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Author Topic: "Guild Wars" Campaign Exploration Model  (Read 610 times)

Abyssal Maw

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"Guild Wars" Campaign Exploration Model
« on: September 01, 2007, 12:08:11 PM »
I have played GW for a long time, and just got Eye of the North. There's an interesting mechanic in Guild Wars that could be fun for a tabletop campaign.


In Guild Wars you can press 'm' at any time to see the map.

At the start, the world is covered in sort of a fog on the map. No settlements are shown.

But as you walk around, the map fills in.

Once you find a settlement or area of interest (arenas, dungeons, etc)- those are placed on the map.

Sounds pretty standard so far, right?

Well, here's the cool part. Once you have a settlement displayed- once you have 'discovered' it, you can just click on that spot and instantly 'travel' there without bothering with walking through the wilderness.

This creates a cool little metagame: How many obscure areas on the map can you find? There's content literally everywhere, but there's interesting little places here and there that are especially neat. And in certain later missions the 'game' is to actually locate secret areas by exploring around until you find them.

I might try this or something like it in the future, especially if I adopt Kayuda maps as my interface for campaign mapping.
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GoOrange

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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2007, 05:45:36 PM »
I see an interesting premise in there, but I'm not sure exactly how to take advantage of it in an RPG. Still, it has possibility.
 

Abyssal Maw

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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2007, 07:41:02 PM »
Quote from: GoOrange
I see an interesting premise in there, but I'm not sure exactly how to take advantage of it in an RPG. Still, it has possibility.


Well, I guess the idea is-- kinda like a twist on the sandbox campaign.

You have the campaign map already established with it's locations. The players are able to explore the area, discover dungeons and encounter areas and whatever. But by freeing up travel between known cities or whatever, you get to explore more of the map.

So for example, lets say we're using the Forgotten Realms campaign map. It's that poster sized thingy. The character start out in Moonsea or whatever and have some adventures where they travel from there to a neighboring location. I want to just allow the party to say "next we want to travel to here" and point at any previously visted 'town' location on the map and have the option to either:

A. Travel there normally. In the way I run things thats 4 encounter checks per day, plus some resource accounting (food, etc).
or
B. Just handwave the travel part. Just account for some time spent travelling, and the resources at a standardized scale-- something like the "Upkeep" costs on Living Greyhawk. This is actually quite a bit similar to Living Greyhawk's travel rules because the goal is the same- Players are encouraged to have adventures both within and outside their home region.

Over the course of a longterm campaign this lets the player group get to explore more of the map because they don't have to re-travel the previously visited hexes (but the option is still there, and there may even be a good reason to re-travel them if you haven't discovered the location you want to visit).

At first this won't be a big deal. You are handwaving maybe a couple of days of travel. But by the endof the campaign, it will open any previously visited location int he campaign, which for me would include extraplanar locations, islands, foreign continents, etc. Over the course of a year or so worth of a campaign, this expands an already large playing field in an even larger way. of course it also puts a bit of pressure on the DM to keep worldbuilding as the players keep exploring.
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signoftheserpent

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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2007, 08:02:28 AM »
Can't people do this anyway?

I don't get it.
 

Abyssal Maw

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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2007, 08:54:05 AM »
Quote from: signoftheserpent
Can't people do this anyway?

I don't get it.


People can of course do whatever they like, this is just an alternate model for moving around the campaign map.

In Long Term campaigns the travel part usually involves actually doing encounter checks. Also the map is often fully revealed at start.  

In this model the map is fully concealed until you travel over it. Then at any resting point, you can make a decision to travel to any known (that is- previously visited) population center (that is- town or city) on the map.  Resources (for example, survival checks or food being marked off) are just handled administratively.

The two important caveats are:
You can only travel instantly to towns like this.
You can't travel to any place you haven't visited yet. So you still have to do the exploration part.
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GoOrange

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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2007, 11:52:54 AM »
I see what you are saying here, and for the most part it's what I already do. Most travel is handwaved in my campaigns. Unless it's part of the adventure where I want something to happen (in my book random encounters are things I purposely decide to do, but give the impression during the game that they are spontaneous and random).

I'll even handwave travel to someplace they haven't been yet if I don't have the need for an encounter along the way (especially if it's along a major road). For overland journeys, I'll usually just play out a few small parts of it and handwave the rest.
 

Drew

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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2007, 01:54:53 AM »
I think this idea would work very well in a 'fallen world' setting, where all the great knigdoms have crumbled and very little is known of the lands beyond the walls of your home town.

Exploration becomes a goal unto itself, the big reward being swifter, safer travel once the hazards of various regions have been negotiated. An explored hex could have it's threat level lowered accordingly, reflecting the historical reality of naval charts that warned of reefs and other dangers. The PC's could make a decent living selling their maps and maybe even opening trade routes at higher levels. They may even play a part in rebuilding civilisation.

It also fits nicely into the "points of light" default that Wizards have been banging on about.
 

Abyssal Maw

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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2007, 05:43:58 AM »
Quote from: Drew
I think this idea would work very well in a 'fallen world' setting, where all the great knigdoms have crumbled and very little is known of the lands beyond the walls of your home town.

Exploration becomes a goal unto itself, the big reward being swifter, safer travel once the hazards of various regions have been negotiated. An explored hex could have it's threat level lowered accordingly, reflecting the historical reality of naval charts that warned of reefs and other dangers. The PC's could make a decent living selling their maps and maybe even opening trade routes at higher levels. They may even play a part in rebuilding civilisation.

It also fits nicely into the "points of light" default that Wizards have been banging on about.



Drew that's totally correct. It could even be an adventure motivation or something. "We've got to open up a route to the next town.."

Once explored, the threat level goes down, etc.

Great suggestions.
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Drew

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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2007, 06:06:16 AM »
Of course you just know that the PC's will tax the shit out of anyone who follows their directions...  ;)

In this kind of setting I imagine the titles 'Pathfinder,' 'Waylander' or even 'Lord Cartographer' would signify considerable power and influence. They'd probably back up their geographical knowledge with seasonal lore and auspiscious, astronomically derived dates that present conjunctional 'windows' for traversing the more dangerous territories. They'd also have to be powerful individual combatants at the very least. Add a thriving black market in partial maps and forgeries and you have the seeds of an entire proto-culture founded on knowing what lies over yonder hill.

These are the guys whom everyone has to deal with if they have ambitions or needs that lie beyond their homelands. It could make for an interesting Age of Exploration game with a heavy S&S vibe.
 

Bradford C. Walker

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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2007, 07:03:06 PM »
I intend to do something like this with my next campaign.  I'm thinking that this will allow for the sort of gameplay that I want to see at my table without a lot of fuss.
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Lawbag

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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2007, 05:50:54 AM »
its all down to the GM, if he wants interesting things to happen whilst on route, then thats his perogative, the moment the players assume control because they have discovered a secret location (of the GMs own devising!), then the power shifts once again to the players, which is wrong.
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Abyssal Maw

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« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2007, 09:11:17 AM »
Quote from: Lawbag
its all down to the GM, if he wants interesting things to happen whilst on route, then thats his perogative, the moment the players assume control because they have discovered a secret location (of the GMs own devising!), then the power shifts once again to the players, which is wrong.


In this model, all locations are meant to be discovered and exploited, so there's no issue.

The main thing is- there's nothing marked on the map until they discover it!
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Lawbag

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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2007, 04:13:00 AM »
the other problem is by displaying a map, you are then running into potential problems of limiting the area that can be explored.
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