Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Mapping Carcosa part the Third

Right, to recap (again)...

I'm more than half-way through mapping my 200-hex region, and frankly there's not enough desert. My second lot of terrain determinations (again in a 28-hex area, this time I've been a bit more careful not to go over the edges because I'm effectively starting in my own south-east corner) looked like this:

'County'-sized area in south-east corner of 200-hex map

Don't forget this is approximately the size of an English county - the area of an earldom. In a feudal society we'd expect a population of tens of thousands. The Domesday Book lists 529 population centres in Gloucestershire in 1086. This area is a bit smaller, but the same order of magnitude. I'm expecting that I'll get about 6 settlements.

For the rest of this side of the map, I just filled in the hexes on the big map because I can't tile any more of these small 'county' level grids onto the regional map on this side. I can fit one on the west side - but I think I'll change my style for that, to produce a different distribution of terrain types.

My terrain generation table currently looks like this:

1 - sandy desert
2 - rocky desert
3 - salt flats
4 - swamp
5 - mountains
6 - volcanic badlands
7 - barren plains
8 - open water

but probably needs to look more like this:

01-25 - sandy desert
26-50 - rocky desert
51-60 - salt flats
61-70 - mountains
71-80 - volcanic badlands
81-90 - barren plains
91-95 - swamp
96-00 - open water

That's what I'll use for the next lot of determinations, in the north-west of the regional map.

So, this whole region will be transitional between the slightly damper more volcanic area in the centre (first bloc) and east (second bloc), and the area to the west which is likely to be more characterised by desert.
Next group of hexes in north-west, with single 'odd hex' on west side

This new map looks OK; there's much more desert obviously and no open water (the purpley sections are 'barren plains', even though I'm not really sure what the difference is between 'barren plains' and 'rocky desert'). Smashing through the terrain generation with the new formula, and adding it to the areas I've generated with the old formula, produces a map that looks like this (including not just the odd single desert square on the extreme west of the map but an odd mountain added to the three more-or-less in the centre):

200-hex regional map

So, we have a map which is dominated in the west by rocky desert, but in the centre and east a more mixed landscape prevails, where mountains. lakes, swamp and volcanic badlands all crowd together. I'm perfectly happy with that as a landscape.

Now to do the encounter rolls. I've added in the encounters generated for the first map (though on the regional map, I haven't attempted to place the encounters in specific locations in the hexes, just noted which hexes they take place in).

The first bunch of encounters are keyed to the following hexes on the regional map:

1 -          AH 09
2 -          AH 09
3 -          AI  04
4 -          AI  04
5 -          AI  05
6 -          AI  05
7 -          AJ 06
8 -          AJ 06
9 -          AK 05
10 -      AK 05
11 -      AK 08
12 -      AK 08
13 -      AK 09
14 -      AK 09
15 -      AL 04
16 -      AL 07
17 -      AL 07
18 -      AM 04
19 -      AM 04
20 -      AM 05
21 -      AM 06
22 -      AM 06
23 -      AM 07
24 -      AM 07
25 -      AN 09
26 -      AN 09

So what I need to do now is determine the next lot of encounters. OK, 1 is in an inconvenient and weird place, but I didn't really think about that when I started.

For the next lot of determinations of encounter location, I think I'll tweak the table from the other day. It looked like this:

     1    2    3     4             5          6
1 yes yes no   yes/yes no         no
2 yes no  yes  no         yes/yes no
3 no  yes yes  no         no         yes/yes

where the number along the top is a d6 and the number down the side is the number of the hex in the 3-hex group (generally reading from top-bottom and left-right) where the encounter is to be found. Due to electronically determining lots of numbers 4+ (in fact only one of the 13 numbers wasn't a 4, 5 or 6) there was a lot of clustering of encounters. I don't mind some clustered encounters, but I want a more even (ie, non-random) distribution. Settlements don't form at random, there are some random factors but also non-random factors, and other encounters will also follow both random and non-random tendencies. Some of these I think will act as forces repelling other encounters (eg, it's less likely to get monster encounters near a settlement if the people in the settlement are going to hunt to monsters - though of course, the monsters may be close by because they're hunting the people...).

I think I'll try the following tweak to the above table, replacing a d6 roll with a d12, weighted towards the bottom end of the scale, increasing the chances of separate encounters from 1/2 to 3/4 and decreasing the chance of clustered encounters from 1/2 to 1/4.

    1-3   4-6    7-9    10             11           12
1  yes   yes    no      yes/yes    no          no
2 yes   no     yes     no             yes/yes no
3 no    yes    yes     no             no          yes/yes

That has given me an overall distribution of encounters on the map that looks like this:

200-hex region with encounters keyed to hexes
Unfortunately that's really difficult to deal with due to the encounter numbering effectively spiralling out from the lower centre of the map. I hate maps where the numbers are scattered on the map as I find them more time-consuming to use, so I've already decided that I'm going to renumber everything starting with 1 in the north-west corner, but I have another more procedural choice to make here. I can either determine the encounters first and change the numbers afterwards (which is basically doing the fun part now and the tedious hard work later) or I can change everything over first and then do the fun part afterwards.

I know what I'm like, if I d the fun bit now the tedious bit will never get done. So I'd best start with the boring stuff . Maybe I'll reward myself with breaking it up - when I've done the first group of 34, I'll determine the encounter details for them. That might prevent this from getting too tedious.

A lesson in forward planning methinks... don't start numbering your map in a random location.

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