15 December, 2014

Worldbuilding 101 - Filling in Some Gaps Part 1

I think I've basically run my course with this worldbuilding series. I've probably put more effort into this series of posts than I'd typically put into an actual setting. The general aim has been to establish a set of best practices, a range of guidelines that I think a setting designer should seriously consider while developing their game worlds.

Now, I'm just going to spend a bit of time cleaning up some loose ends before moving on to a new series. (Maybe one about expanding existing game settings)

First, a few more of the random encounter tables. I've worked my way through a few of these now; I won't show all of them, but these should give a few more ideas about how my mind works and how I view the setting. I've tried to make sure many of the monsters mentioned are scattered through the tables in the locations where they'd be most likely found.

Aquatic (Shallows)
A – Mysterious Reef
  Basic: A rocky outcrop emerges from the water, just within sight. If you change course, you might be able to investigate it before it vanishes again.
  Heightened: A jagged crystalline outcrop emerges directly in front of the ship, a quick course correction is necessary to avoid it.
  Extreme: A reef of rocky crystals emerges directly under the ship and damages it. The ship cannot move until the reef subsides again.
2 – The Old Fisher
  Basic: One of the old fisherfolk from the area drifts past in their makeshift rowboat. They’ve had a good catch on their outing so far.
  Heightened: An old fisher has caught something bigger than they are able to safely pull in. They’ll need some help.
  Extreme: one of the old fisherfolk lies in their rowboat, bleeding from something savage that may have been caught and gotten away. If they aren’t helped quickly, they’ll die.
3 – Strange Currents
  Basic: The water here is strangely warm and bubbles are rising from the ocean floor.
  Heightened: Dead fish float on the surface of the water, they each look sickly and certain not worth the risk of eating.
  Extreme: A spreading red tide, the colour of blood, oozes across the surface of the water. There is no particular scent to it, but it feels wrong, only the foolhardy would drink the water to see if it tasted different.
4 – School of Fish
  Basic: A school of tuna or other fish rises to the surface of the water, perhaps they are being driven up by a shark or some other predator.
  Heightened: A small pod of dolphins is circling nearby (roughly equal to the number of players). They seem to be interested in something just beneath the surface of the water.
  Extreme: A small shiver of sharks (roughly equal to the number of players) are following you for some reason.
5 – Flotsam
  Basic: A few scraps of driftwood, and a barrel float along a nearby current, the barrel has a note pinned to it.
  Heightened: Wreckage from a ship drifts in the water, numerous barrels and chest are among the floating debris.
  Extreme: The survivor of a shipwreck has forged a makeshift raft from rope and assorted fragments of wood. He is surrounded by incomplete dead bodies on the edges of the raft and circled by sharks in the water.
6 – Message from Land
  Basic: A raven lands at your feet, it has a message tied to its claw.
  Heightened: An awakened raven lands near you, it wants to speak to the person in charge.
  Extreme: There is a big fire on the land nearby, either someone is really trying to draw attention, or there is something big going down.
7 – Another Ship
  Basic: A small vessel (maybe a trader’s cog, wherry or small fishing vessel) sails by, probably crewed by a number roughly equal to the players, they display no particular flags or colours.
  Heightened: A medium vessel (caravel or pinnace) sails by, probably commanded by a number roughly equal to the number of players, and crewed by three times as many (10-15 crew). They fly the colours of the dominant culture in these waters.
  Extreme: A medium vessel (caravel or pinnace) sails toward you, probably commanded by a number roughly equal to the number of players, and crewed by three times as many (10-15 crew). The fly the war flags and colours of the dominant culture.
8 – Pirates and Privateers
  Basic: A small vessel (maybe a trader’s cog, wherry or small fishing vessel) sails by, probably crewed by a number roughly equal to the players, they display pirate colours (if the players are predominately pirates, they fly privateer colours instead).
  Heightened: A medium vessel (caravel or pinnace) sails by, probably commanded by a number roughly equal to the number of players, and crewed by three times as many (10-15 crew), they display pirate colours (if the players are predominately pirates, they fly privateer colours instead).
  Extreme: A medium vessel (caravel or pinnace) sails toward you, probably commanded by a number roughly equal to the number of players, and crewed by three times as many (10-15 crew), they display pirate raiding flags (if the players are predominately pirates, they fly privateer war flags instead).They are looking for a fight.
9 - BIrds
  Basic: A flock of seagulls lands on the deck, they leave quite a mess.
  Heightened: An albatross floats on the breeze above the ship. Aren’t they meant to be an ill-omen? Or is it only bad when they get killed?
  Extreme: An awakened bird screams obscenities at the crew. Why would it do such a thing?
10 – Squall
  Basic: A heavy wind blows around you, making fast movement treacherous. Walking carefully and slowly is no problem though.
  Heightened: Within minutes, cloud cover forms and a sudden storm drenches everything. Anything not appropriately covered is completely soaked in a matter of minutes.
  Extreme: Over the course of an hour, the sky grows dark, winds rise and lightning arcs between the clouds. A typhoon rages around you, and anything not securely tied down risks being blown away, anything else is drenched and possibly risks being ripped apart or damaged by debris flying around.
J – People of the Shallows (Unlikely NPC Encounter)
  Basic: A member of the Faeblood is swimming quite a distance from the shore.
  Heightened: A siren sits on a rocky outcrop just off in the distance. Avoiding the siren will mean a major detour, but avoiding the detour might mean worse. 
  Extreme: A pod of sirens surrounds you. You’re not sure where they’ve come from or what they want, but generally this can’t be good.
Q – Shipwreck
  Basic: Ahead you see a vessel that has started breaking apart on a reef. From this distance there seems to be some survivors waving at you.
  Heightened: A severely damaged vessel started breaking apart a while ago, survivors are adrift on makeshift rafts. Actually, some of them don’t quite look like survivors (there are a number of Drowned undead (equal to roughly the number of players), but it’s only if you try to rescue them that they reveal themselves.
  Extreme: A broken and battered ship rises from the shallow waters, it waves antiquated flags and threatens your vessel. It is manned by Drowned (roughly three times as many as there are players, 10-15 of them), and commanded by members of the Blood Navy (roughly the same number as the players).
K – Unmarked Reef
  Basic: There are obviously unmarked reefs in this part of the sea, there is one over to the port side of you.
  Heightened: You managed to sail the ship into a labyrinth of unmarked reefs. Perhaps the tide is unnaturally low and they don’t normally cause a problem, you could wait until the tide comes back in, or negotiate the reef in reverse (and possibly damage the ship in the process).

  Extreme: You’ve sailed the ship right onto a reef. Any movement from here before the tide comes in will result in damage to the ship.




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