Cave Map

I’m going to get on with making a page just for maps, using old and new material, probably starting this evening.

In the meantime, here’s a very quick cave map with a stream pubbing through it from a spring at the back. A group of smuggler’s (or other antagonists of choice) have made use of a cluster of side caves and installed a portcullis style gate to deter intruders.

Further back in the cave there is a branch where a fissure opened up and a number of cave fishers (or other suitable pest-level monsters) have settled in, eating vermin and fish that emerge from the depths in the water. By and large the two sets of inhabitants ignore each other barring opportunistic encounters.

Lady M made an unflattering comparison to a set of mutated ovaries and associated organs, but she’s flying on painkillers post-surgery so I’m going to nod and smile…

The Importance of Preparation

I spend a lot of time, even if only inside my own head sometimes, preparing material for my tabletop game. Sometimes its thinking of names, or external events for the players to react to. For the most part I’ve tended to think on a mechanic level of what rules to brush up on, or the best tactics to pose a suitable challenge during the game.

What I’d only ever really fleetingly touched on before, however, was open up some of that preparation to the players. In particular, I’m thinking about the bonds and history between them. I’ve never been one for the trope of “you’ve all met down the pub and a mysterious stranger offers you a job” but it has tended to be brief discussions during character creation.

That’s easier to do with everyone around the table than remotely of course, which is why I welcomed Mre B’s suggestion for a formal session zero to kick off the new group. It wasn’t a concept I’d ever encountered before, but a quick read through suggestions online and through a comprehensive guide sheet that they pulled together firmed up the belief that it was a good idea.

I’ll be putting together a page under the Gaming section based on the document Mre B composed. Essentially though the session is not just one of working out links and shared history between characters, but also of ensuring respect at a player level to settle the ground rules of play and engagement.

I’m paraphrasing and simplifying wildly for the sake of brevity here, but it was extremely useful as we had a number of people who didn’t know each other that well, and who were also relative newcomers to tabletop gaming. No other game I’ve run has had quite that combination.

It sparked, and has continued to spark, a wealth of role-playing material and plot hooks, and laid the foundations for one of the most fun and diverse groups I’ve DM’d for in quite some time.