Sunday, 28 January 2018

Happy Birthday to Me...

It was my birthday recently. One never asks an Orc their age, but I saw the Bakshi Lord of the Rings in the cinema (probably in 1979, the year I first read it) and started playing D&D in 1981 with the Moldvay Basic Set. That's a pretty good indicator.

I got some game-related stuff. From my awesome parents, I received the Eldritch Horror game. I have no idea what they would made of it (they're religious, in a very tolerant sort of way), but I think it looks pretty groovy. It's certainly heavy. I have punched out all of the counters but am yet to persuade Mrs Orc to play: we'll get there soon I hope.

My brother, his amazing wife and incredible son gave me the Adventurer, Conqueror, King System hardback book. I have read a lot of it and I'm very impressed at the production values and way it joins stuff up. I still think that the ACKS was the wrong way to go but they made such a brilliant job of it. I think - maybe - it would have achieved more sales if it had not just substantially repackaged B/X with some great additions, but if instead it had been released as some supplements - one for the 'domain game' stuff, one for character creation. Both of those sections are really good and will I think soon be making appearances in my ongoing campaign. Some of the rest is... stuff I already own but slightly reworded. I dunno, maybe I wouldn't have bought a 'campaign system' for 1/3 the price and an 'expanded character creation system' book for 1/3 the price and all the other ways this could be done, so maybe I'm wrong and Autarch are right. I don't have any games company, let alone one that releases such well-made stuff so am I really a good judge? I just have a feeling I'd have invested sooner if the initial price-hump hadn't been so high. But something like a 64-page soft-cover dealing with Chapter 10 would have been good.

From my lovely wife, who really doesn't know what she's done, I got the Carcosa book. It is of course great, I think there will be some memorable adventures that leap from its pages in years to come. I have form here, please see some posts from the middle of last year by following the 'Carcosa' label - but man oh man I hate 10-mile hexes. So, I've hatched a plot. It's a stupid plot, but right up my ally as far as making things harder for myself by not adapting to change is concerned (which I do a lot... I am still playing B/X-BECMI D&D after all).

Geoff McKinley says that the descriptions are only a small part of what is actually happening in the space covered by the map. That's fine. Adding extra encounters is OK. I have a bunch of hexes that I have already mapped. I think there must be a way to smash my map in the map as already exists and see what happens. I imagine it as being a sort of fractal process.

I think the way I am going to attempt it is to turn Geoff's 10-mile hexes into my favoured 6-mile hexes. This will mean that the number of hexes will increase 3-fold (for 10-to-6 hex-theory, please see this post in particular). This will slightly increase the area being mapped but to be honest I don't care. I don't think it ever says 'it's 480 miles from Carcosa to the Bottomless Lochs' or whatever so it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

There are currently 400 hexes and 800 descriptions: this will become 1,200 hexes with 800 descriptions. My hexes (currently 200) will become 400. I will double the numbers of each terrain type and apply them to the map... I'm not entirely sure how but I'll think about it. I suspect I'd kind of interpolate my hexes, by adding my 20 columns and 10 rows (not forgetting to double them) to the existing 25 columns and 16 rows by some kind of proportional process. If my hex doesn't fit the general theme of the map at that point, then so what? There's a tiny little (6-mile hex) mountain in the ice-field or a bit of desert in a lake (erm, an island maybe?). Or even a series of small lakes in the desert. I can live with that.

Some of the hex descriptions I have are already directly lifted from the Carcosa preview, so I need to find these and eradicate them as duplicates. One, though not lifted from the Carcosa preview, in that it already existed as part of John Stater's Kepler-22B project 'Strange New World', was swapped for a Carcosa preview description; the red vitrified ground in Sector G9 (from 2014, before I even remember having heard of the Carcosa book) was very similar to a description of vitrified white ground in a hex in the Carcosa preview. I swapped mine for Geoff's in my mapping is all. I guess the idea of vitrified ground can occur to more than one person.

But anyway, I have something like 136 descriptions, of which maybe 12 were from the preview. That leaves about 124. I need to add 400 hexes. It's fine, 124 more locations (including something like 30 settlements, a couple of them largish for Carcosa) will fit in that space with hardly anyone noticing. Maybe I should fill in all 400 new hexes? That would be a challenge!

But perhaps, in line with the advice for peopling the map from ACKS I could just interpolate the hexes and keep some of the locations back: when the PCs stumble on them, that's when I add them to the map... I need to read that bit again and think how it applies to Carcosa, the world, and Carcosa, the book. And I need to work out the maths of thing. That may take a little while.

In essence it's simple - in the first hex in the top left of the Carcosa map is an area of plains with trees. In the top left of my map is an area of barren plains. Making one hex into three means there are two mostly-forest-hexes and one barren plains hex. But making that work when I have to also increase the 'sides' of my map from 10 to 16 and the 'top-and-bottom' from 20 to 25 is less easy. The proportions aren't the same so my hexes will have to be taller than they are wide (conceptually at least).

The total number of hexes needs to be divided so that north-south and east-west proportions are round about right. My map, of 200 hexes, was 20x10. The Carcosa map, of 400 hexes, was 25x16. The new map, of 1,200 hexes, probably needs to be somewhere between 40x30 and 50x24 to keep something like the right 'aspect ratio'. Maybe 48x25 is right. They seem to be the only ways of dividing 1,200 hexes in a reasonable ratio anyway. My map is at 12:6 EW:NS. The original is about 9:6 EW:NS. Somewhere between those looks to be about right. 50x24 is just over 12:6 so goes too far in having its EW dimension greater than twice its NS dimension. 40x30 is at 8:6 so goes too far the other way and has an EW dimension less than 1.5 times the NS dimension. 48x25 is just about 11:6 and at the moment looks like the best fit.

Meh, I'll get there. Then I can go mad and do a 24-mile hex map based on the map from Carcosa, which is what I really want!


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