There are times when an idea suddenly seems to be in the air everywhere. This time it’s cities.
Firstly, some discussion has been kicked off, already, about an Exquisite Corpse City map as the next Exquisite Corpse mapping project. I’m not sure if that will be to everyone’s tastes, but there are already a few people who are interested.
A couple different ways of configuring it have been suggested. I’m partial to an idea that I originally floated on G+: “I think it’s pretty obvious it would start at the center and then extend out in all directions. It might be interesting to have each person do only the inside half of their section, and have just a few outlier buildings in the outer half, and then, if there’s an extension from there, the person doing the next section adds some buildings to that outside half of the previous section, as well as doing their own section that same way. Could make for a really interesting map that was more interwoven and less hard edged.”
As I was telling Thor in a recent chat, my view of Exquisite Corpse is that it’s not meant to make sense as a whole. Having distinct districts is both more compelling for a fantasy setting (at least for me, in this case) and lets each artist’s work stand on its own terms. I like the idea of having some interweaving in this, with the outskirts section of the earlier person’s work being subsumed and incorporated into the next person’s piece. I think that could be very cool.
I also think I’d let everyone see the core section, to have some common references (there’s a lot more that’s up in the air with something like this as opposed to all the understood conventions of dungeon mapping).
And then, there’s nice article about “Give Your Village Meaning and Purpose” from Raging Owlbear that has useful suggestions about making a reasonable village that goes beyond being a faceless, forgettable place. I notice when things in game don’t make sense, and, as a GM, I want to make things that have reasonable underpinnings. Does a village of 500 with a fully stocked armorer’s shop and 4 different taverns make any sense? Not really, unless it’s a company town serving high levels of mercenary traffic. A one industry town, like the example in the article, makes a good deal of sense. And then, along with that, the layout of the town, from a functional perspective, starts to suggest some things. Of course, when you’re working with geomorphs, you don’t get that, which leads to these maps…
Although there’s not a lot behind these, I made a couple of choices about inside/outside with the layout of the streets and paths and the orientation of the buildings (orthogonal or not) depending on which side of the wall they are on. There’s not deep meaning to it, but it sets up a sense of a distinction between the two sides of the wall, and someone might pick up on that and make use of that as they fleshed this out for themselves.
These were drawn for the latest Inkwell Ideas geomorphs contest. The three maps (at top, and individually included) include a centered city wall (falling between the 5 and 6 positions* on the sides where it occurs) in addition to the requisite pathways (at the 3 and 8 positions) into and out of each tile. A series of these could conceivably be used to make up a city map (even better if there were a few more like it, for added variety, as well as some other non-wall tiles for in-fill). These don’t really meet the 10′ grid requirement (or else those are teeny-tiny buildings). I’ve been wanting to do some town/city things for a while, so this was a good excuse to give it a shot.
After making these maps specifically because of the Inkwell Ideas contest, I think I missed the deadline for sending them in. Oh, well… Nonetheless, I’m sharing them here as I typically do. These geomorphs are Creative Commons licensed CC-BY-NC-4, so they can be used non-commercially. I’d love to hear about it if you use these (or any of my maps). And, as usual, contact me if you are interested in a commercial use.
* these are done using a standardized method for making inter-operable geomorphs using a 10 x 10 grid and a regularized pattern for where the connections to adjacent tiles need to be. Visit Dave’s Mapper for more about the geomorph standard and lots more geomorph maps.