts. Think of today's military - there's a lot of logistics to running an army. Not everyone is an active combatant. It was the same along the northern front in the 2nd Century - some were supply runners, messengers, healers, priests, etc.

There are lots and lots of ways to take real history: people, places, events, etc and use them for springboards in your own fictional world. As usual, I'd love to hear any ideas folks have.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wheres and Wares

Once you have your world(s) built and characters to roam the realms, wouldn't it be nice if those weary wanderers had a place to get in out of the weather? I'm talking temples and taverns, inns and dungeons, castles and markets, TOWNS!

Here's several useful sites I've saved over the years:

Medieval Demographics Calculator

Medieval Demographics Made Easy

Green Pilgrim's Town List

http://www.inkwellideas.com - Random Village Generator

http://www.inkwellideas.com - Random City Generator

http://www.rdinn.com - Town Generator

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hang Out with Almighty Creator(s)

I thought for sure I had shared this link before, but in digging through the archive it looks like I missed it.

So here you go

TTYU Worldbuilding Hangouts

I highly recommend perusing. Whether you're stuck in a bind and stumbling through your story, or if you just want a good read that is bound to spark ideas, these are they. You will have a hard time coming up with anything these don't cover. If you prefer to watch than to read (because the material is very dense at points) Juliette Wade also posts them as videos.

And I have plugged these before, but I'm going to do it again for a one-stop-shop:

A Way With Worlds

Shakespeare & Dragons